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Short 5th Wheel with 4 Season/Fulltimer Quality


Loki

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I own a 2012 Montana 313RE I have travelled with over 40,000 miles. While it is a great 5th wheel with only minor flaws, it's not really suitable for longer stays in winter weather. I have added a few things that made 2 or 3 weeks managable under freezing conditions, but it wasn't too comfy, so I'm thinking about getting a new one with 4 season suitability, like with the quality level of a Mobile Suites or one of its siblings. Also, we weren't too happy with the length of the trailer; with its 36' it proved to be too long for quite a number of national or state park campgrounds, where we prefer to stay in.

So we started looking for a 5th wheel with a length of 32' or preferably shorter, but with all the whistles and bells that make an RV 4 season capable. And I couldn't find any! Closest I found were the Mobile Suites 32 RS3 or the Tradition 340 RES, but they are 33'8" or 34' long, respectively. I understand that most people who need 5th wheels with fulltiming capability would also want something that is more spacious, so most of them are in the 36' to 43' range. But nothing smaller than 32'? Or does anyone know something I couldn't find?

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Have you looked at Arctic Fox? Their shortest fifth wheel is 29'5" and is a 4-season rig:

 

http://www.northwoodmfg.com/index.php?page=makeindex&make=arctic&type=fifth

 

Excel also makes a 4-season rig that is guaranteed down to -10 degrees (IF it comes with double-pane windows and the furnace is run in order to heat the basement). However, their shortest rig is 32'11":

 

http://www.excelrvs.com/

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Several years ago while staying in the SKP Park in Heiskell, TN we met a solo traveler that had a 19 ft fiver made by http://www.horizonsrv.com/ .

 

Here is a 2007 26ft model: http://www.rvtrader.com/listing/2007-New-Horizons-Custom-5th-Wheel-113804208113804208_3thumb_770x574.jpg

 

We saw a Fox Mountain at an RV Show in Phoenix that was 23 ft and advertized as four season unit.

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Everything I can find seems to confirm that NuWa 5ers, and the Hitchhiker emblem, are good 4-season RVs. I got curious and used Searchtempest to see how many under-30' NuWa trailers are out there for sale and it appears that there are quite a few; some dating back into the 1980s so they've been around a good long while. One 34' in the Spokane craigslist indicates that it's in Polson, Montana and has little corrugated custom covers for the slides. It gets a bit chilly in MT so if it can survive that....

 

Just to give you an idea:

 

http://spokane.craigslist.org/rvs/4908686096.html ($7,950) (30')

 

http://bellingham.craigslist.org/rvs/4848930797.html ($8,000) (30')

 

http://salem.craigslist.org/rvd/4869228923.html ($12,860) (30')

 

http://bend.craigslist.org/rvd/4887601379.html ($10,995) (28')

 

Newer models seem to be bigger but I haven't looked at enough of them to tell. Owners often mention the cold weather ability and no leaks. We have a DP but I like these.

 

WDR

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I bought this carri lite last May. Four months prior, I didn't know what a fifth wheel was, so I've climbed a steep curve.

 

Thermal(dual glass) is a must. A well insulated underbelly is a must. Check on how the tanks are heated. I just screwed up this winter by running electric heaters, thinking I'd save LP. In my ignorance, I didn't realize the LP furnace heated the tanks below, so I froze my sewer line and destoyed one of my electric valves and froze my outdoor shower valve to boot. Oh well!

 

I you're looking used, best to buy an older, better built unit, than a newer, yet "fancier" unit; in my humble opinion.

 

PS: My trailer is 37'. I tried to find one the size you're after so I could get into small state parks and couldnt' find a match.

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  • 3 months later...

I just saw this post. We too want a shorter 5th wheel so that we can go to National Parks and other places that a larger one can't go. We drove to Denver a few months ago and went to 5 dealerships looking for a true 4-season. At the top of our list is the Glacier Peak made by Outdoor's RV Manufacturing. Go to their website and down at the bottom, in the green area, click on 4 season. It's a great video explaining their fully enclosed, front to back heated insulated underbelly and LOTS more features that make it a true 4 season.

 

We are about a year away from buying but so far this our first choice for full timing. We want to be able to go anywhere and everywhere in North America for a few years.... maybe more.

Good Luck!

Kathie

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Loki, welcome to the Escapee forums!

 

Its interesting to me that you are not happy with your Montana for winter living as the Montana is one of the more popular brands that we see used as a full-time RV home. There is no doubt that they are not at the same standard of construction as many of those suggested in this thread but it is also important to look at the increase in weight which the suggested trailers will have as you may need to upgrade your tow truck as well if you change. The highest quality, best constructed, and best insulated fifth wheels will also be much heavier to tow. But they will also fare much better if used in serious cold weather and you will be more comfortable. Generally, as the quality of construction and materials in an RV increases, so too do both the RV's weight and the cost to buy one. In general, the best quality that a budget can afford is the best choice but make sure that you don't find yourself with too little truck for the trailer.

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We also are looking for a 30-32 foot all season. Love the Arctic Fox models, but tough to find a good used one here in SE Alabama. We'll have to check out a couple of the other recommendations, the Excel and Triple E.

 

Definite truck upgrade. 1 ton or maybe an MDT for towing.

 

Can you put a Smartfor2 on an MDT if you tow a smaller trailer?

 

Thanks for the topic.

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We full time in a DRV 32TK3 which is actually 33'8". So far have not had any issues getting into or around older state parks or private parks. We can even get into park and sites that motor homes that are the same length cannot get into because of manuverability and the fact that at least 4' of our length is over the truck bed. My feeling is that as long as you stay under 35' in length, you will be fine. That is why we chose the length that we did and it still provides nice living space and more than adequate storage. DRV used to make a 31 RE3 that was actually about 32' in length but we found it actually too small for our liking in the living area and they are also hard to find since they were only made for 2 years and were not very popular so not many were produced either. In my opinion, DRV is one of the best constructed rigs out there for the money. If buying a used DRV, stay away from the 2012 -2013 models as there were allot of issues with the Schwintech slide on the bedroom and there are allot of these available because of that issue.

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We full time in a DRV 32TK3 which is actually 33'8". So far have not had any issues getting into or around older state parks or private parks. We can even get into park and sites that motor homes that are the same length cannot get into because of manuverability and the fact that at least 4' of our length is over the truck bed. My feeling is that as long as you stay under 35' in length, you will be fine. That is why we chose the length that we did and it still provides nice living space and more than adequate storage. DRV used to make a 31 RE3 that was actually about 32' in length but we found it actually too small for our liking in the living area and they are also hard to find since they were only made for 2 years and were not very popular so not many were produced either. In my opinion, DRV is one of the best constructed rigs out there for the money. If buying a used DRV, stay away from the 2012 -2013 models as there were allot of issues with the Schwintech slide on the bedroom and there are allot of these available because of that issue.

 

Although there have been issues with the schwintec slide (yes, we have them) DRV has stood behind their product, and anyone that I know of, myself included, that had an issue, had it resolved to their satisfaction by DRV. Once fixed, we have had no issues.

 

Sue

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I own a 2012 Montana 313RE I have travelled with over 40,000 miles. While it is a great 5th wheel with only minor flaws, it's not really suitable for longer stays in winter weather. I have added a few things that made 2 or 3 weeks managable under freezing conditions, but it wasn't too comfy, so I'm thinking about getting a new one with 4 season suitability, like with the quality level of a Mobile Suites or one of its siblings. Also, we weren't too happy with the length of the trailer; with its 36' it proved to be too long for quite a number of national or state park campgrounds, where we prefer to stay in.

So we started looking for a 5th wheel with a length of 32' or preferably shorter, but with all the whistles and bells that make an RV 4 season capable. And I couldn't find any! Closest I found were the Mobile Suites 32 RS3 or the Tradition 340 RES, but they are 33'8" or 34' long, respectively. I understand that most people who need 5th wheels with fulltiming capability would also want something that is more spacious, so most of them are in the 36' to 43' range. But nothing smaller than 32'? Or does anyone know something I couldn't find?

 

We have a 30.5 foot Carriage....that is good, but probably not totally 4 season. It does get us through hunting season and survived a 12 degree night in Benson, Arizona without freezing up.

 

That said....today we bought a 17 foot Casita, since we were tired of not being able to get into Forest Service and NPS campgrounds.

 

Anybody going through Dallas in September with a "free" hitch??

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