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Probably very little - but that is the wrong question.

 

Will it be harder to fit into a camping space?

 

Will it be too big for some parks, including national parks?

 

Will it be easy to sell when I want out?

 

John

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Does it have enough room for storage?

 

Will I/we be comfortable living in the space provided?

 

Are there amenities I feel I need in a fulltime rig?

 

What is my camping style, small out of the way areas or big RV resorts with plenty of space to accommodate my rig?

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Does it weigh too much for the tow truck that I plan to use?

 

What is the price difference as compared to my budget?

 

Do I have the needed driving skills for it?

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What is the frontal area of the two? Many larger/longer rigs are also taller thus more wind resistance

Lenp

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In moving from a 34' to a 45' 5er - in steps, over the years (34, 38, 42, 42.5, 45) I found that for US - and the things we do (which include boondocking out west) that the jump from the 34' to the 38' was the most impact. After 38 feet it does not seem to matter as much - big is big. We do look for big rig sites, but really find no major inconvenience with out larger rig.

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Thanks, all. We have been researching for some time and had settled on 35ft than a private seller decided to sell a 38' rig that my DH has wanted but thought we would not find one. Since I must learn how to drive a bigger rig wonder if there was much difference on the road. I understand turning radius and getting into some campground/sites will be more of a challenge as I have owned one of everything and with our motorhome we ran into issues getting into some camp sites, so I figure will be the same with 5th. Now retiring and going back to fifth wheel. :rolleyes:

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Enterprise,

 

I've never towed a fifth wheel and have had to consider a few of the questions that others listed above. We are trying to find the right floor plan and a trailer built by a company we trust. Not sure, but floor plan might end up dictating the length for us. My wife and I want to make a stab at buying only one rig without upgrading for six years or so. Not sure if that is a reasonable goal but we have a few years to consider it.

 

One trusted person says look in the 37' to 38' range. Another friend said he noticed the difference once he went over 30 foot. He has a 40 footer now and would consider something longer. He stays in RV parks and is a part-timer. We have owned a 30' travel trailer and decided there was nothing in that size that we would want to live in full-time. Countless blogs I read consist of new full-timers in 40' trailers. Figure if they learned to haul one then so can I.

 

At the last RV show it sure seemed like there were more floor plan selections at the 35 and above foot range. A concern for my wife is resale value, thinking there are more buyers for the shorter trailers. I know for sure I don't want to sabotage our chances of success on the road by not have the right rig, even if it's a couple feet longer.

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mds1: I just looked at your blog site and am truly amazed at the detail and dreams and plans you've put into full-timing! Best of luck to you.

 

However, in your 'places to go' chart I notice only Fairbanks, Alaska as a place in Alaska to go. I don't know your reason but at the end of one of our all summer trips, Fairbanks was at the bottom of our list of places we enjoyed. Please consider every single little town that you can drive for a real feel of Alaska. :)

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Thanks for the feedback 2gypsies. Appreciate the fact it's coming from a 16 year veteran full-timer. I downgraded Fairbanks on our list of places to see. I've just not got around to listing other stops in Alaska, although two bloggers I read are now in Alaska and I'm sure will have a few to add to my list. I just add stops as I read about them.

 

I feel for the original poster with the question 35' or 40'. We rented a 25' class C last year. Was intimidated the first time we drove it off the property. Six hundred miles later it was no big deal.

 

What's been selling us the most in terms of what length to buy really has been the floor plan options that come with trailers starting at around 35'. Especially the storage space provided with a drop-frame design in the basement storage.

 

I’ve had enough people tell me there is not much of a difference between hauling a 35’ and a 40’ that I’m inclined to believe them. Most of the blogs I follow, but not all, are written by those who travel in a big rig. I’m thinking this will not only help us understand the pros and cons but also get a feel for the places they haul those trailers.

 

Funny, I picked up another habit after studying up on towing longer trailers. I now watch the truckers to see how they are making turns and dealing with traffic. Figure I’ll find someone that knows a trucker and ride along a little. If it’s not against the rules. My friend with the 40’ fifth wheel has offered to give me some driving lessons (he drives, I ride) if I get up on his roof and do the maintenance work. Sounds like a good deal to me. That might be something the original poster should try to arrange as well.

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As far as actual size and not taking into account a 5th wheel or motorhome, we full-timed 8 years in a 33' 5th wheel. Friends got us hooked on 4-wheeling and we were ready to get something newer so we went with a 40' motorhome towing the Jeep. Honestly, both sizes and types of RVs were perfect for us but we didn't like driving the big diesel truck. :) We purposely ordered each RV with only two slides and both on the same side because we stayed in public parks 90% of our time and trying to fit slides inbetween trees can be tricky. So...we used the same campgrounds and fit everything into the RVs just fine in both a 33' 5th wheel and a 40' motorhome. You can full-time in any size if it works for you.

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I am with 2 Gypsies on this. We switched from a fifth wheel which was over all length of 37 feet towed by a 1 ton dually crewcab long box (which in itself takes a football field to turn it it around) to a 40 foot Diesel pusher and I have to say that the motorhome is so much easier to maneuver.

We travel with 3 other couples who all have fifth wheels. By the time they get into their final position we have docked, leveled, put out the slides and are sitting in our lawn chairs with a cold one watching them unhitch. Lol.

 

But more to the point of the op and after travelling with the above couples and their fifth wheels....I have to say that the shorter fivers with the double axles definitely turn easier and sharper into rv sites. The couple that has the largest fiver with the triple axle 40 foot towed by a MDT has the most trouble and is always the last to get done. Plus when we are checking into the RV park he is always the one to ask about access and which is the biggest site of the 4 and can he have it. He is a good driver ( owns an excavating company) and can handle every type of equipment imaginable but this rig is a pain in the butt compared to the rest of us....lol.

Edited by Jimalberta

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I'd say bout 5 feet... :D

You beat me to it.

 

That said, I pull a 45 footer. It's a lot.

 

The biggest issue is not even the size, it's the fact that it's a tri axle. And unless you want to see the rear axle twist to smithereens in your rear mirror you try as hard as you can not to make tight turns.

 

This means you are a 12 wheeler in an 18 wheeler world. It has it's limitations.

 

That all said, we do like the space.

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Our 36' is about all I would care to travel in. Parking in some areas is a real test of patience and skill. BTW, I owned a manufacturing company for awhile after I retired from flying and we had two tractor-trailer 18 wheelers which I drove on occasion. The wheels on those trailers are near the rear of the trailer and comparing the towing/parking of those to a fifth wheel RV is like comparing apples to oranges. Besides, the 36' is all the living space we need for the two of us and occasionally the two grandkids. Good luck in your decision.

Edited by Helipilot

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One thing Mentioned but not explained in full. The longer is normally higher, being taller also limits where you pull-in and where you park without dragging a limp across the roof. Of course many forested areas are older parks and have limited spaces for the longer rigs.

Also mentioned the MDT don't turn as tight. I had a F350 Dually with CC and long bed which I replaced with a Freightliner M2 business class Crew Cab that will turn where I had to back-up before.

 

Clay

Edited by ms60ocb

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I guess I'm in the middle here. We have a 38 foot with 2 axles and pull with a ton dually. Weight is about 13000 with all the junk in it, but we don't haul more than about 10 gallons of water for the occasional Wally World overnight. It's long, but manageable. About half of where we stay are pull thru. We also do research on the sites before we book. If others say it's not big rig friendly or difficult to back into, we usually skip. We stay often in State and COE parks and never had a problem, but an occasional jack knife into a site doesn't bother me. For us, 38 feet gives us a nice living area, work space for business and a reasonable kitchen.

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Jimalberta and 2gypsies...I have found myself really looking at used Newmar Dutch Stars 40' and thinking that may be the next and final rig for us. We went from tents to an Excel 30' travel trailer, then a used 40' Bluebird tag axle then to this fifth wheel. We like the ability to tow a trailer behind the Class A for 4 wheelers and other stuff, not to mention the ease of set-up although, we can be set-up in about 10 minutes after arriving.

Edited by Helipilot

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Helipilot: You're wise to look for a used Newmar Dutch Star or any used RV. The prices they want nowadays for new are outrageous. If they were that high when we bought in 2004 we would have never bought one. Good travels to you!

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We could go with a longer rig but our 35' pin to rear cap meets our needs. The wants, that's another thing. We enjoy going to the RV shows and looking at the newest glitz added to the same old floor plans. Let's face it there is only so much you can do with the area in a 5th wheel and that goes for trailers and MHs as well. What we have found is that so many of the and I quote, fulltime rigs are more for snowbirds than fulltimers. When you load up all the extras there is very little CC left and of course the extras are where the profits are.

 

Another thing you look at a trailer with XXX trailer weight but does that include the mandatory "deluxe package" of course there's the second AC necessary in a 40' as an option along with decent tires. Suddenly that 3000# CC is down to 1700# and I've seen some less, not much for a fulltimer.

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