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Conventional Towing Vs 5th

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Still a year away from take off. After looking at trailers and deciding the approximate size and weight that we would want to tow, we used that information to select our tow vehicle, a 2016 Chevy Siliverado 4WD Flex Fuel 4.10 Standard Bed which tows up to 13k conventional and 14k 5th wheel.

 

I will be spending some time at a local hitch place checking out options but I would appreciate hearing from those of you who tow both types of hitches. Right now I am feeling "long" with just the truck, before adding a trailer. We won't be getting a trailer until probably early spring next year so we have time to research and figure out what setup is right for us to fulltime with. We would like a trailer 25 foot or less in size, nothing larger.

 

- I know the 5th will shorten the overall trailer plus hitch length.

 

- I know a conventional hitch will give me full access to the entire bed for storage and make our life easier. We have a locking cover for the truck bed and put in a floor and tailgate liner (did not go up the sides as that was $300 more plus tax and we are saving for our trailer).

 

If we feel we can handle whatever length we would end up with, we would prefer to go with the conventional. If it's "too long' (FOR US - I know some of you can drive very long things and are quite comfortable with that but we are not) we would have to go with the 5th.

 

Questions:

 

1.How much storage space would we have for storage in the truck bed (6' 6" bed) if we had the 5th wheel hitch in the bed?

 

2. For those of you who have towed with both - what is your advice?

 

3. For anyone towing with a conventional hitch, are you comfortable with that setup and how long is your trailer?

 

Thanks to anyone taking the time to answer.

 

Christine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I forgot to mention, the truck bed cover is a "Fold A Cover" which accordian folds into one piece near the window of the cab and straps closed (I would add a very secure closure of some sort to prevent it from every unfolding while driving.

 

Christine

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if you are truly going full time you will probably need more storage than a bumper pull will give you. full timing take a lot of storage space. just my opinion.we have been full timing since 2012 . we do not have a home to go to get stuff

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Before our motorhome we had a 33' 5th wheel. We also had the folding truck bed cover which we didn't secure any additional way and never had a problem with it. We used a couple plastic bins in the bed when towing for 'outside' kinds of stuff like extra sewer hose/fittings, water hoses, etc. We felt we had plenty of storage space overall as the 5th wheel had ample basement storage for most things. We used it for 8 years of full-timing.

 

Previous to the 5th wheel we had a 27' travel trailer. That definitely was not convenient for the two of us for full-timing. The trailer itself didn't have any storage and the truck was loaded with bins that we were always hauling out to find things.

 

Personally, I think you'd be happier with a 5th wheel. They are more comfortable to tow on the highways and a lot easier to hook up and unhook and also easier to park.

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22 gypsies - with the 5th wheel and bin setup how many bins of storage would say you had? Four 2 x 3 foot bins or ??

 

What I am wanting to put in the truck bed, if possible, is a propane oven, our outside cots, fishing gear, probably a cooler and some water for when we disconnect and drive to the lake. I am trying to avoid taking stuff out of the trailer bins and putting in the truck and back again over and over. The back cab will be taken up with two dogs. But, safety is the biggest issue. Seems like people who have them feel 5th wheels are easier to tow. Glad to hear they are easier on the unhook and parking. Is that how all you 5er's feel?

 

D & D - If I don't have a 5th wheel hitch and need whatever clearance for same, I would have the full bed of the truck for storage plus trailer storage but am not sure how this will work out when properly distributing the cargo weight. There are so many parts to figuring all of this out sometimes it makes my head spin, or at least feel like it is.

 

Christine

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...our tow vehicle, a 2016 Chevy Siliverado 4WD Flex Fuel 4.10 Standard Bed which tows up to 13k conventional and 14k 5th wheel...We would like a trailer 25 foot or less in size, nothing larger...

In addition to the maximum towing capacity of the truck, you also need to consider the payload capacity/GVWR, RAWR (rear axle weight rating), and GCWR(gross combined weight rating) of the truck. A travel trailer will generally put 10-15% of its weight on the tow vehicle. A 5th wheel will generally put 20-25% of its weight on the tow vehicle. Do not use the dry tongue or pin weights as these will change when the trailers are loaded.

 

The maximum towing capacity is often determined using a truck loaded with only a 150# driver and possibly for a trailer such as a utility or horse trailer with a smaller frontal area than a travel trailer or 5th wheel. Also the GCWR does not always equal the GVWR of the truck plus the max trailer weight. It is not uncommon for a truck loaded to its GVWR towing a trailer of the maximum weight to exceed the GCWR.

 

I am not sure how many 5th wheels you will find that are less than 25' in length especially in models rated for four season and extended living. There are several manufacturers that make 5th wheel models less than 30'.

 

Here is a link to a calculator that may help you match truck and trailer/5th wheel.

Edited by trailertraveler

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22 gypsies - with the 5th wheel and bin setup how many bins of storage would say you had? Four 2 x 3 foot bins or ??

 

 

 

We just had two large tubs because that's all we needed. What you plan to put there to go to the lake would fit, I believe, but only you know what the sizing is for the things. Keep in mind that while your traveling, things will get wet and perhaps dirty.

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In addition to the maximum towing capacity of the truck, you also need to consider the payload capacity/GVWR, RAWR (rear axle weight rating), and GCWR(gross combined weight rating) of the truck. A travel trailer will generally put 10-15% of its weight on the tow vehicle. A 5th wheel will generally put 20-25% of its weight on the tow vehicle. Do not use the dry tongue or pin weights as these will change when the trailers are loaded.

 

The maximum towing capacity is often determined using a truck loaded with only a 150# driver and possibly for a trailer such as a utility or horse trailer with a smaller frontal area than a travel trailer or 5th wheel. Also the GCWR does not always equal the GVWR of the truck plus the max trailer weight. It is not uncommon for a truck loaded to its GVWR towing a trailer of the maximum weight to exceed the GCWR.

 

I am not sure how many 5th wheels you will find that are less than 25' in length especially in models rated for four season and extended living. There are several manufacturers that make 5th wheel models less than 30'.

 

Here is a link to a calculator that may help you match truck and trailer/5th wheel.

Yes, I know all of that and have been plugging in the figures. In addition, I am going this week to the dealer recommended hitch shop and will be talking to them. In addition, now that I have the bed and tailgate mats and the Fold-A-Cover on, I am going to fill the tank and have the truck weighed before going to see the hitch guys. I am not buying yet, I want them to tell me if I have the right figures and what they think about my possible trailer choices. I am trying hard to do this all safely without coming near maxing out but still having what we want.

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A 5th wheel will be significantly more stable and snaking while possible with a 5th wheel it is almost unheard of.

 

A 5th wheel is also easier to reverse.

 

As the wheels will be further back on a 5th wheel you are less likely to bottom out at the rear when traversing humps and dips.

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We just had two large tubs because that's all we needed. What you plan to put there to go to the lake would fit, I believe, but only you know what the sizing is for the things. Keep in mind that while your traveling, things will get wet and perhaps dirty.

One of the good things about having time before taking off is the ability to find the right containers for items. In some cases I keep getting smaller and smaller or just changing things into other containers because I find the "perfect fit" for something. Waterproofing and adding carry handles is high on my list for this winter. It is amazing how long it is taking me to downsize completely but I think we are on track for our timeline.

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A 5th wheel will be significantly more stable and snaking while possible with a 5th wheel it is almost unheard of.

 

A 5th wheel is also easier to reverse.

 

As the wheels will be further back on a 5th wheel you are less likely to bottom out at the rear when traversing humps and dips.

Thanks! This sounds good and will shorten the length over the using a conventional hitch.

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I HAVE CHANGED MY MIND. After having a pickup for a week I am in love with my Chevy Silverado. Even though I am going to be longer with a conventional hitch I have decided I do not want a 5th wheel hitch in the bed of my truck. There is something great about having a pickup be, well, a pickup. Since I am not towing Godzilla I think I'll be good, especially because everything will be weighed with the weight distribution also considered before taking off. I love, love, love the idea of a storage area the size of the truck bed with a lockable cover. Maybe after a year of conventional towing I'll change my mind but I want to start off without a 5th. But all this could change once again after I meet with the hitch people. The one thing I am wondering about is the height because it seems like the Chevy sits kind of high I'll post what the hitch people tell me after I make that visit and get back to ya all then. Thanks again for input.

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As far as the stability issue goes, I would recommend using a Hensley Arrow when pulling a travel trailer. I've pulled both a 5th wheel and a travel trailer. When I started pulling the travel trailer, I had a 1 ton dually but then changed to a Ford Excursion. With the Excursion, the rear end of the trailer was always moving a little bit while I was watching it in my mirrors. Once I bit the bullet and bought the Hensley, the trailer was as stable as a rock. I could pull it in all kinds of wind that would keep other RVers off the road and big trucks passing me were never a problem again.

Just my $0.02 worth. Good luck with your decision.

 

Bud

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Don't dismiss the 5th wheel due to the hitch weight and difficultly to put in and take out.

 

You need to look at a Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel hitch. The hitch weighs around 30 pounds and is super easy for one person to put in and remove in under 5 minutes. It's what we're going with.

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That's pretty impressive! I still lose my large storage bin though. Looks like I can take some stuff in the bed but not sure how much. I'll have to see what size trailer I end up with but really glad you showed me this so we can consider it in the choices. Thanks!

 

Christine

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Couple of points....

1. For the travel trailer option.....the part of the hitch assembly that slides into your truck hitch is usually adjustable for height so that should not be a huge problem. The travel trailer has less storage than a fifth wheel hence the need for storage in the truck bed. .

2. As the fifth wheel has more storage in the cargo area generally you will find that what you were going to put in those bins will fit into the cargo area of the fifth wheel.

C. Neither trailer is better than the other for backing into position. They are definitely different as the travel trailer will cut into position faster and sharper so possibly has an advantage in tight areas. It just takes getting used to what you have and practising until you are comfortable with it.

4. The fifth wheel will be faster to hook up and unhook so keep that in mind as well.

 

Its a trade off and there is no perfect solution and no perfect RV so you have to decide what is best for you.

 

Cheers

Jim

Edited by Jimalberta

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Have you looked at the basement storage capacity of fifth wheels? And all the cabinet storage scattered inside? If you have an 8 foot bed in the truck there's space in front and back and beside the hitch, just pay attention to the trucks payload capacity! We also have an auxiliary 70 gallon diesel tank/toolbox combo in the front of the truck bed, I hate looking for a fuel station I can maneuver in when towing. One comment....storage is nice but the RV lifestyle isn't based on storage. The layout and convince of your home (travel trailer or fifth wheel) is most important as that's were you'll live and spend most of your time. Enjoy your hunt for the right RV home! Greg

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You need to look at a Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel hitch.

 

 

We replaced our old hitch with the Andersen last month....what a difference!! Works just as advertised.....GL

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All good comments from above. FYI, the bed is 6'6", not the short or the long bed but the standard bed on the truck.

 

I still really like having the truck bed free but it will depend on the unit. At least now I'll look at both. It's hard to find smaller 5-ers on the lots but maybe with the start of a new season there will be some to look at in spring. We found one conventional model this year that we both really liked, it was a Forest River Salem Cruise Lite with a Murphy bed/sofa option plus it had the dinette and a set of bunks plus the small tub. The tub is for the dogs and washing, we don't want just a shower pan. That's apparently a limited model but we have something in mind now as to floor plan so we are getting there.

 

The Silverado 2500 also has a trailer brake adjustment inside the cab by the steering wheel. Not sure how well it works, I've never used trailer brakes as we had a small Chalet that didn't need them but then we were only weekend travelers and not a lot of weight.

 

Just love this RV board and the people on it.

 

Christine

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Generally a p/u bed of anything less than 8' is considered a short bed. because a 5er hitch is usually mountedj right over or slightly forward of the axle leaving less bed space between it and the back of the cab.

Ron

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Having had both a trailer and a 5th we found the 5th much easier to drive(you don't get blown around by the 18 wheelers), backup and handle. Faster to hitch/unhitch plus tons of storage. The trailer we just did not fit into and it was longer than the 5th. There is just limited storage in the trailers. We never kept anything in the bed of our truck, everything fit into the basement of the 5th plus we had left over space in the basement and empty cabinets in the 5th.

 

As a fulltimer/longtimer I believe you will be much happier in the 5th.

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Generally a p/u bed of anything less than 8' is considered a short bed. because a 5er hitch is usually mountedj right over or slightly forward of the axle leaving less bed space between it and the back of the cab.

Ron

Thank you. I am learning. Both of us talked and we don't want to give up the p/u bed. We have a locking cover and separate locking tailgate on it. We could blow up a boat and put it on top to drive a mile to the lake. We don't like that we will be much longer than we want but we are trying to at least find a shorter width. The trick there is the bed and how we get in and out. I would keep a cooler in there. I have a Camping World step that folds flat when you grab the close handle and pops open to be two steps when you grab the open handle. It is light weight and fits in the back seat. Lets me easily fold back the bed cover by myself and the two steps next to the bumper step lets me hop right in the bed of the truck. Me with arthritis and two replaced hips. Priceless. I want easy access to the bbq and wood without reaching into the bins. I also have a neck I have to be careful of. We can load and unload the cooler from the truck bed when we use it and it won't be in the way in the trailer. I have a folding red wagon to cart things around. I just think this would be an easier way for us, IF we can handle the extra length. The 6' 6" bed with the extended cab is long, then the hitch, then the trailer. But, it still might be lighter then the firth wheels. I have only towed small trailers, 12 foot at most with small truck or SUV.

 

Christine

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You have to do what's best for you but it seems that you are fixated on the truck and it's bed storage/access. Remember......you will be spending most of your time living inside a trailer or fifth wheel. Spend time to identify one trailer and then one fifth wheel that you like. Then spend a couple days at the dealer(s) pretending to live in them......cooking and eating capabilities, bedroom sleeping, bathroom use, watching TV or entertainment, etc. Let that help you decide which unit fits your needs best then figure out storage. Greg

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In addition to the maximum towing capacity of the truck, you also need to consider the payload capacity/GVWR, RAWR (rear axle weight rating), and GCWR(gross combined weight rating) of the truck. A travel trailer will generally put 10-15% of its weight on the tow vehicle. A 5th wheel will generally put 20-25% of its weight on the tow vehicle. Do not use the dry tongue or pin weights as these will change when the trailers are loaded.

 

The maximum towing capacity is often determined using a truck loaded with only a 150# driver and possibly for a trailer such as a utility or horse trailer with a smaller frontal area than a travel trailer or 5th wheel. Also the GCWR does not always equal the GVWR of the truck plus the max trailer weight. It is not uncommon for a truck loaded to its GVWR towing a trailer of the maximum weight to exceed the GCWR.

 

I am not sure how many 5th wheels you will find that are less than 25' in length especially in models rated for four season and extended living. There are several manufacturers that make 5th wheel models less than 30'.

 

Here is a link to a calculator that may help you match truck and trailer/5th wheel.

I went to the link and filled out the information by using what Dodge and Flagstaff had for a 8524 5th wheel. This is a really light 5th wheel but the chart shows that I would need a 1 ton vehicle to tow a 6300 lb trailer. A dodge Ram ecodiesel should only tow a trailer weighing 3367 lbs. Very strange indeed.

Edited by Iproff

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The difference in towing weight with my Silverado is 1000 pounds more with a 5th wheel. I know about all the other weights to check.

 

I watched my next door neighbor pull his 5th in this weekend after ending the season up at the lake. It was pretty impressive to see how easily he moved that thing around. And he said the same things all 5th wheel drivers say, they are easier to tow and move and have more room.

 

Then we stood back and looked at it and realized it was quite a bit higher than our old Winnebago which scraped the tree branches on the way up to Sequoia. I thought about many a camping spot we've camped at where a trailer would fit easily but not a 5th. I thought about the campsites we like to go to - we never see a 5th wheel at them, or maybe once in a great while see one. It seems the 5ths like the State Parks, RV Parks, etc. I looked at the bins on his 5th and did not see any advantage over the trailers we looked at if I filter in the truck bed as well. But, we will not be purchasing until next year and we are still looking at both. I have to say that being from California I just don't tow a trailer over 55 mph. I saw many RVs of all kinds and sizes going 70 plus during the recent trip to Pike Forest (in the Class B). I did drive the B to keep up with them until the wind came up and then I backed down to 55 because of the high top. Then we were stopped for 20 minutes on the Hwy while they cleaned up the accident from someone who did not slow down.

 

Who knows what will be designed over the winter and show up in the spring? Maybe the perfect compromise.

 

 

There are two of us making this decision and we both agree straight down the line at this point. We are headed out shortly to go looking again but now we look at both types. We haven't walked into a 5th yet that we liked more than our current trailer floorplan choice but that could change. We might rent a trailer early next year just to make sure it is something we want to tow conventionally because we are used to pretty small trailers.

 

Christine

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