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OverSoul7

Conventional Towing Vs 5th

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Since I am from the group who prefer a class A, I really don't have a great bias toward either type of trailer and can see advantages to both. No matter which you choose, storage space and weight capacity are of major importance. I have some rather limited experience towing a goose neck trailer but have never owned a fifth wheel but have owned several travel trailers. Of the 6 RVs that we have owned, 4 have been travel trailers, but observation tells me that the fiver is more easily backed and maneuvered for most owners. But I did know one person pretty well who did fine with both a class A and a travel trailer, who never did master backing with a fifth wheel and who traded his after a few years because of that issue. In general it is true that they are more maneuverable, but not all drivers find them easier.

 

On the floor plan issue, our main problem with fifth wheels is that my wife has had both a hip and an ankle replaced with metal parts and has severe arthritis in the lower back and the steps up to the front for her are too much. I home-base in a retirement community of RV folks and there are several of my neighbors who have gone back to a travel trailer over a fifth wheel that they really liked, due to the flat floor issue. As with so many things in life, there are no easy answers and none that fit everyone.

 

One more thought. When you do find the RV which feels right to both of you, do not allow the opinions of any of us to influence you to get something different. After all, the two of you will have to live with that choice and you may not be the same sort of people with the same priorities as those of us who think you are wrong. :P

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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.

Generally with 5th wheels, the issue becomes the 20-25% pin weight in respect to the GVWR/payload capacity or Rear Axle Rating (RAWR) of the truck. In my experience, the higher max tow ratings for 5th wheels versus conventional trailers is a farce because the required pin weight relative to the other maximum weight ratings will dictate the weight of 5th wheel that can actually be towed within all the ratings.

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Kirk, thank you so very much for your post. We went looking again today and really feel pretty strongly about our current thinking. I also have two hips replaced along with spine arthritis. I know we will end up with much smaller than most people here will think is acceptable but like you say, we are the ones who will drive it, back it up, find the spots to be in, have to sit in it in the rain or the cold. I really have listened to everything said here re pros and cons. I think I could tow and back up the fifth wheel better than the trailer. I believe I would be more relaxed and go more places in a less wide, less heavy less tall towed vehicle. So thank you for noting that I am not alone in my thinking.

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So thank you for noting that I am not alone in my thinking.

The motorhome that we chose did not fit the minimum standards of most of those who give advice on what is needed. I still have a photo on the opening page of our website, of our home on the road. It was a 36' long, gasoline fueled, & no slides. We got reactions of disapproval many times over the years and it is still common advice that a fulltimer motorhome must be diesel powered. Yet we lived happily and comfortably in it for 1 years. Currently health issues have forced us back to part-time and we have downsized, but you can imagine the response to our spending as much as 5 continuous months in our 20' travel trailer that has no slides? The entire point is that only you & your travel partners can say for sure what works best for you. Like most people, I have opinions about what is best and even some things that I consider to be vital, but I also realize that my personal bias plays a major part in those opinions. We once met a couple who were in their third year of full-time RV living in a popup and a single male in a home built, standard size van conversion with nearly 5 years on the road. Neither of them would work for me.

 

You should consider all advice that is given with good intentions and weigh it very carefully. But you are the only one who must be happy with your choice.

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Christine...if I may be blunt. If I had had 2 hips replaced and spine arthritis I doubt I would be rving at all so I take my hat off to you.

 

But if I were going to be RVing with those hip and back I would 100% be looking at something comfortable and easy to mess with. A travel trailer is NOT easy to mess with and as nice as trucks are these days they are still trucks as far as ride and handling goes.

 

What I would be doing ( and I have had every type of RV you can think of) is looking long and hard at a class A motorhome. They are definitely the easiest to drive and back up. The convenience of them is the best as far as break times and lunch times, potty breaks, etc.

We are presently using a 40 ft diesel pusher.....they have air ride and very plush seating. Something that would be fairly easy on your hips and back.

We tow a pickup truck at times as well as a Jeep Cherokee which is very easy to tow and hook up and disconnect. Not much messing around and nothing strenuous involved.

 

Cheers. Jim

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Jim, I am doing better physically than I have done in decades. I have been juicing, cut out high sugar and high wheat intake, went from a size 16 to a 12, last X-rays on the spine and discs came out great. My truck bed will give me cots to lay on outside and the memory foam padding to go with same, a propane oven to cook on outside on a hot day, and a red wagon to cart it around in. I will not have my yard to mow, weeds to deal with, large house to clean, basement stairs to walk up and down. Tiny house? I'll be in heaven. And on the days I don't do well, tiny is good too as I don't have to walk far. I love my truck. I've traveled up the entire California and Oregon coasts many a time in a truck - there and back. I do not like dirt roads but fortunately those are not frequent.

 

Maybe I'll only last one year. The places we like to camp we rarely or never see motorhomes or 5th wheels. True, winter we'll have to be where you all are and then we will feel tiny and small if you want to make us feel that way but we will be so grateful we are not in our Class B or our Chalet that personally we will be happy.

 

My "chair" will be my transport walker. It is comfortable, has wheels if I have a rough time I can be wheeled around or use it like a walker. I can and have put my oven on it and wheeled it down to a lake because the wheels are all terrain. That fits in the truck as well.

 

We aren't planning on doing this forever but we do want to have a lot of fun while we do it. I stand next to a 5th wheel or really long trailer and I am not comfortable. I have owned a motorhome - a nice Winnebago that was too big for the northern California forest roads to be comfortable driving - for us.

 

We have been downsizing for a long time. We still have a ways to go but we are willing to go small. When we move back to a stick our cots with memory foam pads will be our beds and couch until we get settled and start re decorating. But I never want to own a lot again.

 

The trailers we are looking at weigh about 4500 pounds plus another 3000 CCC. With a tow capacity of 13k I think this will work pretty good for us. That's twice the weight of anything we've ever towed except driving the moving van full out here. That was a caravan. Daughter driving GMC Safari, Me driving Class B hightop and towing the Chalet fold-down, Wayne driving a huge full moving truck. We stayed at a KOA cabin so we could have all our stuff real close by.

 

Our summer dream is to boondock 10 days and come in for hookups for about 5 then repeat maybe with a motel for 2 days thrown in for long baths. Lots of forests and rivers and exploring. Photographing and painting. Metal detecting and fishing. Writing. Got the cooking stuff down to a minimum and storage containers for all if I have to pack anything in the copious storage. Spare clothes in cases already bought that will store on the top bunk. We'll have a queen and a bunk and dinette. The couch might be a Murphy bed setup but we can't get greedy. Plan to see friends and relatives. My cousin in Texas said we could park the trailer at her place while we stay awhile with a sister we plan to visit for several weeks. We may move in with her one winter or perhaps the Livingston facility. That is if they accept a smaller truck and trailer.

 

Christine

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But if I were going to be RVing with those hip and back I would 100% be looking at something comfortable and easy to mess with. A travel trailer is NOT easy to mess with and as nice as trucks are these days they are still trucks as far as ride and handling goes.

Interesting. Pam has had her right ankle totally replaced, her right hip replaced, has major lower back arthritis with continuing treatment there, as well as some serious swallowing issues. We are presently sitting in our travel trailer, nearing the end of 3 1/2 months on the road.......... :)

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But Has Pam had to hook up the trailer to the truck...using that bar to connect the chains...etc? Has she backed it into the site? Has She been the one to manhandle those 30 lb propane cylinders in and out of your truck?

 

I would have thought that you would agree with me on the fact that life is a little easier with a class A.

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Generally with 5th wheels, the issue becomes the 20-25% pin weight in respect to the GVWR/payload capacity or Rear Axle Rating (RAWR) of the truck. In my experience, the higher max tow ratings for 5th wheels versus conventional trailers is a farce because the required pin weight relative to the other maximum weight ratings will dictate the weight of 5th wheel that can actually be towed within all the ratings.

Thanks that does make sense to me.

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But Has Pam had to hook up the trailer to the truck...using that bar to connect the chains...etc? Has she backed it into the site? Has She been the one to manhandle those 30 lb propane cylinders in and out of your truck?

 

 

We use the Andersen pull trailer hitch and love it. No bars, no chains. I can unhook almost as fast as I could with my fiver. With an electric tongue jack, I seldom even need the wrench that comes with it. Raise up the hitch, loosen two nuts by hand, pull out one pin, and you are unhooked. My wife could easily do it. Absolutely no blowing around by semis. 30# propane tanks? Same with a fiver but harder to get out of the fiver compartment. In a MH you have to take the MH to the propane station or use the mobile units that come to you. You can do the same with a trailer.

 

We did like the space in our fiver when we full-timed and it was a small one by many standards. But I find our current pull trailer every bit as easy to pull and I can back it up on a dime. And the OP is right: part of the reason we got rid of the fiver was the height...trees, bridges, etc. No issue with the pull trailer.

 

Our Sunnybrook is 24' inside, 27' overall. Large rear living area, two chairs with a big rear window, dining room table and chairs, couch...what's not to like? I know we full-timers are biased against trailers, but the OP wants one, I say go for it. I could very easily full-time in our current trailer.

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But Has Pam had to hook up the trailer to the truck...using that bar to connect the chains...etc? Has she backed it into the site? Has She been the one to manhandle those 30 lb propane cylinders in and out of your truck?

 

I would have thought that you would agree with me on the fact that life is a little easier with a class A.

The simple fact is that Pam couldn't travel alone with any RV today due to her problems. I know that some folks say that no couple should travel if the wife don't drive too, but I also know many who do so for various reasons and really don't see how that is any different from a single traveling as they have no backup driver either??? We all must adapt to what life brings to us and we have done the same. I suppose that some folks would tell us not to RV since Pam's medical issues prevent her from doing things, but then people told us that we couldn't fulltime in the gas rig we lived in for 12 years too. Would you tell our son that his family can't RV since his wife will never drive as she is blind?

 

I personally would agree with you as I much prefer to travel with a class A, but there are a flock of reasons that isn't ever going to happen now. A class A has several steps up into it, while our little trailer has one large portable step that I carry & set up on the ground and then into the RV. Pam can no longer manage many steps so a flat floor that is close to the ground is required if she is to travel by RV. We both miss the class A and would have preferred another one, but physical limitations say that it is never going to happen again.

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We use the Andersen pull trailer hitch and love it. No bars, no chains. I can unhook almost as fast as I could with my fiver. With an electric tongue jack, I seldom even need the wrench that comes with it. Raise up the hitch, loosen two nuts by hand, pull out one pin, and you are unhooked. My wife could easily do it. Absolutely no blowing around by semis. 30# propane tanks? Same with a fiver but harder to get out of the fiver compartment. In a MH you have to take the MH to the propane station or use the mobile units that come to you. You can do the same with a trailer.

 

We did like the space in our fiver when we full-timed and it was a small one by many standards. But I find our current pull trailer every bit as easy to pull and I can back it up on a dime. And the OP is right: part of the reason we got rid of the fiver was the height...trees, bridges, etc. No issue with the pull trailer.

 

Our Sunnybrook is 24' inside, 27' overall. Large rear living area, two chairs with a big rear window, dining room table and chairs, couch...what's not to like? I know we full-timers are biased against trailers, but the OP wants one, I say go for it. I could very easily full-time in our current trailer.

I fell in love with a trailer the size you describe you are towing. At home I measured out how long that was on a wall and realized I must go smaller but boy, what a great size! Thank you for the information on the hitch, I will Google that. I just cannot see me driving that long, it scares me. I think I can do 24' but wish I could go even smaller. This could change. The longer hood of the Chevy Silverado vs the 1989 Dodge (engine in the cab) was scary. I'm doing better day by day.

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Well I certainly accept what everyone is saying. I could RV in any one of the choices as long as I get out there and have fun.

Kirk my wife has very limited vision and cant drive much so I can certainly appreciate what you are talking about.

 

Earl...nice about the hitch. My MH has a 40 gallon propane tank....I fill it maybe twice a winter so driving it to a propane fill is not a big issue as occasionally we have to dump and fill as well. The couples that we travel with are constantly running into town to fill their 30 pounders....they are surprised at how long my tank lasts. The MH also has 125 gallon fresh water and 150 gallon fuel tank. Things last quite a while on a big motorhome. We boondock most of the time.

 

The height thing I can relate to but I live with it. That is why I have a toad.

 

Anyways I am not trying to argue or impose my thoughts...just throwing things out there for consideration.

 

Cheers. Jim

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I have appreciated all of the thoughts. I was telling my daughter today that because I am being so exposed to so many options I believe that when I do choose I will know it is right for me and that I looked at a wide assortment of possibilities before choosing. All good.

 

Thanks to all.

 

Christine

PS - will not buy until spring at least as would just winterize it now so why let months go by on the warranty - I'll let you all know then.

 

Christine

Colorado

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