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5th. Wheel Camper for Boondocking


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We have sold our home, we are currently in the process of finding a HDT and purchasing a 5th wheel camper. We are interested in "rural camping" so solar equipment will be needed but maybe not right away. I am looking to you folks for your opinion on the following questions;


1. Camping on BLM and other public lands, what are the limiting factors for access?

Semi truck?

Trailer length?

How long is too long?

Weight? Is there a too heavy?


2. We realize that access will be somewhat limited with the truck, but do not want to further limit access by have a trailer that is too long. I also realize that I am asking for something that is not able to be measured, but is able to be opined.


Thanks for any input that you provide it is appreciated. Also do not be afraid to interject your thoughts on something I missed.



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In a word, "compromise." The larger the unit, the more limited you'll be, whether by narrow roads, overhanging branches, rough conditions, etc. By keeping small, you mitigate those issues, and give up space.


You don't mention where you're looking to go. Out west the spaces are much more open, and plentiful. In the east, there are little, if any, BLM or public lands. So perhaps that answers the question?


Weight is never an issue, unless you're overloading your tires, or stuck. Then it's a big problem.


Spend some time browsing through the Resource Guide. Lots of answers there.

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Just my opinion, but we did a small amount of boondocking when I had my HDT...

You need to decide what you mean by boondocking..

Your major drawback with an HDT will be the front axle weight....

I got into trouble a few times thinking it was solid ground, and proceed to drop the front axle immediately.

Other than that, enjoy !!



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We plan to do a lot of boondocking too, mostly out west. My advice is buy a truck with an air locker (think limited slip diff/Positraction), or budget ~$2600 to have one installed (like I am doing next month). Peg legging an HDT in the dirt (or wet grass) can get you stuck REAL fast. Benefit of going the route of adding your own is you get to choose what rear end gear ratio you want.

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I have never had an issue in wet grass (or dirt) with my HDT but you will sink a front axle in a heartbeat. I've put one side of a rear axle in a few places where I never an issue but the single front tire rutted the same area badly. Heck, I did it just an hour ago backing in at the house. Glad the rear was back on solid ground by the time the front started sinking and that it didn't sink more than about 6 inches.

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If by boondocking, you mean dispersed camping, I'd be concerned using an HDT.






A few years ago we had a blast in the Medicine Bow Forest. In this area, you would have needed to scout any area where you might plan to take an HDT. Getting in to a dispersed camp site is one thing, but turning around and getting out is another.

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What type of terrain is the BLM land you want to visit? Tight wooded, dandy desert, wide open?


We try to boondock 100% of the time in various terrain areas with a long HDT and a 37' 5er down from a 40' without issues other than avoiding deep sand and obvious size limitations. Some places we used to go we won't fit now, but that was the case when we got our 27' trailer. All depends on where you want to fit.


I did install a mechanical locker in our truck knowing the Pete Airleaf suspension isn't the best offroad. My trucks front axle is light at 9000lb and drops to right at 8000lb with just the fiver on the deck, so I don't really have an issue when loaded. I drove though a creek bed with sand and gravel in AZ last year all loaded, but after unloading the sxs and 5er I almost couldn't move.

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Thanks to all of you who have responded, it is your experiences that I value. We have an idea of what life will be like and what we want to do, but after getting out there for a while I know that things change. Former conceptions may become misconceptions and there will be many places to go and see that do not even exist in our plans or thoughts now. It is through the people in this forum that help those who know little (me) on their travels.


Our planned stays to begin with include some dispersed camping in the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming and making our way south and maybe ending up in Arizona for the winter.

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