The hardest, yet most important decision you make when deciding to become a full-time RVer is which rig to buy. After all, it’s your home!
Having little to no knowledge about RVs, we were extremely intimidated with this step of the process. There are so many different choices and types of RVs that it can make your head spin. After many hours of research and weighing out the pros and cons, we decided to buy a fifth wheel. We’ve been very happy with our decision.
Here are 10 reasons why we chose to buy a fifth wheel for full-time RVing.
1. It’s more cost effective.
This was probably the most important factor for us and probably for many others as well. You get more “bang for your buck” with a fifth wheel than you do a motor home. The amount of living space and features that you get for the price of a fifth wheel compared to a motorhome is significantly higher. A luxury fifth wheel, brand new, might cost you $75,000. A similar motorhome will probably cost close to $200K, if not more. The price to space ratio normally holds true on the used market as well. For us, this was very important and made it a better value for us to buy a fifth wheel.
2. Separate vehicle.
It was extremely important for us to have a separate vehicle to navigate through cities while exploring or running errands. Even though we knew we could tow a smaller vehicle behind a motorhome, that would add to the length, cost, and complexity and overall we just didn’t feel comfortable with that scenario, having little towing experience. Besides, we love our truck and wanted a truck regardless of our decision to full-time RV or not. The bed of the truck allows us to have extra storage for tools, gas tanks, and other equipment. We also feel safer in it, and it’s a great vehicle in all weather types and road conditions!
3. If our truck breaks down, we still have our home.
If you have engine troubles with your motorhome and it has to go to the shop, you have to find somewhere to stay or get a hotel room. Then, depending on the length of service, you’ll also need to pack up your belongings. This is another benefit to having your home separate from your vehicle.
4. Easy to tow.
If you’re deciding between a travel trailer and a fifth wheel, it’s important to consider the towing differences. Since the fifth wheel is hitched to the bed of the truck, the weight is distributed more evenly on the rear axle, and therefore you hardly feel it back there. You’ll have a less stressful towing experience if your trailer isn’t getting blown all over the road!
5. More space with less total length.
Even though our trailer is 30′, 5 of those feel sit in the bed of our truck. Therefore, we have 30′ of living space, yet only 25′ of towing length (not including the truck). However, if we had a 30′ travel trailer, we’d have to add about 3′ for the bumper hitch, making it 33′ towing length. If you’ve towed before, you know that 8′ is a big difference.
6. You don’t live in your car.
We like that when we are in our home, we are out of the car, and vice-versa. It’s nice having 2 separate areas for living and for traveling.
7. Living space and layout.
Our favorite feature of fifth wheels is their height. It’s no secret that adding higher ceilings make homes feel much more spacious. With this height, you also get steps that lead to the bedroom, which creates a natural and distinct separation between the bedroom and the living area. This gives us a private bedroom and bathroom space, which we love. Fifth wheels also have lots of different options in layouts that seem much more practical for full-time living.
8. Easier maintenance.
Not being very mechanically inclined, it felt less intimidating to us to do the regular maintenance on our truck, rather than a class A motorhome’s power train. Plus, it’s much easier to find a shop to service a regular ole’ truck, than it is to find one that will service your motorhome. But, because we were adamant about buying something used and in cash, we felt more comfortable.
Fifth wheels have pass-through storage underneath that offers ample space that some travel trailers don’t have. In addition to this space, as we mentioned above, we get extra storage in the bed of our truck. Even though the hitch takes up quite a bit of space in the bed, while you are traveling you can have tubs or coolers, etc. in the fifth wheel. Then when you detach, you can move them into the bed of the truck while you’re parked. We keep a bed cover on our truck so we don’t get things stolen.
This was one of the top reasons we chose a fifth wheel. We knew we wanted quite a bit of space and length, but we also knew we would sometimes be camping in tight spots. Because of the pivot point of a fifth wheel, and didn’t want to be limited because of maneuverability. While we obviously aren’t as maneuverable as a van or truck camper, we haven’t come across a spot we couldn’t get into yet.
Have you ever purchased an RV? Did you choose a fifth wheel also? Feel free to tell us about it below or provide any other reason that you think a fifth wheel is a great choice for full-time RVers!