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10 Reasons to Choose a Fifth Wheel for Full-Time RVing

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.

2005 forest river rockwood fifth wheel

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. We wanted to lower our cost of living when transitioning to full-time RVing and didn’t have a lot of money upfront to invest in RV life, so a fifth wheel wasn’t as costly of an investment for us.

Note: If you’re interested in how much it costs to full-time RV, we published our monthly expenses in this post. Plus, we surveyed 7 other RVers who are very different from us and got them to share their monthly expenses as well, which you can download for FREE in that post as well. This is the ULTIMATE guide to helping you understand how much it costs to full-time RV. Go check it out by clicking here.

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!

GMC Sierra 2500
Our GMC Sierra 2500 driving through the Redwoods

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.

White Sands National Monument fifth wheel towing
Towing through White Sands National Monument

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. We even did a quick and easy remodel on our 5th wheel, which made it extra cozy. In fact, we only spent $500 and did 6 quick and easy remodel projects, but it completely transformed it into a home! You can read about our remodel by clicking here

 

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.

9.Storage.

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 this bed cover on our truck so we don’t get things stolen.

10. Maneuverability.

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.

If you’re interested in reading about how we find the best spots to park our RV (like the awesome FREE boondocking spot in Sedona in the photo below), click here!

Our boondocking spot in Sedona was the trickiest spot to get into because of the cactus but we made it!

 

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!

Looking for more RVing tips?

Check out these posts:

Let us know how else we can help you with your RV life planning!

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Eli Richardson
6 months ago

It never crossed my mind that the truck bed could be sued for extra storage and that is a great reason to consider a fifth-wheel trailer. My brother-in-law has been thinking of buying an RV to take his family out on a trip. I will suggest he gets his truck repair so he can attach the trailer.

PEEWEE
PEEWEE
1 year ago

TELL US ABOUT YOUR TOW VEHICLE AND THE FACTORS LEADING TO THAT DECISION

Todd Stauffer
2 years ago

It’s interesting how you said that having a fifth wheel RV means that you could do RV maintenance much like you would do a truck. That would be really helpful because you could just take it to your local mechanic. Then you could get back on the road.

Marcus
2 years ago

It really helped when you mentioned how you should take the time to consider the towing needs when choosing a good camper trailer. I understand that doing this can help you save a ton of money and time when towing it to where you want to camp. As I see it, taking the time to do some research and compare several camper trailers can help you find the best one for your camping needs.

Pete Hester
Pete Hester
2 years ago

We are new to r. full time and have decided to go with a 5th wheel. We have been told to get a auto slide hitch for our truck. Can anyone help advise on the best type of hitch to purchase? There are so many types and never towing anything we are starting to feel a little overwhelmed. We are planning on going between 34-36 feet with the trailer

Daniel McKenzie
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Pete Hester

Hey Pete, congrats on your decision to full time! It has been the best lifestyle we’ve ever had! As for you hitch, I doubt I will be tons of help, but I can tell you my experience. I was really wanting a sliding hitch as well, and an auto slider sounded fantastic. Ultimately, the cost of the automatic sliding hitch was more than I wanted to spend so I bought a Husky 16k roller slide hitch of craigslist. In order to slide the hitch, I would get out of the truck, hop in the bed and pull a spring load… Read more »

Julie
2 years ago

These were all important considerations for us choosing a Fifth Wheel as Wheel. #1 was the deciding factor. We wanted a lot of extras and a Diesel engine. To get those in a Class A motor home was more than we wanted to spend.

Daniel McKenzie
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie

Totally! We love having so much space! To get that, and a diesel engine (which I regret not getting with our truck), that was way out of our budget!