4 Advantages of a Fifth-Wheel RV


Wade Thiel

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Wade divides his time among various outdoor activities in both urban and rural environments. An adventurer by nature, he is always up for a challenging hike, fun hunt, or day out on the water with friends and family. When he isn’t enjoying the outdoors, he’s writing, reading, or tinkering with motorcycles and cars.

The best type of RV depends on you and your family and how you plan to use the camper. It has to be right for you. With that said, the fifth-wheel design is a model that works well for many different kinds RVers. Every year, millions of Americans make the decision to purchase a fifth-wheel RV on either the new or used market. Everyone has different reasons why they chose the model they did, but there are a few advantages to the RV type that are indisputable. Here are four advantages fifth-wheel RV owners enjoy.

1. Fifth-Wheels Offer Excellent Use of Space

Keystone Cougar 388RLK Fifth-wheel

To me, the biggest advantage of a fifth-wheel RV is how space gets utilized. A significant portion of the RV sits over the bed of the truck that tows it. This reduces the overall length of your tow vehicle and RV, making it easier to fit into certain campsites.

Also, the interior of a fifth-wheel offers excellent use of space. The floorplan options are endless, and you’re not hampered by having a driver and passenger seat to factor into the floorplan like you are with a motorhome. Travel trailers offer good use of space, too, but the fifth-wheel makes the most of its floorplan from an exterior and interior standpoint.

2. Fifth-Wheels are a Great Value

While travel trailers will be the most affordable option when it comes to RVs, fifth-wheels offer excellent value, too. When compared to motorhomes, fifth-wheels of similar size and with similar amenities are often much less expensive.

Class A, Class C, and Class B RVs are simply pricey machines. They’re wonderful RVs and the right option for many RVers, but if you’re buying on a budget, you’ll usually get more for your money if you buy a fifth wheel. With that in mind, you also need to factor in the cost of your tow vehicle.

If you already have a truck that can pull a fifth-wheel, then you’re in the clear. However, if you have to buy a truck and an RV, then your savings by going with a fifth-wheel essentially dry up. It’s important to crunch all the numbers before deciding on a specific model.

3. Fifth-Wheels are Stable When Towing

popular fifth wheel floor plans

Travel trailers generally do a good job of being smooth and easy to tow, but fifth-wheels are more stable in general. There’s less chance of the RV experiencing trailer sway and the overall design of the fifth-wheel makes it more aerodynamic than many travel trailers.

The reason for this is the way fifth-wheel hitch and the way weight is distributed. The trailer hitch for RV better displaces the weight of the trailer and it’s a more secure anchoring point to the tow vehicle. While a fifth-wheel hitch may seem more intimidating at first, you’ll often find it tows better once you get used to it than a comparable travel trailer.

4. You Can Leave It at The Campground

Need to do some exploring around your campground? Have to make a grocery run? If you own a motorhome, you have to pack up the whole RV before you head out. With a fifth-wheel, you can simply unhook the tow vehicle from the RV, lock up the RV, and then drive to your destination.

Of course, travel trailers (including used travel trailers) and other towables have this advantage as well, but it’s worth mentioning. Motorhomes are great, but they’re not always the most convenient option.

Do you have any other advantages of a fifth-wheel you think should be included? Leave a comment below!

  • Comment (27)
  • yellowvalley says:

    Good article. I still prefer a motor home as the driving aspect is usually more comfortable for long drives, you don’t have to get out of your vehicle into your trailer at a stop for the bathroom or a snack, the pets are more comfortable traveling as they can walk around, and as a solo traveler sometimes and a woman if I’m sleeping somewhere and someone is outside causing issues I just get into the drivers seat and drive away. I also, personally, didn’t like how a tow vehicle felt in wind. But this article lays out the pluses very well. It really is a personal choice as you mentioned.

  • Cynthia Hoff says:

    I bought my used 36′ triple slide 5th wheel at Camping World, Burlington, WA. I had been shopping for one for a friend for over 2 years so when it was finally time for me to buy, I knew what I wanted. I have a fireplace and 14×16 across the back livingroom, ceilings high enough my 6’1″ boyfriend can comfortably put a shirt over his head without ducking and so much storage! I put a luggage platform on the back for my freezer and have a mini fridge in the basement for drinks. We live in it full time with the dog and it’s AWESOME! I’ve had a class C, 3 TTs and did a lot of horsemounted tent camping as a kid. This is a HOUSE on wheels with far more room and design options than a tiny home. Oh, and a good sized stackable washer and gas dryer handles everything but out mink blankets and comforters.

    Yes, it’s a personal choice but they’re pretty hard to beat! And you can still tow a car if you done exceed state length regulations. Mine already has the receiver hitch.

  • Ken says:

    I have had many TT’s and finally got a 5thWh. Went from 27′ to 24′ to current 19′. They tow like a dream. Just did 2400 miles up and down mountain passes around paved and dirt roads with numerous switchbacks. Able to do 70-75 mph easily on the highway. I miss the slide out and extra storage but for 2 people, it’s a breeze to manuveur and it’s a lightweight model. I should have kept the gooseneck in my truck when I got it but not knowing better, I put in a std 5th wheel bed hitch. It works great but you lose bed space when the hitch is in it. Otherwise, I could not be happier. Side winds and uneven surfaces don’t faze the camper. Sway issues are a thing of the past. Only problem sometimes is you forget that you are pulling something. It’s that easy. And i have a bumper hitch for my boat or trailer as well. Extra company coming? Camp out in the 5th along side the house! Perfect.

  • David says:

    The attraction of the 5th wheel for us is going to be the ability to haul our boat or atv’s behind it also, many states allow you to pull another trailer behind your set up as long as you do not exceep XX length.

  • Brian says:

    Recreational Doubles!
    I get it all, my truck, wich I love, my fifth wheel, a perfect homebase, and my boat. I’m sure I would have went with the cheaper overall TT if not for being able to tow the boat behind the fifth wheel.
    We have many grandchildren and when they all get together nothing else will do. Water sports figure big in all our camping destinations. I and my wife find fishing to be very relaxing and rewarding.

  • Conrad says:

    I drive a tractor trailer for a living and I know that if for some reason my engine goes out I can still get to where I am going a fifth wheel is the best way to go if your truck breaks down you can still get a replacement and keep on going a motorhome not so so. Also in some states you can pull a small utility trailer or a boat behind your fifth wheel so you can have more room you just have to watch out for the length laws and what states that will accept it.

  • Barbara says:

    We bought a TT 2 years ago, and now have upgraded to a 5th wheel. I didnt like the hooking up of the TT. I always worried that the sway bars were connected and the chain attached. We had to make adjustments with the TT whereas with the 5th wheel this isnt an issue. Also, there is twice as much space and storage in the 5th wheel. But whatever works for you. It just depends on what you want. Both are good options.

  • Gary says:

    Mike, you are 100% correct. Roll up bed cover, when hooked up you have the back half of the bed to haul waterproof stuff, nobody can get things out because trailer is covering. Unhook, roll cover back on bed, lock tailgate. Good to go.

  • Mike says:

    Nearly 20 years ago we decided we wanted an RV. I also wanted and have use for a truck so the goth wheel was a no brained for us.

    We are on our 3rd one and have graduated to a 44’ model. My next and final one will probably be a little shorter, but not by much. We like the roominess and openness of the fifth wheel designs.

    I have a fold up bed cover that pulls over the hitch when we unhook. We place the coolers, chairs and umbrellas in there and conveniently lock them up when not in use.

    We’ve often evaluated whether a class a or c would be better and the answer has always been no.

  • Lisa says:

    We have hosted a dinner for 10 (2tables) easily in our 5th wheel, and card games in ours. It was so spacious for group gatherings on cold or rainy nights.

  • Gary French says:

    Class A can be tippy
    Class B not as much
    Class C no room
    Fivers are heavy and you lose your truck bed
    Man up Tow a TT

  • Rob Brown says:

    A lot more storage in the basement is another advantage.

  • Mike Shaker says:

    You are all right, it is what works for you that makes it the best rig for you. We know people who have ever kind of RV and they all chose them for their own reasons. For us it was a 35ft 5th wheel that did it for us. Bottom line get what works for you and yours and don’t worry about what the guy in the next spot has. Just get out and enjoy your rig and yourselves.

  • Connie says:

    We are looking at fifth wheel toy haulers, this will be something new for us. I’ve heard people talk about restrictions on the length of trailers in some RV parks then we had a sales man tell us that’s a nasty rumor and that only some parks like Yellowstone have restrictions, so what are the facts. Currently looking at 30′ thru 35′

  • Linda Lewis says:

    We have a class A and already had a small car. We are full timers. We spend less on gas because when we go sight seeing we can take the small car. It’s easier to get around and parking a small car is easier than a large truck. As far as head room we have plenty almost 8 feet. A class A also has more storage than any 5th wheel we’ve seen. For us a class A was the best choice. 5th wheels may be best for others. One isn’t better than another. It’s personal choice. I felt the article was biased for anyone trying to make a first time choice. My suggestion is to research all types, talk to people who own all types of RV’s and decide what will work best for you.

  • Jonathan Harm says:

    Don’t forget it’s a lot easier to service and repair a common truck than an expensive class A motor home. On YouTube, it seems Class A motorhomes breakdown every week. Also, trucks offer the safety of airbags and crash technology to safely crunch the vehicle engine underneath passengers. Overall, a Fifth Wheel is safer and less expensive both up front and operationally.

  • Bjones says:

    We recently purchased a new class c for 56k. Have friends that went the 5th wheel route and spent more than 56k on each, camper and truck. We can still pull a small car if needed.

  • Wayne says:

    I also think it depends on the person! For me my 40’ diesel pusher with my toad is the ultimate! Driving my mh is like sitting in my living room, plenty of room. Comfortable, and plenty of room to stretch out for the Grandkids. Bathroom for the kids, food preparation a breeze for lunch and a cool drink from the fridge, all while driving down the road with,Air ride suspension! And you know what? I never hear “ Are we there yet!”. This of course is my opinion that the Motorhome is the Ultimate Camping Machine! Thank you!

  • David Lambert says:

    The part we like about a 5th wh, over other types of RV’s is the Interior Height. It makes it so much more roomier, Vs other Rv’s.. We have owned, Class A– TT–Class C ,
    ,But we prefer , the 5th wh, For all the reason’s listed above, & the height.
    But they all have good and bad to Consider when purchasing an Rv..
    ENJOY. RV’ing.
    Be SAFE.

  • Wayne says:

    All types of “campers” have advantages and disadvantages. This piece did a good job of pointing out advantages of a fifth wheel. One big advantage for me is I need a truck when I’m home. So even though it is an additional expense with a fifth wheel it is one that I use for more than JUST camping. That’s true for a pull trailer as well. It sort of matches the point of a Class A where you “already have a car to tow” and that car is multi use. Home and camping.

  • Charles Pierce says:

    This seems a little bias. It doesn’t mention that you have to have a huge truck to pull the fifth wheel but does go on to say Class A’s are not as good.
    I think we all know it depends on what people want. Two huge expenses or one huge expense and a pull car most of us already own.
    We just drove our class A 8900 miles pulling our Camry on a dolly.
    Trust me. A class A motorhome is wonderful to travel in.

  • Richard says:

    Re read it talked about a tow vehicle.

  • Carol Gilruth says:

    So are fifth wheels, less length with more room . We have had all and hands down fifth win

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Hi Charles,

    There’s nothing wrong with a Class A! You’re 100 percent correct that it depends on the person. The article says as much in the first paragraph. There are obvious advantages to Class A motorhomes, and we’ve extolled their virtues in other articles. With that said, there’s no denying that a fifth-wheel does work well for many RVers. The article also does address what you’re saying about tow vehicles under the second heading.

    The point was not to say bad things about other RV types but to highlight the good points fifth-wheels have.

    Class A motorhomes are wonderful to travel in but they don’t work for everyone. When that’s the case, a fifth-wheel can be a viable alternative.


  • Gary French says:

    Some national park camps have 25 ft limits and some have no electric. If you like the woods and high elevation stay small, under 25 ft .

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Your right, Rob. Excellent point!

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Hi Linda, You’re totally right! Everyone should research all types of RVs before purchasing. The point of the article was not to suggest fifth-wheels are the best, but that they come with several advantages. With that said, Class A RVs come with many advantages of their own!

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