When it comes to RV trailers you have 2 basic choices:
- The 5th wheel RV trailer which hitches directly over the rear axle of your truck.
- The RV travel trailer which hitches at the rear bumper of your car, SUV, or truck.
Fifth wheel RV trailers generally start in the 20 to 24 foot category, and can be as large as 40 feet long, weighing up to 20,000 pounds.
Other RV travel trailers can be quite small, such as a Teardrop trailer that is around 8 feet long and weighs less than 1,000 pounds. Travel trailers can also be up to 40 feet long and weigh around 15,000 pounds.
There is no simple answer to which one is best, but these tips will help you decide for yourself…
5th Wheel RV Trailers
- Large fifth wheel RVs tow very stable. There’s no sway, no tail wagging, you can actually relax while you’re driving.
- 5th wheel RVs are multi-level. You must climb a few stairs up to get to the bathroom and bedroom.
- Large 5th wheel RVs are the most expensive of the RV trailers, though this is offset by the fact that they are also the most luxurious and well-appointed of the RV trailers.
- Storage space is often very large because the area below the bathroom is one large bay.
RV Travel Trailers
- While a smaller travel trailer will tow nicely behind a well-matched tow vehicle, large travel trailers are just plain work.
- At most times, they require both hands on the wheel and full attention — especially at highway speeds.
- Passing traffic and crosswinds can get you swaying in no time.
- If you’re staying in one place for longer periods, it’s nice to have everything on one level.
- Travel trailers are generally priced much lower than 5th wheel trailers. Even a top-of-the-line model will cost only a fraction of a similar-sized 5th wheel trailer.
Having owned both styles of large RV trailers, and having traveled long distances with both, I find the following to be true:
1. If your RV lifestyle has you staying in one place (so basically, you’re not towing your RV very far), the single level of the RV travel trailer makes life a little easier.
2. If you plan on traveling long distances, the better handling characteristics of the 5th wheel RV make it a much better choice.
I’ve been involved in RVing for over 50 years — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs and motorhomes. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller… you’ve got a good idea of who I am. To date, I've shared my RV knowledge in over 300 articles here at The Fun Times Guide!