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5Th Wheel Or Travel Trailer?

#1 User is offline   SouthRider 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 04:07 PM

Don't have a ton of towing experience, but I can manuever my 230 RS around pretty handily.

Looking at larger campers, and have considered the 298RE, but it is awful longgggg.

I've always heard how much better 5th wheelers tow, so now we are considering one.

Would have really preferred to keep the truck bed free, but a comparable fifth wheel camper is 5' shorter overall pulling length than a travel trailer.

I'm looking for some input from someone who has handled both.

Are the long TT much tougher to pull, back, park etc. than a fifth wheeler?

My tow vehicle is a 2009 Chevy Duramax.
2009 Chevy Silverado 2500 Duramax w/Allison
2011 Jayco 31.5 RLDS (2010 Outback 230 RS - Gone but not forgotten)

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#2 User is offline   ORvagabond 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 04:19 PM

I can't speak to the ease of towing but I pull a 30' travel trailer and it is pretty easy. I looked at 5th wheels and foot for foot the travel trailers generally have more room, looking at comparable models. I think you should make your decision on what works best for you but I also did not want to give up my bed and I have found the travel trailer to be perfect. Good luck!
Rick and Debbie

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#3 User is offline   Dub 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 04:42 PM

With a big Chev and the Duramax I don't think you'd notice too much of a difference between either. Just pick the floorplan that works best for you and your family and go from there knowing that you have enough truck for either.
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#4 User is offline   SouthRider 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:08 PM

I guess to be more specific I am thinking of backing, parking, and tight campgrounds?
2009 Chevy Silverado 2500 Duramax w/Allison
2011 Jayco 31.5 RLDS (2010 Outback 230 RS - Gone but not forgotten)

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#5 User is offline   outback loft 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:36 PM

View PostSouthRider, on 14 March 2011 - 05:08 PM, said:

I guess to be more specific I am thinking of backing, parking, and tight campgrounds?


The biggest issue that you may find is that the additional height of the 5th wheel will limit your choice of campsites at certain campgrounds. I have found this out with my trailer as I am actually 12'6 tall at the rear and it has made it a bit more difficult to pick sites. I have never had any issues with the length, and my trailer is 34' overall and my truck is another 25' on top of that. I have backed into many sites that are a bit tedious to get into, but I just get out and check many times. I prefer to back in in my own, then to have help as it usually just makes it harder.

#6 User is offline   CdnOutback 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:49 PM

I had a 24ft hybrid before going to our 36 ft 5er. I found the 24 ft easy to back in and was pleasantly surprised that the 5er is just as easy, if not easier. The "bend" point is moved forward so you tend to turn quicker and this takes some getting used to. The height is really the biggest issue... you always have to be aware of those things up there. We've had the 5er for one year now... did about 9000 miles and I am getting better all the time... :birgits_coffee::-)

Len
Len and Colleen, Schnoodle named Cody and Bichon Frise named Cooper, We are retired...freedom 55!!
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#7 User is offline   Dub 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:50 PM

View PostSouthRider, on 14 March 2011 - 05:08 PM, said:

I guess to be more specific I am thinking of backing, parking, and tight campgrounds?


I didn't notice too much of a difference in backing my 25fter vs the 310, just need a bit more space. Both are way easier to control than my single axle pop up which would just walk back and forth. As far as spaces...hasn't ever been a problem at private campgrounds. Ohio State Parks are another story...they were built many decades ago when campers were shorter and they state that your truck and camper should all fit on the pads...most of the pads are about 25-35ft. Last one I had at East Harbor State Park I could fit the 310 in, but it was kinda backed into some bushes and that was with the tongue just at the road. I obviously had to park the truck in the grass and they didn't say much. We camp at the state parks a few times a year so I just make sure I get a big spot. So it really just depends on where you are going to do most of your camping...private campgrounds which most of them can accomodate big rigs or older facilities with smaller lots and only a few bigger lots.

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2008 Toyota Tundra Limited Double Cab 4x4 5.7L 4.30 gears 10,300lbs Towing Capacity
2009 Outback Sydney Edition 310BHS 12K Equal-i-zer, MaxxAir, Electric Tongue Jack
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#8 User is offline   Sandlapper 

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:54 AM

As far as the tow experience goes, in my opinion, having a 5th wheel, it couldn't be better. We previously pulled a 28 ft. TT, now a 36 ft. 5'er. Night and day difference I think. Assuming you have enough truck under you, you just glide down the road with no swaying, hardly even when a big truck flies by you. Like they said earlier, you have to remember your height, but really, you won't be that high because you're looking at a mid profile (which drastically reduces the wind drag). For me, the backing took a little getting used to. I felt like the 5'er didn't react to turns as fast, but once it does, its fast. You just have to go a little slower in the campground, take a little more precaution, and enjoy the nice smooth ride down the road getting there...
"See you down the Road"

#9 User is offline   Nathan 

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 05:31 PM

I've towed both and can honestly say they are: Different. A 5'er cuts in on corners faster and also is slower to respond when backing up. However the tradeoff is that it is MUCH more stable, and you can jacknife it around in a lot if you have a 8' bed or a slider hitch.

Personally, having towed a 31' TT and a 36' 5'er, I would have taken the 5'er any day. After moving to the 5'er I personally decided never to tow a bumper pull that was over 30' with ANY size truck. That's just me though. I think once you get too long, the increased stability of the 5'er outweighs any disadvantage of a full bed.
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#10 User is offline   KTMRacer 

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 05:57 PM

View PostSouthRider, on 14 March 2011 - 03:08 PM, said:

I guess to be more specific I am thinking of backing, parking, and tight campgrounds?

I've got an 04 duramax crew cab short box towing a 295RE, same length as 298RE. Actually the 295, or any trailer that long is pretty easy to back, much easier than a shorter trailer. Long trailers don't react as fast,so for me, and many others they are pretty easy to manuver once you learn when to start turning. 5th wheel, or tt, the longer you get the less choice you have in getting into older state and Forest service campgrounds. 5th wheel disadvantage is height in older campgrounds, and I'd guess is probably somewhat easier to manuever in tight campgrounds. We do have friends with similar length 5th Wheels and I'd say the advantage goes to whomever is a better backer!

As for towing, I have a Reese dual cam setup, very stable. Towed in the columbia gorge with 30-50 mph sidewind gusts, really don't notice them. So with the right setup a long TT can be pretty easy to tow. (long wb truck and good WD and sway control). So your started down the right track with the duramax.

Each has advantages/disadvantages, so make a list and see what pops out for your situation.
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#11 User is offline   Chuggs 

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:31 PM

Hitch/Hookup... With a fifth wheel...you can see the whole thing from the comfort of your cab. Don't need a backup camera, spotter, fiberglass rod alignment devices...just adjust the height of the 5th wheel, pull the handle, lower the tailgate and back right up. When the rig connects the release handle springs into the latched position...and you're connected!

Overhang... great place to park bikes, keep outdoor stuff covered/protected from the rain.

Pass thru storage for longer items.

Volume ceiling in the living room gives a spacious feel. Esp. with opposing slideouts.

Low ceiling in bedroom gives cozy camping feel.

But these are not a huge deal. I think it's more important to have the layout that fits how you like to camp. The hardware...fridge, air conditioning, furnace, lighting, bathrooms, vents, skylights, entertainment system, sink, microwave, load center... it's a wash. For the most part they're same-same.
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#12 User is offline   ember 

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 01:44 PM

go to your local dealer and ask to test drive their delivery truck with a fiver and with a bumper tow. We've had experience with both in construction vehicles, so when we bought a camper we knew we wanted a bumper tow. Our son has driven the same (I mean EXACTLY the same) as us, and knew when he bought a camper he wanted a 5'er. So I'd say it's a personal choice, and I could have stopped the post at the end of my first sentence!! wink_smile but that just isn't ME!!
Smile...it makes people wonder what you've been doin'!!!
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#13 User is offline   Lmbevard 

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 08:52 PM

View PostNathan, on 15 March 2011 - 04:31 PM, said:

I've towed both and can honestly say they are: Different. A 5'er cuts in on corners faster and also is slower to respond when backing up. However the tradeoff is that it is MUCH more stable, and you can jacknife it around in a lot if you have a 8' bed or a slider hitch.

Personally, having towed a 31' TT and a 36' 5'er, I would have taken the 5'er any day. After moving to the 5'er I personally decided never to tow a bumper pull that was over 30' with ANY size truck. That's just me though. I think once you get too long, the increased stability of the 5'er outweighs any disadvantage of a full bed.

I have to agree with this. I tow with a 3500 Dodge duelly and have not had any problems with wind loading on the camper. I got stuck with a 3/4 wind(one hitting the front corner) that was gusting at 45 mph. 5er stayed right behind me even with trucks passing me. BTW some of the trucks was being moved around by the wind. As far as backing in I haven't backed a long TT but I can do better with the 5er than with the smaller single axle units I have backed before. I don't do as good as some of the others but from my experience, once you get the unit on track it goes easily in. The place I park my camper is behind my house with 3' on either side. Most of the time I can back it in with one shot.

On the other hand, you do loss the use of the truck bed. I am thinking of getting a motorcycle to haul with me but the problem is now The frame on the OB is too light to put a 400 lb bike on the back and no way to put it in bed or on back of the truck. Only thing I can think of is to put it on front. With a TT you have the bed for that. Personally I like the floor plan for most of the 5ers better than most TT, but It's only the wife and I and sometimes our grandsons so don't need extra beds and like the wide open area and generally better appointment of the 5th wheel. So, I would base your dicision on what works for you best as a set up. I do think you would like the way a 5er tows better than a long TT and since you don't have to worry about wight equelizing hitches and all of that. You back up to the hitch, lock the pin and hook up the lights and your done. Get to a campsite back in put the landing pads down, pull the pin and pull the truck away. Takes me all of 5 minutes to hook up and setup. Hope all of this helps you. If you were closer I would let you try my setup to see if you like it.
Larry and Karen - Iowa
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#14 User is offline   SouthRider 

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 11:55 AM

Thank you all so much for the feedback. We have decided to go with a 5th wheel in the 34'-36' range.

It ended up making more sense for us have 30' of 5th wheel trailing behind the truck instead of 35' of travel trailer.

We won't be doing very much (if any) dry camping, so we will probably be in modern private RV parks 95% or more of the time.

Going tomorrow to decide between a couple Sydney's & a couple Jayco Eagle Superlights. The Jaycos come with a 250# capacity bike rack standard for the occasional times I will bring a dirt bike.

Thanx Again

Clark
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