Fifth Wheel RV – an option?

Of all the different RV types, a fifth wheel RV is one of the most likely to satisfy our needs. The huge advantage is that the motorhome and the truck can be unhitched and the truck then used to travel around places of interest. We were sceptical at first. The idea of towing a large trailer behind a pick-up truck did not appeal to us at all and the immediate disadvantages we could see were:

  • to get to the motorhome, we have to get out of the truck
  • to use the motor home, we have to set it up
  • security issues when the motorhome is left at a motor home park
  • shipping costs could be considerably increased (two vehicles)

But the number of fifth wheel manufacturers and their overall popularity led us to reconsider.

5th Wheels as an Alternative

A fifth wheel RV could be a realistic alternative for our needs but they could also have a very strong influence on our choice of destinations and ability to travel. We initially considered that we needed a “poor-road” vehicle and that criteria still stands.

We will need to find out if these trailers travel well on poor roads, or not. We will also need to investigate the licensing issues, particularly if it looks as though some of these trailers and their trucks could push us into needing an NZ Class 2 license from the perspective of Gross Combined Weight rather than the Gross Vehicle Weight of the truck-based motorhome.

The other discovery we made was the growing supply of trailers that can be towed by a “heavy ute”. These are particularly popular in Australia because the trucks are smaller (the Ford F-series is not as common) and the GCM permits the combination to be driven on a car license.


Fifth Wheel RV Considerations

In considering a 5th wheel RV for our world journey, these are some of the things we will need to take into consideration…


Which trucks are most suitable for towing a fifth wheel RV? How easy are they to drive alone and when towing? What is the total cost of truck and trailer?


How do you attach a 5th wheel trailer to the truck? How is a hitch different from a semi-trailer plate?


What sort of tailgate do we need? Can the truck tray still be used?


What range is there to be investigated? Is there a significant difference between “trailers” and “campers”?

Toy haulers

Could we use a toy hauler to carry a small city car, such as the Smart? What would this mean for the type of truck we would need? How big is the trailer?


Where can we find reviews and write-ups about living in a fifth wheel camper?


Who makes this type of motorhome? Are they available on all continents? What about servicing?


Many of the considerations for a fifth wheel trailer are the same as those for a conventional motorised RV. We’ll need to step through these carefully then weigh up the pros and cons as we go.

Wish us luck! And do add your comments and experiences below…

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