What is a Fifth Wheel Camper?

If you love life on the road, a fifth wheel camper can help facilitate your travels in a supremely comfortable manner. This type of trailer has everything you could need for a luxury camping trip, extended road trip, or even full-time RV living.

What Makes a Fifth Wheel Camper?

A fifth wheel camper is a camping trailer that’s hitch-mounted to the center of a truck bed. The moniker is slightly misleading as a fifth wheel camper doesn’t actually have five wheel wells. The name comes from horse-drawn carriages of a similar design that had a horizontal fifth wheel that allowed the front axle to swivel. The hitch of the trailer takes the place of this wheel in the design of the modern fifth wheel RV, providing similar maneuverability and support. 

Fifth wheel campers are the largest and most luxurious camping trailers on the market. They can comfortably accommodate six to eight people and typically have a fully equipped kitchen, one or more bathrooms, and multiple rooms, including separate living and sleeping areas. In addition, these campers usually have multiple slide-outs and two or three extendable awnings. In most cases, this type of camping trailer is about 8 feet wide, 9 or 10 feet tall, and between 36 and 40 feet long.

Fifth Wheel vs. Class A vs. Class C RVs

You have several options to consider when it comes to RVs, and fifth wheel campers are just one possibility. Class A and Class C motorhomes are popular contenders as well.

Class A motorhomes are the largest coaches available, typically ranging from 26 to 45 feet long. The primary difference between a fifth wheel camper and a Class A motorhome is that the motorhome is one singular unit. You don’t need a vehicle to tow it because the RV itself is drivable. Class A RVs are easier to maneuver into many camping spots, but they have a smaller turning radius because there’s no pivot point.

A Class C RV is typically smaller, measuring 25 to 35 feet in length. This RV looks more like a van and features a cab-over design with a sleeping or storage space located above the cab. Like the Class A RV, a Class C motorhome is a drivable vehicle rather than a trailer. If you don’t have a truck that can pull a fifth wheel camping trailer, a Class C camper is a convenient alternative. Though smaller than the Class A, a Class C RV is easier to maneuver and park and comes with a smaller price tag.

Benefits of a Fifth Wheel Camper

On average, 94,000 fifth wheel RVs are sold each year, making this the most popular type of RV on the market. Spacious, comfortable, and versatile, a fifth wheel camper can do everything from enhancing your summer vacation to serving as a long-term residence for life on the road.

Towing Stability

The specialized hitch on a fifth wheel trailer offers more stability than a tow-behind trailer, and the weight of the fifth wheel rests on your truck bed. This gives you a strong pivot point as you maneuver the trailer and keeps the entire rig more stable while you’re on the road.

Spacious Interiors

A fifth wheel camper is the most spacious option when it comes to camping trailers. It includes a lofted area above the truck bed, pull-outs, awnings, and a lengthy camper that can cater to all your needs. Fifth wheel RVs typically also come with pass-through storage underneath where you can stash extras such as a tent, firewood, hammock, and camp chairs.

Luxury Features

In a fifth wheel camper, you’ll enjoy conveniences such as a tricked-out kitchen, private bathroom, numerous sleeping spaces, cozy lounge, and more. Many such campers also feature high-end amenities such as solar panels, water filtration systems, and generators. A fifth wheel camper is large enough to feature full-size kitchen appliances, including a washer and dryer, so you can truly travel with all the comforts of home.

Drawbacks of Fifth Wheel Campers

A fifth wheel camper isn’t for everyone. There are some important considerations to address that will help you decide if a fifth wheel RV is right for you.

Towing Requirements

To tow a fifth wheel camper, you must have a minimum of a 1-ton full bed truck with a towing capacity that’s equal to or greater than the weight of your fully equipped RV. If you don’t already have such a truck, you’ll need to make a second investment in the right vehicle before you can properly use your fifth wheel camper. Something smaller, such as a pop-up camper, is easier to transport, as you can tow one of these with an SUV, minivan, or even a sedan in some cases.

Storage Needs

An RV can measure as little as 25 feet and as much as 45 feet in length. Even on the compact end, a fifth wheel camper requires a good amount of storage space. For most people, this is a convenient parking spot in the yard. However, this leaves your RV exposed to the elements year-round, so you’ll need to invest in proper care and maintenance to keep it in good condition.

Separation From the Driver

A fifth wheel camper is separate from the truck towing it, so you can’t pull over and hop back to grab something from the fridge as easily as you can in a Class A or Class C RV. You’ll be entirely separate from the trailer, so you’ll have to exit your truck and walk around to the trailer to retrieve anything that you need.

Explore Fifth Wheel Campers for Sale

If you’re ready to explore the comforts and conveniences of fifth wheel campers for yourself, come visit Bretz RV & Marine. We have a wide selection of RVs and motorhomes, including fifth wheel trailers, pop-up campers, Class A motorhomes, Class C RVs, and more. We’ll help you find the right fit for your travel style.

Fifth Wheel RV Trailer camping by siennaesthetic is licensed with CC0 1.0 DEED

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