Because 5th wheels are such a popular option, there are tons to choose from. That can make the decision-making process overwhelming. Where do you even start? With the best 5th wheel RV options, you’ll have a good base for comparison, so you can choose the right option for you and your family.
What Is a 5th Wheel?
A fifth-wheel camper is a travel trailer that’s designed to be towed via a truck with a connection within the pickup’s bed. A specific hitch needs to be installed, and the truck will need to be powerful enough to tow a large, heavy load.
While some people prefer an all-in-one motorhome unit, others like the benefits of being able to unhitch for adventures away from the trailer. In addition, 5th wheels are known for their comfortable, roomy interiors that are often more affordable than large motorhomes. For instance, 5th-wheel campers are often priced between $25,000 and $150,000. That’s much more affordable than a motorhome, which can start at around $100,000 and can go up to over $1 million.
Start with Why
Before you begin looking for a 5th wheel trailer, it helps to start with your why. Are you looking for a rig that will provide comfort and protection for a few camping trips per year? Or are you looking for a unit that allows you to live comfortably for several weeks, months, or even years?
Knowing why allows you to better understand features and what you want in your rig. For instance, will this be used strictly in warmer months? Or for a week of hunting with friends in the fall? Or, will you (and possibly your family) want a durable unit that you can comfortably live in year-round—or just every summer?
Some RV brands focus on smaller weights and towability to get you where you’re going and back again. And some lighter-weight units can even be towed with a half-ton truck. That can help you keep costs in check—especially if you’re able to use the truck you already have.
Other 5th wheel brands focus on enhanced durability and high-quality materials that can withstand regular and long-term use. They may also feature more “home-like” options. That said, these types of 5th wheels also tend to weigh more and may be harder to move and store.
Some units provide extra length (from 30 to 45 feet), slide-outs, and luxury features like kitchen islands and even fireplaces or private bedrooms with full-sized closets. Before you get carried away with all of the available options, consider again why you are purchasing an RV, and if the extra space and features are worth the tradeoff for price, weight, and maneuverability. Your answers will be unique to your situation.
Another key question is how far you will be towing the unit and where you’ll store it between trips. Do you tend to go to the same camping site in your state year after year? Or, are you planning on taking it on long hauls across the country, moving from park to park every few days or weeks? Or, will you plant your 5th wheel on your own property or rental space, with the need to move only occasionally?
All of these factors can help you determine the best 5th wheel RV for you. There are trade-offs that should be considered starting with why you’re in the market for a 5th wheel RV to begin with.
Most Popular Brands of the Best 5th Wheel RVs
Finding the best brands for your needs can take a little research. For example, you can start with consumer reports on various brands, but you can also look into RV forums or follow RVers who can let you in on the pros and cons of the brands or units they’ve chosen (and which ones have the most relevant features for your needs). Start by looking at any manufacturing or quality issues reported, size and weight restrictions, and then look at features and floor plans.
Some of the most popular brands include:
- Heartland RV Landmark, which provides a spacious interior with homelike features and amenities and dozens of optional upgrades for folks who are looking for a large luxury unit. There are 7 floorplans to choose from with a dry weight starting from 14,527 to 15,416. These may require a bigger vehicle for towing, though, with the shorter option starting at 39’2.
- Forest River (a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway) is one of the largest RV manufacturers. They offer a wide range of RV options and are well-known for using superior materials and manufacturing and well-thought-out engineering. They also provide for numerous “niche” interests, such as toy-hauler units or ones designed for off-the-grid backcountry adventures. One of the biggest benefits is how easy they are to customize and add extra features to fit your needs at a reasonable price. One of their most popular options is the Cardinal Luxury for a home away from home that provides extra comfort and style no matter your destination. The Arctic Wolf is another award-winning option known for its towability and value.
- Crossroads RV Cruisers offer high-quality and reasonable prices with options that suit long-term stays, including plenty of room at 36 to 42 feet. They may not be the fanciest option, but they still provide a good deal of comfort and design.
- Grand Design Solitude 5th Wheels provide a wide range of options (with 15 different floor plans and designs) ranging from 33 to 42 feet in length. They’re well-designed and high in quality and spacious enough for extended stays, but that also comes with a higher price point.
- Gulf Stream Sedona is lighter in weight (7,500 to 9,900 pounds dry) and can thus be easier to tow. Don’t mistake light weight for light on features, though. These units also provide a lot of room and can sleep up to 10 people. And unlike tent camping, you’ll also have a full kitchen and bathroom to keep you and your family comfortable.
Best 5th Wheel RV Takeaway
The 5th wheel RV market is competitive, and there are many great brands to choose from. So, while we may prefer some brands, features, and options, your needs may differ.
Relax and enjoy the process, starting with what’s most important to you and why you’re in the market for a 5th wheel. Soon, all of the pieces will start to line up to help you determine the best option for you.