View Full Version : Advise on owing with trailer vs. fifth wheel

03-18-2019, 12:11 AM
My daughter is looking into getting into camping. She is nervous about towing a trailer and losing control. I have advised that a fifth is easier to control but don't really know much about trailers.
Anyone that has towed both and what is the difference in how the units tow? Thanks.

03-18-2019, 05:31 AM
Our daughter has towed both, as has DH. Both agree that although backing the fifth wheel is a bit more tricky than a travel trailer (until you get used to it), both agree that the fifth wheel is much more stable on the road. This is very evident when driving in strong winds. Of course, if the winds are very strong, you don't go on the road.

Our daughter got the fifth wheel because she wanted a bigger trailer, but not a bigger footprint while towing. She says she will never go back to a travel trailer.

03-18-2019, 08:45 AM
We have had both. Fiver tow is much more stable, no need for spring bars, sway bars, much easier to hook up and unhook, and backing up is not harder, just different. Turns /backup differences are because of the two very different hitch types and installation positions. She will master either type with a little practice. I bounce back and forth between a fiver and my boat trailer, no big deal. Bottom line, if she has the right truck, a fiver is the way to go.

AZ Traveler
03-18-2019, 01:03 PM
I have had both - the fifth wheel is easier with the exception of it being taller and needing to watch trees and wires.

03-18-2019, 05:08 PM
We started out with a travel trailer. The first time a semi passed me on the highway scared the crap outta me. Had it one year and moved to a 5th wheel and haven't looked back.

Montana Man
03-19-2019, 11:43 AM
I've have both. If it is a smaller camper she has in mind then definitely a travel trailer. 28 feet or larger then a fifth wheel.

A travel trailer allows for much better visibility for driving and backing. Stability in driving is a non issue, semis or not, if the tow vehicle is adequate for the load.

03-19-2019, 09:01 PM
I have towed both starting with my dads 1970 Holiday Traveler pulled behind 72 Chevy Caprice wagon. I think a good anti-sway hitch makes all the difference.
For our last travel trailer (38 Laredo) I found a blue ox hitch on Craigslist and that hitch was fantastic. Of course it did not hurt that I was towing with Chevy 3500 long bed SRW. I did feel it when an 18 wheeler would pass, especially the suction effect if you know what I mean. It all just takes practice. Learning to take wide turns with a long trailer was a new adventure for me.

That hitch is in the garage. I need to sell it! I had it on Craigslist for $250 and got no hits. The thing is close to $700 new.

Dixie Flyer
03-27-2019, 03:02 PM
We started out many years ago with a popup and then went to a tag along and then to a fifth wheel. The fifth wheel by far is the easiest to tow being much more stable in high winds and heavy truck traffic. However we found out the f150 Ford truck could not handle the load of a fifth wheel towing in the mountains so we went to a f250 diesel and then to an F350 diesel. So my advice to you is if you go the fifth wheel route make plans to purchase a diesel to pull it with.

03-27-2019, 03:08 PM
Had both. 5ers are MUCH safer to tow. being passed by large vehicles can cause a TT to start swinging causing lost of control. Even happens in cross winds. 5th wheels are a lot more stable in those situations. The real game changer is, 5th wheels are easier to backup and park in those back in sites.

03-27-2019, 04:11 PM
We did the same, 1 year on a TT 25ft, much sway, even with sway bars. Traded for a 35ft 5th wheel, world of difference.

03-27-2019, 05:36 PM
Less or NO sway with a 5th vs tongue trailer....hook up alone with a 5th wheel...stability on the road much better with a 5th...and the actual hitch safety is superior. The negative is losing space in the bed of your truck!

03-27-2019, 06:33 PM
Had both. Highly recommend TT to begin with. Lot less complicated to deal with and much easier to back.

Leftie Canuk
03-27-2019, 10:18 PM
My daughter is looking into getting into camping. She is nervous about towing a trailer and losing control. I have advised that a fifth is easier to control but don't really know much about trailers.
Anyone that has towed both and what is the difference in how the units tow? Thanks.

If I may, I would like to suggest the following: help your daughter find a driving instructor who teaches trailer towing. Don't take her out yourself, as you will be too emotionally involved. Find a professional, and help your daughter enroll in a good program that covers the full slate of towing. You will find the confidence she gains, and the insight into proper towing techniques will help HER decide that kind of trailer she wants to purchase.
In our jurisdiction, anyone wanting to tow a rig over 10,500 lbs without air brakes [i.e., has electric brakes] has to have a special endorsement on their standard drivers license. In passing the government-specified course and test, the driver gains a lot of confidence and more importantly, the skills and knowledge to make them a much safer driver when towing. My two cents worth.

04-05-2019, 09:06 AM
Putting the driving aspect a side and yes 5th's and TT can be PITA to set up if you don't have auto levelers , which I don't....yet. IMHO there are a more pluses for a 5th wheel or TT over a motor home. I own a 5th wheel and the 2 friends I usually camp with both own Class A's so over the years I compared the + and -.
1. With a motor home you might want a second vehicle to tow behind you. Once you set up at the campsite you're basically stuck. If you forgot something and /or need to get to the store or want to leave the camp ground to go site seeing. On more than one occasion I had to drive one of my friends to the store. Sometime several times in one day because they needed something.
2. With a motor home you have the added expense of a 2nd engine and drivetrain maint.
3. 5th wheels and TT have more interior room because there is no drivers area.
A couple of years ago one of my friends that owned a Class A had his camper totaled (no one was hurt) because a tire came off a landscaping trailer, going in the opposite direction on a side road. It hit the front of his RV and went underneath. It did so much damage to the under carriage and storage boxes that it wasn't worth fixing (it was an older unit a 99') so the ins. company totaled it. Since he already had a TV he went out and bought a toy hauler and said he should have done it earlier.

04-05-2019, 10:37 AM
4 TT's and 2 5th wheels over the years.For weekend users and short trips a TT under 26/28 feet would be good when properly hooked up. When we decided to go long timing and many road miles we went to the 5th wheel for stability and better ride.. We also suggest a good driving/towing school is highly recommended. Proper hook up is critical with a TT IMO 50% or better of TT's we see on the road do not have the proper equipment for hook up.