Is A Fifth Wheel RV Right For You?

Fifth wheel RVs feel like a true home on wheels. Their heigh ceilings, open floor plans and smooth towing configuration make them a common choice for many full-time and extended-use RVers. However, some buyers are concerned about getting a fifth wheel due to their large size and the need to have a truck for towing. And with so many different models and towable RVs on the market, how can you even begin to figure out which one is right for you?

To help address some of these concerns and highlight just how spacious and reliable fifth wheels really are, we asked Heartland owners, Darren and Amanda Bone to share why they ultimately decided to buy a fifth wheel and how the RV they chose fits their unique lifestyle.

Q: Why did you choose your specific fifth wheel?

We are a family of five (plus pets) and after looking at many different towable RVs, we quickly realized we wanted a fifth wheel. Fifth wheels have higher ceilings, more basement storage and a wider variety of floor plans. After researching and walking through numerous fifth wheels, we learned that the mid-bunk layout was our favorite. The Heartland Bighorn met all of our needs—it has a spacious rear living area that allows us to have plenty of guests, ample kitchen storage and a large pantry. Our two boys share the mid-bunk room, which has enough space for their clothes and toys, and our daughter claimed the loft, which gives her privacy and a place of her own. Our family does share one bathroom, but the overall size and large, two-person shower gives us plenty of space and doesn’t ever feel cramped.

Q: Did you have any concerns buying a fifth wheel? If so, what were they and how did you address them?

When we decided to live in an RV full-time, we initially thought we wanted a travel trailer or a smaller bumper pull because of the lighter weight and more compact size. We didn’t have much experience with towing, so the thought of pulling a large fifth wheel was pretty intimidating. Ultimately, we didn’t let our fears win and we purchased an RV that we knew our family would be the most comfortable in. Towing and driving takes time and, like anything else, we learned how to do it with practice. It was more important that we found a tiny home we would be happy living in for a long time.

Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies and activities, and how does your RV fit these?

Our family has a wide variety of hobbies and favorite activities. We’ve always loved hosting friends and family for big dinners and game nights, and that was something we weren’t willing to give up when moving into an RV. Our fifth wheel has an open floor plan that allows us to comfortably host a lot of guests and prepare big meals. We also love to boondock, and our fifth wheel allows us to get to these more remote locations, while also giving us all the comforts of home. Family movie nights are also a regular occurrence, and the queen size sofa bed in the living room is the perfect place to all pile up and watch a movie together.

Q: How and why does your fifth wheel's layout work well for you?

Our Heartland home on wheels has everything we need. The rear living area with opposing slide outs and 13-foot ceilings makes the whole space feel really open. Our kitchen island is great for meal prepping, and we have a residential-size refrigerator that can easily hold two weeks worth of groceries for our family. The pantry consists of six cabinets and ample shelving that provides space for lots of non-perishables.

Next to the kitchen is our two boys’ bunk room. They each have their own bunk bed and plenty of cabinets for their clothes and toys. Above the boys room is a loft that has a queen size mattress for our preteen daughter. Making sure that she had her own private space, especially at her age, was really important to us. The front of our RV contains the main bedroom, complete with a king size bed, massive closet, six-drawer dresser, and separate closet with washer and dryer hookups.

Q: How did you handle finding the right tow vehicle?

Our fifth wheel has a dry weight of 13,000 pounds, but we added an additional 3,000 pounds with all of our belongings and full tanks, bringing the total weight to 16,000 pounds. At the time, our current truck had a tow capacity of 21,000 pounds, so we were well within the weight limit. However, we noticed that our truck struggled any time we towed the fifth wheel up a mountain road or had a steep incline. We didn’t want to limit our travels or the places we could visit, so after nine months, we upgraded to a large, dually truck. This new truck has a tow capacity of 33,000 pounds and can easily handle any road. Our biggest recommendation for finding a proper tow vehicle is to get one with a much larger tow capacity than you think, especially if you plan to travel full-time.

Q: What advice would you give someone considering buying a fifth wheel?

For anyone considering a towable RV, we highly recommend fifth wheels. The storage, interior space and high ceilings are unmatched. When we were deciding between two different fifth wheels, we had our dealer set each one up, including all the power and hookups, and we spent about an hour in each one. Being able to go through the motions of day-to-day life really gave us a feel for what it would be like to live in it, and it helped us make our final decision. Ask your dealer to do the same, and spend significant time in each RV that you’re considering. We promise it’ll be worth it!

Read the full blog article written by Thor Industries here.