Fifth Wheel or Tow Hitch ? Pros and Cons!

Old 08-31-16, 08:01 AM
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Fifth Wheel or Tow Hitch ? Pros and Cons!

OK So thinking about ( pop Up) Campers, Trailers, RV Etc. Just starting to look and shop for the near future. Our budget may be the deciding factor on size, But I think we may want to keep it smaller than larger as our first purchase.
Beside obvious reasons could you help me list the pros and cons between the two transport methods.
I would gather as you tend to go with the heavier bigger loads the Fifth wheel comes in to play and seems like it would be more advantageous and better secured choice, with a better peace of mind. So I guess is there a certain load factor that warrants the 5th wheel versus tow hitch.
Thanks for any input!
Old 08-31-16, 08:41 AM
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No specifics but a friend, retired police lieutenant, went with the 5th wheel. His reasoning related to the load requirements across the country. What is legal in one state may not be in another. His fith wheel wasn't that large but he also had to go with a dual wheel truck to haul it. Acording to our conversation, most of the trailers being towed across the country will not pass all requirements.

I can't speak for those requirements but it may be something to look into.

Old 08-31-16, 09:34 AM
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If you are tending towards smaller and cheaper then that alone almost dictates a traditional trailer hitch. 5th wheel is generally reserved for larger/heavier loads which also dictate a heavier duty towing vehicle. I have both (well goose neck not 5th wheel) and can't really say one method is more "secure". They do handle differently but it's really only noticeable when you get to heavier loads. Unless you have a 3/4 ton or larger truck I don't think a 5th wheel or goose neck is warranted.
Old 08-31-16, 09:37 AM
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A few points, I'm sure there are more:

Big advantage of fifth wheel is that the load is carried right over truck axle, so as the trailer moves side to side it is not torqueing the truck nearly as much. When you have a ball hitch, there is a lever effect because the hitch ball is several feet back of the rear wheels. That lever action applies sideways force to the truck when the trailer is, for example, buffeted by strong winds or truck wash. That can make it harder to control the truck. Under normal straight ahead towing in smooth conditions this doesn't matter much. This also means a given truck can usually handle more tongue weight with a fifth wheel, again because there is no lever action (this time in vertical direction).

Biggest disadvantage is probably the loss of cargo area in the truck bed when not pulling the trailer.
Old 08-31-16, 01:29 PM
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Post what your tow veihicle is... Exact make , model, and year... That will dictate what you can tow..

Most 5th wheel pin weights are upwards off 2000 lbs...
Old 08-31-16, 05:56 PM
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RV vs towable, you get to a campground with an RV, need to go sight seeing, need to get something to eat.
Now you have to unhook everything, spend hours finding a place to park.
A 5th wheel is far easier to back up and can turn a tighter corner.
Totally not a concern with how a towable and a 5 wheel are connected!
Main draw back on a 5 wheel is most of the master bedrooms are up a set of stairs and low over head.
As mentioned what are you trying to tow it with?
Towing vehicle is the main thing to be concerned with.
Old 09-01-16, 05:57 AM
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I agree with Carbide tipped.

A 5th wheel is far easier to back up and can turn a tighter corner.
Joe, I have owned both types and found the opposite to be true. Just my opinion.

I found the fifth wheel much easier to hook and unhook. I hated to go through all the steps of connecting the load distributing hitch parts and pieces.

If you go the travel trailer route, invest in an electric front jack.

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