Top 5 Regrets of Buying a Fifth Wheel

A man cringes because he regrets buying a fifth wheel RV that is now parked in the desert.

Is your mind set on buying a fifth-wheel trailer? It’s wise to invest a generous amount of time researching a product before making a significant purchase. The last thing you want is to regret buying a fifth wheel because you weren’t fully prepared for what you’re committing to!

Deciding to buy a fifth wheel requires time and effort to make an informed decision. Even with spending hours upon hours researching and walking through dozens of different models, there’s still a chance of regretting your purchase. Today we want to share with you five common fifth wheel regrets buyers might experience.

What Is a Fifth Wheel? 

A fifth wheel is a specific type of camping trailer connected to a tow vehicle via a fifth-wheel hitch. This hitching style uses a gooseneck or kingpin to connect the trailer and tow vehicle. 

These are often larger trailers that can weigh up to 20,000 lbs. A fifth-wheel camper usually has a residential feel inside and a tremendous amount of storage in outside compartments.

1. Requires a Large Truck

These trailers are often larger and heavier, requiring a bigger truck. If you don’t already have a capable truck, you’ll need to purchase one if you plan on towing your RV from site to site. A truck capable of pulling larger fifth wheels can be incredibly expensive and costly to maintain.

You’ll often find that these trucks have diesel engines designed to handle heavier loads. The price of diesel varies from state to state, but it’s often pricier than gasoline. Depending on your camping and travel style, you may be surprised by how much fuel you’ll need.

Many RVers dream of owning a big RV and truck; however, they quickly regret their purchase when bills start showing up each month.

2. Hitching and Setting up Takes Time… And Lots of Practice

Learning to hitch and set up a fifth wheel takes significant time and practice. It requires your utmost attention to ensure everyone’s safety. Skipping a step can easily result in damaging your fifth wheel or tow vehicle and possibly even injuring yourself or others.

This process can be stressful at first, which causes many RVers to regret their fifth wheel purchase. However, the more you practice setting up your fifth wheel, the easier it becomes. While it may appear as simple as pushing a button, there are many essential steps before using the auto-level feature.

A man is working on hitching his fifth wheel to his truck while leaving a campground.

3. No Access to Living Quarters When Driving

Because you’re towing the RV behind you, you’ll need to find a convenient spot to pull over to access the fifth wheel’s living quarters. Twenty-one states allow passengers to ride in a fifth wheel while in motion. It would be an incredibly bumpy and possibly terrifying experience that we can’t imagine attempting, though. 

Even if you can find a convenient and safe place to pull over, you may have difficulty accessing your RV due to the slides. You may need to open a slide or two to access essential amenities like the kitchen or restroom. These inconveniences often lead a fifth-wheel buyer to regret the purchase.

4. Can’t Tow a Car

Many RVers enjoy using a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle as their everyday ride. While roughly half of the states in the U.S. allow triple towing, fifth wheels are not rated to tow a vehicle behind them safely. You may carry bicycles or a small trailer but towing a vehicle as your triple tow can be dangerous.

Not having access to an additional vehicle often leads buyers to regret purchasing a fifth wheel. If you’re planning to use another car other than your tow vehicle, a fifth wheel may not be the best option for you.

5. Most Start Around 30+ Feet

Driving a big truck can be a difficult adjustment for some. Tack on an additional 30+ feet, and it can be enough to send some RVers over the edge. Depending on the size of your family, finding a fifth-wheel floor plan to meet your needs might mean looking at longer ones.

Many state and national park campgrounds require RVs to be under 30 feet in length. Finding fifth wheels under 30 feet can be difficult, if not impossible. Many regret their fifth wheel purchase when discovering their new RV is too big to fit into their favorite campground.

Benefits of Fifth Wheels

While some regret their fifth wheel purchase, many don’t. Let’s take a look at a few benefits of choosing a fifth wheel.

Most Floor Plan Options

Due to their larger size, manufacturers can offer creative floor plan options. If you have a favorite manufacturer, they likely have several different floor plans for each model line of RVs. 

For example, Grand Design presents eight different floor plans in their Reflection line of fifth wheels. You’ll likely have several floor plan options to consider no matter what manufacturer you choose.

Lots of Storage

Many fifth-wheel owners love the massive amount of storage. This means those things you didn’t have space for before you can now easily store.

Separate Engine and Living Space

A tremendous benefit of owning a fifth wheel is that the engine and living space are separate. This means if you ever experience a mechanical issue with your engine, you’re not stuck having to find a hotel while your RV is in the shop.

You can leave your fifth wheel at camp and use your other vehicle to explore the rough roads you can’t take your RV on. This allows for more adventures.

Making a Decision

Choosing which RV style is suitable for you is not a decision you can make quickly or lightly. Doing an adequate amount of research and consulting with experienced RVers is the best way to make sure you don’t regret your fifth wheel purchase. Have you ever regretted purchasing an RV?

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