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 > 5th wheel verses travel trailer

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Pugman

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Posted: 05/22/20 08:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We haven't purchased an RV yet, but soon I hope. My question is: Can I carry more weight with a 5th wheel or a travel trailer. Does the location of the hitch change how much weight I can carry?

2oldman

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Posted: 05/22/20 08:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

5th wheels usually carry more. Verses are parts of a song.

Second Chance

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Posted: 05/22/20 09:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What is your tow vehicle? Your question is overly simplistic and the proper answers are complex. A lot has to do with the payload capacity of your tow vehicle (not just the "max towing capacity" usually touted). Find some good sources on towing and read, read, read. The average fifth wheel RV will put 21 - 23% of the GVWR or loaded weight (not empty weight) on the pin. A travel trailer will typically put 10 - 12% of it's GVWR or loaded weight (again - not empty weight) on the hitch ball. IN NO CASE should you consider the published empty hitch weights. They are almost meaningless. A very common mistake of first-timers is to buy too much RV (especially fifth wheels) for their truck. It's less expensive to buy the right equipment the first time than to have to up-size your truck or down-size your RV.

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valhalla360

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Posted: 05/22/20 09:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What do you mean by carry more weight?
- Cargo inside the trailer
- Able to tow a heavier trailer

I suspect you mean can I tow a heavier trailer...so going off that: It depends.

Looking at the official "tow rating" is usually only part of the story.

Often you can't utilize the full "tow rating" in real life. The weight of the trailer on the hitch can push the truck over the payload limit (or in some cases over the rear axle limit). Payload is anything in or added to the truck including people, gear, running boards, hitches and THE HITCH WEIGHT.
- With a travel trailer, you typically want 12-15% of the trailer weight on the hitch. So for a 10,000lb trailer, that's 1,200-1,500lb hitch weight. (keep in mind, this is fully loaded weights not empty hitch weight)
- With a 5th wheel, you want 20-25% on the hitch, so for the same weight trailer, it jumps up to 2,000-2,500lb hitch weight.

This is why 1/2ton tow-able 5th wheels are mostly a marketing myth. A family of 4 plus 200lb hitch, plus 200lb, firewood, etc...that can be a 1,000lb of payload before you hook up. Very few 1/2ton trucks have enough payload left to handle even a fairly small 5th wheel. So even though it's in the "tow rating" you will be over the max payload. Payload can still limit you with a travel trailer but it's usually less of a limitation for 1/2 ton trucks.

Now if you move up to heavier duty trucks...say a modern 1ton dually, the 5th wheel "tow rating" can actually be higher and assuming appropriately spec'd, it can handle the payload.

Keep in mind, just saying 1/2ton or 3/4 ton, 1 ton, etc...the payload and tow ratings can still vary quite a bit.

Also, it's possible for a high spec 1/2ton to be rated better than a low spec 3/4ton...but assuming you find ones with similar specs, the 3/4ton will generally tow better as it is less of a tail wagging the dog situation.


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troubledwaters

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Posted: 05/22/20 10:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You can tow a bigger Travel Trailer than 5th wheel while staying within any given trucks ratings.

Cummins12V98

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Posted: 05/22/20 11:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My RV weighed 18,075# the day it left the factory. Currently it weighs 24,000#.

You tell me!


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rhagfo

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Posted: 05/22/20 11:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Pugman wrote:

We haven't purchased an RV yet, but soon I hope. My question is: Can I carry more weight with a 5th wheel or a travel trailer. Does the location of the hitch change how much weight I can carry?

Well depends on your TV, if you have enough TV then, yes, you can carry a larger trailer more comfortably with a 5er than a TT.
As mentioned earlier, do you want a 40’+ TT weighing 24,000# on your receiver hitch???


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bgum

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Posted: 05/22/20 11:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I found a 5th wheel a more stable tow. I found I had a larger heavier tow and a larger more expensive truck to tow it with. I found the 5th wheel harder to back up. I found more space in the 5th wheel. I found the bigger you go the fewer campsites available and the more fuel was burned. I have since found happiness in a smaller trailer with a smaller truck as a tv. We use our rig to travel and camp. It has everything we need and want in a small package. Just the two of us. We are happy campers.

jerem0621

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Posted: 05/22/20 11:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Depends on the rig. Some fivers have TONS of excess capacity... some less than a ton.

Just shop around.

In general... a TT will have less CCC than a fiver. But it can’t be an always statement.

Thanks!

Jeremiah


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Lantley

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Posted: 05/22/20 12:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can I carry more weight with a 5th wheel or a travel trailer. Does the location of the hitch change how much weight I can carry?

Are you referring to the cargo capacity of the RV or the ability of the tow vehicle?


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