Standard fifth wheel trailers are practical investments for those who like to take weekend getaways and long vacations. There are also luxury models that are quite spacious and can actually serve as the perfect choice for full time RV living.
How Much Does a Fifth Wheel Trailer Cost?
Fifth wheel prices are actually quite wide-ranged. There are fairly affordable models starting at just $10,000 for a brand new trailer. These aren’t going to be luxurious, but certainly be adequate for occasional family vacations. Many luxury fifth wheel models can cost upwards of $100,000 or more. Most RV buyers tend to purchase fifth wheel trailers somewhere in the middle between these price points.
The luxury models do have their perks, however. The premium fifth wheel models include high-end kitchens and living areas, plasma televisions, and even separate bedroom areas, including a master suite that sits over the truck bed. Keep in mind that you’ll need a pretty big and high-powered truck, perhaps even a dually, in order to tow these luxury models properly, which is even a bigger investment.
Most casual RV travelers can get away with the lower-end models. These fifth wheel trailers are far more modest, but can be towed by most ordinary pickup trucks once the special hitch is installed. But if you’re looking to travel cross-country on a regular basis, you’ll definitely want to consider at least a mid-range fifth wheel trailer, even if you have to buy one used.
Pros of Fifth Wheels VS Travel Trailers
It’s true that fifth wheel trailers are more expensive than traditional tow-behind travel trailers. But, many campers and full time RVers prefer fifth wheels because they are far easier to tow. Being hitched in the bed of your truck, they are much more stable than on a traditional tow hitch.
One of the major cons of towing a travel trailer is how difficult they are to tow, especially in windy conditions. Because they tend to sway, they can make your tow vehicle work a lot harder, which stresses the tow hitch and decreases your gas mileage - not to mention wear and tear on both vehicles. Meanwhile, fifth wheel trailers almost never sway.
Which Fifth Wheel Trailer is Right for Me?
When setting out to choose a fifth wheel, list your minimum needs and see what models fit with your budget. You may also choose to purchase a used fifth wheel, which are actually fairly easy to find.
Also, consider the vehicle you’re using to tow the fifth wheel. If you’re using your personal truck, know what your truck can tow safely and easily. Since you’re not using your truck’s actual tow package, you want to be sure about the rating of your in-bed hitch and what your truck is rated to tow overall, not just what your regular tow package will allow. Knowing the GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) that your truck can handle will narrow down your choices.
Just like buying any vehicle, buying a fifth wheel is an investment. So, shop around and see models inside and outside in person to get a feel for each one. Be sure to have a complete list of the features and equipment included.
Remember that showroom models may not necessarily have everything you see come standard. Although some dealers do say that what you see is what you get, that’s not always the case. Also, understand the warranty that the trailer comes with, and purchase an extended warranty if you feel that one is necessary.
Also, like cars, fifth wheel trailers (and any RV for that matter) depreciate quickly. So, buying a used fifth wheel may be your best bet, if you don’t mind some wear and tear. Whether you buy new or used, be sure to get consumer reports online for makes and models for the years you’re considering. That way you can see which models tend to hold up the longest, which also typically have the best resale value. Be sure to get the most features for the best price.
But, I Really Want to Buy a New Fifth Wheel!
While many used newer models have been well cared for, you may decide that you absolutely want a brand new RV. If you do insist on buying a brand new fifth wheel, try to shop around for deals,. Look for dealers that offer deep discounts off of MSRP for brand new fifth wheels, which are often the previous year’s model. They don’t want to keep them sitting on the lot, after all. Besides price, the big advantage to shopping for new examples of previous year models is that there’s more reviews available. So, you can be better informed about your purchase.
Another great way to purchase a new fifth wheel is to visit RV shows on the last day. That’s because RVs are very expensive to have to transport back to wherever they came from. So, many salespeople are happy to cut some deals in order to not have to take their unsold models back home.
Whatever fifth wheel you decide to buy, you can know that you’ll get a very reliable RV that will serve you well on your getaways. If you do plan to plunge into the adventure of full time RV living, a fifth wheel is an awesome choice for your home on wheels.