5th Wheel vs Travel Trailer: Comparison with Top 24 Differences and Similarities

5th wheel vs travel trailer BEGINNER INFO

Having to decide if you want to buy a 5th wheel or a travel trailer, you encounter the question rises with the title “5th wheel vs travel trailer”.

However, once you eye the price of fifth wheel trailers, you start hesitating if you really want to get yourself into all this 5th wheel vs travel trailer stuff.

The initial reaction is to just buy a standard travel trailer, especially when there are so many good deals on RVs. Both options are towed trailers. This means you will have to buy a truck or an SUV for towing.

Although there are many similarities in 5th wheel vs trailer, it is just a matter of time until you decide to upgrade your camper with a fifth wheel trailer.

My experience shows that many people opt for regular campers at first. The main reason is the cost, which is significantly lower.

5th wheel vs travel trailer: comparison with top 24 differences and similarities

However, once you do a good comparison of 5th wheel vs trailer, you will see clearly what you are really looking for. Each option is unique and everyone’s tastes vary.

Therefore, let’s proceed to checking out all the good and bad sides with the motto 5th wheel vs travel trailer.

Also make I think you would be interested to check out my review on pop-up tent trailers vs regular trailers.

Prices of 5th wheel vs travel trailer

Since travel trailers are not specially custom built, they are how they are, right from the production; a fifth wheel should fit your towing car.

Because of these reasons the prices are different. You get yourself a camper, which is custom made, special for your towing car.

Usually, you can find camper deals ranging from $12 K to $40 K. If you look for an average model with good millage and good condition, you will land around $25-30 K.

The same conditions for a fifth wheel trailer will be relatively more expensive. The cost will range from $20 K to $55 K. This is although both options are quite similar.

Once you are done with this article, you will get acquainted with a number of advantages, which will explain the high price of a fifth wheel.

Capacity of 5th wheel vs trailer

This is the second most important factor when considering any model of trailer. If you are riding with a big group of people, or you have a big family of 6 to 8, fifth wheel is the ideal choice for you.

You would think that there are of course bigger trailers. Why not opt for those? However, if you good research, it will be clear that the campers, which are capable of holding 6-8 people need to be at class A or C.

Those class campers would cost twice as much as a fifth wheel. Since the fifth wheel trailer is a more modern creation, the interior design is smarter.

The area is utilized more correctly. Therefore, you can really feel the spaciousness of the RV. Meanwhile, regular campers can sometimes really mess the interior space up.

Of course, there can be exceptions. You might think that your camper is designed perfectly. However, I am talking about most of the cases.

I have several friends who camp by two. Therefore, they have decided to get a smaller RV, thinking the space would be enough for them.

Nonetheless, the majority of those friends have regretted afterwards. They were certain that with a bigger trailer, despite the absence of kids and other people, it would have been significantly more comfortable.

Two of such couples have upgraded their trailers to a fifth wheel after utilizing their regular one for two years.

Taking control while driving: 5th wheel vs trailer

Both 5th wheel vs trailer are big vehicles. It will demand effort to drive them. More so problems occur when you need to maneuver those automobiles.

It might sound strange, but a fifth wheel trailer is relatively easier to maneuver. This especially refers to when you need to back the car.

The difference is because of the distance between the towing vehicle and the camper. When you tow a regular RV, the distance serves to the maneuvering to being more difficult.

Meanwhile, a fifth wheel feels like a continuation of the towing vehicle. Therefore, it is easier to maneuver.

This might seem like a minor issue. However, if you have ever owned a trailer before, you will understand the great importance of this problem.

Moreover, if you are an experienced driver of a towing vehicle for different trailers, maneuvering a regular camper will be easier for you than for an inexperienced driver.

Bedroom privacy: 5th wheel vs trailer

Most of the time regular RVs have awful room separation. If you are a big family or you are travelling with friends and want privacy in the sleeping area, then forget about a regular trailer.

Fifth wheel trailer has amazing layouts of the bedroom and other sleeping areas. It is quite a rarity to have privacy when camping in trailers.

This feature works for both parties. Not just parents want to have privacy at night when camping, but the kids as well will definitely appreciate having their own little corner in the RV.

Therefore, this is a very important advantage for a fifth wheel.

Higher walls for your comfort: 5th wheel s travel trailer

Many people are simply obsessed with head space. Therefore, when they look for a new house or an apartment, having short walls in a deal breaker for them.

The same refers to campers. This kind of becomes a second home. Therefore, everyone would appreciate as much comfort as possible.

Moreover, if you have a taller friend or a family member, a fifth wheel trailer is the correct choice in your case.

Finally, the air circulation is significantly better with high ceilings.

fifth wheel trailer 5th wheel vs travel trailer: comparison with top 24 differences and similarities

Storage space: 5th wheel vs travel trailer

If you go for a fifth wheel trailer, you will win with not just the living space, but also the storage area. When you go outdoors and take some gear with you, it is crucial to have a decent area to store your stuff.

5th wheel vs trailer comparison regarding the storage and living space definitely goes to the 5th wheel.

Regular campers are always more compact and with lower ceilings. Therefore, they are hardly ever equipped with half as much spaciousness for both living and storing as a fifth wheel.

If you do not go camping for longer than 2-3 days, this point will not make a big difference. However, if you ride with more people and for longer periods, you will feel the discomfort within a couple days.

Fifth wheels are designed with smarter layouts. Therefore, you can feel that the manufacturers have made the best of the space. This factor also affects the price difference in 5th wheel vs travel trailer.

The length of both trailers

If you look at the lengths of these two, the 5th wheel is so much larger. The average length is around 25 to 45 feet. Meanwhile, a regular camper is from 15 to 40 feet.

However, considering that in the case of the 5th wheel, a big part of the RV is above the towing vehicle, the all in all length turns out less than a regular camper.

The real length is very important when it comes to driving these enormous vehicles. When making a turn or driving in reverse, you can face big difficulties with regular RVs.

Therefore, the fifth wheel wins a point for this feature as well.

Weight differences with 5th wheel vs travel trailer

Considering the fact that both regular trailers and 5th wheels are RV, which need to be towed, the weigh plays a huge role and can definitely make a difference in your decision.

You need to make sure your towing vehicle has the appropriate capacity for the camper of your choice.

Depending on the length, the weight will vary very much. Therefore, the capacity of the towing vehicle will definitely matter.

Moreover, there is a license requirement when you exceed some weight limitations.

This point definitely goes to regular campers, which weight from 1000 to 8500 lbs. Meanwhile, fifth trailers range from 2000 to 17000 lbs.

Fifth wheels have certain restrictions with towing

Fifth wheel trailers are only supported by trucks as their towing vehicles. Meanwhile, regular trailers can work with any car, depending on their capacity.

When a truck is towing a fifth wheel, there are certain arrangements that need to be done. Moreover, this means that there will be less seats in the towing vehicle.

However, in case of a car as a towing vehicle, more seats are available. In case of 5th wheels, there is a limited range of vehicles you can use to tow.

Meanwhile, you can use your everyday car to tow your regular trailer.

Reverse driving differences

With fifth wheel you have more room to maneuver. I have mentioned this before with maneuvering. However, reverse driving deserves special attention.

New drivers, who are inexperienced, will face difficulties with regular trailers. Unless you know exactly the trailer movements, you will be in trouble in no time.

Reverse driving with a fifth wheel is relatively easier. Since the car hovers over the towing vehicle, it gives very little edge.

Needless to remind that you need to be extra careful with these big vehicles when driving. Absolutely no high speed is allowed in any case.

Special attention should be paid while driving in reverse. Both vehicles answer just a bit late. Hence the need to be extra careful with the process.

More living space, less seats when towing

Your fifth wheel will provide you with more living area, higher ceilings and huge storage space. However, the towing vehicle seats will be limited.

This is usually a deal breaker for big families who want to drive to a campground together. Although, certain states allow passengers to be inside the trailer when towing them to places.

So, these two factors will play a big role for your final decision on the camper of your choice.

Maintenance needed for both campers

I have mentioned multiple times that fifth wheel is packed with everything necessary for a great camping trip.

However, the more it is full of facilities, the more care and maintenance is required for this camper. Especially, when you have had the trailer for quite some time, the need to keep the trailer intact is inevitable.

I have a great insight on the top 21 RV accessories you might need for your camper.

If you are a driver of any kind of vehicle, than you should be familiar with the term schedule maintenance. Of course, in both cases of campers this one point is very important.

However, you will definitely need more replacements for the 5th wheel. I do want to say that you will have to pay for the initial price of a fifth wheel relatively more than for a regular trailer, as well as spend money while using the RV.

5th wheel vs trailer

Fuel usage: 5th wheel vs travel trailer

This point is definitely given to regular campers. Fifth wheel trailer will spend a little too much on millage. However, this may just not be the case for all trailers.

I do guarantee that a huge amount of fuel usage depends on the driving skills. Moreover, weather conditions can also make a difference.

General facilities in 5th wheel vs trailer

One big reason I advise you to opt for a fifth wheel trailer is the wonderful amenities. There cannot be a second opinion about the fact that the interior is way more comfortable when it comes to living areas design.

Moreover, the campers themselves are full of facilities and you can order more. However, the weight is really affected and you should be careful with what you choose to put inside the RV.

A larger fifth wheel provides more space to make the area more comfortable. Fifth wheel campers can only be compared with class A or C regular trailers in terms of facilities.

Carrying other vehicles inside your campers: 5th wheel vs travel trailer

Dirt bikes and ATVs are the most common fun vehicles people take with them to campgrounds. However, if you have a fifth wheel, the transportation is impossible.

Meanwhile, travel trailers have a storage place called truck bed. This is where you can put the bikes. In case of a fifth wheel trailer, you will be required a toy hauler.

Riding inside while driving: 5th wheel vs travel trailer

There are laws regarding riding inside campers while towing. Most of the time in most states of America it is banned to have passengers in a towing RV.

However, in the case of a fifth wheel trailer, you can easily have people hanging around in the back, if you travel in a big group.

Nonetheless, it does not matter if the law allows people to be inside the trailer while being towed. I find it quite dangerous. Since the passengers do not have a direct contact with the driver, it can cause many problems.

Air heating and cooling distribution issues: 5th wheel vs trailer

I have noticed that all fifth wheel trailers are problematic, when it comes to controlling the temperature inside the RV.

The structure of the camper, being multilevel serves for the problem to grow. The air conditioning is having a hard time distributing the cool air throughout the whole camper.

The same issue is relevant for the hearing system.

Number of bedrooms: 5th wheel vs trailer

The fifth wheel gives you the opportunity to convert bog bedrooms into two small ones. Making tem separate can serve to all good when camping in big groups.

Level of comfort: 5th wheel vs trailer

I can speak for the majority of cases that fifth wheel campers are more comfortable when it comes to living space. I have already mentioned the modern design, which serves for the trailer to feel like a real 2nd home.

Slide outs, smart furniture and many more interesting features definitely give a point to the fifth wheel.

Pet friendly options among 5th wheel vs travel trailer

Your pets will for sure appreciate you putting them inside a fifth wheel rather than a regular trailer. Each component of the interior, such as a high ceiling and a multilevel structure make sure the camper is as much comfortable for pets as possible.

Storage space in the towing vehicle: 5th wheel vs travel trailer

If you tow your fifth wheel with a truck or an SUV, a big part of the camper is hovering over your vehicle. Therefore, the storage space is automatically gone with a fifth wheel.

Driving off-road with 5th wheel vs trailer

It is quite a hard task to drive off-road under regular circumstances. Imagine what the situation can turn into when you attempt off-roading with a fifth wheel.

Mostly, it is easier to maneuver with a regular trailer. Dirty roads and mud can bring real pain into your live when you drive with a towing RV.

Setting up the 5th wheel vs trailer at campground

The exterior design of the fifth wheel makes it easier to hook it up. The comfort is incompatible with a regular trailer hooking up process.

Slide out designs and utilization: 5th wheel vs trailer

The correctly set design allows a fifth wheel to have multiple slide outs. Meanwhile, in case of regular campers, you can enjoy the most 2 sliding in and out facilities.

This makes the area more spacious. You really feel the sizes of the camper.

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Andy Fisher

Campers Mag is the website where I will share a lot of information about my experience, trailer, and things, that will help other camper owners to enjoy their RV even more.

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  1. Rich

    there are several type-o’s in this post where the word “manure” is used where it seems “maneuver” was the appropriate word.