Fifth Wheel Vs. Travel Trailer: Top 5 Things To Know!

Fifth Wheel Vs. Travel Trailer: Top 5 Things To Know!

If you’re trying to decide between a fifth wheel and a travel trailer for your camping needs, look no further! We’re here to help, with a list of the top 5 things that you need to know to help make your decision. By the end of this article, you’ll hopefully have a much better idea of what will work for you so that you can start your adventures as soon as possible!

What Is A Fifth Wheel?

A fifth wheel is a type of camping trailer that is towed by using a fifth wheel hitch, which is usually located in the bed of the truck that is towing it. 

The name “fifth wheel” is actually taken from a hitch used by horse-drawn carriages in the 1800s. Obviously, technology has advanced a lot since then, but the idea remains essentially the same. 

What Is A Travel Trailer

A travel trailer is another type of camping trailer that is also towed behind a vehicle. However, travel trailers do not require the need for a special type of hitch and can be towed by a variety of different types of vehicles. 

#1. Consider The Length

One of the first things you’ll need to consider when making your ultimate decision is the length of the vehicle. 

The length of the camper is one of the biggest ways that fifth wheel and travel trailers vary. In addition, there is a lot of variation, even between different models of the same type of camping vehicle. 

Generally, though, fifth wheels are usually the larger of the two options, averaging between 25 and 45 feet long. While the additional square footage may be good for those with families or who prefer extra living space, it can also lead to extra weight and additional costs when towing and powering the fifth wheel. 

Conversely, travel trailers are usually the smaller of the two, ranging from 12 to 35 feet.  You still get the space of a fifth wheel without the extra weight. 

#2. Look At Weight

Because fifth wheels are longer than travel trailers, they also tend to be heavier. 

On average, a fifth wheel weighs somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds. In contrast, travel trailers tend to weigh between 3,000 to 12,000 pounds. In both cases, gear and other items commonly packed for a camping trip (like water weight) tend to add weight, as well. It’s good to factor in an additional thousand pounds.

You’ll want to make sure to take this weight and look at your vehicle’s towing capacity. You won’t want to get a camper that is too heavy for what your current vehicle can safely tow, as this can lead to major damage to your vehicle.

The Bowlus travel trailer is incredibly lightweight and can be towed by almost any SUV and even some standard cars, making it a much better choice than a fifth wheel. 

#3. How Much Living and Storage Space Do You Need?

Possibly one of the most important factors for people when looking at campers is the amount of living and storage space. 

Overall, fifth wheels tend to be taller than travel trailers. This can give the illusion of having more usable space when it often doesn’t actually mean that. Travel trailers provide a similar amount of livable space. 

#4. What Type Of Towing Vehicle Will You Need?

Another important consideration to make when choosing between a fifth wheel and a travel trailer is the type of towing vehicle that will be needed to tow it.

Unfortunately, this is one area that fifth wheels fall behind on. When you are towing a huge fifth wheel, you need a huge truck with a special hitch. Would you rather drive a long distance in an uncomfortable pickup or a small luxury SUV like a Range Rover, Porsche or Audi?

Travel trailers, on the other hand, can be towed by any vehicle with a hitch that meets the weight requirements. This means not just trucks but also SUVs, and even certain cars may be able to tow a travel trailer without issue.

#5. Maneuverability

This is a factor to consider, but it is also a very individual decision based on the experience of the driver. Some people consider fifth wheels more easily drivable and maneuverable, but that is often people who don’t have as much experience driving with a trailer attached to the back.

It really all comes down to how comfortable you are driving with a trailer attached to the back of your car. Fifth wheels tend to be taller in height, which also means that they are more likely to catch the wind when driving on the interstate or highway. 

Bowlus trailers are designed for the safest and easiest driving out there. Their signature shape lends to their aerodynamic quality, which allows for easy lane changing and going around curves without risk. Because they’re so lightweight, they don’t add extra weight to the back of your vehicle, meaning that they’re incredibly easy to maneuver. 

Pros And Cons Of Fifth Wheels Vs. Travel Trailers

With all that in mind, let’s take a concise look at the different pros and cons of each type of camper. 

Pros Of Fifth Wheels

  • Tend to have more living space, as well as possible multi-level floor plans
  • Additional storage space and the ability to haul larger gear like ATVs and Dirt Bikes.

Pros Of Travel Trailers

  • Able to be towed by a wider range of vehicles
  • Easier to drive and maneuver
  • Access to more campsites because of length and width restrictions.
  • Less power required to heat and cool the camper
  • Lower height clearance for less blowing while on the road
  • Better fuel economy

Cons of Fifth Wheels

  • Not very fuel-efficient
  • Needs a large truck to tow
  • More expensive maintenance
  • Potential clearance issues due to their height
  • Very difficult to drive with poor handling

Why Bowlus Is Better

Even though some travel trailers have cons, Bowlus has removed all those issues with its iconic design. It’s lightweight and easy to tow, provides all the space that you need, and you even get much-needed privacy with the Bowlus, because you can section off the master bedroom. Our amenities are based on luxury— you’re getting heated floors, a fully stocked galley, and a hotel-style bathroom that will please even the pickiest traveler. 

Not only that, but we provide plenty of storage space, so that even the so-called “pros” of a fifth wheel are included in your Bowlus travel trailer. This travel trailer truly has everything you need.

Why Camping Is Important

No matter what you choose, camping is an incredibly amazing, beneficial activity for anyone to do. Here are just a few of the benefits and why you should make camping a more regular part of your life, whether that is in a fifth wheel or a travel trailer.

  • Helps reduce stress— Camping is one of the best ways to reduce stress that is out there. You can unplug and allow yourself to leave all of your responsibilities at home. Unwinding in nature lets you go with the flow more, which is something that can be brought back with you long after you’re home.
  • Helps build relationships— In addition to unwinding yourself, camping helps you develop deeper, more genuine relationships with the people in your life. Without all of the distractions of everyday life, you can get to know each other in a more real way.
  • It’s Confidence Boosting— Being able to go out into the wilderness and know that you can handle anything that it has to throw at you is a real confidence boost. The same is true for any small children that may camp with you.
  • Promotes a Greater Connection With Nature— As humans, we tend to be very disconnected from nature. Going camping can reconnect us with that essential part of humanity, which also gives us a greater appreciation of how amazing it can be. The human/environment connection is one of the most important on earth.

In Conclusion…

After comparing all the pros and cons of fifth wheels versus travel trailers, hopefully, you feel much more prepared to make a decision. Camping and traveling the country is a freedom that everyone deserves to experience. 

Bowlus is the best, and there’s no question about it. With our iconic, luxurious design, you get all the amenities you need, and none of the cons that sometimes come with other, lower quality trailers. 

Sources:

https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/towing/towing-capacity/vehicle/towing-capacity-chart.htm 

https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/towing/equipment/hitches/fifth-wheel-hitches.htm

https://koa.com/blog/the-benefits-of-camping-why-camping-is-good-for-you/

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