Watch this before buying a Fifth Wheel
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Watch this before buying a Fifth Wheel

– Hi folks, I’m Ian Baker and if you’re in the market for an RV, you may find yourself
overwhelmed with options. But I’m here to help navigate
you through the process. This video’s gonna focus on fifth wheels, what to look for, and some
major decisions you need to make to help narrow down your search. Let’s start with where the
term fifth wheel came from and essentially what it is. Basically people copied a design used for horse drawn carriages and placed an actual wheel
on the back of a truck to attach a trailer,
which would allow it turn on a horizontal plane. Because it was literally another wheel placed on a four wheeled truck it was called the fifth wheel. Although a fifth wheel
hitch and king pin today have had some obvious improvements, the concept of how it works
still remains mostly the same. So why are fifth wheels so popular and why do people seek them out? A lot of people like fifth wheels because they tend to give you more space and storage than travel trailers. Plus, because the pivot point is on or in front of the rear axle,
it tows much easier as well. The truck and fifth wheel
move on the road as one unit almost completely eliminating sway. Fifth wheels, often times,
will also have nicer amenities as standards such as auto level, residential refrigerators,
or upgraded A/Cs just to name a few. You may find yourself saying, Ian, fifth wheels sounds great
but with so many options, where do I start? Well, one of the first
things you’ll need to decide is if you plan on towing
with your current truck or buying a new one. Bare in mind that you need a pickup truck to tow a fifth wheel, unfortunately an SUV
just isn’t going to work. The next part can be a little confusing, but I’ll do my best to
try and simplify it. Let’s start with the truck, there are two important
pieces of information we’re going to need. First up is tow capacity,
which as the name suggests is how much your truck can tow. One of the easiest ways to find this is by visiting where you can enter the make,
model, and year of the truck and it will give your tow capacity. Secondly you’ll want to
find your truck’s payload, this is how much weight your
truck can haul or carry. Everything you up in your truck including cargo, passengers, and the pin weight of the fifth wheel are all taken into account here. If you don’t readily have
this information available, you can take the truck’s GVWR
or gross vehicle weight rating and subtract from it the
curb weight of the truck, which will give you the truck’s payload. That, for the most part, covers what you’ll need
to know on the truck. However, you also need
two pieces of information on the fifth wheel. The first one you’ll need to
know is the fifth wheel’s UVW, or unloaded vehicle weight. This is the weigh of the
fifth wheel before propane, batteries, and everything else is added. The second piece of
info you’ll need, again, is the GVWR but this will
be of the fifth wheel, not to be confused the GVWR of the truck. Both the UVW and the
GVWR of the fifth wheel should be located somewhere on your RV. The GVWR is generally found on a sticker on the outside on the off
door side of your fifth wheel and the UVW is usually
somewhere around the entry door. Once you have all the
necessary information, you will then take the
UVW of the fifth wheel and add to that the weight
of your propane tanks, batteries, water, and an educated guess of the weight of your stuff
that you pack in the RV. On average people pack around
750 to 1500 pounds of stuff, however that can vary
greatly from person to person and I highly recommend you have your loaded fifth wheel weighed
before you first big trip to ensure you are towing safely. The last thing you’ll want to do is take the loaded weight
of your fifth wheel and compare that to the
tow capacity of your truck. Many people like to have
a 10 to 15% buffer zone from the max tow capacity of the truck, but again, this varies
from person to person. Be cognizant that after
you load the fifth wheel, including your propane, water,
and everything you pack, that it is under the
GVWR of the fifth wheel. Also be sure you’re not exceeding
the payload of the truck, this especially important
in half ton trucks as their tow capacities can
handle big, large fifth wheels but their payload cannot. Next up is the profile of the fifth wheel. While there are low profile fifth wheels, the main two out here today
are full and mid profile. While not necessarily something you need to decide right away, I do want to go over the
major differences of the two as it will help you
narrow down your search. Mid profile fifth wheels
are generally lighter and often times shorter
than full profiles. This can be beneficial if
you’re towing through mountains or if you plan on towing a boat or trailer behind your fifth wheel to help stay under the
length restrictions. You can spot a mid
profile from the exterior as the front and roof line will generally slope down. If you’re looking to tow
with a half ton truck, you’ll most likely want mid pro as they often have shorter floor plans, and again, are lighter,
including less pin weight. High profile fifth
wheels on the other hand are taller up front, allowing
most six foot tall people to stand comfortably. Also, they usually higher
end amenities as standards, things like auto level,
solid surface counter tops and king beds are much more
common in a full profile. Some manufactures even use
a Z frame or drop frame which gives massive exterior storage. Once you have narrowed
down what you can tow and which profile you desire, you can then narrow it down further based upon arguably the
most important factor which is floor plan. This is where the greatest variant lies in where you really need to determine how and where you plan on using your RV. My recommendation is to
start with how many people need to sleep in your fifth
wheel on a regular basis. If the answer is four or more, I generally recommend an RV with bunks or a toy hauler with
a drop down queen bed. While dinettes and sofas
often do convert into beds, they usually aren’t the most comfortable and many people find it to be a hassle to make them every night and take care of them every morning. So, let’s take a look at
some of the floor plans that offer plenty of sleeping space. One of the most common for several years is the rear bunkhouse. This floor plan offers
excellent separation for the parents and children alike. Not only do the kids get their own space, but this also allows
parents to stay up later without disturbing the kids and you get a dedicated napping room if you have smaller kiddos. These layouts generally offer three or four bunks in the back and sometimes will have a slide out, housing either a sofa or a dinette. Outside kitchens are also fairly
prevalent with this layout. So for the family that enjoys some time to themselves at night or loves the idea of cooking outside, this is a good option to consider. Next up is the rear
corner bunk floor plan. This floor plan is similar to what we see in travel trailer layouts. One of the big advantages of having this in a fifth wheel however is that it provides extras sleeping space while having the excellent towability that comes with a fifth wheel. Plus this floor plan
usually maintains a shorter overall length, making
it ideal for the family that wants to tow a boat
or other type of trailer like a snowmobile, motorcycle, golf cart, whatever it may be behind them. The newest and hottest bunk floor plan to hit the fifth wheel
market is the mid bunk. This layout is for the person who wants the best of both worlds, you’ll get a spacious rear
living area for entertaining as well as often times a large kitchen with an island thanks to
the duel opposing slides. Where this one really shines however is the mid bunk room. This usually houses two bunks for sometimes a top bunk
with a soft directly across from an entertainment area that also usually has storage. Some of these mid bunk
layouts will also offer lofts above this mid bunk room providing even more sleeping space. So, for the family that
wants the best of both worlds and has a big enough
truck to tow one of these big fifth wheel layouts,
this is an excellent option. Toy haulers are often
overlooked as options for sleeping a lot of people. While, yes, they’re certainly
great for their main purpose which is to haul motorcycles,
quads, golf carts, side by sides, et cetera. Certain layouts can also sleep more people than most bunk models. This is mainly do to the
power bed system in the back of some toy haulers that in
conjunction with the rear sofas will form two queen beds, allowing you to comfortably
sleep four adults. Naturally, because of the large garage, toy haulers also make hauling
all of your camping gear like chairs, bikes, large
kid toys an absolute breeze. So don’t be put off by the name, I’d strongly consider taking
a look at this as an option. If however, it is
generally only two people and the occasional guests, then we look at some of the other options. Let’s start with front living, front living floor plans
offer a residential feel to any fifth wheel thanks to the elevated and separated main living area. These floor plans are
great for entertaining and usually offer two opposing sofas that are not only perfect for relaxing but also fold down into beds for guests. Often times, they will
also offer theater seating directly across from a TV and a fireplace for the
ultimate couples relaxation. Next up, our rear living floor plans. These have been one of the most popular couple’s floor plans for years thanks to the open floor plan layout that you generally get. Rear living fifth wheels will often times have a center kitchen island, offering outstanding
prep space and storage plus a large living area with a sofa and theater seating across
from a TV and fireplace. Because of the open floor plan concept, if done right, these floor plans can be a little bit shorter than other, of living centric floor plans but still feel very large. For the couples that love to cook, rear kitchen floor
plans are where it’s at. You get a dedicated kitchen in the back of the fifth wheel where people aren’t constantly getting in your way. These floor plans can
sometimes be quite unique, offering large hoods or high top bars, or just a lot of other amenities you generally don’t find in other layouts. There are other floor plans as well, like front kitchen, front bath, and rear entertainment. While the ones we went over are certainly the most prevalent, a few of these other niche ones are definitely worth checking out because it might be something
that you fall in love with. The last thing I want to touch on are some of the extra amenities
that come in fifth wheels. Depending on your needs,
these can be make it or break it factors that may
be high on the priority list. Some of these include a
second or possibly third A/C, if you plan on going to Arizona or other really hot climates, this can makes sure you’re
nice and comfortable even on the hottest of days. An island kitchen for
storage and prep space, I talked about that in some
of the other floor plans, these can be great for any cooking needs. Pantry storage may also be
something you’re looking for, possibly a king sized bed. A generator is also something
you may want to think about for the person that likes to camp in more remote places. Appliance sizes are also something that people usually don’t think about. Sure, you see a residential
refrigerator right away but maybe you want a bigger water heater. If the whole family has to take a bath, that’s something you’ll
probably want to consider before making your final decision. All right folks, that wraps it up. Hopefully this video helps show you some of the different options
available in fifth wheels and help narrow it down so you can find the best type of fifth wheel
that works for your needs. For more in depth information, be sure to check out our
RV reviews on YouTube for a complete walkthrough. If you’re ready to start shopping, visit
and use our guided RV search to shop over 20,000 RVs. Thanks again for watching, I’m Ian Baker and let’s go camping.


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