Fifth Wheel vs. Travel Trailer (vol. 1)

Steady fifth wheel trailerHere’s another reason to get a fifth wheel instead of a bumper-mounted travel trailer. The last few legs of our roadtrip have confirmed that we made the right choice…

When we researched purchasing a travel trailer or a fifth wheel, we discovered that fifth wheels are much less likely to sway in high winds as the weight is centered over the axle instead of hanging off the bumper.

Over the past few days we have experienced some pretty high winds. Traveling south on CA highway 395 and then up out of Death Valley, we experienced strong winds from all directions. Not once did I feel instability in the trailer. I never noticed the fifth wheel sway or fishtail from side to side. It felt steady even in the strongest winds and was always rock steady in the rear view mirror.

We followed some friends in a Jeep liberty with a Chalet RV Trailer for a while from Silver Lake in the Sierras to Twin Lakes near Bridgeport. At one point we became quite alarmed to see how severely their trailer was swinging back and forth. We noticed them slow to try and correct the situation and later heard them describe how scary it was.

Now, I know there is no comparison to between a 24′ fifth wheel and a 14′ bumper-mounted folding trailer, but it was enough to confirm that we’ve made the right decision by choosing a fifth wheel for our full-timing RV adventure.

Some other reasons we selected our fifth wheel:

  • It was twice the size of the truck bed camper we originally consdiered (and nearly $10,000 less!)
  • It seems much easier to hitch and unhitch than a travel trailer
  • It is easier to maneuver than a trailer
  • It has a greater wight carrying capacity than a trailer

7 thoughts on “Fifth Wheel vs. Travel Trailer (vol. 1)”

  1. Last month we drove through the the Columbia River Gorge pulling our fifth-wheel. The gusting winds were probably 50-60 miles per hour pushing against the side of our fifth-wheel.

    We were straight and steady down the road while folks pulling travel trailers could barely keep them on the road. It was frightening to pass them because the trailers were swaying from all the cross winds, and those poor folks were traveling super slow, like a white-knukle ride just to get down the road.

    • Thanks for the comment! It is harrowing indeed to see those trailers sway, but most comforting knowing we’ve made the right decision to haul fifth wheels.

  2. I think you made a wise choice buying a fifth wheel instead of a travel trailer for towing. Severe swaying from side to side while towing isn’t a good situation to be in. not only when you’re driving can strong winds be an issue but they can also be an issue when the fifth wheel is parked up. if you want to make your fifth wheel more stable when parked then I’d recommend fitting fifth wheel stabilizers. Good luck with the travelling as I’m envious of your RV lifestyle.

  3. HOLLY @#$% you guys are so #$%^ lucky and smart to be doing what you are doing. I just do not believe it. I think how damn stoopid I am beating my head against the wall day and night for what? Ok there is the family, they are doing great, but dang the rat race is over for you and CONGRATULATIONS your are doing something INCREDIBLE!!! If you ever get near San Diego or Fallbrook were right off 395 and the 15…


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