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Everything you need to know about Fifth Wheel RVs

What is a Fifth Wheel?

Fifth Wheels are a type of RV that connects via a special Fifth Wheel Trailer Hitch into the bed of a truck, right behind the cab.

Iconic features of fifth wheel RVs are an elevated master bedroom that sits above the truck bed, a tall ceiling, and the most spacious floor plans and storage of any other recreational vehicles.

Fifth Wheel RVB&W Trailer Hitches
Fifth Wheel RVB&W Trailer Hitches

Advantages of a Fifth Wheel:

1. Separate Master Bedroom

Because fifth wheel campers attach to the bed of the truck instead of the traditional ball hitch, they have an elevated bedroom situated above the truck. This creates the distinct look of the fifth wheel.

Inside the camper, there are several stairs leading up to the bedroom. This allows for greater separation of the bedroom from the rest of the living space, creating the feeling of a traditional house.

2. Ample Storage

Fifth wheel RVs are designed to offer ample storage space. There are storage areas underneath the living space of the camper, as well as in the cabinets and cubbies throughout the inside.

Because fifth wheels don’t have a drive-motor in them, like the Class B and Class C RVs do, the extra space is devoted to storage.

Fifth Wheel RV StorageForest River

3. Modern Amenities

Fifth wheels are among the most luxurious of recreational vehicles. Of course, the size of the RV can limit the options, and there are different levels of amenities.

It’s common for fifth wheels to include kitchens with stoves, microwaves and full sized refrigerators, and sometimes even dishwashers. They often boast at least one bathroom, with the option of a tub as well as a showerhead. This is a highly coveted feature for travelers with young children.

Other amenities like electric fireplaces, kitchen tables, pull out couches, office desk space and spacious living rooms are available depending on the RV length, floor plan and number of slide-outs.

The goal of a fifth wheel is to offer a truly luxurious home on wheels.

4. Lots of Space

Because fifth wheels have the master bedroom above the bed of the truck, they usually offer more spacious floor plans than other travel trailers.

They also have taller ceilings which make the inside seem much more open, and accommodate taller travelers better.

5. Driving Stability

Fifth wheels connect to a truck with a fifth wheel trailer hitch in the bed of the truck, instead of to the ball hitch at the back of the truck like a travel trailer does. Because the connection is more toward the center of the truck’s gravity, this makes it easier and more stable for the truck to tow.

Fifth wheels offer greater stability over travel trailers and are able to be towed at higher speeds without feeling the swaying effect that is common with travel trailers.

6. Ability to Detach Truck from Fifth Wheel

Fifth wheels can be easily detached from the tow vehicle, allowing you to have individual use of your truck. This is great if you are an infrequent RV user and want to use your truck in everyday life, or if you want to use your vehicle while you’re on the road RVing.

This is a distinct benefit over Class B and C campers, in which the vehicle and living space are one.

 

Disadvantages of a Fifth Wheel:

1. Require a powerful tow vehicle and special hitch.

Fifth wheels require a powerful truck in order to be towed. Depending on the size and weight of the fifth wheel, ½ ton trucks maybe be adequate. However, for larger fifth wheel RVs, ¾ or even 1 ton trucks maybe be necessary.

Careful consideration should be given to the weight rating of the fifth wheel and what your vehicle is rated to be able to tow. Consult an expert to determine if your vehicle is adequate to pull the RV you’re looking at.

You will also need a special fifth wheel trailer hitch installed into the bed of your truck. This is where the fifth wheel is hooked to.

2. Gas mileage

Compared to a pickup or pop up camper or small travel trailer which can possibly be pulled with a smaller vehicle, fifth wheels require large trucks as tow vehicles. This decreases the fuel efficiency and makes travel more expensive.

However, compared to many Class B and Class C campers, fifth wheels can get slightly better gas mileage.

3. Cost

Because of the luxury nature of fifth wheels, they are often more expensive than travel trailers of equal size.

One way to lower the cost is to consider buying a used fifth wheel.

Regardless of whether a fifth wheel is bought new or used, it is usually still a more affordable option than Class B vans or Class C motorhomes.

 

Styles of Fifth Wheel:

Fifth Wheel RV Photo | Keystone CougarKeystone Cougar
Fifth Wheel RV Photo - Wildwood by Forest RiverForest River – Wildwood RV

If you’re truly looking for a small RV and a small fifth wheel is on your list, Scamp makes a 19 foot Fifth Wheel that offers many of the amenities that make a fifth wheel an amazing choice, in a very small package.

Small Fifth Wheel - ScampScamp Trailers

 

Fifth wheel RVs are luxurious campers that are the favorite choice of many retirees and people who RV full time.

They are among the most deluxe of RV options, and are truly a house on wheels.

 

Everything you need to know about Class C Motorhomes

What is a Class C Motorhomes?

A Class C Motorhome is a type of small RV.

The distinguishing characteristics are the medium length and the bed bunk that sits above the driving cab. They come in a variety of sizes and offer a range of amenities as well as slide out options to offer a cozy home on wheels.

Class C Motorhome | Small RVForest River

 

Advantages of a Class C Motorhome:

1. Elevated bed above drivers seats – more room.

Class C motorhomes have a bed in the bump out section that sits above the driving cab. This is unique to this type, and offers additional sleeping space while maximizing the room space.

2. Variety of lengths, floor plans, amenities to fit your needs.

Class C motorhomes range in length and floor plans. They also come with various slide outs, depending on the model and length. This makes it possible for a Class C motorhome to offer much more interior space when parked over it’s Class B counterpart.

Common amenities include bathrooms, kitchens, living spaces, master beds and usually a second bed space for additional guests as well.

3. Slide outs available for more room.

Having the option of multiple slide outs can greatly increase the living space inside the RV.

Solera Class C Motorhome Floor PlanForest River – Solera

 

Forester Class C Motorhome Floor PlanForest River – Forester

 

4. You are able to tow additional items like a boat.

Because Class C motorhomes are an all in one vehicle, the back hitch is left open to tow additional items. Boats, trailers with ATVs or other toys, or even a small car are commonly pulled behind a Class C RV.

5. Passengers can safely ride in the camper while you’re driving.

These RVs are designed to safely transport additional passengers inside the RV when it’s being driven. Seat belts are available for safety.

 

Disadvantages of a Class C Motorhome:

1. No separate car unless you tow one.

Unless you pull a vehicle behind your motorhome, you don’t have the option of separating your living space from your vehicle like you do with a truck and a trailer.

Instead, they are one. This makes a quick run to the grocery store more of a process.

It can also be a problem if you need to have your RV repaired. Your home will be in the auto shop too.

2. Gas mileage

Class C Motorhomes are not aerodynamic, so they don’t get very good gas mileage. This increases travel costs.

3. Cost

Class C Motorhomes are usually slightly less expensive than Class B Van Campers.

However, because they have the driving equipment and living space all in one, they are much more expensive than a travel trailer or fifth wheel.

Buying used helps to decrease the cost of a Class C Motorhome.

 

Styles of Class C Motorhome:

Class C Motorhomes come in a variety of lengths, styles and appearances.

They have the option of many different types of slide outs depending on what you’d like bigger – the kitchen, the living room, guest sleeping quarters etc. The choice is yours!

Jayco Class C MotorhomeJayco [photo above and below]

Jayco Class C Motorhome Floorplan

 

Another Class C option from Jayco below:

Class C Motorhomes from Jayco

A variety of floor plans are available for this particular motorhome. Depending on the configuration you’d like, you can choose where your slide outs would be and what gets expanded.

[Click the photo below to view larger.]

Class C Motorhomes from JaycoJayco – Seneca

 

Class C Motorhomes are a favorite for people who want a moderately sized RV with lots of amenities.

They’re also a favorite for people who want to tow a boat without having their rig stretch like a huge long caravan down the highway.

For many, it’s the best option for a spacious home on wheels.

 

Everything you need to know about Class B Van Campers

What is a Class B Van Camper?

A Class B Van Camper is a type of small RV that looks like a van with an extended roof.

They can sometimes be slightly longer than a traditional van as well.

They offer all the amenities of a larger motorhome in a compact vehicle space.

Class B Motorhome | Van Camper | Small RVWinnebago / Leisure Travel Vans

 

Advantages of a Class B Van:

1. Compact, all in one. Many amenities.

Van Campers are around the same size as a traditional van, usually with an elevated roof. This means the living space in the back of the van is very compact, in order to fit all the amenities of home in a small space.

Van campers have sinks, microwaves, stoves, refrigerators, sleeping beds, small bathrooms and TV’s, all in the back of the van. Everything you need for comfortable living, in a vehicle you can drive and park easily.

Because of the small size, they are designed to have no wasted space. Most models allow the driver and passenger seats to swivel around and become part of the living area of the van.

2. Easy parking and maneuverability

Because Class B RVs are roughly the same size as a normal van, they are easy to drive and can be parked in most any parking spots.

This is a huge advantage over other types of recreational vehicles, which require careful maneuvering through parking lots and finding extra large parking spaces for your rig.

3. Can be used as an everyday vehicle.

Van Campers look so similar to regular vans that many people use them as a day to day vehicle as well as a camper.

The profile and look of the van campers is as inconspicuous and non-RV as possible; something the Class C motorhomes can’t offer.

4. Smaller than Class C so they get better gas mileage than many RVs.

Van Campers are built more aerodynamically and are smaller than Class C motorhomes so they often get better gas mileage. This makes travel more affordable, while offering many of the same amenities.

5. Passengers can ride in the van while driving.

A big benefit of the Class B van campers and the Class C motorhomes is that passengers can safely ride in the back of the RV while it’s being driven. They come with seat belts strictly for this purpose.

Some people will try to sneak their passengers into a travel trailer or other towable RV while they’re driving down the road. This is actually legal in about half of the states in the country, and illegal in the others. Regardless of the laws, it’s a dangerous idea because the trailers aren’t equipped with seat belts to keep your passengers safe.

The Class B and Class C small RVs remedy this problem.

6. Can tow a boat or other trailer behind on the ball hitch.

Van Campers can have an exposed ball hitch on the back of them, giving you the opportunity to tow additional items like a boat, or a trailer with ATV’s on it.

Because the vans aren’t all that long to begin with, people are able to keep the overall length of their rig down while still bringing along their boat or other toys.

 

Disadvantages of a Class B Van:

1. Very small

Class B Van Campers usually don’t offer slide outs on the sides of the RV like Class C motorhomes do. Some models have a slide out in the back, but most traditional Class B van campers only have as much space as you see from the outside of the van.

Therefore, a lot of amenities are being squeezed into a very small space. People may find the confines of the van a little TOO small, if it’s going to be used for any extended camping stays.

2. Cost

Compared to towable small RVs, van campers are much more expensive. Granted, no additional truck or tow vehicle is needed, but Class B van campers are usually well over $100,000, even if they’re used.

The investment might prove to be prohibitive for some people looking into a small RV.

3. More to go wrong – the engine is part of your camper.

Because the van includes both the living amenities as well as the driving engine, if something goes wrong with the mechanisms of the van, your home suffers as well. They aren’t two separate parts like a truck and a travel trailer, where you could leave your home behind as the truck goes to the shop. Your home will be in the repair shop too.

 

Styles of Class B Vans:

There are many options for the layouts and amenities in the inside of a Class B van camper. Overall, the shape and appearance from the outside is very similar – with variations in color and some variations in size.

Class B Van CampersRoadtrek Van Campers

Exterior and interior images of this van camper:

Class B Van Camper Class B Van Camper Class B Van Camper Class B Van Camper

There is a subclass of Van Campers called Class B Plus [B+] which are extended van campers. They offer more interior room, while still keeping the aerodynamic shape and easy driving and parking abilities of a traditional Class B van camper.

Class B Plus Motorhome Van CamperSiesta

 

Class B Van Campers are well loved for their non-RV appearance and easy driving and parking. They offer a great option for people who want to have a compact home on wheels, and have the necessary funds to afford one.

 

Everything you need to know about Travel Trailers

What is a Travel Trailer?

Travel trailers are a type of recreational vehicle that connect to your tow vehicle with a ball hitch, and allow you to take the comforts of home on the road with you.

There are many different styles and sizes of travel trailers, from very small to huge 35+ feet trailers.

Travel Trailers | Small RV OptionsForest River

Advantages of a Travel Trailer:

1. Hooks to the Ball Hitch

Travel trailers hook directly to the ball hitch of your truck or tow vehicle. This means that you don’t need any additional hook up equipment like a fifth wheel camper requires.

Because the trailer can be disconnected from your vehicle, this allows your truck to be used independently of the RV. If you’re camping and need to run into town, you don’t need to take your camper with you for a quick stop at the grocery store.

2. Vast Variety in Size and Style

Travel trailers are the type of RV with the most variety. You can buy small 13-17 foot travel trailers all the way up the huge trailers that are 37+ feet in length.

This gives the buyer lots of variety and options.

The floor plans also vary greatly, offering you many different options, and increasing the chance of finding the perfect layout for you.

3. Modern Amenities

Travel trailers have all of the comforts of home from kitchens and bathrooms to living rooms and comfy bedrooms.

Depending on the size of RV, they can include full sized fridges, pull out couches for additional sleeping space for guests, electric fireplaces and other luxurious amenities.

4. Ample Storage

Travel trailers are designed to offer storage underneath the living space of the trailer, as well as in the many cabinets and storage cubbies inside.

Because these trailers do not have a motor in them, like the Class B and Class C RVs do, there is extra space devoted to storage, instead of being taken up by an engine.

5. Affordability

Compared to the Class B, Class C and many fifth wheel options, travel trailers are often the least expensive option. For people who are looking for space and modern amenities but are budget conscious as well, travel trailers are a great small RV option.

 

Disadvantages of a Travel Trailer:

1. Require a more powerful tow vehicle

Towing power is an important consideration with travel trailers.

Depending on the size of the travel trailer, it might be still possible to tow a small travel trailer with an SUV, van or a very powerful car.

However, mid to large travel trailers require a truck as the tow vehicle.

Careful consideration should be given to the weight rating of the trailer and what your vehicle is rated to be able to tow.

2. Gas mileage

Compared to a pickup camper or a pop up camper which are lighter and smaller, a travel trailer being pulled by a truck is going to get less miles to the gallon. This makes travel more expensive.

However, compared to Class B and Class C campers, travel trailers get better gas mileage and are more efficient.

3. Swaying when driving

Because travel trailers connect to the back of your vehicle on a ball hitch, they are greatly affected by wind resistance and driving conditions. They require a slower driving speed, and sway back and forth on the road while driving.

For a more stable RV, fifth wheels are a great option because they hook into the bed of a truck, right behind the cab. This increases stability, decreases swaying and allows the rig to be pulled faster down the highway.

If you’re only using your RV for camping and travel relatively close to home, this might not be something you’re concerned with. But if you’re planning to travel extensively across the country, the swaying and stability might be a very important consideration.

 

Styles of Travel Trailers:

There are small travel trailer options like the Scamp and other short campers:

Scamp - Small Travel TrailerScamp – 16 ft

 

Small Travel TrailerRockwood Mini Lite – Forest River

 

And many large travel trailer options like the Canyon Cat below:

Travel TrailerCanyon Cat – Palomino

 

Travel trailers are a broad category of RVs that include small RVs all the way to very large trailers.

Depending on your needs, you have many options to choose from in order to find the perfect travel trailer to suit your needs.

 

Everything you need to know about Pop Up Campers

There are many different types of RV’s to choose from, depending on your desires and requirements.

One of the most affordable and easily stored options is the Pop Up Camper.

What is a Pop Up Camper?

A Pop Up Camper, also knows as a “Folding Tent Trailer” is a type of recreational vehicle that is stored collapsed into a small, flat rectangle, and can be “popped up” with slide out beds for camping use.

They are towed behind a vehicle on a ball hitch, and are relatively light so they can be used with many common types of vehicles from vans and SUV’s to trucks and even some full sized cars.

Pop Up Campers | Small RVPalomino

Advantages of a Pop Up Camper:

1. Easily Stored and Transported

Pop up campers fold down into a small rectangle on wheels which allows for easy transport down the road, and convenient storage in a relatively small space.

2. Allows for the feeling of Camping

Many people who use this type of camper love that it gives them the feel of camping while offering some of the comforts of home.

The main benefit of using a pop up camper is that you are up off of the ground and are protected against rain and other elements in ways you aren’t in a tent on the ground. It is easier to keep dry and to stay warm in wet and cool conditions.

Because the walls of the popped up roof and the slide out beds are made of canvas, the sights and smells of nature can penetrate the camper, which furthers the “camping” feel.

3. Modern Amenities

Unlike camping in a tent, this type of RV offers many of the comforts of home. They often include kitchens with a refrigerator, sink and stove, a table and the opportunity for 8+ people to sleep on soft beds.

4. Towable with most vehicles

Because pop up cameras are relatively light, they are able to be towed by a wide range of vehicles including trucks, vans, SUV’s and even full sized cars.

Be sure to check with your particular vehicle to see if it’s rated to tow the weight of the pop up you are considering.

 

Disadvantages of a Pop Up Camper:

1. Not designed for extreme weather. Cold or hot.

Because this type of camper has canvas walls, it is not rated for extreme temperatures or weather.

Some people may use a small space heater in order to continue camping in the cool spring/fall weather, but winter camping in the freezing cold is not an option in this type of camper.

Other people install air conditioners in their units to help combat summer heat. This helps give a little climate control to the campers.

However, the nature of the canvas walls make it much like a tent in the fact that the temperatures outside greatly affect the climate inside the camper.

2. Requires setup and break down.

This type of camper is fully collapsed when it’s transported. That means that when you arrive at your destination, you are required to set it up.

The steps include leveling out the camper, raising the roof, sliding out the bed slides and then moving items inside the camper into their proper position for active camping.

While not difficult, these steps make setup and break down take time and effort.

3. Canvas walls – sounds and smells don’t stay in or out of the camper walls.

The canvas walls of pop up campers allows sounds and smells to permeate them.

This is good if you’re looking to smell the ocean breeze or listen to the sounds of birds chirping in the mornings.

It’s not so good if you’re looking for peace and quiet and are instead parked next to a site full of rowdy night owls, or if you like to stay up late playing games and are hoping to not wake the neighbors.

4. No bathrooms [in almost all models]

Pop up campers are designed to be tents on wheels. Because of their collapsible nature and limited space, they very rarely have bathrooms inside of them.

Portable toilets are an option for people who don’t want to make midnight trips to the campground bathrooms.

However, most travelers using pop up campers are still among the campground guests using the communal bathrooms and showers.

 

Requirements for Pop Up Campers:

Pop up campers can be towed with most vehicles such as full sized cars, vans, SUV’s and trucks, as long as the vehicles have a trailer hitch.

Make sure to check your vehicle’s towing capacity in order to see if it’s rated to tow a pop up camper.

 

Styles of Pop Up Campers:

Pop Up campers are available in a range of brands, styles and levels.

Most have a very similar look to them: a rectangle with beds that slide out on the ends, and they all collapse into a long, flat rectangle for travel.

Popped Up for Camping

Pop Up CampersPalomino

Collapsed for Traveling

Pop Up Campers -  ClosedPalomino

 

While most pop up campers DO NOT have a bathroom, it’s worth noting that there are a very select few brands and models that do offer true luxury in a Pop Up – they offer a hard walled shower AND flushable toilet.

Screen shot 2014-11-10 at 2.56.15 PM_2Rockwood High Wall Tent Camper Models
Screen shot 2014-11-10 at 3.00.58 PMFlagstaff High Wall Tent Camper

 

Pop up campers offer a less rustic alternative to tent camping, and are usually the most affordable type of RV.

They give some protection from the elements – especially rain – and offer many of the amenities of home like refrigerators, stoves and sinks with running water. And because of the permeable canvas walls, they allow you to still experience many of the lovable aspects of camping like the smells and sounds of nature.