Ultimate Guide: 9 Way to Choosing Correct Your RV

Categories: Tips & Tricks

If you are planning on buying your very first RV, you should do some research. Trailers and RV’s come in a variety of types offering unique features and designs. Getting the best trailer or motorhome to fit your personal needs is not an easy task.

If you are a fan of the outdoors or you want to go on a road trip to attend a concert, festival or explore new places then an RV is the perfect option.

Fifth Wheels are not only cheap but they are great for some adventurous fun out in the sun. Motorized RV’s however, are very costly, heavy and require a lot of maintenance. Coming at a low price with more space travel trailers and Fifth wheels are awesome. Let’s compare their features in more detail.

travel-trailers-and-fifth-wheelstravel-trailers-and-fifth-wheels
Trailers and RV’s come in a variety of types offering unique features and designs

Trailers and Fifth Wheel Differences

A fifth wheel and a travel trailer are both types of recreational vehicles (RVs) commonly used for camping, traveling, and outdoor adventures. While they share similarities, there are key differences between the two these vehicles.

trailers-and-fifth-wheel-differencestrailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences
A fifth wheel and a travel trailer are both types of recreational vehicles (RVs) commonly used for camping, traveling, and outdoor adventures

1. Size Matters

Fifth wheels often offer more interior space due to their unique design that extends over the bed of a pickup truck. They typically range in length from around 20 feet (6 meters) to over 40 feet (12 meters) or more. Larger fifth wheels may feature multiple bedrooms, bunk beds, or convertible sleeping areas, making them suitable for accommodating larger groups or families. Depending on the layout, a fifth wheel can generally accommodate anywhere from 2 to 8 or more people.


Travel trailers come in various sizes, from compact units to larger models, but they generally have less interior space compared to fifth wheels. Lengths can range from around 10 feet (3 meters) for very small teardrop trailers to over 30 feet (9 meters) for larger travel trailers. Travel trailers may have a single bedroom, a combination of sleeping areas such as bunk beds, convertible dinettes, and sofa beds. Depending on the size and layout, a travel trailer can typically accommodate 2 to 6 people.

trailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-size-matterstrailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-size-matters
Fifth wheels often offer more interior space due to their unique design that extends over the bed of a pickup truck

2. Cost Considerations

The price disparity between fifth wheels and travel trailers stems from their differences in size, complexity, and features. Fifth wheels are larger, offering more rooms and amenities, leading to higher production costs. Their complex construction and inclusion of slide-outs contribute to their elevated price. Travel trailers, being more compact and simpler to manufacture, are more affordable. The luxury and spaciousness of fifth wheels cater to a premium market, while travel trailers offer a budget-friendly alternative with comfort intact. The choice between the two depends on individual preferences, budget, and desired level of extravagance.

Reference price of fifth wheel

  • Entry-Level: $30,000 - $50,000
  • Mid-Range: $50,000 - $80,000
  • Luxury: $80,000 - $200,000+


Reference price of travel trailer

  • Teardrop Travel Trailer: $5,000 - $15,000
  • A-Frame Travel Trailer: $11,000 - $20,000
  • Tent Trailer / Pop-Up Trailer:  ~ $15,000.
  • Hybrid Trailer: ~ $30,000
  • Truck Camper: ~ $25,000

Related The Costs of RV Living

trailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-cost-considerationstrailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-cost-considerations
The price disparity between fifth wheels and travel trailers stems from their differences in size, complexity, and features

3. Drive

Fifth wheel
Fifth wheels offer superior maneuverability with tighter turns and improved cornering due to their pivot point over the tow vehicle's rear axle. They provide enhanced stability during towing, as the hitch design shifts more weight directly onto the tow vehicle's rear axle, resulting in smoother handling and reduced sway. Backing up a fifth wheel is often easier in tight spaces due to the intuitive turning motion enabled by the pivot point over the rear axle. The towing experience with a fifth wheel feels more connected and stable, fostering increased confidence and comfort, especially on highways and diverse road conditions.

Travel trailer
Travel trailers present challenges in maneuverability, particularly in tight spaces or sharp turns due to their longer length and rearward pivot point. They are more prone to sway, especially in windy conditions or when passing large vehicles, but sway control systems can help mitigate this issue. Backing up a travel trailer can be trickier, especially for less experienced drivers, as it requires mastering the opposite turning motion. The towing experience with a travel trailer might feel less connected compared to a fifth wheel due to the longer overhang and different hitching setup, resulting in a slightly different towing sensation and handling characteristics.

trailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-drivetrailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-drive
Fifth wheels offer superior maneuverability with tighter turns and improved cornering due to their pivot point over the tow vehicle's rear axle

4. Space

When comparing interior space between fifth wheels and travel trailers, it's important to consider your specific needs, preferences, and the number of occupants. Fifth wheels offer more expansive and luxurious living quarters, while travel trailers prioritize space efficiency and adaptability to various camping scenarios.

  • Camping Locations: The available space in travel trailers makes them suitable for a wider range of camping locations, including national park campgrounds and more remote areas where space may be limited.
  • Larger Groups: Fifth wheels, with their larger size and additional rooms, are often preferred by larger groups or families needing more sleeping and living areas.
  • Couples and Smaller Groups: Travel trailers can be an ideal choice for couples or smaller groups seeking a balance between comfort and maneuverability.
travel-trailers-and-fifth-wheels-spacetravel-trailers-and-fifth-wheels-space
When comparing interior space between fifth wheels and travel trailers, it's important to consider your specific needs, preferences, and the number of occupants

5. Ceiling Height

Fifth wheels generally offer higher ceiling heights, providing a more open and spacious interior. Travel trailers, on the other hand, might have slightly lower ceilings, resulting in a cozier atmosphere and potentially better towing efficiency. The choice between the two depends on individual preferences for interior ambiance, space utilization, and practical considerations such as towing ease.

trailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-ceiling-heighttrailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-ceiling-height
Fifth wheels generally offer higher ceiling heights, providing a more open and spacious interior

6. Weight

Fifth wheels are typically heavier and require a specialized towing setup with a pickup truck and fifth-wheel hitch. They provide added stability due to weight distribution. Travel trailers have a wider weight range, are generally lighter, and can be towed by a variety of vehicles with a standard trailer hitch. Your choice should be based on your tow vehicle's capabilities, desired amenities, and overall travel needs.

trailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-weighttrailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-weight
Fifth wheels are typically heavier and require a specialized towing setup with a pickup truck and fifth-wheel hitch

7. Floor Levels

Fifth wheels offer an elevated and split-level floor design with stairs or steps between areas, providing a spacious and distinct living experience. Travel trailers, with their lower and single-level floor, offer an open and accessible layout, creating a cozy and connected atmosphere. The choice between the two depends on preferences for interior layout, accessibility, and desired ambiance.

trailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-floor-levelstrailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-floor-levels
Fifth wheels offer an elevated and split-level floor design with stairs or steps between areas, providing a spacious and distinct living experience

8. Storage Units

Fifth wheels excel in storage, offering their larger size, including cabinets, closets, and basement compartments. Some have front storage accessible from outside, while travel trailers feature diverse solutions like exterior compartments and under-bed storage. Choose based on your storage needs and model features.

trailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-storage-unitstrailers-and-fifth-wheel-differences-storage-units
Fifth wheels excel in storage, offering their larger size, including cabinets, closets, and basement compartments

9. Fuel EfficiencyFuel Efficiency

Travel trailers tend to be more fuel-efficient compared to fifth wheels due to their lighter weight, streamlined design, and broader compatibility with smaller, fuel-efficient towing vehicles. However, actual fuel efficiency will vary depending on the specific models, towing vehicles, driving conditions, and personal driving habits. It's advisable to research the specific RV and towing vehicle combination you're considering and gather real-world fuel efficiency data to make an informed decision.

fuel-efficiencyfuel-efficiencyfuel-efficiencyfuel-efficiency
Travel trailers tend to be more fuel-efficient compared to fifth wheels due to their lighter weight, streamlined design, and broader compatibility with smaller, fuel-efficient towing vehicles

What You Should Consider to Make a Decision - Fifth Wheel or Travel Trailer

When embarking on the exciting journey of purchasing an RV, whether it's a fifth wheel or a travel trailer, there are several essential considerations that warrant careful contemplation. Taking the time to thoroughly ponder over these factors will not only ensure that you make a well-informed decision but also save you from potential financial regrets down the road. Let's delve into these considerations in detail to guide you towards acquiring the perfect RV that aligns harmoniously with your aspirations and needs.

Related RV Living Vs Buying a Home in Our Current Times

what-you-should-consider to-make-a-decision-fifth-wheel-or-travel-trailerwhat-you-should-consider to-make-a-decision-fifth-wheel-or-travel-trailer
When embarking on the exciting journey of purchasing an RV, whether it's a fifth wheel or a travel trailer, there are several essential considerations that warrant careful contemplation

1. Purpose and Travel Style

The very first aspect to weigh is the purpose behind your RV venture and the style of travel you envision. RVs are inherently designed for road trips, camping escapades, and the allure of the open road. If your travel plans are oriented towards short and spontaneous getaways, a travel trailer could be the ideal fit. Their compactness and convenience make them suitable for brief excursions. Conversely, if your heart yearns for extended journeys where comfort and spaciousness are paramount, a fifth wheel might be the more fitting choice. Their expansive interiors cater to longer stays, transforming your RV into a veritable home on wheels.

purpose-and-travel-stylepurpose-and-travel-style
The very first aspect to weigh is the purpose behind your RV venture and the style of travel you envision

2. Budget Considerations

The fiscal aspect of purchasing an RV is undoubtedly a pivotal consideration. The realm of RVs encompasses a diverse array of styles, designs, and functionalities, each with its corresponding price point. Ensuring your budget aligns harmoniously with your preferences is a crucial step. For those seeking economical options, travel trailers emerge as a pragmatic choice, offering affordability without compromising utility. However, if your inclination leans towards the lap of luxury and enhanced amenities, a fifth wheel might beckon with its opulent offerings, albeit at a potentially higher cost.

budget-onsiderationsbudget-onsiderations
The fiscal aspect of purchasing an RV is undoubtedly a pivotal consideration

3. Capacity and Cargo

Assessing the number of passengers and the volume of cargo you intend to carry is another pivotal factor. Travel trailers, due to their compact stature, necessitate streamlined packing and a focus on essentials. This could be optimal for couples or small families aiming for nimble exploration. On the other end of the spectrum, fifth wheels extend a more capacious interior, granting ample room for both travelers and their belongings. With generous storage capacities, you can embark on grand journeys without the constraints of space.

capacity-and-cargocapacity-and-cargo
Assessing the number of passengers and the volume of cargo you intend to carry is another pivotal factor

4. Fuel Efficiency and Economy

Considering the economic aspect of fuel consumption is essential, particularly for those mindful of budget constraints. Travel trailers, by virtue of their lighter weight and reduced size, typically offer enhanced fuel efficiency. If economical fuel consumption aligns with your priorities, travel trailers might hold a distinct advantage in this regard. However, if the allure of spacious interiors and an array of amenities supersedes fuel economy, the prospect of a fifth wheel offers comfort without compromising on your desire for adventure.

Related 12 Must-Ask Questions Before Purchasing a Used RV

fuel-efficiency-and-economyfuel-efficiency-and-economy
Considering the economic aspect of fuel consumption is essential, particularly for those mindful of budget constraints

5. Towing Necessities

Understanding the towing requirements is paramount before making an RV purchase. All RVs necessitate towing, typically facilitated by 4x4 trucks. Ensuring that your truck possesses a suitable trailer hitch on its bed is imperative. For towing a fifth wheel, a robust pickup truck is indispensable, whereas an SUV often proves sufficient for a travel trailer. If uncertainties arise regarding the towing process, reaching out to your dealer or accessing online resources can provide valuable insights and guidance.

towing-necessitiestowing-necessities
Understanding the towing requirements is paramount before making an RV purchase

6. Parking and Storage Arrangements

Parking and storage considerations extend beyond the initial purchase. RVs demand substantial parking space when not in use, necessitating advanced arrangements. Be it within your garage or a designated storage facility, ensuring a proper storage space for your chosen RV is crucial to avoid logistical challenges post-purchase.

You could see Are RV Parks Expensive?

parking-and-storage-arrangementsparking-and-storage-arrangements
Parking and storage considerations extend beyond the initial purchase

7. In Conclusion

Camping and road trips hold the promise of creating cherished memories and unforgettable experiences. RVs and travel trailers are designed to amplify the vibrancy of such journeys. Amidst the myriad choices, navigating the path to the right RV can indeed be a daunting endeavor. However, armed with these considerations, you are equipped to make a confident, well-informed decision that mirrors your preferences and aspirations. This guide illuminates the pathway towards selecting the RV that not only enhances your travels but also becomes a cherished companion on your road to remarkable adventures.

fifth-wheel-or-travel-trailer-conclusionfifth-wheel-or-travel-trailer-conclusion
Camping and road trips hold the promise of creating cherished memories and unforgettable experiences

FAQ - Before Purchase an RV

1. What to Consider when Buying an RV

Before you hit the market looking for an RV there are some things that you need to consider. Rest for a moment and ponder upon the following points and you will purchase the correct RV, without wasting your money.

 

what-to-consider when-buying-an-rvwhat-to-consider when-buying-an-rv
Before you hit the market looking for an RV there are some things that you need to consider

3. Where Do I Need to Travel?

The very first thing to consider is the type of traveling that you are planning on doing. RV's are the best fit for a road trip or camping and if you are planning on going for a short trip, then a travel trailer will be perfect for you. Consider buying a fifth wheel if you want to travel for long durations as comfort will be your foremost priority on lengthy trips.

The very first thing to consider is the type of traveling that you are planning on doing

4. What is my Budget?

Budget considerations are other points that puts things into perspective. RV's come in different styles, designs and types so choosing the one which best suits your budget can be tough. If your budget is tight then consider getting travel trailers that are cheap and convenient but if luxury and comfort matters to you then purchase a fifth wheel.

what-is-my-budgetwhat-is-my-budget
Budget considerations are other points that puts things into perspective

5. How Many Things Will You Take with you?

The next consideration should be the people and the stuff which you would be carrying around. If you are selecting a travel trailer then carry minimum baggage with you, as travel trailers are quite compact and smaller in size. Fifth wheels offer bigger space and a larger storage capacity so there’s no need to be afraid to travel big with fifth wheels.

how-many-things-will-you-take-with-youhow-many-things-will-you-take-with-you
The next consideration should be the people and the stuff which you would be carrying around

6. How Much Will the Fuel Cost?

If you are on a low budget you would never want to get an RV which isn't fuel-efficient. Travel trailers offer great fuel economy as they are lighter in weight and smaller in size. If you don’t have much of a budget then you could always go for the spacious fifth wheel.

how-much-will-the-fuel-costhow-much-will-the-fuel-cost
If you are on a low budget you would never want to get an RV which isn't fuel-efficient

7. How Will I Tow my RV?

All RV’s require to be towed from 4x4 trucks so first have that arranged before heading out to make a purchase. Be sure your truck has a trailer hitch on its bed to tow the RV. You will need a pickup truck to tow a fifth wheel and an SUV for a travel trailer. If you still need guidance on how to tow the RV, then you can always contact your dealer or find this information online.

how-wil-i-tow-my-rvhow-wil-i-tow-my-rv
All RV’s require to be towed from 4x4 trucks so first have that arranged before heading out to make a purchase

8. Where Will I Park It?

When not in use, RV's require a huge parking space so buy one after you’ve have made proper arrangements for storing. You can store your RV or travel trailer in your garage and you could also store it in a storage facility.

where-will-i-park-itwhere-will-i-park-it
When not in use, RV's require a huge parking space so buy one after you’ve have made proper arrangements for storing