We’re reader-supported. When you click on our chosen products, we may receive a commission.

How to Move a 5th Wheel Without a Truck

Updated on January 28, 2024

by

|

Reviewed by

RVers who are looking to relocate their 5th wheel without a truck may find themselves in somewhat of a quandary. Fortunately, various solutions can simplify the challenge of transporting your 5th wheel without a truck.

In this blog post, we will explore various options for moving your non-motorized RV trailer with ease and efficiency. From using gooseneck adapters and trailer dollies to collaborating with fellow RVers or hiring professional towing services. The good news is you do have options.

As you continue reading, you’ll discover how each method works and which one might be best suited for your specific needs when facing the challenge of moving even the best fifth-wheel trailers without a truck. So let’s dive into these innovative solutions!

What is a 5th Wheel? A Brief Overview

grand design solitude
Source: Grand Design

If you’re considering exploring the great outdoors with a recreational vehicle, it’s essential to understand what a 5th wheel is and its advantages. In this section, we’ll briefly overview 5th wheels and discuss their common uses.

A 5th wheel is a type of towable RV that connects to the bed of your truck via a special hitch called the “fifth-wheel coupling.”

This unique connection provides better stability and maneuverability than other trailers.

Fifth wheels are typically larger than travel trailers, offering more living space and amenities such as full kitchens, spacious bathrooms, and separate sleeping areas.

Common Uses and Advantages of Owning a 5th Wheel

  • Vacationing: Many people choose 5th wheels for extended vacations or weekend getaways because they offer home comforts while on the road.
  • Full-time Living: Some individuals even decide to live in their 5th wheel permanently as an alternative lifestyle choice or due to financial reasons.
  • Tailgating: Fifth wheels can also be used for tailgating events at sports games or concerts, thanks to their ample space for entertaining guests.

Beyond these uses, owning a fifth wheel has several advantages over other types of RVs:

  1. Better Towing Stability: The design allows for improved weight distribution between your towing vehicle and the 5th wheel, resulting in a smoother ride.
  2. Spacious Interiors: Fifth wheels often have taller ceilings and more slide-outs than other RVs, providing ample living space for you and your family or guests.
  3. Easier Maneuverability: The unique hitch connection makes navigating tight turns or back into campsites easier than travel trailers.

Now that we’ve covered what a 5th wheel is and its advantages let’s explore some alternative methods for moving one without using a truck.

This information will be useful if you ever need to move your 5th wheel without a truck for hauling.

Can You Move a Fifth Wheel Without a Truck? 

When comparing travel trailers vs 5th wheels, many travel trailers can easily be moved without a truck. But what about a 5th wheel? Can they be moved without a truck?

Simply put, yes, you can move a fifth wheel without a truck. Some of the most common solutions for moving a fifth wheel without a truck include:

Due to the hitch’s precise location and general features, fifth-wheel trailers require a heavy-duty truck to tow them over long distances.

A conventional pickup may not have the handling capabilities or load capacity for bearing the trailer’s weight over long routes. 

Before you think of towing the vehicle, you need to calculate the Gross Vehicle Weight or the GVWR of the trailer, the 5th wheel height, and the vehicle you have upfront.

You will also have to figure out the weight on the hitch to recognize the vehicle’s ability to tow your fifth wheel forward. 

If you’re only going on a short distance from where your 5th wheel is parked or near your base camp, you can opt for a portable 5th wheel mover.

These electric or gas-powered movers can propel the fifth wheel forward over short distances.

However, we wouldn’t recommend using these movers over more considerable distances.

Option 1: Hiring a Professional Towing Service

nation wide united auto transport
Screenshot of nationwideunitedautotransport.com, April 24, 2023.

If you don’t have access to an appropriate automobile or would rather not deal with the stress of transporting your 5th wheel by yourself, employing a professional hauling service is a great alternative.

In this section, we’ll discuss how to find a reliable towing service and what to expect during the towing process.

Finding a Reliable Towing Service: Tips and Recommendations

To ensure that your 5th wheel is in good hands, choosing a reputable and experienced towing company is crucial. Here are some tips for finding the right service:

  • Ask for recommendations: Reach out to fellow RVers, friends, or family members who may have experience with local towing services. They can provide valuable insights into their experiences and help you make an informed decision.
  • Check online reviews: Websites like Yelp, Google Reviews, or even specialized RV forums can be great sources of information about different companies’ performance and customer satisfaction levels.
  • Contact multiple companies: Get quotes from at least three different providers before making your final decision. Compare prices and services offered by different providers to determine the best value for your needs.
  • Inquire about insurance coverage: Ensure that any potential provider has adequate insurance coverage for transporting large recreational vehicles like yours. This will protect both parties in case of accidents or damage during transit.

The Towing Process Explained

Hiring professionals means trusting them with one of your most significant investments – so it’s essential to understand what happens during the towing process. Here’s a general overview of what to expect:

  1. Preparation and inspection: Before the move, the towing company will inspect your 5th wheel for any existing damage or potential issues that could arise during transit. They may also help you prepare your RV by securing loose items, disconnecting utilities, and ensuring proper tire pressure.
  2. Loading and hitching: The professionals will then carefully load your 5th wheel onto their tow truck using specialized equipment designed for this purpose. Once securely attached to the tow vehicle, they’ll perform a final safety check before hitting the road.
  3. Transportation: Throughout the journey, experienced drivers will take necessary precautions to ensure safe transportation of your 5th wheel. This includes adhering to speed limits, taking wide turns when needed, and maintaining constant communication with other team members as required.
  4. Delivery and unloading: Upon arrival at your destination, they’ll unload your RV from their truck while being mindful of any specific instructions or requests you may have provided beforehand.

Hiring a professional towing service can save you time and effort while providing peace of mind knowing that experts are handling every aspect of moving your cherished home-on-wheels safely.

Hiring a professional towing service is an effective way of moving your fifth wheel without the need for a truck, as it eliminates the risk of damage and can be done quickly.

Additionally, utilizing a trailer dolly provides another cost-effective option for those looking to move their fifth wheel on their own.

Key Takeaway: Hiring a professional towing service is an excellent solution if you don’t have the right vehicle or would rather avoid the difficulty of transporting your 5th wheel. To ensure that your 5th wheel is in good hands, choosing a reputable and experienced towing company is crucial. Get quotes from at least three different providers before making your final decision and inquire about insurance coverage.

Option 2: Utilizing a trailer dolly

Utilizing a trailer dolly is a practical and effective method for moving a 5th wheel RV, especially when a traditional tow vehicle, such as a truck, is not available.

A trailer dolly, also known as a tow dolly or caravan mover, is a compact, motorized device that attaches to the wheels or frame of the 5th wheel RV, allowing it to be maneuvered with precision and ease.

Trailer dollies come in various sizes and capacities, and they are designed to provide the power and control needed to move large and heavy trailers, such as 5th wheels, in tight or confined spaces.

To use a trailer dolly, the operator typically begins by positioning the dolly in front of the 5th wheel RV, depending on the type of dolly used.

The dolly is then securely attached to the RV by clamping onto the wheels or connecting to the frame or hitch.

Once the dolly is in place, the operator can use its controls to move the RV forward or backward or turn it as needed.

Many trailer dollies are equipped with remote controls, allowing the operator to stand at a safe distance and have a clear view of the surroundings while maneuvering the RV.

One of the key advantages of using a trailer dolly is the ability to move the 5th wheel RV with precision in areas where it would be challenging or impossible to use a truck or larger tow vehicle.

For example, trailer dollies are ideal for navigating narrow driveways, tight parking lots, and storage facilities. They are also useful for positioning the RV accurately at a campsite or adjusting its placement in a garage or storage area.

It’s important to note that while trailer dollies are excellent for short-distance movements and precise maneuvering, they are not designed for long-distance towing or travel on public roads.

Additionally, it’s essential to choose a trailer dolly with the appropriate weight capacity for the specific 5th wheel RV being moved and to follow all safety guidelines and instructions provided by the dolly manufacturer.

Overall, a trailer dolly is a valuable tool for 5th wheel RV owners, offering convenience, flexibility, and enhanced control when moving their RVs in confined or challenging spaces.

Renting a large-capacity truck is also a good alternative if you don’t own a truck or have access to a trailer dolly.

Key Takeaway: Utilizing a trailer dolly is a practical and effective method for moving a 5th wheel RV, especially when a traditional tow vehicle, such as a truck, is not available. They are also ideal for navigating narrow driveways, tight parking lots, and storage facilities. They are also useful for positioning the RV accurately at a campsite or adjusting its placement in a garage or storage area.

Option 3: Renting a Suitable Vehicle

If you don’t own a truck capable of towing your 5th wheel, renting one is an excellent alternative. This section will explore the various rental options available for vehicles that can tow a 5th wheel and provide essential information about the rental process and costs.

Exploring Rental Options: What Vehicles Can Tow a 5th Wheel?

While renting a large enough truck to tow a fifth wheel might be an option. You may find it difficult to find someone willing to rent one to you.

Insurance is a big factor when renting large vehicles. Pay close attention to the insurance requirements and what is and is not included.

To safely tow your 5th wheel, renting a vehicle with sufficient power and capacity is crucial. Some popular options include:

  • Pickup trucks: Heavy-duty pickup trucks like the Ford F-350 or Chevrolet 3500 are designed to handle large loads, making them ideal for towing your RV. Ensure that they come equipped with a compatible hitch system.
  • Flatbed trucks: These versatile vehicles have an open bed in the back, allowing for easy attachment of your RV’s hitch system. They’re perfect if you need extra space to transport additional items alongside your RV.

Rental Process and Costs: What You Need to Know

The process of renting a suitable vehicle involves several steps:

  1. Determine Your Requirements: Before renting a vehicle, assess your 5th wheel’s weight and size to ensure you select the appropriate towing capacity.
  2. Research Rental Companies: Compare prices, availability, and customer reviews of different rental agencies. Don’t forget to check if they offer any discounts or promotions for extended rentals.
  3. Book Your Vehicle: Once you’ve found the right company and vehicle, make a reservation in advance to secure your desired dates. Be ready to give details about your driver’s license and insurance when booking.
  4. Pick Up & Inspect: When picking up the rented vehicle, inspect it thoroughly for any damage or issues before signing off on the rental agreement. This will help avoid potential disputes later on.

The cost of renting a suitable vehicle varies depending on factors such as location, duration of rental period, type of truck required (e.g., heavy-duty pickup vs. flatbed), mileage allowance included in the package price, etc. For example, daily rates can range from $100-$200 per day, while weekly rates may start at around $600-$800 per week. It is essential that you factor these costs into your budget when planning your RV adventure with Ever RV.

Renting a suitable vehicle is an option that can be considered when attempting to move a 5th wheel without a truck, as it provides the necessary power and capability.

Collaborating with fellow RVers is another potential solution for those who may not have access to renting such vehicles or need additional help in moving their 5th wheel.

Key Takeaway: Renting a suitable vehicle is an excellent option for those who don’t own a truck capable of towing their 5th wheel. Popular rental options include heavy-duty pickup trucks and flatbed trucks, which can be found at major car rental companies or specialty agencies catering to recreational vehicle enthusiasts.

Option 4: Collaborating with Fellow RVers

One of the most effective ways to move a 5th wheel without owning a truck is by connecting and collaborating with other RV owners.

By building a network within the RV community, you can find fellow enthusiasts who may be willing to help you out or offer their own resources in exchange for your assistance. In this section, we will discuss how to build connections with other RVers and share resources effectively.

Building a Network: Connecting with Other RV Owners

To begin establishing relationships within the world of recreational vehicles, consider joining local clubs, online forums, and social media groups dedicated to camping and RVing.

These platforms provide excellent opportunities for meeting like-minded individuals who share your passion for exploring the outdoors using an RV:

  • Escapees RV Club: A popular club that offers support services such as mail forwarding, roadside assistance, and educational programs on various aspects of full-time living on wheels.
  • iRV2 Forums: An extensive forum where users can ask questions about specific models or issues they are facing while traveling in their rigs.
  • RV Facebook Groups: There are numerous Facebook groups catering specifically to different types of campers – from those interested in boondocking (camping without hookups) to families traveling together in large motorhomes.

In addition to these platforms, attending events such as rallies or expos organized by major manufacturers like Forest River Inc., Keystone R.V., Jayco Inc., etc., can help you expand your network and learn more about the latest trends in RVing.

Sharing Resources: How RVers Can Help Each Other

Once you have established connections within the community, it’s time to explore ways in which fellow RVers can assist each other. Here are some ideas for sharing resources:

  1. Towing Assistance: If a fellow RVer owns a truck capable of towing your 5th wheel, they may be willing to lend their vehicle or tow it for you in exchange for gas money or another form of compensation.
  2. Hitch Installation: Some experienced RV owners might offer their expertise and tools to help install a 5th wheel hitch on an alternative vehicle that is compatible with your trailer.
  3. Maintenance Tips & Tricks: By exchanging knowledge and experiences with others who own similar rigs, you can gain valuable insights into maintaining and troubleshooting issues related to your specific model of 5th wheel.

In conclusion, collaborating with fellow RV enthusiasts helps solve logistical challenges like moving a 5th wheel without owning a truck and fosters camaraderie among those who share this unique lifestyle. So don’t hesitate – start building connections today.

Key Takeaway: To move a 5th wheel without owning a truck, one can collaborate with other RV owners by joining local clubs and online forums. By building connections within the community, fellow RVers can offer resources such as towing assistance, hitch installation or maintenance tips in exchange for compensation.

Preparing for the Move

Moving a 5th wheel without a truck can be challenging, but proper preparation and planning make it possible.

In this section, we’ll discuss key considerations to remember before moving your 5th wheel and essential safety precautions.

Assessing Your 5th Wheel: Key Considerations Before Moving

Before attempting to move your 5th wheel using an alternative method, assessing its size, weight, and compatibility with various towing options is crucial. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): This is the maximum allowable weight of your fully loaded RV. It’s important to know this number as it will determine which towing methods are suitable for your specific situation.
  • Hitch Compatibility: Different towing methods require different types of hitches or adapters. Ensure that any equipment you plan on using is compatible with both your 5th wheel hitch system and the vehicle being used for transport.
  • Towing Capacity: The vehicle or method chosen must have adequate capacity to safely tow your loaded RV’s weight. Check manufacturer guidelines regarding maximum towing capacities before proceeding.

Safety First: Essential Precautions for Moving a 5th Wheel

The safety of yourself and others should always be at the forefront when moving a large recreational vehicle like a fifth-wheel trailer. Follow these steps to ensure safe transportation:

  1. Inspect tires, brakes, lights, turn signals, and other components on both the 5th wheel and towing vehicle. Verify that all components are in proper condition before driving off.
  2. Secure all loose items inside your RV to prevent shifting during transport, which can lead to damage or instability on the road.
  3. Double-check that your hitch system is properly connected and secure. This includes ensuring that safety chains are crossed under the hitch for added security in case of a disconnect.
  4. If using an alternative method like a gooseneck adapter or trailer dolly, follow manufacturer guidelines for proper installation and use. Consult with professionals if you’re unsure about any aspect of these processes.

Taking the necessary steps to secure safe travel and a stress-free experience is key when setting off without a truck.

Getting ready for the transition is a must to guarantee a secure and prosperous voyage. With the right tools, it’s possible to use alternative methods of moving your 5th wheel without a truck.

Key Takeaway: Before moving a 5th wheel without a truck, assessing its weight and compatibility with various towing options is important. Safety precautions include inspecting tires, securing loose items inside the RV, and properly connecting the hitch system for added security in case of disconnect.

FAQs in Relation to How to Move a 5th Wheel Without a Truck

Can an SUV Pull a Fifth Wheel?

Some large SUVs may be capable of pulling larger travel trailers, but fifth wheels require special hitch systems and sufficient towing capacity. It is highly unlikely that any SUV would be able to pull a 5th wheel trailer safely.

Can You Move a Fifth Wheel with a Regular Hitch?

Moving a fifth wheel with regular hitches like ball mounts isn’t recommended due to their design differences compared to specialized 5th-wheel hitches. A proper 5th-wheel hitch provides better weight distribution and stability while towing larger trailers such as those used in RVs (source).

Conclusion

In conclusion, moving a 5th wheel without a truck may seem daunting at first, but there are several options available to make it possible.

From collaborating with fellow RVers or renting a suitable vehicle, there is no shortage of solutions for those looking to hit the road with their 5th wheel.

Have fun, and above all, BE SAFE!

Popular on Ever RVRight Now!

types of rv toilets

RV Basics 101: Types of RV Toilets

Have you ever hit the road in your RV but got caught short with a toilet that doesn’t cut it? ...
do you need safety chains on a fifth wheel

Do You Need Safety Chains on A Fifth Wheel?

You do not need safety chains on a fifth wheel simply because the kingpin directly locks the entire RV and all its parts in place. ...
how big of a generator is needed to run an rv ac

Choosing the Right Size Generator for Your RV AC

Choosing what size generator to run RV AC can be a daunting task. Indeed, when it’s time to hit the ...
rv safety

Discovering America: A Guide to Small RV Rentals

Imagine the open road before you, a cool breeze coming through your window, and a cozy haven on wheels behind ...

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us.

<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

The Ultimate

RV Newsletter

Stay informed about the latest news, tips, and trends in the world of RVing. PLUS receive exclusive offers and discounts on RV-related products and services.