You have finally got some time free from your routine and want to explore the serene countryside with your loved ones. Good for you!
5th wheel trailers appeal to travelers because they provide comfortable space, several amenities, ease of travel, etc.
These utilities increase the weight of your camper. When you add a pickup truck for towing your 5th wheel, the overall weight increases even further.
Several 5th wheels belonging to different weight categories are available today, and you should select the one that suits you best.
Keep reading if you want to know everything important about the weight of your camper. We’ll also discuss different 5th wheel models and better weight management for seamless adventures.
5th Wheel Weight Categories & Your Priorities
The weight of a 5th wheel trailer depends upon several factors such as frames, amenities installed inside it, etc. Here’s a brief look at them:
5th wheels are built using different construction techniques and materials. Some use wood frames, while others are built using aluminum. Some of them have aluminum frames with fiberglass sliding. 5th wheels constructed from aluminum are usually lighter and stronger.
Different amenities such as kitchen, bathrooms, dining area, sleeping space, living room, generators, etc., can increase the weight and price of your 5th wheel.
The weight of the 5th wheel can range from as little as 2500 pounds to 20,000 pounds. An average 5th wheel weighs around 15,000 pounds.
The usual increase in weight of a fifth wheel camper results from additions such as a large water tank. So, if you are shopping for a 5th wheel, always keep in mind the features you want. These features can increase the weight and length of your 5th wheel camper significantly.
On the other hand, you should look for a lightweight camper if you only want basic features. Having a lightweight trailer with basic features will improve your travel experience.
Here are different 5th wheel weight categories discussed in detail:
Lightweight Fifth Wheel Campers
Lightweight fifth-wheel campers are vehicles that weigh no more than 9,000 pounds. They are an excellent travel solution for those who want a manageable option and can do with limited amenities.
It is also for people who prefer a vehicle that’s easy to tow and maneuverable. Lightweight fifth wheels also save fuel by a considerable amount than their larger counterparts. However, you will have to trade off the comfort for space and a limited set of amenities. Sometimes, it might feel cramped if you have a large family.
Here are some of the best choices in this regard:
The Forest River or the Cherokee Arctic Wolf 245RK4
The 2019 Forest River or Cherokee Arctic Wolf comes from Forest & Cherokee, two brands working under the same umbrella. They’re essentially identical vehicles with different badges. The dry weight of both campers is 9,900 pounds. However, it becomes 1,345 pounds after adding the hitch.
Jayco Eagle 26RLX
Jayco is a reputed and trusted name in the fifth wheel industry. They have excellent floor plans that include their unique climate shield feature, making your RV suitable for all-year travel. You can easily travel no matter what season it is, thanks to their climate shield flooring. Its dry weight is 7,915 pounds, and the hitch weight is 1,450 pounds.
Mid Size Campers
Midsize fifth-wheel campers fall in between 9,000 pounds and 14,000 pounds. They have dual axles and more features than their smaller counterparts. They also have more length and can quickly go above 32 feet. For towing such a large body, you need a powerful towing truck. Even a half-ton truck doesn’t suffice as it doesn’t have enough power.
It can lead to several issues, such as swaying and braking issues when climbing or driving on an incline. The most suitable option for such a camper is a three-quarter-ton or a one-ton truck. They tow the trailer better and also are more fuel-efficient. In addition, their engines produce more power, so you don’t face any issues mentioned above.
Given below are some excellent midsize fifth-wheel campers:
The Keystone Montana 3121RL
Keystone is a reliable RV name that operates under Thor industries. They have access to high-quality materials and components from their parent company. You can take this camper anywhere, although it was primarily designed for countryside camping. Its dry weight is 11,935 pounds, while the hitch weight is 2,385 pounds.
Winnebago Minnie 27BHSS
Winnebago is another trustworthy brand in the RV market and produces high-quality and durable RVs. Minnie is their trendy option that has served thousands of travelers. Its dry weight is 6,620 pounds, while the weight of the hitch is 760 pounds.
The Grand Design 373 Fb
Grand Design is well known for producing spacious and comfortable campers that you can take anywhere. They come under Winnebago and can access their engineering and components. The dry weight of this camper is 13,950 pounds, and the hitch weight is 2,800 pounds.
Full Size/Luxury Fifth Wheel Campers
The full-size fifth-wheel campers are also known as luxury campers, as they contain all the facilities one desires. They also have a large girth because of all the features they provide. These units are produced to compete with motorhomes, which explains their large size.
A full-size fifth wheel usually weighs around 12,000 pounds and more. However, that’s the lower limit, and many of them go above 20,000 pounds too. Their length is generally above 40 feet, with some reaching 45 feet.
With this much heft, towing becomes difficult, so you need a powerful truck. There are many amenities in luxury campers, contributing to the total weight. Going for a one-ton truck is advised if you have a luxury camper because anything under that might not suffice.
Luxury campers have tons of amenities such as a hot tub, pull-out kitchen, a 50-inch TV, two full bedrooms, a refrigerator, etc.
These are some of the most well-reputed luxury fifth-wheel campers:
The Redwood RW388ES by Thor Industries
The Redwood by Thor Industries is a durable and luxurious fifth-wheel camper that has been designed to withstand all types of weather. It provides travelers with all kinds of comforts they desire.
It has an aerodynamic profile and has multiple amenities such as an LP generator, tanks with heating pads, power slide awnings, electronic disk brakes, and space for a third BTU air conditioner. Its dry weight is 14,514 pounds, and the hitch weight is 2,580 pounds.
Jayco North Point Fifth Wheel Camper 377 RLBH
Jayco produces quality RVs at every level, and their luxury campers are also excellent. The Jayco North Point is a luxury camper that can easily compete with others in this segment. Jayco provides multiple floor plans to its customers and other features. Its dry weight is 14,040 pounds, while its hitch weight is 2,885 pounds.
The Forest River Cardinal Fifth Wheel
The Forest River Cardinal Fifth Wheel comes from Forest River. If you are buying it, better spend some extra cash and get the Cardinal Luxury Edition to enjoy the full experience. Its dry weight is 14,446 pounds, and the hitch weight is 2,755 pounds.
Fifth Wheel Toy Haulers
This particular fifth-wheel category is for those who want to bring their “toys” with them, such as motorbikes, ATVs, kayaks, etc. People often get them to enhance their vacation experience, but they require space. If you have a garage space with a door, you can quickly bring these niceties with you.
Toy hauler fifth wheel has become its own niche, ranging from 33 to 45 feet in length. Its dry weight is usually 10,000 to 16,000 pounds, but it can increase if you load motorbikes or other vehicles. So, you should always calculate the expected weight beforehand to avoid any mishaps.
Here are some of the best toy haulers you can buy today:
The Palomino Puma 381 FTB
Palomino is amongst the best for making fifth-wheel toy haulers. The Palomino Puma is one of the best toy haulers one can get. The cargo area has a capacity of 12 feet by 7 feet.
If you don’t have any toys, you can place a full-size bed in that space, with some of it still left for a dressing screen. The rear door is 7 feet long with a spring deployment system and can work as a heavy-duty ramp. The dry weight of this hauler is 10,133 pounds, and the hitch weight is 1,760 pounds.
The Dutchmen Voltage 3605
Dutchmen have a long-standing reputation in the RV industry. It makes high-quality RVs, and its toy haulers are no less. Its Voltage 3605 provides both camper and toy hauler. Another reason for considering this model is its different floor plans and other extras.
Its average weight is 13,600 pounds, and its hitch weight of 3,067 pounds. Its cargo area is 11 feet by 7 feet, which can house a full-size bed if you remove the toys.
Some Important Things to Understand About Weight
You need to know both the tow rating of your truck and hitch weight capability to drive safely. The hitch needs to be strong enough to handle the weight placed on suspension.
Adding another vehicle means more load on the hitch, so you should be prepared for it. Sometimes, family members pack lots of items which means you need a stronger gooseneck hitch.
Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC)
Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) is the cargo weight that a fifth wheel can carry, including items like food, gas, freshwater, etc.
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
The Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) is the maximum weight that the trailer axle can support. The RV manufacturers determine this weight.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the overall load-carrying capacity of the trailer, including cargo, passengers, pets, etc.
The Hitch Weight figure shows the amount of force the tow vehicle’s hitch ball has to bear when an RV is loaded fully, around 10-15% of the total trailer weight. It is also known as tongue weight and pin weight.
Curb weight means the vehicle’s overall weight when the water tank is full, including the propane tank. It is also referred to as the wet weight.
How Can You Reduce Weight While Traveling?
For starters, reducing weight while traveling on your RV can save you fuel. Loading your RV fully can push it to its limits, increasing fuel usage considerably. Reducing weight can also prevent mishaps such as sways and other safety issues.
Here is how you can reduce weight on your RV:
Emptying your tanks before traveling can reduce the weight of your RV significantly. Check whether your gray and black tanks are empty before traveling. A gallon of water weighs around 10 pounds, so emptying a 50-gallon tank can save 450 pounds. By reducing this weight, you can make your climb much more effortless.
You can refill your tank from the nearby park or truck plaza when near your destination. This strategy will help you manage the water weight for only a few miles. Then, when returning home, use a similar approach and dump the water at a nearby park to reduce weight. It also helps you avoid any accidental spills.
Managing weight on your RV is also crucial. Sloppy loading can lead to several problems, so always load your RV in a balanced way. Try to move the weight away from the hitch towards the axles. Do not put too much weight on the far rear of your fifth wheel because it can negatively affect the traction and torque of your RV.
Buying a quality fifth-wheel camper has become more difficult than ever, thanks to the unlimited choices we have today. Unfortunately, people often mistake not researching their options enough and buying whatever fits their budget.
A much better and systematic approach to get your new fifth wheel camper is to understand everything about its weight, from the total amount it can lift to its weight management. It’s never a pretty sight to get a fifth wheel, only to know later that your pickup truck cannot pull it. Always research about campers thoroughly before you spend your hard-earned money on one.
If you want to learn more about different fifth-wheel campers and their weight, this YouTube video will help.