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Living in a Fifth Wheel RV Full Time: Everything You Need to Know

So what is it like living in a 5th wheel full time? We started out, long ago, with a pop-up camper. Then we had a small pull-camper, light enough to hitch up to an SUV.

With both of those, there was not much to do to get on the road. Except to get the hitch ball and the trailer socket lined up and connected, the lights cable hooked up, and off we would go.

Then we got our first hefty trailer, “Ward the Canadian travel trailer.” This RV was much more work to connect to because we had an equalizer hitch and anti-sway bar to deal with. Additionally, everything you had to do to get hitched up had to be undone to set up at your destination.

What is it like to live in a 5th wheel full time?

When we made the leap to a used motorhome a couple of years ago, we loved it for its simplicity. We could arrive at a site and have the AC running and our feet up within a very short time.

There are no hitches to unhitch, jacks to crank down, and no need to stabilize. But there were other, more subtle disadvantages, like not having a toad to drive around in and the draftiness and high maintenance costs of the old boy.

So now we have changed again to something we had never had – a 5th wheel camper and a pickup. We may finally have found a happy medium.

After sitting in a suburban driveway for a couple of weeks, we finally made it to the main RV site a few days ago and did an actual setup.

Things are different again, but the benefits are worth the added work compared to the motorhome. Compared to the pull campers we’ve had, it’s actually a more straightforward process.

A family living In a fifth Wheel RV full time
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What is the difference between a camper and a fifth wheel?

Typically, fifth wheels are larger and heavier than a camper trailer. In contrast, camper trailers usually appear rectangular, and you can tow them with SUVs or cars with average towing power. They are also lighter than fifth-wheel RVs.

However, the second big difference in living in a 5th wheel is that I have to learn to back in a trailer again. But because the 5th wheel is closer to the truck and the responsiveness of the camper is a bit quicker than with a pull trailer, it feels easier.

But first things first – there’s that whole 5th wheel hitch thing to deal with. Backing in to hitch up, I’ve found, is a delicate process. What looks like a lineup from a few feet away can become off by a few inches when you get into position.

Oh, and remember to put the tailgate down, or you may have to buy one of those fancy new ones with a cutout. Once you’re lined up, there’s a satisfying moment when, after lowering the camper with the electric jacks to just the right height, you connect to the kingpin, and the latch snaps into place.

There are no sway bars, chains, or balls to grease up, and the connection is solid and tight.

So, while there are differences in setup, sequence, and actions from unit to unit, we like how the 5th wheel works. We get to the site and back into place much more quickly than with the pull camper. Once you’re where you want to be, the first thing to do is check the side-to-side level.

How do you level a fifth wheel on uneven ground?

Use blocks, plates, pads, or bricks of your choice to put under the wheels for leveling, but be careful not to over-compensate. Especially if you are in a grassy spot, settling will happen. Next, unhook from the truck hitch and use electric jacks to raise the camper.

Remember to disconnect the power cable, and you’re ready to pull away from the unit. Now you do the end-to-end leveling, and this is where the 5th wheel is an absolute joy. With a bubble level attached to the side, use the motorized jacks to raise or lower the camper until it is level.

That’s it for leveling, and it’s effortless to do. Put down the two rear stabilizers, and you’re done.

However, some people like to have a stabilizer jack in front under the kingpin for more stability. So far, we’ve used one, which helps, but I’m sure a time will come (around midnight in some new RV site) when we’ll do without it.

Then we’ll know if it’s crucial. But once you’ve set it up – which only takes a minute – then you are ready to relax. Which, after all, is the point of this whole approach to living, isn’t it? So, to date, though it has been a short time, we are delighted living in a 5th wheel full time.

What is the benefit of living in a 5th wheel?

Undoubtedly, one of the stand-out features of a 5th-wheel RV is its large living area that looks like an entire apartment. That’s why they are called “a home on the wheel.” We can’t even adjust to smaller square footage on our full-time RV living.

Fifth-wheel RVs offer sufficient room for everyone, especially those looking to travel with the whole family. We found the hitch of our 5th wheel to be an added advantage as it makes it effortless to drive and maneuver.

Is a 5th wheel right for me?

Fifth wheels are one of the most popular RV models, and this is because they are effortless to tow and maneuver and they are newbies friendly. It’s worth mentioning that they offer larger living areas than traditional travel trailers; this is especially true with models that come with slide-outs.

Slide-outs are just like a haven because you’ll still have a space to live when your truck encounters any issue that may need repairs while on the go. It doesn’t matter if you’re a full-timer, a weekend warrior, or an occasional camper. The RV lifestyle is all about enjoying oneself and having a good time.

5th wheels offer the convenience of traveling in a vehicle that detaches quickly and gives you the amenities of home on the wheel.

Are 5th wheels worth it?

From experience, I think they are worth it. However, having to purchase a large truck with sufficient towing power can be a bit pricey. It would be great if you already own a pickup truck that has the ability to tow a large trailer.

But if you don’t already have this, then you’d need to include that in your budget. Overall, in my personal opinion, living in a 5th wheel RV is worth it.

Is living in a 5th wheel full-time on a new, used RV worth it? Let me know your thoughts through the comments.

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