The debate on whether the fifth wheel or the motorhome is the most suited for RV camping is something that is new to us. The fifth wheel vs. motorhome battle has been there since the last century but without any reliable comparison being done to differentiate the two. The discussion between these two types of vehicles has captured the imaginations of many people over the internet and campsites.
But is there really any correct answer to the question regarding which one of them as the best? What are some of the merits and demerits of each? Which is the most ideal for full-time RV camping? What about those who travel a lot? You have heard these questions a lot but have you ever found any reliable answers to them?
Now, this is the piece you haven’t come across before in your search for the above questions. By the end of this article, you will have learnt something new about these two camping vehicles. Read along and you’ll agree with me that this is the article you have been waiting for all this time.
What is a Fifth Wheel?
A fifth wheel is basically a type of recreational vehicle that isn’t fitted with wheels all over, therefore, allowing for towing using a truck. In simple terms, it is a hitch for connecting a cargo to a large vehicle’s back. This allows for manoeuvrability while at the same time offering the much-needed stability during a road trip.
A. Advantages of Fifth Wheel
The Fifth Wheel is the most affordable trailer you can always consider in comparison to a motorhome. This means that you can afford the Fifth Wheel trailer even when facing financial strains. When it comes to the insurance sector, it is totally less expensive for you.
2. More Comfortable
This trailer provides you with the utmost comfort you would wish, as well as giving the home-like experience during your camping. It has a spacious enough living room with sofas and residential recliners. The inside is really cosy with the super big entertainment system and a fireplace.
3. Enhanced safety
Fifth Wheel is the number one trailer when it comes to safety during rides. It is sufficiently equipped with airbags, crumple zone and above all, it is crash tested to be perfect enough. Here the driver and passengers are in separate vehicles unlike in a motorhome.
4. Better air conditioning
Having in mind that the number of air conditioners is normally the same in both vehicles, the Fifth Wheel therefore stands out due to its ability to maintain consistent temperatures. This consistency comes from the huge sauna of the front windshield. Besides, it has no engine heat directed to the cabin.
5. More storage space
The Fifth Wheel has the creative floor plans use which ensures the available floor space is used to the maximum. With this kind of trailer, you are sure of a stylishly made floor area and the room at large. You will also get this amazing charm with the tablespace where you can place your laptop when in the recreational vehicle.
6. Allows more toys
If you are the type who likes hauling jet skis, an ATV, dirt bikes and four wheels; then Fifth Wheel is the right choice for you. Its up to date design automatically allows you to bring toys with you to the RV whenever you like.
7. All inclusive height
Height can sometimes be a nuisance, but the fifth wheel trailer has a classic ceiling height for you. This feature ensures that however tall or sensitive you are to be cramped in tiny spaces, you enjoy your outdoor stay to the fullest. With the pivot point on the rear axle, this trailer provides a pure and sharper turning radius.
8. Better kitchen
Fifth Wheel layouts are equipped with the kitchen islands. This clearly means that you will cook your elaborate meals in a gigantic kitchen that won’t squeeze you up. Also a huge cooking area means that there will be perfect and efficient air circulation around.
B. Disadvantages of Fifth Wheel
a/ Difficulty in matching
The number one problem you can encounter in a Fifth Wheel is to match it to a correct truck. The matching is not a joke; it involves knowing the truck’s specification and the trailer weight. So you need to equip yourself with enough knowledge that will help you do the matching perfectly.
b/ Backing problems
Backing any kind of a trailer to the campsite needs thorough practice. So as a first timer RV camper you will need to do some learning and be well equipped with the necessary skills. This is somehow costly and time-consuming, but it is good for safe driving.
c/ Comes with poor quality tires
The Fifth Wheel trailer comes standard with cheap China made tires. As we all know cheap is always expensive, these tires have been a great problem due to their multiple failures. The failures do result in serious damage on the trailer. This makes some drivers buy quality tires for replacement hence an extra cost.
What is a Motorhome?
A motorhome, unlike the Fifth Wheel, is one complete vehicle without any cargo attachment. The motorhomes are categorized into different classes. The classes being A, B and C based on the different features that they are designed with.
A - Merits of Motorhome
1. Easy to maneuver
Motorhomes are very easy to operate when it comes to manoeuvring. This is so because the driver sits somehow close on top of front wheels. The majority have a wheel cut of about 50 degrees, which makes backing into the campsite a very easy task.
Another great advantage to a motorhome is the fact that a passenger is able to get drinks and food right from the refrigerator, use toilets and go back to the cockpit as rig motors hit the road. It is also a big vehicle for your outdoor stays.
Motorhomes have four slide-out rooms that make them as roomy as possible. This is basically what everybody needs for a group camping. Space that accommodates every camper comfortably during the entire trip is provided for by a motorhome.
If you need a larger storage space for your camping accessories like RV mattress then a motorhome should be your ideal choice. Why do I say so? The latest models are designed with storage compartments at the basement down their sides. Sometimes, you can find the storage space covering the entire space across the motorhome’s sides.
4. Can tow extra vehicles
The heavy-duty chassis that gives room for the storage compartments also allows for the towing of an extra vehicle by the very motorhome. The vehicle can be meant for shopping or touring and is often of great use in case the motorhome fails you in the middle of nowhere.
5. More secure
A motorhome offers more security compared to the Fifth Wheel in that it has either the automatic or manual levelling jacks which can be called into action right from the driver’s seat. This prevents the motorhome from becoming wet even if it rains the entire night. Under no circumstance will you find your motorhome wet which is totally a different case when it comes to Fifth Wheels.
B - Demerits of motorhome
a/ High maintenance costs
One of the demerits of owning a motorhome is the maintenance cost which is always high. Its components such as hydraulic systems, oil changes, brakes, wheel bearings among others must be maintained in a regular interval and this involves the use of money.
The other downside of the motorhome is its buying cost which is very high. But given that you are indirectly paying for a recreational vehicle and another vehicle just as one, the cost is relatively okay. Even when it comes to upgrades, the motorhome costs much more compared to the Fifth Wheel.
Which way now?
Having looked at both the Fifth Wheel and the Motorhome, which one of the two can we say is the best for road trips? Did you find an answer to the fifth wheel vs. motorhome battle?
As you have seen, they all have areas where they are of great importance. This, therefore, doesn’t make it any easier to determine which one of them is the best. Your choice of the two will be determined by your preferences, levels of comfort desired and cost amongst other features.
Is there an area that you feel has been left untouched and is of great help to RV campers? Share your thoughts with us.
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