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Old 06-13-2010, 02:06 PM
 
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My husband and I are planning to hit the road once our house sells and are wanting to buy 40 ft. 5th wheel, towed by a crew cab long bed. Can any of you with experience towing that much length give me an idea of what to expect?

I'm wondering how many parks do or don't accommodate such a long set up.
Do you park and leave the 5th wheel at Walmart and go scout out your parking locations? Anything else you think would be helpful to know?

We also have a large dog, do you think we'll have a hard time finding RV parks that will allow him?

Thanks!

I should add we've done this in a 30 footer before but only up here in Alaska - not all the state parks were a cinch to get into but it could be done. This next go-round will be all over the U.S.
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Old 06-13-2010, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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We're planning to do the same thing soon. I've not pulled a 40-footer, but with one in mind we do notice the size of camping sites, and some of our favorites will be a thing of the past when we graduate to a larger size. We've talked about keeping it smaller, but we both feel we'd be happier with the extra room when the camper becomes the full-time home. As you already know, even a 30-footer limits where you park. We had to give up some favorite camping spots when we traded the pickup camper for a small 5er, and before that we had to give up even more spots when we quit tent camping.

Commercial RV parks are seldom a problem. I can't think of many where we've stayed that couldn't accommodate big rigs. Forest service campgrounds, where we normally camp, are a different story, but even with them, the majority of places we now camp have a few spots for 40-foot 5ers. The bigger your rig, the more trouble you'll have finding a place, but if you can plan ahead a little....

We camped with a small dog for years. (She died 2 years ago.) It seems like half the campers we meet have a dog, and we've never been turned down at a campground for having one. We had to pay extra once and were sternly warned to keep her on a leash and pick up her stools. That was 10 years ago. We joked about it then and still do, but that was the only time our dog was ever an issue at a campground. I have heard of other commercial campgrounds that charge extra for pets. I'd guess the policy costs them more than it makes them.
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Old 06-13-2010, 04:19 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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I think the 40' limit would be quite restrictive on your adventure. (Point brought up by WyoN) I have driven commercial vehicles for many yrs, and find that the bigger (height, width, length, weight) the fewer choices and the more messes you get in. (I just saw a NEW 5er jammed under an 'unexpected' railway overpass) It just happened to have a slight rise on the far side, and CRUNCH.

I would consider the option of a Bus w/ tow car, if additional living space is concerned

My mom did the 5'er for a yr, then went back to an A, but really enjoyed their B the most of all. The 5er was too much of a 'head-ache' for them. (wind, both drivers were not 100% comfortable with driving in 100% of conditions, tho each were CDL experienced and licensed), restricted sites, tough for a quick u-turn, too slow while 'scouting', Height a BIG problem in small towns / treed campgrounds, too many disputes between driver and 'spotter' while trying to get set (Especially in the dark). Too expensive to camp, expensive to repair, basically a 'production' to move and set-up', then stuck with a ONE pickup for 'scouting' / errands.

That said, I do have friends as a full-timer couple who has enjoyed their monster 5'r for ~ 10 yrs, thanks much to 'escapees' participation / training / now teaching (including Canada, maybe AK)

I met a guy who is very happy when he went from a 'toter' towing 40+ ft 5'r; to using a full condo Volvo 'Tractor' (class 8) with space behind the cab-sleeper for his CDN Smart-car (Diesel, + CDN version is shorter). The tractor is so much more comfy to ride / chat / sleep / eat while driving. Micro, refrig, bed = 3 steps away. It was cheaper (used) and also gets much better economy than the toter, and you are not 'pooped' when you arrive, nor do you slow down (overheat) pulling mtn passes. Brakes / personal safety are WAY better using a tractor.

$.02, your mileage may vary
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,425 posts, read 44,630,567 times
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I towed travel trailers for years and always hated it. Finally bought a motor home and driving was so much less stressful. I still won't tow a car with it. If I am ever staying in one place for a while I will rent a car locally. It's easier and cheaper to rent a car then to tow one.

I'm a full timer now and I can say that about 70% of every RV park is filled with 5th wheels. Does that tell any tales? I don't know really. I live full time in a class C with slides and am happy with it.

All modern RV parks accommodate big rigs. Older parks such as state parks almost never do. Some do not even allow slides. Your ads in RV park directories will always have a star with the words "big rig friendly". I only heard of a very few parks that do not allow dogs of any kind. Most of them are state parks. Most RVers will avoid them and bad mouth them in the various RV park review sites. I sure do. Quite a few parks will not allow Pit Bulls, Rotties, Dobermans and sometimes German Shepherds but allow every other breed.

2 RV parks ago I saw something I never seen before in my 30 years of RVing. I saw one of those city buses with the 2 sections and the accordion center connecting them converted to an RV. The entire back section was a grand master bedroom. This thing was about 50' long. I could not imagine trying to back that thing up. Imagine the electric bill with it's 3 AC units?
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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It will require a little more home homework when you are on the road and you can’t expect just to pull into any campground and have your choice of sites on a busy weekend, I have a 45 foot class A with quad slides and tow a full size SUV....anyway are there parks out there that can’t handle my size?....Sure but I have never not been able to find a campground or a safe location to park for the night.

Many campgrounds have increased the size of their sites to accommodate today’s longer RV's with multi slide outs. I think once you are on the road your will learn that it is not the length of your 5th wheel that will cause problems trying to find a campsite but you will have more problems finding one that can accommodate your width with your slides or the height of your RV (think tree branches…LOL)….I have been in a few campgrounds where I could not even open my awning all of the way the sites were so tight side to side but the length of the site exceeded 100 ft…Again those problems are few and far between as long as you do your homework.

On travel days we normally have already booked our next campsite at our new location before we even leave the old location but there have been times when we just hit the road with no set location but on those days the wife is normally of the phone or PC hours before we decide to stop checking out the local campgrounds finding something that will suit our needs….Just have fun and don’t worry about the small stuff, if worse comes to worse sure you can always do the Wal-Mart, Cracker-barrel, rest/truck stop, church or public school parking lot location for the night and then move on…..

Just make sure you carry an up to date campground guide and if you plan to travel via interstates you have something like the book “The next exit” to assist you with easy off and on fuel stops etc….

Our dog tops out at about 90 pounds and we have never had a problem at any campground we have stayed at...are there campgrounds out there that do not allow dogs of any size, yes there are, that is why you want to keep that up to date campground directory handy


FYI I also did the 5th wheel deal for awhile....hated it.....went back with a class A....class A's are much more easy to drive and park and are more user friendly IMO

Last edited by rtandc; 06-14-2010 at 10:49 AM..
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:26 PM
 
128 posts, read 770,272 times
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You all have given me some great info to chew on. And are really tempting me with talk of class A's but we have children and are looking for something that has a separate bedroom for them. My husband would like a toy hauler to double as their bedroom. And of course we would need a vehicle more often than not to run around town in. I'll have to check out that book too, thanks for the plug. Driving the unknown is always a little intimidating with a huge RV in tow, lol.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:18 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Roadtripping With kids and (large) pet, I would seriously consider the Class A / large bus conversion. They can have separate qtrs for kids (especial as a custom design). Long days packing in and out of a pickup, plus being within 4ft of each other 100% of roadtime can be taxing, especially when a sickness starts going around.

Toys can fit underneath in storage bays, I have even seen small cars fit in there.

Buses are pretty stout and safe and have good suspension, drive-train, brakes. Check out some euro and Asia models for ideas, they often have a separate room (lounge) downstairs, sleeping in upper-rear, and viewing in upper-front area.

Having taken our kids (no dog traveling w/) in ex-cab Pickup, Car, RV, and VW camper van. I will say the extra space of van or RV while on the road is invaluable. Fridge, bedroom, bath, seat all accessible while enroute.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:01 AM
 
1,477 posts, read 5,027,272 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bossco View Post
You all have given me some great info to chew on. And are really tempting me with talk of class A's but we have children and are looking for something that has a separate bedroom for them. My husband would like a toy hauler to double as their bedroom. And of course we would need a vehicle more often than not to run around town in. I'll have to check out that book too, thanks for the plug. Driving the unknown is always a little intimidating with a huge RV in tow, lol.
There are a few class A's that have bunks for kids but the floor plans will not be as kid friendly as the 5th wheels so a 5th wheel might be your best bet with kids....Maybe you should look at a class C or a super C and see if they fit your needs........If I can offer one piece of advice, a 40 foot 5th Wheel is a lot of trailer to be pulling with a crew cab long bed even if its a one ton DRW PU....I would be seriously looking at MDT's or better yet a HDT conversion as a tow vehicle just for safety reasons, but then you get back to the issue of what are you going to drive around town in when you are set up at a campground....The HDT?........that leads you back to maybe a class A or a super C with a smaller toad to run around in once set up still might be the best option....

Good luck with whatever you decide, just make sure if its a 5th wheel its one you plan to keep forever....5th Wheels have flooded the market the last few years and there is more of a supply then a demand for them, I know East of the Mississippi people are having to sell them well below wholesale just to get rid of them. Also many local dealers will not even take a 5th wheel in on trade right now because they know they cant move it so make sure you pick out the perfect one the first time around

Last edited by rtandc; 06-15-2010 at 09:24 AM..
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,415 posts, read 17,378,768 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtandc View Post
...If I can offer one piece of advice, a 40 foot 5th Wheel is a lot of trailer to be pulling with a crew cab long bed even if its a one ton DRW PU....I would be seriously looking at MDT's or better yet a HDT conversion as a tow vehicle just for safety reasons, but then you get back to the issue of what are you going to drive around town in when you are set up at a campground....The HDT?........that leads you back to maybe a class A or a super C with a smaller toad to run around in once set up still might be the best option....
The F450 appears the same size as an F350 but is technically an MDT. But I agree, for some of the heaviest 5th wheels, even the F450 might be a bit small.

A little bigger MDT would be ideal, but they usually cost a good deal more. The HDTs would be great on the road, but they just seem a little large for running to the corner market. Granted, their footprint is no more than a pickup, and their turning radius is much tighter than a pickup. They just LOOK too big. I have seen a few that carry a Smart Car sideways behind the cab, ahead of the 5er. Or a motorcycle or two. Just seems like too many vehicles to me. That's one of the things I like about 5ers -- one vehicle to maintain.

Here's a thought. My son just bought a new electric golf cart. It's street legal and carries 4 people. I think top speed is 45 mph but it's governed not to exceed 35 mph downhill. It's 5x10 so would easily fit in most toyhaulers.
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:44 AM
 
1,477 posts, read 5,027,272 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoNewk View Post
The F450 appears the same size as an F350 but is technically an MDT. But I agree, for some of the heaviest 5th wheels, even the F450 might be a bit small.

A little bigger MDT would be ideal, but they usually cost a good deal more. The HDTs would be great on the road, but they just seem a little large for running to the corner market. Granted, their footprint is no more than a pickup, and their turning radius is much tighter than a pickup. They just LOOK too big. I have seen a few that carry a Smart Car sideways behind the cab, ahead of the 5er. Or a motorcycle or two. Just seems like too many vehicles to me. That's one of the things I like about 5ers -- one vehicle to maintain.

Here's a thought. My son just bought a new electric golf cart. It's street legal and carries 4 people. I think top speed is 45 mph but it's governed not to exceed 35 mph downhill. It's 5x10 so would easily fit in most toyhaulers.
WyoNewk I am not in the market for a PU but last time I looked I can assure you there was a difference between a F350 and F450. You have to look at things that are important when towing to see the difference, things like larger brakes and rotors for stopping, a wider track for tighter turning, larger tire and rim packages, maybe larger axles or cut splines etc....If you look at the two trucks I am sure you will see there is a difference with the F450 having upgrades over the F350 in these types of classes....

The golf cart is not a bad idea I have an EZGO myself that is street legal that I use to tool around the neighborhood or at our home base campground in....the only problems I see with that is one, Street legal can have very different rules depending on the State...here in Va the laws are very tight and golf carts are only allowed on certain residential streets and at no time can they be on a roadway where the speed limit is above 25 MPH so that limits your travel ability because not to many campgrounds dump out onto a residential street...LOL...Two, I have ran across way to many campgrounds that do not allow any type of Golf Carts to be used either gas or electric within the campground so why haul it around if you can’t use it..

I dont want to turn this into a Class A vs 5th wheel debate I just wanted to pass on a little advice to Bossco about having the proper tow vehicle for the job...I like yourself I am sure have seen way to many people towing a TT or 5th wheel with a under sized vehicle and that puts all of us in danger out there on the road

Last edited by rtandc; 06-16-2010 at 08:09 AM..
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