Fifth Wheel Travel Trailer Towing Tips

I am very happy that after roughly 50,000 miles and over 4 years of fifth wheel trailer towing I have never damaged the trailer, had a blowout, ran out of fuel or been stuck.

I started out as a complete newbie, never having towed a thing in my life. The first thing I did was off to the nearest big open parking area and practice, practice, practice! The first few times out were, I have to admit, a little nerve wrecking but as I got more and more hours under my belt everything became easier.

Practice, practice, practice!

This has to be the all-time best tip you can get. You can read all the information you want but the only way to truly learn is by doing it over and over. It’s how you learned to drive your car, right?  Take some cones and mark out pretend scenarios like backing into a campsite, turning through some tight corners, etc.

Learn how your rig reacts and how long it takes the trailer to turn and how much extra room it takes. This is also a good time to get a feel for the braking.  Towing a trailer makes the stopping distance greater and the braking practice will give you a sense of how much distance is going to be a safe distance to stop.

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Respect the Weight

One thing you have to appreciate is how much mass you are moving around. With the trailer hooked up your movements must be slow, steady and deliberate. If you perform any jerky movements you’re not going to be able to correct the motion the same way as in a car. I see this issue all the time on the freeway when folks pulling trailers do a jerky quick lane change and then spend 10 seconds trying to get the trailer to stop fish tailing.

When braking, remember that even though you may have electric trailer brakes they won`t stop on a dime. Always give plenty of space in front in case a panic stop takes place ahead.  I have had more than one occasion where I rounded a corner only to find a line of dead stopped cars waiting in a construction zone.

Hitching and Unhitching

This can be a little different depending on the type of hitch you have but here are a few basic tips.

  1. Make sure the tailgate is down! Seen all those trucks with bashed up tailgates? Now, you can imagine why. Also on the flip side when done make sure the tailgate is up or you will carve out a nice hole in the front trailer cargo bay door.

  2. Always attach the emergency brake cable, at least in the unlikely event the trailer comes unhitched it will stop itself.

  3. Before raising the front jacks too far and after hookup give the trailer a tug test with the truck to make sure the hitch jaws are fully engaged. That step can save your truck bed rails from getting squished by a falling fifth wheel.  This is a good time to check the trailer brakes are working too.

  4. Always chock your wheels even if the ground seems really flat, you never know, better safe than sorry.

  5. Don’t let people distract you while doing the hitch operations. To many bad things can happen if you forget something.

  6. Keep the hitch lubed and clean. I  use a round plastic type lube plate on my pin and works great. Check the nut and bolt torque settings every once in a while too

I have a routine for hitching and unhitching and do it the same every time, that way it becomes second nature, and I’m less likely to forget something. Just before departure  my wife goes through our checklist and I confirm the tasks were done.

No Distractions

When your towing it is your responsibility to have complete attention on the truck, trailer, and road. Don’t be chatting on the phone, playing with the radio, trying to read the map, etc. Unlike a car, your recovery and reaction time is limited due to the weight and size of the rig. Every second will count if an emergency maneuver is required.

I won`t even let Anne play a podcast while we drive unless we are on a very wide open expressway with little traffic or she uses headphones. I like to listen to all the noises and sounds so if anything sounds different I’ll know.  Hearing a tire hissing or axle bearing squealing early can mean the difference between slowly pulling over or frantically trying to maintain control.

Tow Mirrors

Tow mirrors

Mirrors, use them!

Mirrors are your best friend when towing. Make sure you set yourself up with ones big enough and far out from the vehicle enough to see all the way down the trailer side to the back. Mine are set so I can see the trailer walls and the tires. This way I can see if a tire is running low or worse is blown. The next thing to do is add blind spot fish eye type mirrors as an add-on. With these, you can see vehicles that sneak up beside you, your trailer roof line and they are an aid when backing up the trailer. Always keep your mirrors as clean as you can and check them often to watch what’s happening behind you.


The fifth wheel is going to demand some extra care and attention when taking sharp corners. When you take the corner the trailer is going to track a path inside that of your tow vehicle. How much depends on the length and it is something that is important to get to know. The more you practice the better feel you’ll have as to how wide of a turn you need. During the turn take it slow and check your mirror to make sure the trailer is clearing the corner.

Also, keep in mind the back-end of the trailer will swing wider than the tow vehicle path so allow space for this. Very important in tight campgrounds where I’ve been witness to many small crunches to people’s trailer sides as they scrape an obstacle such as a tree or post. Worse yet the electrical pedestal or water tap!

Plan Your Route

This can save you much time and aggravation. When you are touring around in a car it’s so easy to turn around, get fuel, and deal with any type of roadway. Not so much when your 40–65 feet long and 12-14 feet high. Always plan ahead and know where you’re going with the trailer before departing. Some of the websites I use to check on weather, routes and campsites are listed in this blog post.  It is important to know the terrain you’ll be towing through, is it hilly? too curvy? rough road? etc.  Where are the easy in and out fuel stops. Nothing worse than being in some unknown town with low fuel trying to jam yourself into a tight situation to refuel.

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Cities take extra planning such as knowing when rush hour might be, what’s the bypass route and if they have tolls. The internet is a wonderful resource and if in doubt about the routing go to one of the many good forums like,, and just ask. You’ll usually get a boat load of information back from folks that have done the same route or have intimate local knowledge.

Pay attention to your Tires

A big problem fifth wheel and travel trailers may face is tire blowouts. All the weight and stress eventually is on the little patch of rubber meeting the road. I watch my tires like a hawk. Before every tow, I check the pressure, lug nut torque, visually inspect the sidewall and treads. Whenever stopped for a rest break I feel the tires for overheating along with the bearings. A handheld infrared temperature gun is also a great tool for this.

Take care of your tires or else!

Many people invest in a tire pressure monitoring system and it is on my upgrade list. Replace your tires after 5-7 years whether they look like they need it or not.  Tires can look perfect but be rotten on the inside. This is especially true if they sit for long periods of time without use. For an extra margin of safety when I purchased my second set of tires, I elected to upgrade them to a higher load range. Just a little extra piece of mind as the OEM manufacturers are notorious for barely meeting the safety requirements to save a dime.

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Our Gusty Friend Wind

I find the wind to be the biggest enemy to my fifth wheel trailer towing experience. Being that the rig is near 13 feet high and box-shaped any sort of wind has a dramatic effect. The worse scenario is on the big Interstate highways when traveling among the tractor trailers. When it’s really gusty and they are passing by you pushing a lot of air themselves there is a push-pull effect that happens that you must be aware of. The wind can also devastate fuel mileage and is hard on the truck trying to pull the trailer through it, worse if you add hills into the equation.

So I always check the weather and tend to plan my tow days around the wind. Many times I will leave a day early or a day late to get the least wind. One time we were towing across South Dakota’s rolling hill country into 30 mph winds I had enough and just pulled into a fancy RV Resort to wait it out. May as well spend the money on a nice place then diesel fuel spent to drag the trailer through a wall of wind. I find traveling in anything above 25-30 mph of wind is no fun.

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Backing it up

This can be the most intimidating part of fifth wheel ownership. The dreaded backing into a campsite with the local peanut gallery watching.

  • The first tip is to take your time, rushing it is only going to enhance the chance of problems. Fifth wheels respond to your steering input in a delayed manner, by going slow you have a better chance to correct a miss guided path. It will help if you can pull a good distance ahead before backing in to allow plenty of space for a gradual turn into the spot.

  • Second use a spotter always!!  Also have a good simple set of hand signals and have the spotter always visible in your mirrors.  A set of two way radios or cell phones for communication is another good option.

  • Third is GOAL. GOAL stands for get out and look. I will sometimes do this twice or more if in doubt, no shame in looking.  It’s actually an acronym used by professional truckers.

  • Fourth, look at your tires. I always watch the path the tires are taking as that is where the trailer will go. If you watch the back of the trailer it can get you out of line quickly as there is a large swing to the end and doesn’t follow the same arc as the tires. When backing don’t forget about the front of the truck. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the looking back you crash into something right in front of yourself.

  • Finally always look up and have your spotter look up. It is easy to forget how high the rigs are. A low tree limb can ruin your camping trip.
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Take your Time

Traveling in the RV is not a race. It is meant to be enjoyable. Make sure you don’t overdo the mileage. I tend to stick to between 100-250 miles as a nice distance in a day. I feel any longer than that and you start to speed and get tired. Two really bad things on the highway. If you feel tired at all pull over somewhere and take a nap, you have your house with you after all.  Instead of taking the fastest Interstate highway, try a slower secondary road and you may discover interesting things or that super cool off the beaten path camping spot.

Off the beaten path campsite

Well, that’s my Trailer Towing Tips. Hope this helps some of you RVers that are new to towing. For more help check out my post and video specifically explaining backing a fifth wheel trailer and another one with advice on traveling on the Interstate highways.

Follow our RV adventures! Sign up for the free monthly Love Your RV Newsletter – Receive the eBook “Tips for the RV Life” as a gift. Also head on over to the RV Happy Hour and chat with me and other RVers about all things RV. – Cheers Ray

Fifth Wheel and Travel Trailer Towing Tips from Love Your RV! blog - #RV #Trailer #Towing

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  • Ron Fritts

    Fantastic site. Thanks from a newbie. My question is if it’s ok to camp for one night without unhitching from the truck

  • William Rubin

    Ray – Thanks for the great article. We are beginning to plan for retirement and are always looking for wisdom. If you could start from scratch, what specs would you choose for a truck that’s going to pull a 5th wheel that will be holding what’s left of all our worldly goods? We see so many options and are not certain which configuration would give us the most flexibility. Or should we choose a 5th wheel first and then configure a truck to match it? Thanks -Bill

    • You’re welcome, Bill. 🙂
      Tough question with so many variables. But, I would be inclined to find the fifth wheel you really like first then get a truck that can safely pull it. Make sure the truck can pull it fully loaded with a 10-15% margin of safety and you’ll be a lot happy camper. Of course, you’ll have to ballpark it when fifth wheel shopping and make sure it won’t need a truck that is a ridiculous size and some do! Some really big heavy fifth wheels need a small semi truck. Most though can be safely pulled with a modern 1-ton diesel.

  • Fran

    I’m thinking of buying a 5th wheel camper. I have a gmc 2500 6.6 diesel that is already set up and ready to go but I was told I should get rear suspension air bags to keep my pick up level while towing. Any advice on this ?

    • Hard to say for sure. You need to first know how heavy of a trailer you are going to buy and the load ratings for your truck and whether it is for extended use or just a weekend and holiday thing. For extended use, IMHO I would want a truck that can hold the load level without the aid of air bags.
      My feeling is if you are needing to install air bags to maintain level you don’t have a heavy duty enough truck for the load.

  • PapaSpahr

    Ray, I have a 32ft Forest River Cardinal and a Silverado2500HD. I am having a problem parking the trailer on my side yard. Too tight for me. Is it bad for the truck suspension ,and or tires, to keep the trailer hitched to the truck? I have them curbside until I sort this backing and parking thing. I hope to eventually park on the side of my yard. I keep chewing up my neighbors lawn and flowers overshooting the property line. HELP !!!!

    • Shouldn’t hurt anything, we have left our truck hooked up many times for days at a time with no ill effects. Maybe this article nd video might help with the backing up.

      • PapaSpahr

        Thanks Ray. I’ll read this a hundred times and give it another shot.

        Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

        ——– Original message ——–

  • Great tips from you. Thank you for posting the dos and dots.

  • Scott James

    I have been told 5th wheel travel is a lot safer than hitch…can I consider a 5th wheel with with a 5.3 liter v-8 Silverado?

    • Engine size is less important. With the right package, an F150 with a V6 can pull a small 5th wheel.

      What you need to look at is pin weight, and overall weight of the 5th wheel. You don’t want to overload your truck, because that can be more dangerous than anything you would have pulled on your bumper. I ended up going with a diesel one ton which is overkill for my trailer. But there is one truth… I have never heard anyone say, “I wish I had gotten the half ton instead of a one ton” while towing.

      Also, keep in mind that with a 5th wheel you lose bed space.

      That said, I love my 5th wheel. If you look at your weights, you can probably find one that’s within your tow rating.

  • WhatsNext

    Great tips. I am looking at getting one in the future. However, where I live my driveway goes down aways and back up. I am concerned with the angle limitations of the 5th Wheel Hitch. The truck will be going back up hill while the trailer will still be goin down the hill.

    • Thanks. I don’t have too many problems as far as dips go with my hitch. I have a decent amount of clearance between the truck bed rails and the trailer. Usually what limits me on dips is the rear end dragging the ground as the rig is heading up and the rear hasn’t finished coming down.

      • WhatsNext

        Thanks for the info. How long of trailer do you pull. I have a 2000 F350 longbed and looking at a 36ft 5th Wheel Trailer.

        • It’s about 30 feet long. The 1994 F350 is a supercab with a 8-foot bed. Total rig length is 45 feet.

  • Kay Hughes

    Can you use the 4 wheel drive on the truck when you are pulling the 5th Wheel? going up a hill on a slick road.

    • I’ve never towed with a 4×4 but I don’t see why not. Just make sure to check the specs for the truck, sometimes the max tow weights can be slightly different.

      • 4×4 should only be used when you are unable to keep traction. You can bind and damage your transfer case if there is no slippage to allow it to come back. On occasion I have used 4 low to back my trailer up a steep incline. But I do that with my wheels fairly straight. I’ve also used my 4wd while towing across sand and dirt. It really helps there.

        The only worry, is you can REALLY get yourself stuck if you aren’t paying attention haha.

  • Dean

    Thank you Ray -I’ll spec the load limits out- and I’m hoping to hear about those passes and hills out west from people who have done it with a Tundra-anybody-she got the torque to do this?

    mahalo, Dean

  • Dean

    I just bought a light 6300# 5th wheeler trailer-loaded maybe 7300#. The dealer and brochure say the Toyota Tundra will do the job-will I be sorry I didn’t get a 3/4 ton turbo diesel?
    Help-ready to buy the truck.

    Thanks , Dean

    • Should be able to pull it fine but make sure it can handle the pin weight. 15-20% of the fivers weight will be on the hitch in the trucks bed, then add the hitches own weight, people, plus anything you load in it, tools, etc. and then give yourself a 10-15% safety margin. Usually this is where a half ton truck can’t cut it and gets overloaded..
      But that is an awfully light fifth wheel so maybe… Also don’t underestimate what you will load in it. Ours had a dry weight of 7200lbs but in the real world all loaded up and measured at the scales I’m over 9000lbs. Cheers Ray

    • Bruce

      Your 5er is a light weight one, I don’t see a problem, but check the truck manual. I heard the Tundra is like a F150..

  • Anna

    Does anyone know of a fifth wheel with a half bath not next to the bedroom that isn’t a bunkhouse?

  • Hi Ray, This is a great article! I would like to put a link to it on an upcoming web page about 5th wheel towing on the web page if it’s OK with you.

    • Thanks John, feel free to link to anything you like. 🙂

  • Maggie Poling

    How far do you raise the jacks? How many holes from m the bottom of the jack?

    • That depends what the level of the site and what height of blocks your using. On a fairly level site about 6 holes with 2 inch wood blocks. I find the more the solid inner sleeve of the jacks is out the more stable the front of the trailer is as far as wiggle goes, but you don’t want to over extend them and blow a fuse or damage the gears. As you learn to level the rig you’ll start to get a feel for how far to extend the legs.

  • WALT

    We Have An 03 Diesel Silverado And Have Owned Trailers In The Past. We Are Looking At Fifth Wheels, The Truck Does Not Have Dual Rear Wheels. Question Is What Length Would Be Most Suitable For This Truck ? We Are Looking At Units Around 30 Feet. We Also Need One That Is Under 12 Feet High So I Can Get It In A Building. Seems Like Cougar Makes Some That Are Under 12 Feet Any More Out There That You Know Of ? Also Does A System Like The Banks Help Out With Power And Fuel Mileage? Looks Like The Power Would Be There But Not So Sure About Economy. Anybody Else Have Experience With This ? Also What Hitch Is The Best ? Lots Of Questions I Know But That Is Pretty Normal And Experience Has Always Been The Best Teacher. Thanks Walt

  • derek

    is having a meshed end gate on my truck going to get me better fuel econemy

    • I doubt it, especially when towing.

    • Simple answer: No

      Long answer: Pickup trucks are designed such that the air flowing over the cab creates a vortex towards the cab, and the air flow will not hit the tailgate. If anything it will disrupt the vortex a bit and create drag. The best thing for fuel economy is something you already have on your truck. The accelerator. Controlling that will save far more fuel than whatever addition you may put on your truck.*

      *unless you have a diesel with a DPF, and you can delete all that and turn off the regen, but that is not emissions legal.

  • We are getting ready for a summer RV rental trip and your blog is filled with great info. It will not be a 5th Wheel, but so much useful stuff here. Thanks!

    • You’re welcome Evan, hope you have a great summer RVing.

  • Jeff

    Beginning the journey to purchase our retirement rig which we’ll also use to haul or motorcycles & a raft. Thank you for the terrific info. Will keep everyone posted on the steps we follow & will refer to your site often.

    • Thanks Jeff, appreciate the comment. Have fun picking out a rig! 🙂

  • joe

    could you please tell me what is the shortest truck bed you can have and not need a sliderhitch. I have had 2 rv dealers tell me 6.5 I wouldnt need one. I had 1 rv dealer and 2 truck dealers tell me any bed under 8ft and I need slider. im looking at f250 with 6.5 ft bed but don’t want to buy if I need slider. thank you for any help.

    • It all depends on the truck and trailer combo. Some will need them. some may not. Many newer fifth-wheels have specially molded corners to give extra clearance in a turn. I have a 8 foot bed so has never been a concern. One thing to think about is even though it may clear fine on even ground, it may hit the cab when backing on uneven ground.

    • Hi Joe,
      We have a Dodge Mega Cab which has a 6’8″ bed and pull a Montana Mountaineer. My hitch has a slider but I’ve never used it in two years. I can get a very sharp angle, and I figure if I get any sharper than is possible then I need to rethink the spot I’m going into 🙂

      You can see our rig here:

    • Mike

      First, they make some really slick sliders now. They’re a little pricey, but they are automatic so you don’t have to do anything. Second, I have a ford F250 with a 6.5 foot bed and no slider and I can do 90 degrees without a problem, but my fiver is designed to be towed with an F150 with a 5.5 foot bed. If your fiver isn’t, then go ahead and get a 6.5 foot bed anyway if it’s the truck you want. It would be unusual if it needed a slider, but if it does, you can make it work with a custom pin box and/or a slider.

  • G4Hayes

    Me and my wife always wanted to get a fifth wheel so we went and brought a new 42′ fifth wheel to haul on my F350 Diesel. Problem is we never have towed and was looking for any pointers for 1st timers.

    • Check out one of my latest posts on how I back up my fifth wheel.

    • Bruce

      Know your clearances, check lug nuts, torque to specs, make sure you clear the object before changing lanes, or as you are turning, keep looking in your mirrors to make sure you clear the curb. Remember you are the size of a semi truck. Pulling the weight of 4 to 6 cars. Allow MORE time to stop. Swing wide, watch for cars trying to squeeze in or get around you as you turn, or changing lanes. Fuel up at truck stops if they have reg fuel, I have a diesel..Remember the RV pivots. it has alot of tail swing and front swing. If you park to close as you pull away and turn to quick, the tail end will swing and hit what is near it, watch your mirrors alot…Take it slow!!

  • Leo


    I am new to Fifth Wheeling and retire in December I am taking the camper to Mesa Az from Maine s the best route the one I picked I81 to I40 , I am leaving Nov 19th,

    • Weather is the biggest concern. The route is good but during the winter there are some higher elevations in New Mexico and AZ 6 or 7 thousand feet that could be cold and have snow. You would want to really watch the weather forecasts. You may need to drop down and take a more southern route. I10 is much flatter and goes right through Phoenix/Mesa area. Northern AZ is fairly high in elevation. Look at a topographical map of the area and plan your route to stay in the warmer, lower elevations.

  • Terry

    Just got our new 5th wheel 41′ cyclone….first one I might add. Definitely taking it slow. Bought it in Michigan and taking it home to Wyoming. So far so good, love the helpful suggestions.

    • Hey Terry, thanks for the comment. 41′ that’s a biggie, must be pretty deluxe!

      • Terry

        Let’s just say it isn’t exactly roughing it 🙂

  • Human

    These are some of the best tips/advice I have read. I just got a 5th wheel, so any information is helpful. Thanks I tend too do everything fast, so taking it slow will be my mantra.

    • Great, glad you liked them.

  • Patrick

    Great information. Had a 27′ Cougar for two years and just last week traded for a new 35′ Cougar 327RWES. So still a relative newbie and now with a lot more rig behind me. I appreciate the “take it slow” mentality as I am adopting as my motto for both my scuba diving as well as my RVing. Just makes everything easier (and safer). We are on our maiden voyage, a 4 day outing close to home, getting my sea legs so to speak with the new length. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is checking the adjustment on the trailer brake control. I think mine is okay as I made it here safely, but I just now looked up the manual online to actually learn how to correctly set the levels. I hate to admit that I have had it for a few years and have neglected to do this. Kind of wish I had done this before leaving the house.

  • Lynn Thomas

    I have a 40 ft 5th wheel and plan on adding a Swivel Wheel Trailer to carry my Golf Cart. Anyone have any experence doing this? The factory said that I will void my warranty on the frame. The Swivel Wheel people said that there will be no problem. Met two people at the camp ground that have the trailers installed, love them. These are connected with two receivers. Any suggestions?

    • kathy

      did you get the swivel wheel? we have one on our cardinal and are thinking of getting a cougar but we have to add a hitch, have you had any problems. thank

  • Brock

    i have a 5th wheel converted to a gooseneck hook up , my F250 is a little on the tall side so my 5th wheel sits higher in the front than the back , what is your opnion of putting the leaf springs on top of the axel , i have done some reaserch and this will change the center of gravity .what kind of issues will i incour and also is flipping the leaf spring on top of the axels a wise move ? any help would be great

  • Mike

    I really need some help. We bought a small 5th wheel (18′) to tow with my 1/2 ton Dodge. Everybody then told me I should not tow with that truck. So I bought a GMC Sierra Danali which has bigger motor and can handle the trailer. The truck bed sits higher off the ground than the Dodge. A friend told me that it looked like it would be too high off the ground and the trailer would sit with the front very high. So the question is, can I safely tow the trailer if the trailer is not level with the bed of the truck?

    • I see it all the time but it is less then ideal. You will probably experience a lot more “chucking” on uneven roads, which is a kind of tugging motion between the trailer and truck, very annoying. This is because when you have the fifth wheel nose high there will be less weight on the truck and more on the rear of the trailer. If it is really high it may cause to much weight to be transferred to the rear axle tires causing them to run hotter and more likely to blow.
      Many people will over come this with hitch adjustments, spacers in the trailer suspension or even flip the axles to gain height.

    • Mike

      If all else fails, try this. I had the same problem with a prior fiver. I went to a truck store and had the rear end of the truck lowered 2 inches. Problem solved and no problems created. Another solution, which I didn’t know about back then is a custom pin box for the fiver. My current fifth wheel has about 4 inches of vertical adjustment available in the pin box.

  • Eva Carley

    I enjoyed reading all the comments. We are in our 60’s and are planning to purchase a 5th wheel and truck for retirement. Don’t have a lot of experience but did own a 5th wheel many years ago. Never having pulled or hitched a 5th wheel had some interesting mishaps. Like a heavy picnic table stuck to my trailer sitting off the ground by two feet. Funny now but not so funny than. I will look forward to reading all the information before purchasing this one. I feel we have learned a lot over the years but still have a lot to learn. Thank you for the good insight on many topics.

    • Your welcome Eva, hope your on the road soon!

  • Sheldon Scutt

    My question is 5th wheel vs bumper hitch:
    We are first time Rv’ers and are still in the planning stages ( haven’t purchased tow vehicle or RV) and would like some advice. We are interested in a Outback 312BH. My concern is that a trailer of that length and weight would be easier and safer to haul in a 5th wheel version rather than a bumper hitch. Also, I am concerned about total length of truck and trailer combination and its ease of maneuverability on the road and in the campground. Seems to me a 5th wheel would be much better suited for a trailer that is 36 feet in length. I have driven a ’07 Dodge 350 diesel hauling freight on a 36′ flat bed trailer from coast to coast so I am familiar with how it handled. There were a few situations I don’t think I could have maneuvered had the trailer been a bumper hitch. Really like the like the weight being over the rear axle too. I would appreciate advice on whether to go 5th wheel or bumper hitch. Thanks

    • J Brown

      I would recommend a fifth wheel version for something this long that you are trying to park in a campground as most are very close quarters. You also have weight considerations if you are going to haul a lot of stuff. Mostly it will depend on how many times you are going to use it and what it will be used for. Sounds like you are already familiar with the tow vehicle and hauling with a fifth wheel, so this may be your best avenue.

    • I’ve always towed a fifth wheel, so can’t speak from experience with bumper pull. I’ve logged a lot of miles with my fifth wheel and never had any problems with sway or feeling out of control in wind, etc. Hookup seems to me to be a little faster and more simple. Downside is you have to take the corners a bit wider due to the pivot point being more forward but you learn the rig after a while and know how much space is needed and you loose a good amount of storage space in the truck bed.

  • Gary

    Different brands shouldn’t be a problem either, as long as both brands are about equal in quality. Just keep an eye on them and see how they wear and how they feel on the road. If things get to looking or feeling funky, check the tires. Also, it doesn’t hurt to balance all the tires, either with lead weights or beads installed inside the tire.

  • Jim

    I was in need for new tires on 5th wheel and little short on money so I bought 2 tires
    and 2mths later bought another two…was told all tires had to be replaced at sametime.
    true or false? they are the same size but diff. brand…should I buy two more to match the ones I just bought or will it be alright. Thanks

    • 2 months difference isn’t a problem but different brands maybe. I think you should phone up some tire installers and get their opinions. If it was me I would buy two more and keep the others as spares Would be nice if you could carry two spares, many times when a trailer tire blows it damages the other tire as well.

  • Patti

    We have always had Motor Homes but now are the proud owners of a Ford Ranch King F250 Diesel and a 30 ft. 5th wheel trailer. Love the truck and trailer but when we are driving it is jerky. Scares me but hubby says they all do that. Do they really? Or how can we stop it. We’ve never had one before so I don’t believe him. 🙂 Help me!

    • Hi Patti, they all do it to some extent but usually only on a rougher type road or cement interstate highways with the cracks spaced every 50 feet or so. It’s called chucking. Sometimes it can be improved by shifting the cargo weight around so less or more is on the front hitch here is an article discussing this: or getting a new pin box with a rubber cushion to absorb the shock:
      I’m lucky in that my unit is very smooth, most times I don’t feel any chucking, only on extremely rough roads or when I cross a bridge. If you do a Google search for “fifth wheel chucking you’ll find much more information.

      • Ron M

        I have found that a set of AirRide suspension or Air Bags did the trick for me. It took some time to get a feel for the correct pressure, but finally found that sweet spot for my rig. Too, I am the only one who loads my RV, every thing has a place and every place has a thing!

  • James B

    I’m confused about tire pressures. I have a fifth wheel trailer and the manufacturers label says PSI should be 110. The national tire dealer where I purchased the tires put in 80 psi and said this is the correct pressure. The maximum on the sidewall is 110 psi. Would I be safe running at 100psi 14 ply tires. MAX GVWR is 15,2xx. Tire size is 235/85/16

    • Hey James, Tire Pressure! Ack, one of the most hotly debated topics. Go to any RV Forum and you’ll find long threads of people arguing about this. If the trailers label says 110 psi and the tires say 110 psi as maximums then your fine running the tires at that pressure and most RVers always run at max. The other school of thought is to inflate the tires based on the actually load per tire. You weigh the load on each tire and then inflate it to match the tire manufactures load tables. Your OK to run them at max PSI so 100 PSI is safe. Check this blog out for a ton of info on the subject –

    • Gary N

      The tire rating on the sidewall is the MAXIMUM tire pressure that you should inflate to. It will deliver the best fuel economy, but a slightly harsher ride. Go for the max and save a few bucks on fuel.

      • Sure need to save on fuel anyway we can these days. Good tip!

  • Stan B

    Have you heard of a fifth wheel coming unhitched on a slow curved turn because the hitch was over torqued. My king pin poped out even after it was properly hitched and locked and I had towed well over 20 miles on some country roads. Got it rehitched and towed home almost 150 miles. Crushed my tailgate and damaged my side rail. Never heard of such a thing from the dealer.

    • First I heard of it. Usually once they are properly locked in they should never pop out. I have the type of hitch that has a slider bar that slams shut and locks the pin in place. A lot of metal wold have to bend to shake it loose. Sorry for your bad luck. 🙁

  • This may sound cliche but I think Taking your time is the best tip on here. It’s all about enjoying yourself, safely. And slowing things down help you accomplish both. Great read, Thank you.

  • Jim

    Looking for some help. Looking at a small fifth wheel trailer. RV dealer says I can tow it with a half ton pick that has a factory installed tow package and shortbed. Ford says I can do it, Ford dealer said no. Another rv dealer also said it can’t be done.
    Any advice??
    Thanks, Jim

    • Here is a calculator I would want a 10-15% margin of safety on all my weights. Many 1/2 tons will pull the load fine but can they stop it and handle it in the corners. Also depends if your going to be doing a lot of hilly or mountain towing vs just mostly flat land.

      Keep in mind the fifth wheel will be much heavier once your loaded up for camping, plus all the gear and people in your truck, all that has to be taken into consideration. 1/2 tons generally fail the rear axle load weight or are very close to the limit.

  • Thanks for the tips. As you said towing gets better the more you put in some practice. I think anyone who wants to tow should pin this tips on their dashboard and in case of forgetting. The most important thing is to arrive safe with the cargo also safe.

    • Gary N

      The MOST important part of ANY trip is to arrive for dinner. If you can do that, it was a safe trip.

  • Gary

    I have a 40′ Keystone Fuzion pulled by a ford F-550 dually. I have pulled trailers without dual drive tires, but find that a crosswind is not as hard on the driver with the dual drives… the extra tires help to absorb the sway and give more stability.

    For fuel efficiency, I have set a speed limit for myself when towing the fifth-wheel at 60mph. Let the other guys go as fast as they want. You don’t have to keep up with the tractor/trailer that just blew past you. Most of those guys don’t pay for their own fuel, and there are a lot of cowboys driving the big rigs.

    If you pass a vehicle while towing be sure you have PLENTY of room to safely navigate back into the right lane. A lot of big rig drivers will flash their headlights to let you know it is safe to move over, but not all. At night, the big rig may flash his lights to the OFF position momentarily. If a big rig passes you at night, do NOT flash high beams to signal him back. He is looking in his mirror and your high beams will blind him. Just do a momentary OFF/ON blink of your headlights.

    A good investment is an air horn. They are relatively inexpensive, and are easy to mount. The air horn is preferred on the highway because big rigs can usually hear them as opposed to the stock horn that comes with your truck.

    The last tip I have is that you need to level your truck. There is nothing more annoying than someone pulling a trailer that is pushing the back of the truck down. This raises the front, and you low-beam headlights are now poised much higher than normal, causing you to blind oncoming traffic. Install a set of air bags to keep your truck level. This will also enhance steering as proper weight is maintained on the front tires if the truck is level.

    The most important thing about your trip is to arrive home for dinner.

    • Great tips Gary, thanks so much for commenting. 🙂

    • William

      Ray, I have a F250 4×4 crew cab disel and I’m trying to find out what size 5th wheel I can safely tow. Is there a rule of thumb I can use?

      • Hi William, usually what limits most trucks is the amount of pin weight they can take. Try to find all the specs on your truck and then see how much pin weight it can take before exceeding the trucks Gross Vehicle Max weight and/or the Rear Axle Max weight. Once you know your max pin weight you can handle you can see what the max weight of a prospective fifth wheel is and expect %15-20 of that to be pin weight. Try to allow a 10-15% margin for safety. Here are a few links for you and Never believe an RV sales guy 😉 They almost always will say the truck will tow it.

  • Not a trailering tip so much as a general 5th wheel tip: Know how far you can retract the landing gear. We over retracted our landing gear and one side broke, shearing the jack screw. Fortunately we were still hitched to the truck at the time. After that, we painted a red ‘do no pass’ line on the legs. After owning a travel trailer we were expecting a fuse to blow, or a limiter switch or something, but no. So that’s my major 5th wheel tip.

    • Great tip Allison. I have a black painted area on mine where I know not to go past. Although I know my unit will blow a fuse because one time I tried to jack up to release the hitch from the truck and went to far and was actually proceeding to lift the truck with the front trailer jacks and it popped a fuse. Doh!