Fifth Wheel or MH?

My wife and I have been considering what we will do when we retire sometime in the next 5-6 years. We keep looking at RVs, dreaming of a time when we can travel around the country. We cannot seem to agree on whether we should get a PU/fifth wheel or go with a motor home.

Since I am the one that will probably be doing 99% of the driving, a fifth wheel is my choice. I like the idea of having a pick up truck for utility, plus I like the extra room a fifth wheel seems to have over a MH.

My wife's primary concern with getting a MH is the fact that she can be in the unit while we are driving down the road. Knowing her, she probably intends to spend a lot of time sleeping in bed while we travel. She is also concerned with the two small dogs, thinking they would travel better in a MH, than in a PU.

Does a fifth wheel hitch interfere with the utility of the pick up to any great extent?

Does my wife mistakenly assume she would have the freedom to do what she wants in a MH while going down the road? She knows she can't cook and clean, etc but what about just moving around, lying on a bed or using the head? Shouldn't she be in a chair with a seat belt on? How about the dogs? Anybody have experience there?
Ive owned both. The fifth wheel is great for short runs, 150-200 miles but for traveling the U.S. the RV is by far the best choice. You can tow a front wheel drive suv with a braking tow dolly to fulfill your utility needs. You get more usable space with the Fifth wheel since the cockpit and isle leading to it take 4 to 6 feet of your living area. My 25 foot fifth wheel felt bigger than my 28 foot rv since the cockpit is where my bedroom used to be. I will probably go up to a 34 foot to make up for the loss. But you cant beat the visibility and comfort of the rv on the road. The modern ones are built on Semi truck chassis which gives you reliability you cant get from most pickups under 40000 dollars. So for the same cash in the end you can get an rv + suv for what you would pay for a reliable pickup + fifth wheel. Go to your local rv dealer and test drive a few to see the difference. Try different types and lengths to find one that fits your needs the best. Diesel for sure. Happy Hunting!!!
Different states have different seat-belt requirements based on vehicle weight. Some even still allow occupants of trailers. Once you get the hang of driving the rv its not to hard to walk around, just need to get your sea legs :). Of course safety is always main concern so if your in the mountains on a 2 lane, that's probably not the best time to do the laundry. But on the open road in light traffic its okay. It comes down to risk management combined with common sense based on driving style/conditions. I think in the end you will have happier passengers in the RV.


Senior Member
Thought my 5er was an RV also? :eek:

It all boils down to what you like/want. Go and look/try out both. I have a 31' 5er and would prefer it over a MH.

C Nash

Senior Member
Boils down to personel choice IMO. We have owned both and at present or fulltiming in 32 ft MH with 2 slides gas burner v10 ford. Toad a 4X4 chev tracker towed four down. I like the MH best. Gas a wash as far as compairing. MH gets 8 MPG but the toad gets 25MPG. The diesel dualy chev I had got 12 towing the 5th wheel and 16 touring. Hard to get in places we like to sight see. Both have their + and -. Wife likes the fredom of bathroom on the go and I like the fast set up and get away of the MH. Also like being able to just pull in for overnight and not even have to go outside in walmart etc. I know supposed to go in and ask manager if its ok but if there is already a dozen rvs there you can assume its ok:applause:. I like to drive the MH more than towing the 5th wheel. AJMO. Final decision is what fits you best. good luck

Triple E

Senior Member
I agree with Mr. Nash. :( If I was going to sit somewhere for several months then I would have a fifth. But, I only stay somewhere for a week or two so I love the motor home. And when the motor home is parked and we are out site seeing we are getting 35 mpg. Can't do that with a tow truck. :applause: However that is just me. Do what ever you feel is best.


Senior Member

I don't own a 5th wheel but I've been in some awfully nice ones in my travels. One comes to mind is a couple that has parked next to me the last two years in Fl. They have a Holiday Rambler Presidential it a 38ft tri axle behometh. Layed out great and the cabinets in that are all located appropriately for us vertically challenged folks. If I would have been looking for a 5th wheel I'm sure that one would have been on my short list. Most of the other units I've been in the cabinets are/were too darned high for us. However if I found the right unit at the right price I would not hesitate on buying one.

I do agree with Nash and Triple E above. I own a Class A and utilize a Toad to get around once parked and know its a bit more economical than a large truck for running around sight seeing. The ride in the M/H is awesome very comfortable. I get mentally tired driving the M/H before I get physicaly tired. Like others have said its nice when pulling into a rest area just shut down make your baloney sandwich without having to get out of your unit.

Concerning your comment about 5th wheels seem more spacious I think is a valid point on the interior but bay storage for "stuff" on a class A may off set that if you are a pack rat/hoarder like my Mrs.
We went with a Class A and pull a Jeep Wrangler. We just got back from a month long trip and our Georgetown 280 served us and our 2 boxers well. I've not finished averaging the mileage for the whole trip but think we averaged between 7.5 & 8mpg (at least on the downhill days).

As far as moving around, I'm able to stagger to the fridge for water or to shut what we forgot to shut before we left but as far as strolling around puttering, forget it. I haven't tried laying on the bed which is in the back but I think there would be too much motion for me to be comfy. Our boxers have their harnesses & seatbelts on when we're moving. They can use their beds or the couch and sleep 99% of the time.


Junior Member
I know many folks with both styles and the MH is always the most money to maintain. the problems are just bigger problems. makes the ego bigger but to each their own. Enjoy what ever you decide on. We are in Casa Grande Az enjoying our almost 11 year old alpenlite for the next 6 months..