MH vs 5th wheel

My husband and I are about to close on a purchse of a pre owned MH-Class A 2000 Monaco La Palma M 36D with 31k miles(dbl slide). (a killer deal in MHO at 39K) We went to an RV dealer to have a pre sale inspection. While waiting, my husband and I browsed the lot...My husband is now having second thoughts about the MH and wondering if we should consider a 5th wheel. He has been opposed to the idea of a 5th wheel because he hates the idea of towing. Now, after seeing and talking to folks who do a good job selling their products, he likes the 5th wheel...
Our plan is to spend a few months traveling the country, visiting friends/family and touristy type things. We will be traveling more than staying in one place. That is one reason I am leaning towards a MH. The 5th wheel doesn't have a no boondocking as I had planned to do occasionally.
My husband likes the high ceilings,spaciousness and roominess of the 5th wheel. He likes the idea of having a vehicle to drive around with draggin one behing the MH.
So, with that all said, Do any of you have any opinions, advise, comments that might help us? Thanks in advance!
MH vs 5th wheel

This is strictly a personal opinion. I feel if you are going to be moving on a regular basis (more than 2-3 times a month) rather than staying in a single place for 1-2 months at a time, you are better off with a Motor Home. Especially if you are going to be stopping at different friends homes and possibly parking on the street in front of there homes.
I am sure others will offer there opinions and reasons.
MH vs 5th wheel

We had the same fight! :eek: ;) However, we settled on the MH. It has been great this way. I drive (mostly), and she can go to the bathroom any time she wants! HER bathroom. It doesn't matter much to us guys, but you gals know it makes all the difference in the world. I like it because I don't have to stop or pull over. We make lots better time on the driving portion of our trips.

And you know what? My Sallyberetta is sometimes inclined to get me a sandwich while we're driving. Not a full meal, but just enough to tide me over 'til we stop.

And you know what else? The money I saved by not buying a toad goes towards LARGE rent cars when we do stop. We don't have to tow a car, we don't have to pay for it, we don't have to drive around with our knees in our chins, and we don't have to drive around town in a big old dually truck.

I'm glad I lost THIS fight! :blackeye: ;)


Senior Member
MH vs 5th wheel

Well, each to their own. We opted for a used Class A to start our retirement years for wintering in a warm place. We lucked out and were able to find a used 89 Winnebago with only 5,800 miles on it (yes, 5,800). After four winter trips South we now have 13,000 miles on it. We opted for a tow dolly and pull a Mid Size auto with no problems. Now that we have used the Class A for four winters we are now looking at maybe a 5th wheel for the future (in a couple years) only because we can't afford a new Class A at todays prices, but a 5th wheel that is a couple years old is affordable (let others take the depreciation). My truck isn't big enough to pull the size fiver we will look for but I plan on either buying a new truck or if I can find a deal with used fiver and truck combo, I'll opt for that. I guess the thing we want is slideouts more than anything else, as our current rig does not have them. Shop around and you may want to go used versus new at first and try it. Just my opinion..... ;)


Senior Member
MH vs 5th wheel

We are fulltime and in a gas chassis motorhome and since you want the motorhome, I will tell you what we like. There are good reasons for each choice, but it would be a terrible mistake to allow a sales person to change your mind. What they really want is to make a sale and they really do not care if you like it or not, once the sale is made. In fact, they would rather that you are not happy as they just may get a chance to sell you a different unit much sooner that way!

Now to the advantages of a morothome over a fifth wheel. Towing a toad is a much easier thing to do that to tow a long trailer. The only advantage of the trailer is the ability to back, if you have the skills! But if you tow a vehicle that you can tow on it's wheels, it only takes less than a minute to unhook if you do need to back, and that is very rare. In almost six years fulltime, we have unhooked to back up three times. And one of those we would not have had to, but it was easier than to route around everything.

Another advantage is that when we park the motorhome, we do not have to buy fuel for that big engine just to go get a burger for dinner! And the toad is far easier to drive, to park and to maintain than a tow truck for the same size of trailer as our motorhome would be. For a trailer as large as the motorhome you are considering, you need at a minimum a 1 ton truck and you should go up to a medium duty truck to be really safe. Also, with the motorhome and toad, you will never be stranded by a break-down. If the motorhome doesn't start, drive the toad. If you break-down on the highway where there is no cell coverage, just unhook the toad! When you arrive at the end of the day, the motorhome is always warm or cool enough for comfort, while a trailer will be far from comfortable and it will take quite a little time to get that way. If the weather should go bad while traveling, find the nearest parking lot and with a motorhome you just lower the jacks, start the genset and you are set for the night. You don't even need to go outside if you do not want to do so! And if you are stopped for the night, it is just as easy to move as it was to park there. Also, you won't put nearly as many miles on that expensive engine in the motorhome as you would put on the engine of the tow truck.

I hope that this is helpful! It isn't that I think the motorhome is the only answer, but it would be a terrible mistake to choose based upon some sale pitch! There are more fulltime RVers in motorhomes than there are in fifth wheel trailers.
MH vs 5th wheel

Thank you for your qucik replies. We will continue to hash this over-I have spent all day reading forums on this topic. I really love the idea of being self contained-but I also really love the hubby, so.....
MH vs 5th wheel

Thank you for your quick replies. We will continue to hash this over-I have spent all day reading forums on this topic. I really love the idea of being self contained-but I also really love the hubby, so.....
MH vs 5th wheel

She did not say ANYTHING about a salesman pushing them either way, Kirk. She said her husband looked around and now likes a 5th. I would much rather my customers be happy and maybe they will come back to ME for their next purchase. My 2500's drive very well when my trailer is unhooked and they can tow a trailer weighting 15,700lb. That is a pretty big trailer. I don't have another engine to keep running and the maintance on a trailer is less. Insurance is also a LOT less on a trailer than a MH. Finally, you can get a fifth wheel with a generator. I have one on my lot right now with a generator and another trailer ready for one.
Those are my thoughts, but please purchase what is right for you.


Senior Member
MH vs 5th wheel

Either one can work, but each has its plusses and minuses. We got along quite well with our trailer, but it did have all the quirks that Kirk mentions. Hopefully the motorhome we have currently will overcome these. One advantage which Kirk did not mention specifically which I am looking forward to, is no blasted driving up on levelling blocks. Just push a button and it levels itself. We've got a major trip coming up where we will make the final decision, but in theory the MH should be better for us.

The advantages of the trailer so far: 1) much cheaper to buy and maintain, even if you include the cost and maintenance of the tow vehicle. 2) No place in the motorhome which can be converted into a 'home' for our cats (but to be honest, we are comparing bottom of the line trailer against top of the line motorhome) 3) Easier to store (again, honesty compels mention that the MH is 40' and the trailer was 25') 4) Trailer had a spare tire and it could be changed by me with only what I carry with me)
MH vs 5th wheel

One other thing that is very important is security. You will be traveling a lot. With a motorhome there is no reason to go outside if you don't want to at a rest area, etc. Or: to stop and boondock for a night. You can just drive away if there is a problem.

We have done both and this is my opinion:

A fifth wheel has the best livability per foot but a motorhome is the best for traveling.

Also, motorhomes have slide outs also.
MH vs 5th wheel

Having owned several 5th wheels over the last 20 years and now having owned a Class A for the last 2 years I can say this as to my opinion. The class A has it all but one thing and that's driving comfort. With the Class A driving about 500 miles a day is my limit, yes I can go farther but it's out passed my comfort zone. The 5th wheels we used to run 800 miles a day at times and still not be tired. I much prefer the 5th'er in large city traffic, but again that's driving comfort. I suggest if you can to drive both. Other than that the Class A has the 5th'er beat.
MH vs 5th wheel

Well, I'll throw my two cents in this discussion for the Travel Trailer set, lol.

We've been full-timing in our 38 foot TT for the last three years, although we used it quite abit since we purchased it in 2000. We only have one slide but it's just the DH, me, and our two poodles.

We can also pull over in a parking lot and get something to eat or go to our own bathroom. Yes, we have to get out of our truck, but big deal. Our trailer was paid off in four years so we only have to worry about insurance and tires and normal upkeep on it now. We pull with a 3500 Dodge Ram and are quite comfortable traveling and have a great truck for getting around town. We've never had a problem with our dually in any tourist area we've visited.

If we were to upgrade one day we've decided it would definately be a fifth wheel, not a MH. That way we can keep our great truck and have lots of space for the dogs to run around, lol. Only advantage I can see by driving the MH would be for me to go potty while DH drives and he wouldn't have to pull over for me to get in the trailer. :eek:

Don't let Kirk discourage you from talking to the salesmen, lol.
MH vs 5th wheel

Here is something you might also consider some new trucks have a generator built into the power take off I don't know if you can use this as you drive or not but if you can it would be very simple if you own a 5th wheel or a trailer to connect them to your power source as you travel to keep your Trailer warm or cool inside.
Kirk Quote "the motorhome is always warm or cool enough for comfort, while a trailer will be far from comfortable and it will take quite a little time to get that way. If the weather should go bad while traveling.
Just a thought. later Jim :clown:


Senior Member
MH vs 5th wheel

For that matter, you can carry a generator in the bed of your truck, and with some modifications, run your trailer off of it while driving. You would have to do the same modifications to use any built in generator as well (usually the power hookup is at the rear of the trailer, and having a long extention cord flopping down the side of the trailer is not a good idea).
MH vs 5th wheel

We fulltime.. which translates to all of our possessions in our rv. We had a motor home. Had to move out into a motel for 2 days while (minor) repairs were being done. Made us think twice about if/when major repairs needed to be done and we would be forced to pack up all of our possessions/important papers /etc. and live out of a motel room for weeks on end. We now have a dodge 3500, diesel dually and a 39foot 5er with a pullout 8 foot patio on the back. If something happens to the engine/drivetrain part of this rig, we rent a car and stay in our home.
MH vs 5th wheel

Thank you all for your replies. First hand information is invaluable. We did not buy the Motorhomr-for various reasons. The final reason was an electrical problem that was baffling the RV mechanic. That planted enough uncertainty to pass the decision back to my husband. We bought a Ford F350 Diesel Dually-traded in the "Mom Mobile" 2005 Chrysler Town and Country. Our 12 year old says "you might be a redneck if your truck is bigger than your house." This is one BIG truck!! WHEW!! Now we are looking for the 5th wheel so we can get this show on the road. Thanks for all your help and advice! It is so appreciated. I'll post a picture once we get it all together.
MH vs 5th wheel

we just returned home from our winter vacation to florida , we live in northern indiana ,almost a stones throw from lake michigan. we have a 33' 5er and we have no problem with power or heat while we travel. most rvs are set up with 12v furnaces and batteries .mine charges off my truck while we drive, and also while the shoreline is plugged in at the campground to the 30a/50a plug . our fridge runs on propane while traveling. my only trouble is i need another battery because one is not enough on a long travel day (10-12 hs). we dont like to travel long days ,10-12hours, because its a vacation not another work day. (I drive a dump truck 9 months a year 10-12hrs a day, sometimes up to 18 hrs a day on local construction jobs)we take the 5er side of choice, we also had problems in florida this year with our tow rig and had it to the dealer they provided us with a rental at their expense while our truck was repaired leaving us the 5er to live in and a car to drive and not ruining are vacation totally . just another side LEE