Mar 17, 2011 - Technical    9 Comments

A 180 Degree About Face

Yesterday, I spent about three hours with a friend climbing in and out of a staggering number of fifth wheels and… I fell in love.

I especially liked the bunk-model one that had two entrances, including one into the bunk area that had a door. Rip out the bunk, add a desk, and suddenly you have a separate office with an exterior access door… and there’s also a full bedroom. All within a foot print that is not much longer than Miranda.

Even the worst fiver designs were better than the best motorhome. And those kitchens… I’m still not a fan of slides, but they seem to be more useful in a fifth wheel than in a motorhome.

Suddenly, learning to hook up and back up a trailer made sense, especially when factoring in that a good used truck could come in at five to six thousand dollars and a recent-model high end 5er could be had for under forty grand. Compare that to the minimum $125,000 I’d have to spend to get a recent-model high end class C or B motorhome when it comes time to replace Miranda. And I’d only have one engine to maintain.

Is this what the “dark side” looks like?

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  • I think you are estimating low on what a good truck would cost. Depending on the weight of the 5ver, of course, you would probably need a 1 ton with duallies, tow package, and a hitch. Then you are driving a diesel truck around when parked somewhere, and you won’t get the mileage you would from a smaller toad. Also, and this is a big one to many people, you have to get out of your vehicle to get into your RV. I’ve never had a problem with that because I’ve always stopped well before dark, but even at a rest area for a short period of time, or at a Walmart, people can pretty much tell you are by yourself.

    From my experience I will say the 5th wheel is comfortable for full time living. The slides add a great deal of space, but then I’m reading about a lot of folks who have trouble getting the slides out or back in.

    I can’t remember what year Miranda is, but with all the work you’ve put into remodeling and renovating, maybe spending some money on a major overhaul would be less expensive in the long run.

  • I’ve actually been looking at truck prices and that price can actually get you an HDT! I’d be buying an older truck, of course.

    Even with the motorhome people can tell I’m on my own.

    Miranda’s a 1998. I’m not looking at replacing her for another eight to ten years!

  • I’m hoping you can see the one we’re looking at. (5er) I think you’d be impressed, even having seen the floorplan… LOL

  • Hey, I’ll be in Lethbridge in a few weeks for an indefinite period of time. I expect to be invited for tea. And I plan to be on standby for croissant-sitting! 😀

  • […] decided on what my next rig is going to be. I’ve vacillated between getting excited about fifth wheels and considering a B+, but I finally came down to earth and made a decision. I want to downsize and […]

  • Rae, boy you’d have a blast remodeling my trailer.

    I was out for 6 months and could have stayed out for the rest of my life except that I came back to say hi to family, and found out that my pup is sick. All kinds of chaos going on, now. Trying to get him into surgery in Texas-long story.

    It’s a 21 foot trailer. Has a tub and shower (no sink in bathroom), but kitchen is close at hand. On the front end is a queen bed and bunk above (I took the mattress off the bunk and made it storage). When I first got the trailer, my two pups claimed the queen bed as theirs. After I lost my sweet Lizzie toward the end of 2009, Jack slept with me. I broke down the table and put memory foam mattresses over the cushions-very comfortable. Perfect twin bed and I have the advantage of the windows all around me which lets me listen to the sounds of nature and can switch one mattress over to the couch should I have company. The couch is across from the bed. Jack, my pup took a liking to it, so I folded it down (it’s a jack knife) and put plastic on his and matching twin sheets on our beds. He switches back and forth from my bed to his. Too funny. I put a table between the bed and the couch and it holds my laptop and serves as my “office” and a place to eat. I have a stove, oven, cable tv connection, CD/Radio Stereo Player, tv antenna, furnace, air, fridge-well, you’ll see in the pix, and more than ample storage space. Under my bed where the table was, I put a basket for my shoes, and another for books and still have room left over. I put stuff I don’t use often in the bins that were under the table seats (that are now covered with a mattress).

    Hitching and unhitching became easier each time. I can get it on the first try, now. I still have a little problem backing up into a space, but can do it when pressed. The smaller the trailer the more difficult to back up. A fifth wheel is easier to back up.

    I have a small clothes closet not worth a darn so I made one in the bathroom. That would not suit you, but you could eliminate the bunk and put a clothes bar across over the queen bed. I store my TV, camera bag, grab and go bag on the queen bed. The rest goes in the bed of the truck-I bought a Toneau bed cover so everything stays dry. If you took the mattress off the queen, you could probably have a raised office.

    Of course, I realize that my trailer would not be suitable in the winter weather that you suffer through (though I was comfortable in 20 degree weather), but something that’s winter worthy could work for you. I have no doubt that you could make incredible changes to a floor plan like mine to suit your needs. I have a big used truck that I bought (3500 Dodge Diesel) that gives me so much cargo room and had a good weight distribution and anti sway hitch installed. The trailer is like a flea on its bumper so I sail up and down mountains. Just thought you might be interested since you’re considering your options. I’ll be interested in what you come up with.

  • Your trailer looks good, but I would not consider a bumper-pull trailer. It’s so far out of the realm of possibility as to be non-existent. But I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on one and renovating it for the heck of it! 🙂

  • Be careful what you ask for–I might get to Canada some day. 😉

  • Scared of you… 😉

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