Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: TC vs Small 5th wheel
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 > TC vs Small 5th wheel

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otrfun

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Posted: 09/04/19 10:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gjac wrote:

In researching smaller rv's the TC's TT's and short 5th wheels seem to have some advantages over larger RV's. Having never owned any of these, what I have surmised from this forum is if you want a TC with some storage and FW capacity a larger TC with a slide or two is required which would require a DRW truck. In looking at short 5th wheels say 24 ft I see more storage and more FW that can be towed with a SRW truck. In addition I see more storage in the bed of the truck for FW and other stuff. Some have said the CG was much higher in a TC making it top heavy around corners. You have to exit the truck to access the the camper section in both of these. Is a small 5th wheel or TT much more difficult to back into a site and level? Have any of you owed both a short 5th wheel and a TC that can comment on any advantages or disadvantages of each setup? I dry camp 95% of the time so water capacity is important I have 60 gals now which last me 7 days.
We purchased a new TC about 6 months ago and have already logged many thousands of miles on a number of cross-country trips with it. Previously we owned a 33 ft. bumper-pull TT, and prior to that a smaller 5th wheel. The increased mobility while on the road with the TC has been a blessing for us. With the TT's we'd tend to be less adventuresome while on the road. Now we don't hesitate to stop and go pretty much anywhere a car would. U-turns are now a piece-of-cake.

It does take some adjustment getting used to the limited living and storage space in a TC. If there's two of you, it definitely requires some practice to move about and do things efficiently. As for storage, we quickly discovered that we get by fine with less.

I think it goes without saying a TC is much easier to manuever than a TT. As for the hassles involved with unhitching/hitching/leveling a TT vs. unloading/loading/leveling a TC, well, I'd say it's more or less even. Some do find loading a TC a bit more challenging than others, however. Practice is key.

You mentioned that you dry camp a lot, so larger tanks will be a priority. Larger tanks generally mean a larger TC. There's a lot of debate here about what truck can carry which TC. IMO, if you're going all-in with a TC with larger tanks and several slides, a DRW is a good choice. We already owned an SRW, so we went with a TC with smaller tanks and no slides to stay within our personal comfort zone in terms of weight and ratings. Be VERY careful with the various weight claims various manufacturers make about their campers. Most of them are very misleading. Read the small print, ask lots of questions. If you're not careful, it's easy to end-up with TC that weighs 1,000 lbs. or more than you anticipated.

Good luck!

* This post was last edited 09/04/19 11:45am by otrfun *   View edit history

magic43

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Posted: 09/04/19 05:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Starting with a homemade popup trailer in 1966, we have owned/traveled in/with every RV type made. We bought the Outfitter TC in 2004 while we still had the Class C MH, and recently completed a 7822 mile month long trip in it. The MH was replaced with an Idle Time 24' fifth wheel a couple of years ago which will be our choice for a Smokey Mountain trip next month.

For us much depends upon whether we will be "travel camping" or "sitting still camping" as in how we plan to spend the majority of our time.


magic43

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Posted: 09/04/19 07:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jaycocreek wrote:

Quote:

Is a small 5th wheel or TT much more difficult to back into a site and level? Have any of you owed both a short 5th wheel and a TC that can comment on any advantages or disadvantages of each setup? I dry camp 95% of the time so water capacity is important I have 60 gals now which last me 7 days.


I don't think a TT or a FW is any easier to back in and level,infact,I give the TT and FW an edge in the easier department..Other than the backing part,a truck camper can be harder to level in the spot and they all need to be level for the refer..On a TT and FW it's a touch of a button to level North to South...A TC has to be fiscally moved onto blocks for N to S..

I owned a 35 ft Jayco FW and a 8ft truck camper at the same time..Lived in the FW and camped in the TC...Kinda cool...

The best rig we had for what we do was a 24ft Class C with the perfect floorplan(couch and two chairs) for us...Three of us and a dog lived and roamed in that one for years..

TT vs FW..The TT gives you the whole pickup bed for all your stuff while the FW makes it hard to transport large stuff like a 25 gallon propane tank that has to be laid down to work..Tall generators or other stuff can make hauling them with a FW tough...But a FW is easier to hookup and un-hook..

My pick would be a small TT for the room in the pickup bed or a small Class C motorhome if you like just pulling over and not getting out to be home...

As to the TC and truck needed on an internet forum,take it all with a grain of salt..I have owned a ton of truck campers from 8-10.5 ft and never owned a dually truck,but they were older campers without slides but the only mod was extras springs, one way or the other.

Good luck on your choice..


What??? I back or pull my TC onto spot, disengage my fast guns get jack remote out and level camper while still on (but disconneted from) truck. Say 5 minutes and I'm level and ready. I've never seen anybody with TT or FW get their rings leveled that fast or easy.


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jaycocreek

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Posted: 09/04/19 10:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

What??? I back or pull my TC onto spot, disengage my fast guns get jack remote out and level camper while still on (but disconneted from) truck. Say 5 minutes and I'm level and ready. I've never seen anybody with TT or FW get their rings leveled that fast or easy.


[emoticon]

First,not everyone has fast guns or electric jacks on there TC..

Second..FW-Back in level east to west just as you did with your TC with no fast guns to take off and just hit the button and raise a few to be level..Win Win-FW and same Win with a TT because there was no fast guns to mess with and all are still connected in one way to the truck....

Third..Back in with FW level east to west as we do with a TC..Pull the lever out and hit the button as your wife drives off in the truck to get some more beer and the TT and TC are still connected to the truck...Win-Fifth Wheel wit extra beverages..LOL

In all my years with a TC I have only seen someone do as you say once..They usually just put blocks under the front tires to level North to South..

Fifth Wheels are far and away the quickest setup in the RV world in my opinion minus the auto leveling systems, that they can have also though...Travel trailers can be a bugger to setup compared.

Just a pull of the lever and drive out from under it with legs down,ofcourse...Same hooking up..Pull the lever out and back under it and your done after you plug in..

But a motorhome with auto level trumps the others in setup time, never leaving the drivers seat.


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jimh425

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Posted: 09/05/19 06:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It depends on what is faster, but I will probably will be parked and leveled before a motorhome, TT, or Fifth wheel can back into many spaces. That is, if they can get in the space at all. If it is a level pull through, I don’t do anything other than stop and put the slides out. Probably the same in a class A, but I see TTs and fifth wheels put stabilizers down.

I can certainly be leveled before the manual jacks complete going down even if they are using a drill. Besides, from what I’ve seen, people still level the wheels on a TT and fifth wheel and tongue before putting their jacks down.

I rarely put my jacks down for stabilizing unless the wind is really going at about 30-40 mph. TTs and fifth wheels rock a lot more. Probably can get by without stabilizing with a Class A as well.


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Gjac

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Posted: 09/05/19 07:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

magic43 wrote:

Starting with a homemade popup trailer in 1966, we have owned/traveled in/with every RV type made. We bought the Outfitter TC in 2004 while we still had the Class C MH, and recently completed a 7822 mile month long trip in it. The MH was replaced with an Idle Time 24' fifth wheel a couple of years ago which will be our choice for a Smokey Mountain trip next month.

For us much depends upon whether we will be "travel camping" or "sitting still camping" as in how we plan to spend the majority of our time.
The idle time 24 ft 5th is what I was considering. It has enough interior space with the slide and light enough to be towed with the Ford 150. Having owned both is this 5th wheel much more difficult to travel with say cross country staying only a night or two in each location? Does the high CG of the TC around corners feel less stable than you 24 ft idle time? Said another way is towing your small 5th wheel on the hwy any different than hauling your TC?

jaycocreek

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Posted: 09/05/19 08:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

TTs and fifth wheels rock a lot more.


Not sure how stiff your spring are but I had a 35ft Jayco front living room that had no stabilizer jacks in the rear..The most stable RV I have ever had, especially in the wind,setup..Can't imagine a TC 13-14 ft high being more stable and I have a DRW with a baby TC on it..

We all want to say our currant RV/TC is the best and there is not any way to compare unless you own or have owned all that you are comparing..Watching the neighbor setup, not knowing his level of experience isn't a comparison.

The op asked about small Fifth wheels/Travel Trailers versus a Truck camper...

"Is a small 5th wheel or TT much more difficult to back into a site and level? Have any of you owed both a short 5th wheel and a TC that can comment on any advantages or disadvantages of each setup? I dry camp 95% of the time so water capacity is important I have 60 gals now which last me 7 days.'

1-It depends on the site but on average not im my opinion.

2-It depends on short..My FW measured 35 ft stem to sturn,some label that length as a 30ft or smaller..I had a 26ft labeled TT that measured 30 ft front to rear and a pickup can measure 22-23 feet bumper to bumper..Like a 26.5' Jayco RLDS is going to measure 26.5 bumper to tongue..Not likely.

3-I also dry camp 99.5% of the time and in my opinion the Outdoors RV "Mountain Series" is the best boondocker made..Very large water tanks/Built in gen set/ready for 4-6-volt batteries/solar and a suspension made for off road....They have my attention for the next RV..

Don't get me wrong..I love my TC but it has it's faults as every RV has..Water capacity is one as well as room..If it wasn't for traveling the backcountry of Idaho needing the ability to turn around anywhere,I would have a small TT or FW..

Seems I am always going down a dead end road.(laffin).

Kayteg1

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Posted: 09/05/19 08:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jaycocreek wrote:



But a motorhome with auto level trumps the others in setup time, never leaving the drivers seat.

Guess again. That happen when I was selling DP and was showing off by not leaving driver seat.
We've been on slight slope with front on lower spot, but not big enough to be concern for jacks. Or so I tough so.
When motorhome got lifted few inches, suddenly it kicked few feet forward. There was SUV park in front, so situation sure make my back wet.
Close inspection show that even on slight slop - the tilting rear jacks did not have space to turn vertically and they start to extend being at angle. That at some point lifted rear wheels to loose the traction and kick DP forward.
ALWAYS inspect any leveling system before full deployment.





jaycocreek

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Posted: 09/05/19 08:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

The idle time 24 ft 5th is what I was considering. It has enough interior space with the slide and light enough to be towed with the Ford 150. Having owned both is this 5th wheel much more difficult to travel with say cross country staying only a night or two in each location? Does the high CG of the TC around corners feel less stable than you 24 ft idle time? Said another way is towing your small 5th wheel on the hwy any different than hauling your TC?


You might want to check actual lengths of the 1/2 ton towable fifth wheels..I just looked at Jayco's(My favorite) HTX small 26RLX and the total length is over 31 feet...

Towing a fifth wheel is very stable,probably the most stable ride for an RV IMHO..The high center of gravity of a TC is a definite problem and why you see everyone here on this forum buying thousands of dollars of Torklift products to make them more stable..

Traveling on paved mountain roads in an RV can be challenging but the fifth wheel wins hands down for handling/cornering and sway..The only draw back to a small fiver is truck bed storage compared to a TT..

I am still paying from the wife for selling our fifth wheel...

jaycocreek

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Posted: 09/05/19 08:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Kayteg 1 wrote:

Guess again. That happen when I was selling DP and was showing off by not leaving driver seat.


Showing off never has a harmonious outcome..Saw it right off...

Common sense does..

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