When people make significant purchases like a new car or home, it helps to gain a perspective on all of the variables. The RV market, especially the fifth-wheel category, is the same way. This is why we’re presenting the average weight of fifth-wheel trailers with 18 examples.
Fifth wheels come with different issues than travel trailers, campers, and drivables. Knowing what size 5th wheel for what size truck will let you pick the RV you want instead of the unit your truck can tow.
If you’re passionate about ATV’s or other motorized toys, fifth wheel toy haulers were the first to offer garages. With the right perspective, you’ll know what’s the best truck for towing the 5th wheel that fits everything you want.
Camper Weight Chart
There are different weights you need to understand when you ask yourself how much towing capacity do I need for fifth-wheel travel trailers. These weights account for the trailer itself, how much it can hold, the weight it puts on your truck’s hitch, and other important factors.
- Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW):This is the empty weight of the RV. It’s also known as the dry weight.
- Curb Weight: Referred to as the wet weight, this measurement is the UVW with the added weight of the fresh water tank filled up. It also includes the filled propane tanks and other standard equipment making the RV camping ready.
- Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC):The CCC is the maximum amount of weight the RV can carry within the unit. Cargo weight becomes a problem when the wet weight and the CCC ends up pushing the limits of a vehicle’s maximum towing capacity.
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): You’ll hear about the GVWR most often. This is the total maximum weight limit the manufacturer has safely set for the RV. To find your actual gross vehicle weight, there are places you can go that have vehicle scales.
- Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR):This measurement is the total RV and tow vehicle weight. Most states have roadways GCWRs, but they mostly affect commercial semi-trucks.
- Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR):Axle weight deals with how much weight the axles can hold. It’s significant on your fifth wheel and your truck since the hitch sits above the rear axle inside the bed.
- Gross Tongue Weight (GTW):Tongue weight (for fifth wheel’s it’s referred to as “pin weight”) is the amount of pressure put on the hitch. Too much will weigh down your truck to the point of scraping the road. If it’s too light, you’ll see a lot of side-to-side fishtailing. The ideal weight is 20% of your RV’s GVR.
Fifth Wheel Towing Trucks and Example RVs
Mid-Size/ Quarter Ton Trucks
Quarter ton trucks are also known as mid-size trucks. They have an average towing capacity of 7,000 pounds. They aren’t made for fifth-wheel towing. Their tow capacity is too low and their overall wheelbase is too narrow for a large coach.
The only exception is the 19-foot Scamp fifth wheel. Scamp is the significantly alter the Bolar eggshell fiberglass mold standard by creating the first 2,900-pound fifth wheel. This direct order build manufacturer designed this fifth wheel off of their 16-foot travel trailer with great success.
Those looking for a queen-size bed, full-size dinette, and other top-quality features in a fiberglass RV will love this little fifth wheel. It’s so light, your Ford Ranger or Nissan Frontier will barely feel it as you cruise the highway.
Full-Size/ Half-Ton Trucks
The half-ton pickup truck is the most versatile full-size pickup. It balances performance, power, and comfort. You’ll find versions that have sleek designs, off-road capabilities, and the best tech in the industry.
An average pickup truck towing capacity ranges from 8,000- 10,000 pounds which makes it perfect for the lightweight fifth wheels. Maximum towing capacities can reach the mid to late teens with the right equipment.
The RV industry adapted the fifth-wheel category to help consumers navigate sizes. Units that fit within this level of truck are also referred to as half-tons. Weight is still a big factor here since towing capacities can differ based on what your individual truck is equipped with.
When using a 5th wheel weight calculator, you must factor in cargo weight, fresh water weight, and the people inside the tow vehicle. Your RV sales representative or the computer website you’re using should assist you with this.
A great example of a half-ton fifth wheel is the Grand Design Reflection 150 290BH. This 8,236-pound lightweight fifth-wheel is a bunkhouse model with an outdoor kitchen. It comes prepped with washer/dryer hookups and other components not seen in this category.
Full-Size Heavy-Duty/ Three-Quarter Ton Trucks
Three-quarter ton trucks are usually lumped together with its one-ton counterpart, but they’re significantly different. They have an average tow capacity of 14,000 pounds but can go as high as 20,000 pounds when equipped correctly.
People enjoy this level of truck due to its balance of price point, quality features, and it does better for bed payload capacity. On average owners of three-quarter-ton trucks use them primarily for their daily work lives.
A perfect match for a three-quarter-ton pickup is the Winnebago V3134RL. This fifth wheel is on the lighter side of average for full-size fifth wheels. It comes in at 11,030 UVW and measures over 35 and a half feet long. The front master suite has an optional king bed, and the spacious living room has plenty of features for entertaining.
Full-Size Heavy-Duty/ One-Ton Trucks
One-ton trucks are going to give you the most freedom for towing the biggest and most luxurious fifth-wheel RVs on the market. Their average towing capacity is around 22,000 pounds, but they can max out as high as 35,000 pounds when properly equipped.
Full-timers that choose to tow fifth wheels over driving motorhomes gravitate toward one-ton trucks when they can. A popular model at this truck level is Keystone Montana 3761FL weighing in at 14,147 UVW. It comes with a bath and a half, a front living room floor plan, and is four-season ready. At 41 feet, this six slideout unit will keep you comfortable wherever you are.
Half-Ton Fifth Wheels
As we stated before, perspective is everything. We’ve explored the various vehicle weights and the truck classes involved with fifth wheels. Whether you choose to buy your truck first, or buy your RV, and then get the truck to match it, is up to you.
At this point, you’ll have a basic understanding of what’s involved with matching up the truck and RV concerning weight considerations. Sorry, we can’t help you with color matching. For that, we refer you to the person in the family with the best eye.
The average camper weight for half-ton fifth wheels ranges between 8,000 to 14,000 pounds. You can figure pin weight on a 5th wheel of this side to be 1,600- 2,800 pounds.
If you’re looking for half-ton fifth wheels, here are some excellent floorplan examples. They come in family-friendly bunkhouses, big living rooms for empty-nesters, and other floorplans that fit many different audiences.
- Outdoor Kitchen: CrossRoads Cruiser-Aire CR28BH, 6288 UVW
- Bunkhouse: Coachmen Chaparral X-Lite 295X-DSO, 11,000 UVW
- Rear Picture Window and Chairs: Gulf Stream Sedona 27FRLD, 9900 UVW
- L-Shaped Dinette: Northwood Arctic Fox 28-5c, 12089 UVW
- Two Bedroom: Starcraft Telluride 338MBH, 9570 UVW
Full-Size Fifth Wheels
Full-size fifth wheels have weight averages between 11,000- 22,000 pounds. The heaviest fifth-wheel campers tip the scale over 24,000 pounds. You’ll see all types of floorplan configurations, multiple slideouts, and the highest level of luxury materials.
Features like refrigerators and other components are the same size as million-dollar houses. Here are some examples to further your perspective.
- Two Full Bathrooms: Heartland Landmark 365 Lafayette, 15,251 UVW
- Two Bedroom and Loft: Highland Ridge Silverstar SF371MBH, 12,530 UVW
- Rear Kitchen: Prime Time Sanibel 3702WB, 11,529 UVW
- Toy Storage Basement: Alliance Paradigm 365RD, 13,725 UVW
Fifth Wheel Toy Haulers
Fifth wheel toy haulers come in double or triple axles to handle the extra weight in the garage section. Half-ton pickups can pull some toy haulers, but heavy duty/super-duty trucks perform better.
When you’re figuring out your 5th wheel weight distribution, you must account for your motorized toys like ATVs, dirt bikes, or other items in the garage. Save some horsepower and torque for driving. This way your truck will have the ability to tackle inclines and road conditions without too much effort.
- RV Business Best In Show Debut for 2020: Forest River XLR Nitro 405, 15,519 UVW
- Two Patios: Jayco Seismic 4212, 15,725 UVW
- Two Bathrooms: Palomino Puma Unleashed 383DSS, 10,758 UVW
- Big Kitchen and Loft: Dutchmen Endurance 3556, 12,348 UVW
- Garage Under Bedroom: Forest River Riverstone 39FKTH, 17,369 UVW
- Popular Floorplan: Keystone Fuzion 369, 13,599 UVW
Charles Joseph is one of the original authors of Camper Smarts from when it first started.