We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Thanks for the support! 👍
Fifth-wheel campers are generally larger than your standard sized-camper as it provides many of the amenities that most smaller trailers could not. A standard fifth-wheeler, on average, would weigh somewhere around 12,000-15,000 pounds.
So, for you to be able to pull your large trailer around with some ease and reliability, you must at least have a 1-quarter-ton truck equipped with an eight-foot bed and, whenever possible, a dually.
The following are your important considerations when choosing a pickup truck for your heavy fifth-wheeler.
1. Ford F-350 Super Duty
The Ford F-350 Super Duty is one of the most popular trucks on the market for towing a fifth-wheel trailer. It offers a variety of features that make it ideal for this type of towing, including a powerful engine, a heavy-duty suspension, and a spacious cab.
The F-350 also has several optional features that can make towing even easier, such as a fifth-wheel prep package and an integrated trailer brake controller. If you’re looking for a truck that can handle the demands of towing a fifth-wheel trailer, the F-350 Super Duty should be at the top of your list.
Just make sure to option the Fifth-Wheel package, and the dually to get the best experience for this one.
2. Ram 3500
The Ram 3500 is a great choice for towing a fifth-wheel trailer. Its powerful engine and sturdy frame make it up for the task, and its impressive towing capacity means that it can handle even the heaviest of loads.
Plus, its wide range of features and available options ensure that you’ll be able to find the perfect setup for your specific needs.
So whether you’re looking for a Ram 3500 for business or pleasure, you can rest assured that it will get the job done right.
3. Nissan Titan XD
Nissan Titan XD is a great truck for towing a fifth-wheel trailer. It has a powerful engine and a durable frame that can handle the weight of a heavy trailer. The truck also has a special towing hitch that makes it easy to attach the trailer to the truck.
The Nissan Titan XD is available in both gasoline and diesel versions, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. If you’re looking for a great truck for towing a fifth-wheel trailer, Nissan Titan XD is a good choice.
4. Chevrolet Silverado & GMC Sierra 3500 HD
Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 3500 HD are both great trucks for towing a fifth-wheel trailer. Chevrolet Silverado has a towing capacity of 23,300 pounds, while GMC Sierra has a towing capacity of 23,100 pounds.
Both trucks have a max trailer weight rating of 14,500 pounds. Chevrolet Silverado is available in 2WD and 4WD models, while GMC Sierra is only available in 2WD. Chevrolet Silverado has a standard V8 engine with 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque.
GMC Sierra has a standard V8 engine with 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet Silverado has a max payload capacity of 7,153 pounds, while GMC Sierra has a
What to think about when you are purchasing a truck for towing a 5th-wheel trailer
Trucks mainly come in 3 weight sizes which are:
- 1/4 ton
- 1/2 ton
- 1 ton
In the past, trucks carried loads on a one-to-one ratio which means they were advertised to carry only equal to what they weighed. But advancements in technology-enabled them to pull more weight than they do now. This is made possible through better suspension. But then again, softer suspension means less towing capacity.
Payload and Towing Capacity
Choosing a truck for power and reliability is to find one with lesser luxury options. More often than not, trucks with more upgrades will have you contend with reduced carrying capacity for cargo. Additional panoramic sunroofs and bigger cabs mean less payload capacity.
Although it is not a perfect gauge, fewer upgrades mean more towing power.
It is good to know that manufacturers have already standardized and simplified ratings on towing capacity. This is so that it would be easier for the buyer to choose. The standard is called SAE J2807. You may want to refer to it when buying a truck vs. its capacity to carry your trailer.
Towing capacity means the maximum weight that the truck can carry, including everything that is loaded into the trailer. For example, the truck specs say it can take a maximum of 12,000 pounds. It simply means the trailer and everything in it, not just the trailer alone. This measurement is called the Gross Trailer Weight (GTW).
Find your trailer’s total weight and tongue weight, and find a truck that is rated to handle it. If you happen to travel only a few times a year, you may go ahead and choose a tow rating that is just right above your trailer’s weight. But if you are a regular traveler, we recommend getting a truck with a much higher rating.
What truck bed size do you need?
The ideal length for a fifth-wheel carrying truck bed is 8 feet. Anything short than 8 feet may cause the trailer to hit the cab when making sharp turns. An 8-foot bed should be sufficient enough to create a good clearance.
Bigger or smaller engine?
Naturally, smaller engines could mean more fuel efficiency but less towing capacity than larger ones. You may want to take your time and compare different engines of different models. Keep in mind that larger engines produce more power and have more carrying capacity.
Should you go with gas or diesel?
Gas at first may seem a good choice since it is cheaper and costs less per gallon. On the other hand, an owner with a truck that is pulling a fifth-wheel can expect long-distance travel to equal more fuel consumption. Hence, a diesel engine that is 25%-35% more efficient in consumption will make more sense to use for long trips.
Added to that, diesel engines, by design, create more torque making it easier to pull heavy loads.
All in all, diesel outperforms gas in distance and fuel economy.
Dually or Single?
Sometimes pulling the fifth wheel involves using a hitch that is located between the cab and the rear axle. Your truck carries a little bit of the weight of your trailer as it takes on added pressure on the back wheels. Using a dually can ease off the pressure on a single rear tire while adding support for your trailer.
This will also add to your peace of mind in terms of reliability and safety since at any point that you are carrying loads over 10,000 pounds, support to that weight will always be welcome as it makes good common sense too. Plus, you’ll enjoy a smoother ride. The trade-off for added consumption vs. reliability will always be worth it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t hurt to use single rear tires on a smaller trailer.
What types of trailers use a fifth-wheel setup?
Fifth-wheels are a type of trailer that are typically used for hauling larger loads. They are designed to be towed by a pickup truck, and the fifth-wheel hitch is mounted in the bed of the truck. This allows for better weight distribution and stability, and fifth-wheels can generally haul heavier loads than other types of trailers.
Fifth-wheels are often used for horse trailers, campers, and car trailers. Some fifth-wheels even have slide-outs, which provide additional living space when parked. If you’re looking for a trailer that can haul a large load, a fifth-wheel might be the right choice for you.
The bottom line is that you will have to do your homework when choosing the right truck for your fifth-wheel trailer. No one truck can be good at everything, so it all boils down to what you value most and what your priorities are.
However, we hope that this guide has given you a better idea of the different factors that you need to consider when choosing a truck for your fifth-wheel trailer. With the right truck, towing your fifth-wheel trailer will be a breeze!