What Is A Fifth Wheel?

It’s a question I get asked all the time.  RVs are more popular than ever before, but a lot of people don’t really understand why there are so many different types and what, exactly, I have.  So, let’s take a quick look at all things RV.

First, an RV is a recreational vehicle.  Anything you can tow or drive that has some sort of accommodation for living in is an RV.   All motorhomes are RVs, but not all RVs are motorhomes.  Clear as mud?

Well, lets look at the different types.  We’ll start today with travel trailers, the most popular form of RV and the most affordable.  Trailers are pulled by a hitch on the bumper of the tow vehicle, so they are sometimes called “bumper pulls”.

The smallest and easiest travel trailer to tow are pop ups, or tent campers.  Folded down, they are very compact and can be towed by some cars and most SUVs.

And, when you get to your campsite, they can pop up as a hard sided camper (called an A frame due to the shape), or even as mostly canvas sides like a tent.

Next up are hybrids.  These are much taller than pop ups as they do not fold down.  However, they are lighter than a regular travel trailer due to having the bed space fold out like the tent campers.  The first pic is a hybrid with it’s beds stowed for towing.  Looks a lot like a regular trailer, doesn’t it?


Once you’re ready to camp, you fold the bed out.  The interior shot shows what the bed looks like on the inside.

A special segment has recently become very popular with those who just want a better place to sleep than the ground.  They are called teardrops, and have a bed inside with a kitchen typically outside at the rear.  Like pop ups, they are very easy to tow and very light weight.

Finally, there are travel trailers.  These are hard-sided all around (and this is an important consideration in places with a lot of bear activity).  They can range from tiny to nearly 40 feet in length.  As they get longer, the tow vehicle must be stronger.  Many require a truck and some require a heavy duty truck, like a SuperDuty.  They come in all kinds of floor plans as well.  My first RV was a 35 foot trailer made by a company called Open Range.  It was a great trailer and I sure enjoyed it.


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