Are you in the market for a fifth wheel? If so, you might feel overwhelmed by the choices. Let us make your search a little easier.
Today we discuss everything you need to know about fifth wheels, including five on the market right now that you should cross off your list. Let’s dig in.
What Is a 5th Wheel RV?
A fifth wheel is a towable trailer that attaches to your truck via a hitch in its bed. These campers are typically bigger than ball-hitch travel trailers, although not always. Fifth wheel hitches can handle more weight than ball hitches.
They also have an over-the-bed section which adds height and space to the living area without adding to the overall length of your setup. Additionally, this design makes them very spacious and provides peace of mind by securely attaching to the tow vehicle.
What Are the Benefits of a 5th Wheel RV?
In addition to being spacious with plenty of room for excellent floorplans, fifth wheels tend to come with a higher price tag. Additionally, many full-time RVers choose this style. As a result, fifth wheels typically have better quality materials than regular travel trailers. However, you can find some exceptions. Thus, if you want a four-season RV that can handle full-time living, you’ll find countless options in the fifth wheel department.
Moreover, fifth wheels are easier to tow. You won’t have to worry about sway as much because the hitch is located securely in the truck’s bed. This also means you can maneuver it easily. They typically cost much less than motorhomes. Furthermore, you can park your RV, unhitch, and explore the sights with your tow vehicle.
Pro Tip: Unsure about Why You Should Choose a 5th Wheel RV? We uncovered the benefits to these big rigs.
Why Would You Want to Avoid Certain 5th Wheel RVs?
Cheap Materials: Many RVs get manufactured on an assembly line. And while this process has some benefits, sometimes quality gets sacrificed in the name of time. If you wonder if you have a cheaply made RV, take a look at the small details. Do the cabinets seem flimsy? Does the toilet feel secure? Is the floor warped? These can be tell-tale signs of cheap materials.
Odd Floor Plan: With all the space and versatility that fifth wheels offer, sometimes manufacturers just get it wrong. Have you ever walked into a fifth wheel that looks spacious on the outside, only to feel claustrophobic inside? This is a clear sign of a bad floor plan, and trust us — it’ll get old fast.
Shoddy Construction: Does it seem like your entire home-on-wheels was hastily stapled together? Maybe it has slightly warped walls or a peeling floor despite being brand new. If so, these might be signs of shoddy construction.
Lousy Warranty: If you buy a new fifth wheel, thoroughly read your warranty. Manufacturers might make the warranty seem like a good deal with flashy headlines, but if you read the fine print, you’ll find that it barely covers the essentials. This can also signal that they don’t stand behind their product.
Our 5 Least Favorite 5th Wheel RVs This Year
Without further ado, here are our five least favorite fifth wheels this year. While these RVs may look good on the outside, we’re relying on buyer experience to tell us how it is. Keep reading to find out more.
#1. Jayco Eagle 319MLOK
About: The Jayco Eagle 319LOK is a 36′ 7″ long fifth wheel that looks good on paper. The floorplan includes a rear kitchen and open living area with the bedroom in the front overhang. It has a GVWR of 12,995 lbs with a hitch weight of 2,023 lbs. And it has a 75-gallon freshwater tank with 50-gallon black and grey water tanks.
Why We’ll Pass: Despite its appealing interior features, the Jayco Eagle Fifth Wheel is receiving mixed reviews at best. Buyers mostly complain of marginal build quality and lack of factory or warranty support. Grievances include window leaks, a noisy A/C and water pump, and floor bubbles from delamination. Buyers have also found excessive rust on the front and rear bumper and misaligned parts.
#2. Dutchmen Astoria 2943BHF
About: The Dutchmen Astoria 2943BHE measures 33′ 10″ long and 12′ 6″ tall. It has a GVWR of approximately 12,000 lbs with a cargo-carrying capacity of 3,373 lbs. It can hold 50 gallons of freshwater. Like the Jayco Eagle, the Dutchmen Astoria’s master bedroom is in the front overhang, but it also has a double bunk located in the back, making it family-friendly.
Why We’ll Pass: The Dutchmen Astoria might look tempting for families with young kids, but the phrase “buyer beware” comes up a little too often in the reviews. Customers complain of faulty hot water heaters, leaking gray tanks, cheap furniture and cabinetry, an insufficient refrigerator, and more.
#3. Keystone Montana 3121RL
About: The Keystone Montana 3121RL fifth wheel is 35’ long and 13’ 4” high. It has 66 gallons of freshwater, 88 gallons of gray water, and 49 gallons of black water capacity. It also has an open floor plan with plenty of seating in the living room and a large closet in the master bedroom. Moreover, it has three slides; two on either side of the living room and one that opens up the space significantly. Sounds great, right?
Why We’ll Pass: Unfortunately, the once-exceptional quality that Keystone used to produce is now lacking in our opinion. Buyers frequently complain of furniture that’s falling apart, horrible construction, a lack of functionality, floor delamination, and an essentially useless warranty. Thus, we’d look elsewhere.
#4. Grand Design Reflection 28BH
About: Are you surprised to see Grand Design on the list? You’re definitely not alone. Grand Design has been known for quality fifth wheels, but unfortunately, this one just doesn’t make the cut. The Grand Design Reflection measures 34’ 8” long and 12’ 3” tall. It also has 74 gallons of fresh water, 86 gallons of gray water, and 43 gallons of black water capacity with a GVWR of 11,495 lbs.
Why We’ll Pass: So, what are buyers saying about their Grand Design Reflection fifth wheels?
Overall poor quality, including bubbling cabinetry, a broken refrigerator handle, a cheap fuse box, bathroom leaks, floor delamination, and even jacks that stop working after only eight nights.
#5. Heartland Milestone 377MB
About: A few steps into a Heartland Milestone 377MB may impress you. It has a spacious living area with plenty of seating and ample sleeping space for the largest families. Additionally, the interior design makes it feel modern and light. So why did this seemingly amazing fifth wheel land on our list?
Why We’ll Pass: Sadly, some Heartland Milestone buyers have experienced such poor quality that they claimed they had to replace their entire fifth wheel. Complaints include leaking and unsupported showers, shoddy floors that bend and move, toilets that tip over, and poorly installed kitchen sinks.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to buy a fifth wheel RV, check out one of these Best Fifth Wheel Brands.
These 2022 5th Wheel RVs Aren’t Worth It!
Many of these fifth wheels look great on paper and even in person. But unfortunately, they lack the quality needed to function properly. Sadly, excited buyers learned this the hard way and have now shared their experiences to save someone else the disappointment and money.
However, try not to let this get you down — you can get good-quality fifth wheels. Our advice is to research, research, research, and take a look at the fine details. If you do this, we have faith that you’ll find your dream RV in no time.
Have you ever had a bad experience with a fifth wheel? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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