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Post Info TOPIC: First Timer Asking For Help

RV-Dreams Community Member

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First Timer Asking For Help

I have seen some great feedback from the ‘full-timer’ RV or 5th wheel online community on various websites.  I was hoping I could get some help on my situation, so I’ll try to explain my situation and plans, and hopefully someone could help me out.

I am from Alaska, sold my house and moved down to Texas into a one bedroom apartment.  I work a rotation job, so I head out to a jobsite (varies from international, Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, Houston, etc.) for two weeks, and then I am off work completely for two weeks.  On my two weeks off, I like to travel, and in the past 7 months, I have only spent ~21 days in my apartment.  I am single and in my late 20’s, and have become very interested in living out of a 5th wheel.  I understand I will need to purchase a truck, more than likely a diesel ¾ - 1 ton, but for right now I’m just trying to find the right 5th wheel.  I have never shopped for a 5th wheel, and really just looking for some good advice on what is out there.

As it will be used more than just a vacation 5th wheel, I am looking for high quality, durable, and reliable construction.  With that said, I’m not looking for top of the line interior / appliances / etc, just a quality product that I will not be having major issues with water damage, air conditioning / heating insufficiencies, etc. I plan on using this 5th wheel on the gulf coast (hot and humid) and Alaska (dry and cold), so it would need to be able to handle the elements.  I like the pop-ups, but only if it is easy to use and not known for mechanical issues.  

The last feature I am on the fence about is a 5th wheel / toy hauler hybrid, probably a deal breaker.  I want the 5th wheel to attach to the bed of my truck, and could see myself wanting a drop down out the back for a four-wheeler.


If you made it this far, and feel like you have some helpful advice on the lifestyle, interests, and 5th wheel manufacturers / models available it would be greatly appreciated.


RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 5398

First of all, welcome to the RV Dreams forums.  You've definitely found a good place to ask your questions, because the folks here are very knowledgeable and helpful.

I recommend looking at attending some RV shows that may be in your area.  If none are convenient for your time and place, plan on going to various dealers to look at all the options and brands that area out there.  There are fifth wheels that are toy haulers, so that is not necessarily a deal-breaker.  Whatever you do, at least choose the trailer first before buying the truck.  If you buy too small of a truck and then find a trailer that is too heavy for the truck, you will likely have problems.  Whatever you do, don't believe salesmen about the truck's capacity to handle a trailer.  Look at the numbers yourself instead of hearing, "Oh yeah, that truck will handle this."

With being part time in the Gulf area, I suspect that you will have maintenance issues with regards to the salt air, so cleaning (including the undercarriage) will be important.  For traveling to Alaska, a good combination of frame, axles, suspension, wheels and tires will also be important.  Those form the very "foundation" of the trailer and will be important for traveling "not-so-great" roads.

Depending on when you will be in both areas, consider the insulating factors of each model because you could have the heat in the Gulf and the cold in Alaska.  I'd suggest being sure that your choice is truly a four season unit.  As with most things, the better ones by way of construction and all will be more expensive than lesser quality units.

Good luck with your research and planning.



Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2019 Ford Expedition Max as Tag-along or Scout

Our photos on Smugmug

RV-Dreams Family Member

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Posts: 851

Welcome! You mentioned Houston, and they are home to PPL which is a large consignment dealership. They have acres of coaches, and they encourage browsing. Depending on how far from Houston you are, you may want to rent a room for a night or two so that you can spend more time there. This will let you do a couple of things. One, you can get a pretty good idea of the quality of the various manufacturers just by looking at some of the older units. If a five-year-old rig from manufacturer A is nearly at the end of useful life while a 15-year-old coach from manufacturer B still looks new, that tells you something about the quality.

Another thing to think about is a motor home. Before you write them off, consider that a MH can tow a pickup that can carry the four-wheeler. That might be something to check out while you are there.

Don't take the sales person's word for much beyond the asking price. Verify everything else yourself. Check the age of the tires. Any tires more than seven years old need to be replaced before the rig leaves the lot. Tires 5-7 years old are nearing the end of their lives, and the price should reflect that. Same with batteries.

Terry has given you some excellent advice about the insulation. Unfortunately, few RV's of any sort are as well insulated as they could be. The DRV is one of the better brands in that respect, but they are fairly heavy.

As for the truck, you might want to consider a heavy-duty truck like a Volvo. Many people use one to tow the 5'er and carry a Smart Car. I would think carrying a 4-wheeler would be even easier. Depending on the trailer, you might be able to do something similar with something like an F-550. Others with 5'ers may be able to provide you with more help.


David, kb0zke

1993 Foretravel U300 40'

Build number 4371

For sale

RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 289

Well you are off to a good start. My advice--keep reading/studying---keep looking at different models, and keep asking questions. Just be sure the answers you are getting are intended to help you out, not sell you something that you don't need.



Team Cockrum:
2001, F250 Diesel, 2012 33 FT. CrossRoads Cruiser Fifth Wheel

RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 446

PPL has also just "recently" opened a new location in New Braunfels, TX... about 2.5 - 3 hours from Houston.  You might want to check out that location, as well.  Their website, however, is a good place to start.  A very good place!  If you are buying used, I would MOST DEFINITELY hire an outside RV inspector to check out whatever RV you have in mind BEFORE buying.  Will save you a lot of grief and $$$$.

Also, I might suggest that you strongly consider attending an RV-Dreams rally.  The best schooling you can get if you are seriously considering this lifestyle.

Good luck!

-- Edited by Jo And Craig on Sunday 7th of September 2014 03:32:27 PM



sun.gifJo & Craig: Class of 2014!


Life isn't about how you survived the storm, it's about how you danced in the rain!

2016 Lifestyle Luxury 39FB

2015 Ford F350 Dually Longbed (It's awesome!)

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