Do You Need A Long Bed Truck To Tow A Fifth-Wheel

Do You Need A Long Bed Truck To Tow A Fifth-Wheel

Do You Need A Long Bed Truck To Tow A Fifth-Wheel

Fifth-wheel trailers offer a comfortable and spacious option for RV travel. Let’s discuss the best ways to tow them, whether you own a short bed or long bed pickup truck.

Understanding Fifth Wheel Towing

  • Fifth-wheel trailers attach to a special hitch mounted in the center of a truck’s bed. This is located directly over the rear axle for optimal weight distribution and towing stability.
  • The trailer’s overhang extends over the front portion of the truck bed.

Short Bed Trucks

  • Short bed trucks (generally under 6 feet) can tow fifth wheels, but require extra considerations.
  • Clearance: Ensure enough space between the trailer and truck cab during turns.
  • Solutions:
    • Slider hitches: Manually slide back for turning clearance, then reposition for straight driving.
    • Sidewinder hitches: Reposition the trailer’s pivot point for more turning room.
    • Trailer design: Look for fifth wheels with front caps designed for short bed trucks.

Long Bed Trucks

FeatureShort Bed TruckLong Bed Truck
Hitch RequirementsMay need slider hitch or sidewinder hitchUsually no special hitch required
Turning ClearanceLimited clearance, increased risk of contactAmple clearance, easier turning
ManeuverabilityRequires more careful maneuveringGenerally easier to maneuver
Trailer CompatibilityRequires trailers designed for short bedsMore versatile for different trailer lengths
Overall ExperienceCan be more complex, may need extra equipmentSimpler setup and towing experience

Other Considerations

  • Truck’s towing capacity: The single most important factor. Find this in your manual or online. Never exceed it, regardless of bed length.
  • Dually trucks: While not always essential, they offer superior stability when towing very large fifth wheels.

Matching Your Truck and Camper

  1. Truck towing capacity: Find this in your owner’s manual or by searching online.
  2. Trailer weight: Look for the fifth wheel’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).
  3. Compatibility: Ensure the trailer’s GVWR is less than or equal to your truck’s towing capacity.


In Summary

While both short bed and long bed trucks can tow fifth wheels, understanding the key differences will help you make the best decision.

Long beds generally provide a simpler setup and greater maneuverability, but short beds are perfectly viable with the right equipment and trailer choice.

Always prioritize your truck’s towing capacity for safe and enjoyable travel.

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