Best 5th Wheel RV For Families


Best 5th Wheel RV For Families

A 5th wheel RV has many practical and aesthetic advantages over a motorized RV. They have better fuel economy, they allow you to bring a vehicle along without having to tow it, and they typically cost less up front.

While not all 5th wheels are large enough to accommodate more than two or three people, there are plenty of models on the market that are suitable for families. Here are our top picks for the Best 5th wheel RV for families.

  • Jayco Talon Platinum 385T
  • Forest River Rockwood Ultra Lite 2888WS
  • Keystone Avalanche 379BH
  • Heartland Milestone 377MB
  • Coachmen Chaparral 373MBRB

Choosing The Best 5th Wheel RV For Families

Why is a 5th wheel called a 5th wheel? It all comes down to the design, which is characterized by a raised section in the front. This split-level aspect give 5th wheel travel trailers an airy, spacious feel. The trailers are attached to their towing vehicle via a special hitch known as a 5th wheel—hence the name.

When it comes to a major purchase like an RV, it’s vital to choose one that will fulfill all of your family’s needs. Fortunately, you can narrow down your search by taking the following considerations into account.

Price

Cost is arguably the most important aspect of any purchase. Take a look at the current market value of the average 5th wheel camper, and set your budget according to what you can afford to spend.

If money is tight but you’d like to consider buying a 5th wheel anyway, think about purchasing one secondhand. Used RVs can be a fine investment, as long as they’re still in good condition. This is especially true of travel trailers, since there are no potential engine issues to worry about.

Sleeping Capacity

How many people can comfortably spend the night in the unit? Will there be space for all of the members of your family? What if you decide to bring friends along?

Bear in mind that the manufacturer might be overstating the case in order to make the model more attractive to buyers. For example, the specifications might say that the unit sleeps five people, but the fifth “bed” is actually a converted tabletop that wouldn’t be comfortably for anyone larger than a preschooler. When it comes to sleeping capacity, it’s always better to opt for more space than you need, especially for families.

Length

5th wheels are widely regarded as the most luxurious towable campers, but that doesn’t mean they have to be overly large. While they typically range in size from 22 to 40 feet, the most popular sizes fall in the 32- to 36-foot window. If the unit includes slideouts, the interior will be even more spacious.

While it can be tempting to get carried away and purchase the longest 5th wheel you can afford, there may be repercussions. First of all, longer rigs are notoriously tricky to tow, which can be a major drawback for novices. Second, the extra length will probably come with additional amenities, which will contribute to the maintenance bills.

Finally, remember that the bigger the RV is, the more difficult it will be to find a place to park it. This might not be an issue if you intend to camp in the same spot for seasons at a time, but if your family prefers to ramble, it could lead to a great deal of stress down the road.

Dry Weight

The dry weight of the camper refers to how much the unit weighs without fuel, cargo, or passengers. While it’s not the only number you’ll need to refer to before hitting the road, it gives you a solid place to start.

The average dry weight of a 5th wheel falls somewhere around 12,000 to 15,000 pounds, though some of the larger models might weigh as much as 20,000. The lower the dry weight is, the easier the towing job will be. On the other hand, models that are exceptionally lightweight might be constructed of lesser-quality materials.

The key is to find a 5th wheel with a durable build that’s still light enough to fit within your vehicle’s towing range. Check the towing capacity of the vehicle beforehand, and look for a rig with a dry weight that’s at least 1,500 pounds lower than this number.

To learn more about the crunching the numbers so you can safely tow your 5th wheel, take a look at this YouTube video.

Holding Tank Capacity

Most 5th wheels come equipped with a freshwater tank, which holds the clean water needed for washing dishes or bathing. Depending on the size and layout of the RV, this tank might hold anywhere from 50 to 80 gallons.

If the 5th wheel has a bathroom, then there should also be a black water tank included. This tank collects the waste water from the toilet, and usually hold 30 to 90 gallons.

Some campers might also include a gray water tank, though smaller rigs might forgo this element in the interest of saving weight and space. The gray water tank acts as a reservoir for the runoff from the shower and the sink, and will typically hold about 50 pounds. If the unit doesn’t have a gray water tank, then this waste water will be collected in the black water tank instead.

Best 5th Wheel RV For Families: Product Review Guide

Jayco Talon Platinum 385T

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_iq571-cEU

For larger families looking for a luxurious camping experience, the Jayco Talon Platinum is the way to go.

This oversized unit—at 41 feet 6 inches, it’s one of the longest 5th wheels you’ll find—is equipped with a full kitchen, a bathroom with shower, and two separate entrances for privacy and convenience.

This rig is classified as a “toy hauler.” That means it offers a ton of cargo space that’s specifically designed to hold kayaks, four-wheelers, motorcycles, or any other toys you want to bring on the road. There’s an access ramp to make the tasks of loading and unloading that much easier.

The main bedroom features a queen-sized bed and plenty of storage space. A comfortable sofa in the living area can be converted to a U-dinette if you prefer. Toward the rear of the camper is another sleeping area with a second queen-sized bed, as well as a table that can be converted into two more beds. There’s even an option for an outdoor kitchen.

In our estimation, the bathroom area is a little bit cramped for a rig this size. Speaking of which, not all families will need this much space, especially if they don’t usually bring kayaks or ATVs along on camping trips. If you are in the market for a large 5th wheel RV, however, the Jayco Talon 385T is an excellent choice.

SleepsLengthDry WeightFreshwater TankBlack Water TankGray Water Tank
841′ 6″12,321 lbs136 gals50 gals50 gals

Forest River Rockwood Ultra Lite 2888WS

The best feature of the Rockwood Ultra Lite 2888WS is right there in the name: This is a lightweight and relatively compact trailer that’s easy to tow, even if you’re new to the travel trailer experience.

The positive aspects of this nifty trailer don’t end there. Despite its small footprint, the RV offers plenty of living space. The main sleeping area is distinguished by a queen-sized bed, shelves, and a wardrobe, as well as an optional TV hookup.

Additional sleeping space is available through the convertible dinette and sofa. A pair of plush theater seats and a built-in electric fireplace lend a touch of glamour to the living space, and a ceiling fan helps to maintain air flow. An outdoor kitchen makes the unit seem larger than it is.

We find the bedroom space to be a tad cramped, but considering the amount of storage it offers, that’s not a deal-breaker. The living area is spacious and well-appointed, so that’s where the entire family will want to gather. As long as the kids don’t mind sleeping on converted beds, this camper should be a hit all around.

SleepsLengthDry WeightFreshwater TankBlack Water TankGray Water Tank
632′ 5″8,950 lbs60 gals40 gals70 gals

Keystone Avalanche 379BH

The Keystone Avalanche 379BH is another huge 5th wheel option, capable of sleeping up to 12 people—as long as they don’t mind cozy conditions.

The bedroom is generously sized, offering a king-sized bed with plenty of storage space available underneath. There’s a large shower in the bathroom, in addition to the sink and toilet. The kitchen area is well-appointed, too, with a center island and double sink. A big screen TV can be viewed from the tri-fold sofa and recliner near the entrance.

Additional sleeping space can be found in the rear, in the form of traditional bunk beds, a sofa bed, and two loft bunks. There’s another TV in this area, giving the kids a place to hang out when Mom and Dad want some privacy.

Drivers should be forewarned that this rig is heavier than much of the competition, with a dry weight that exceeds 13,000. That means you’ll need an exceptionally powerful vehicle in order to tow it, not to mention a fair amount of skill. Also, be aware that the fresh water tank capacity of 66 gallons is startlingly low for an RV that claims to sleep 12 people.

SleepsLengthDry WeightFreshwater TankBlack Water TankGray Water Tank
1240′ 7″13,586 lbs66 gals83 gals117 gals

Heartland Milestone 377MB

At just over 42 feet, this is one of the longest RVs on our list. If you have a large, rambunctious family, however, it just might be the most efficient purchase you’ve ever made.

The main bedroom has a queen-sized bed and is divided from the rest of the living space by the bathroom, which includes a huge shower. That alone would make this an appealing choice for families, but what sets the Milestone 377MB apart is the bonus room designed specifically for children.

The middle area is equipped with a bunkhouse and loft bed, along with its own bathroom. This is an ingenious touch, helping to ensure that those late-night calls of nature won’t wake the entire family.

In addition to the kids’ room, the Milestone 377MB is outfitted with a massive living area, perfect for gathering together in the evenings. A sofa and set of plush theater seats give everyone a cozy place to watch TV, eat dinner, or just chat. There’s also a sweet four-seat table that would serve as the ideal setting for card games.

The freshwater tank holds only 50 gallons, so be prepared to seek out frequent refills if your teens like to shower a lot. In fact, this rig would be better suited to families who like to set up camp for the entire summer in one particular spot.

SleepsLengthDry WeightFreshwater TankBlack Water TankGray Water Tank
842′ 2″12,790 lbs50 gals80 gals80 gals

Coachmen Chaparral 373MBRB

With its generous length and plethora of living space, the Chaparral 373MBRB is a particularly attractive option for families with teenagers. Although it can be a tad cumbersome on the towing end, its good features go a long way toward making up for the poor gas mileage.

A master bedroom offers a queen-sized bed and plenty of wardrobe space, with a bathroom to keep the area separate from the rest. A set of double-wide bunk beds are situated between the bathroom and the living area. The kitchen is cute but well-appointed, with a double sink and full-sized refrigerator. A pair of theater seats sits opposite the entertainment center on the far end, giving the cook plenty of space to move around.

A third sleeping area can be found toward the rear of the trailer, consisting of a tri-fold sofa with overhead storage. There’s also a second bathroom in this region, complete with bathtub. In our opinion, the 48-gallon freshwater tank is a bit too small to justify the tub, but as long as you don’t plan on using it too often, it’s nice to have the option.

SleepsLengthDry WeightFreshwater TankBlack Water TankGray Water Tank
1041′ 9″13,030 lbs48 gals75 gals120 gals

In Conclusion

Which of these units wins the contest? In our view, it would have to be the Heartland Milestone 377MB. Although its large size makes it a better choice for one-stop camping, it offers all the comforts of home in a tidy, rolling package.

The roomy living space makes it ideal for families—you could even host a slumber party on the floor if you wanted to—and the unique layout is especially convenient if you have children of various ages.

Best of luck, and happy camping!

Leslie

I started camping when I was younger, but started camping consistently once i got married 14 years ago. We've camped in pop-ups, travel trailers and tents. I enjoy the time away with my family.

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