Just a Place to Park General Notes About Fulltime 5th Wheel Manufacturers
Floor plan will most likely dictate the length we buy and narrow our selection. Construction methods will further reduce the list without our budget limits. For now I’m keeping notes here but may later link to pages of notes.
We would like to keep our budget for our ultimate Luxury Model in the 60-$70,000 range for our ultimate trailer. I’d like to keep a little in the budget for possible additions such as a washer/dryer and maybe a generator. I’ve begun drafting a decision matrix to help decide which one of this trailers we are going to buy.
Regarding “high-end trailers like the DRV Mobile Suites: Because of our budget, if we were to buy in this class it would be a four year old trailer. Not sure yet about the truck size for these heavier units. Might be in the F450 class or higher. Time after time experienced folks tell me to buy a used unit from this class as they are better constructed. It’s also been recommended to go check out used units to see which has held up the best. Especially compared to less expensive luxury units. While researching all the options one can add to a rig, like buying a generator, I’d like to leave some money in the budget to buy the add-ons. This could also eliminate these higher priced trailers.
Karen and I have been discussing purchasing a Premium Long-Stay unit a couple of years before I retire. We are wanting to stay in the 30 t0 32′ range so we can get into most campgrounds. Budget might be in the less than $30,000 range and we would be using a one ton truck which we intend to keep long-term as it will pull the luxury units we are looking at.
- Another critical requirement that could knock a model out of our short list to buy is not having enough storage. I routinely read that 3,000 pounds of storage space is minimum for fulltime living. This, like so many of the choices, will be a personal decision.
- I’m starting to see what people mean by there will be compromises. As we tour units I see things such as the one using more laminates than hardwood in some areas, which adds the benefit of increased cargo capacity because of lower base weight.
- On 6/29/15 I received a note from Steve over at the Puppy Paths Blog. He has owned a number of new rigs and now travels in a DRV. He wrote “What happens after you buy, in my humble opinion, is much more important than the floor plan or brand you select.” He commented about spending months waiting for repairs. When we get closer to narrowing the list, I’ll definitely check out user groups for each rig to see what others are saying about how they are treated after the sale and what repair issues they are having. I’m still wondering about the benefits of buying a one year old rig – if the warranty is still good – and if we are just buying someone else’s problems.
- I wanted to also start researching fifth wheels that are not luxury models. Maybe in the 30′ range in case we decide to buy the truck two years earlier and a “starter trailer.”
Over time I plan to rate the units listed above based on preference. I’ll be excluding rigs that are out of our price range. Figure my ratings will be a moving target. In other words the ratings will change as I learn more. Also, the max tow rating on the truck we might want to buy will become a consideration.
Suppose we will someday decide on a floor plan and then pick the builders we can afford (who build the same or similar plan) from the above list. I’m also thinking floor plan will dictate what length we end up with. As of 2015 we are thinking going bigger rather than smaller. Seems most people upgrade to larger rigs. However, that could be because they already traveled to many places where their shorter rigs were an advantage or other reasons. I might also add I generally read blogs where full-timers have larger rigs. It’s a good way to learn what parks, roads and places are big rig friendly.
I’ve started a “decision matrix” to help evaluate rigs. I’m in the beginning stage and have been adjusting the format. Here is a link to my blog post on the topic.
I’m constantly learning about various construction methods which may or may not knock a few of these rigs out of consideration.
Lastly, I will most likely eliminate any manufacturer who does not advertise their rig as being a fulltime unit. Assuming we don’t plan to replace the rig after a few years or decide to fulltime for only a couple of years. I recognize people fulltime in all styles of fifth wheels!