The 5th Wheel Toy Hauler
At a recent RV show I poked around in a 5th Wheel Toy Hauler or two.
WOW! If your idea of camping is staying at the Ritz, this is the Toy Hauler for
you. These bad boys use the 18-wheeler hitch known as a 5th wheel,
which mounts in the center of a pick up bed. Up to three axles are needed to
support weights up to, and exceeding, 17,000 pounds.
While a smaller 5th Wheel Toy Hauler is available, most people own them for
their massive roominess and unrivaled luxury. They are the most expensive of the
conventional Toy Haulers.
First the good news: The 5th Wheel Toy
Haulers I saw had fabulous kitchens, snack bars, full size pantries, and
impressive woodwork and flooring. The kitchens were well lit and housed a
full-sized microwave, refrigerator, range and oven. I was very much taken back
by all of the counter space and ample cabinets. These certainly do provide a
dream kitchen for the open road.
A 5th wheel can come equipped with up to
three slide-outs and a raised forward master bedroom making this the undisputed
king of spaciousness. The overstuffed king-size bed and plush sofa quickly
invite you to sit back and fire up the “home entertainment center”. Now someone,
please make another Margarita.
What really sets the 5th Wheel Toy Hauler apart in
the Toy Hauler world is the availability of a totally enclosed cargo area, or as
they are often referred to, “the garage.” Larger units have a solid wall and
mounted door separating the toys from the living space. I even found some with a
separate outside door to the garage. This feature is two-fold. One is for
keeping the mud out of the living room, and the other for keeping the wife
happy. If you are like me, and carry way-to-many tools, you’ll appreciate having
oodles of garage cabinets.
Now the other news: A 5th Wheel Toy Hauler
can be really heavy; up to and exceeding, 17,000 pounds. You guessed it -- that
means a g big powerful tow rig. Although I’m not a huge fan of diesel pickups,
I’ve found that if you want pulling power and something vaguely resembling
decent mileage, then a diesel is definitely the way to go. Fortunately diesels
have long lives, and there are plenty to be found in the used market.
Towing these very large barn doors can be challenging in high
winds or when an 18-wheeler passes by. The 5th wheel hitch will help
to maintain control and minimize white knuckles in what might be a hairy
situation with a travel trailer. It also can be helpful when maneuvering these
monsters into tight RV spaces and through downtown traffic.
Unless you have big rig experience, you will no doubt find
towing one of these a little different from your basic rear hitch type of
trailer. Because they are so large and tall, and so close behind the driver,
they will keep you on your toes, especially driving though town. If you are not
careful, to your dismay, you could look in your rearview mirror just in time to
witness the trailer laying a stop sign flat! …Been there…done that.
Finding the right Toy Hauler for you is ultimately a personal
decision. But if you require lavish accommodations with a separate toy garage,
the 5th Wheel Toy Hauler may be exactly what you are looking for.
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