Comparing or 5th wheel experience to our Class A experience

As those of you that follow our blog know, after over 6 years full-timing in 2 different Class A motorhome’s we decided to switch to a New Horizon 5th wheel.

The day we pulled away from the factory

With that in mind I started thinking about how many times I see people asking on different forum’s “which is better for the full-time lifestyle, a Class A or 5th wheel” and how many times the people answering that question have only owned and actually lived in one or the other and can’t possible give a well-rounded answer.

And in those rare times that people have owned both it seems they had maybe an older motorhome with few or no slides and older technology whether it’s suspension or appliances or just general construction and they switch to a newer 5th wheel with slides and all the new technology and of course it would be night and day when comparing because they are not comparing apples to apples so once again the response can be pretty lop sided.

That’s where I got thinking about how we switched from a newer well-appointed Class A to a very high quality 5th wheel and how in time we might be able to share some information that might be helpful to those trying to figure out what might be best for them. And we have owned both a non-tag axle and a tag axle Class A.

((*- And before we go any farther we will say that there really is no right or wrong and what’s right for one person may not be right for the next and both I’m sure (NO I KNOW) have their advantages and dis-advantages. There is no perfect world in anything any of us do.

I thought if I supplied our comments from our write up on “what we loved about our Class A” and then put comments about how we feel so far about our 5th wheel it might be easy to follow and compare. SO the comments we had about the Class A will start with a *- and then be in Italic print and underlined . And what we now have to say about the 5th wheel will start with **- and be in normal print. I hope this makes it easy.

We will also provide this link to the actual update we did on the motorhome because we had pictures in it that will not be in this 5th wheel update in case you care to look. Here is the link https://wp.me/p2Dund-3Qm

Ok, here we go!

*- First off I like driving a motorhome. Our current rig with the tag axle handles so nice on the road that it’s a pleasure to drive. And I attribute a lot of the road characteristics to the tag axle.

We don’t notice wind caused by mother-nature or from passing trucks nearly as much as we did with our first motorhome that didn’t have the tag axle. Plus our current rig weighs more which I’m sure helps.

*- We love sitting up higher while going down the road in our Class A. And with the huge windshield it gives us a great view of the scenery and it’s a huge advantage being able to see over traffic while looking for upcoming turnoffs or even seeing things happen well in front of us that we need to be concerned about.

This will certainly be different driving a pickup and pulling a 5th wheel.

**- Just as we thought, travel days in the truck and 5th wheel are a lot different. Even though we picked the right truck for the job and I REALLY love the truck things are not as comfortable going down the road as they were in the motorhome we had.

The biggest thing is noise, in the motorhome the engine was 42’ behind us and now the engine is right in front of us so not so much on level or rolling terrain but when pulling mountain ranges we certainly hear and notice the engine noise a lot more.

And even though the seats in the truck are comfortable they are not nearly as comfortable as those we had in the motorhome and I hear about that from Diane LOL!! We knew this would be the case and because our travel days are not normally very long we figured it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Our problem is that when we first got the 5th wheel our first few travel days were in the 350 mile range and Diane had plenty to say about that LOL!!

*- I love the 2 stage engine brake in our 2014 motorhome. The exhaust brake in our 07 was very good but the engine brake in our 2014 is far better. It just takes away any anxiety we might have had going down even the steepest of grades around the country. Not that we don’t still need to use some common sense.

This is something that will be on our minds as we learn more about pulling a 5th wheel but that’s why we opted for the Ram 5500 instead of a smaller truck. From the research we have done we feel the exhaust brake system and larger brakes should be just fine. But we will report on that in the future.

** The exhaust brake in our Ram 5500 is excellent, the larger brakes on the Ram 5500 are a welcome item also and having six wheels with brakes on the 5th wheel is great but I will admit that when applying brakes with almost 25,000lbs giving you a little nudge from behind it just feels different than when applying the brakes in a Class A.

I’m guessing this is one of those things that will become second nature with time and is not really concerning but it’s just a different feel so far and I think about braking more now than I did with the Class A.

*- Cargo capacity is a huge consideration when full-timing. Not just being able to fit everything in but being able to do so AND stay within the weight ratings of the RV AND when thinking about a 5th wheel the trucks ratings as well.

With our 2014 we have never had to worry about being overweight, even if we were headed to a boondocking spot with our 100 gallon fresh water tank filled and were stocked to the gills with food. And the tag axle has a lot to do with that.

The last time we were weighed our motorhome weighed 36,800 lbs and that was with empty grey and black tanks and we had about ¼ tank of fresh water at the time (so about 25 gallons), the way we normally are on travel days.

Our max weight rating for our particular coach is 44,320lbs so we were 7520lbs under our max allowed which we felt very comfortable with. AND we were very well balanced from side to side which is very important as well. So that’s a WIN WIN!!

And for the record our Gross Combined Weight Rating for our particular coach (which is the weight of the RV AND the toad combined) is 54,320lbs and with our coach weighing 36.800lbs and the F150 pickup weighing it at 5450lbs we were 42,250lbs total, that’s 12,075lbs under our max allowed. I just don’t know how we could ever have a weight issue unless we started chauffeuring a rock band around the country.

**- Here are or numbers for the truck and 5th wheel. Our truck weighs 11,000lbs with full tanks of fuel and us in it and the pin weight of our 5th wheel is 4680lbs so that makes it 15680lbs when hooked up with the 5th wheel. The Gross Vehicle Rating (GVWR) for our truck is 19,500lbs so we are 3820lbs under the trucks GVWR.

The rear axle on the truck is rated for 13,500lbs and with full fuel tanks, all our gear and us in it and the 5th wheel hooked up the rear axle weighs 11,680lbs so we are 1820lbs under the trucks rear GAWR.

The Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) for our truck is 38,500lbs, in other words the allowed weight of truck and 5th wheel combined is 38,500lbs. So our truck weighs 11,000lbs and our 5th wheel weighs 24,560lbs loaded for travel which makes the truck and 5th wheel 35,560lbs. That makes us 2940lbs under what our truck is rated for, even if we filled our fresh water tank for a boon-docking trip we would be under.

The front gross axle weight rating (GAWR) is 7250lbs. Our front axle weight with the 5th wheel hooked up is 5780lbs.

The max trailer weight our truck is rated to pull 29,670lbs and our 5th wheel loaded is 24,560lbs so we 5110lbs under what the truck is rated to pull.

So our truck is a pretty good work horse and we are within all manufacture specs and completely legal going down the road with some room to spare.

Our 5th wheel is rated at 27,000lbs and because it weighs 24,560lbs loaded for travel it is 2440lbs under the allowed weight. Once again even if we filled our fresh water tank and headed to a boon-docking spot we would be under weight. (Oh by the way, when we weighed we had about 25 gallons of fresh water in the tank and it holds 100 gallons).

Even though we don’t have the cushion we had in the motorhome we feel we are in pretty good shape.

And yes, we thought about what our tires are rated for as well. Our 16 ply H rated Goodyear 215/75R17.5 tires are rated for 4805lbs and we had each wheel position weighed and the heaviest wheel position weighted 3600lbs. Yup, well under what the tires are rated for.

 

*- Speaking of cargo we have liked the storage arrangement in our class A’s. We like the way cargo is spread out pretty evenly in the outside storage areas which makes it pretty darn easy getting to everything.

**- The outside storage in a 5th wheel takes a little getting used to after having our Class A. I must have totally re-arranged the storage bay 4 times since going to the 5th wheel but I think I have it about dialed in now.

Heck, we can just set up our patio in the storage area OR maybe take on a renter!!

Getting to everything will never be as easy in a 5th wheel but knowing what you get to at almost every campground is the important thing and once they are out when you get set up the other stuff becomes more readily available.

Laying front to back with room to spare.

I will say that we actually have a few more sqft of cargo space in our outside storage area in the 5th wheel which was a surprise, mainly because of the way our generator is located under the 5th wheel and not taking up storage space which does make the arranging a bit more tolerable.

Me in our storage bay after we are all loaded. Still lots of extra space.

Plus the storage compartments in the hauler bed of our truck are huge so many things that rode in the storage compartments of the motorhome now live in the cargo bays of the truck. It’s actually very impressive what we can fit in those compartments.

*- And we like that the generator in our Motorhome is located in a slide out compartment at the front of the coach that does not take away from any cargo areas. That’s something that has always been a drawback to me when it came to 5th wheels having the generator in a area that takes away from cargo space.

Lucky for us the New Horizon 5th wheel we will be getting mounts the generator behind the axles so it doesn’t take away from valuable cargo space AND doesn’t add to the pin weight. But we will go over that when we do a video on the 5th wheel in the future.

Oh, the generator in our motorhome is a 10,000 watt Onan that runs off diesel provided from our fuel tank and it’s large enough to run everything in the coach with no issues.

And being able to start and run the generator with just a push of a button while going down the road without stopping is nice on those really hot travel days that we might want to run our roof AC’s. In reality we very seldom did that because of our usual early start times and not traveling very long into the day.

**- As we mentioned the generator in our 5th wheel is located under our 5th wheel right behind the axles which frees up cargo space and is great for weight distribution and so far has been a great location. Time will tell if we continue feeling that way.

Our new generator is a 6500w propane powered unit that so far has been plenty even though I’m not overly crazy about anything that uses propane. But other than being propane the only downside to it compared to what we had in the Class A is that I can’t start it from the captain’s seat while going down the road if we feel the need but so far that has not been an issue. And probably won’t be unless we travel on really hot days, then we will need to deal with cooling down the inside after we get set up at a campground.

But then again while traveling in the Class A on really hot days the dash AC alone would not cool the entire coach so we might have been forced to run the generator and roof AC’s to stay cool and that won’t be the case with the truck so you can really spin it any way you want.

*- I guess because we touched a bit on power it would be a good time to bring up the solar we had installed.

We had 8 140 watt solar panels installed on the roof that provides 1120 watts of solar power that charges 6 Lifeline 6CT 300 Amp Hour AGM batteries that in turn provided us with 900 amp hours of battery power, well really 450 amp hours because you can only safely deplete these batteries to 50%.

But we don’t want to turn this into a solar educational video, we will leave that to the real experts. But if you are interested in what all we do have as far as solar panels, boosters, monitoring systems and inverters you can go to our blog and do a search for boondocking with a all-electric coach and it should take you to a write up we did back in 2016.

** At this point we only have 650 watts of solar on the roof of our 5th wheel and 4 232 amp hour AGM batteries for a total of 928 amp hours (so 464 usable). So far I call this a “just getting by” amount but good enough for now. But we are talking about doubling the solar on the roof to 1300 watts and adding at least 2 more batteries which would bump us to 696 usable amp hours and that will be plenty for us but we do have room for a total 8 batteries with no problem and probably 10 if we wanted.

However because we have not boon-docked as much over the last couple years this will be a topic of discussion for us I’m sure. I’m a “add it and have it available if you need it” kind of guy and Diane is more of a “why buy it now if we may not use it” sort of gal LOL!!

*- While talking about power we should mention that this particular coach is an all-electric coach and we really love that. Not having to mess with propane has been very nice.

**- Ok, so we do have propane in our 5th wheel that runs the generator, our furnace’s and if we need it to our water heater as well but the water heater also operates on electric. We have 2 40 gallon propane tanks and at the end of September after having the 5th wheel right at 6 months we have gone through ¾ of one tank and we have done a little boondocking and needed to run the generator “but not much” and we were in some cooler weather and had to run our furnace’s a number of nights and mornings.

We have a 40lb propane bottle on each side of the coach.

We have a 40lb propane bottle on each side of the coach.

At this point I’m guessing for the type of life style we plan to do now we will probably go through 2 and maybe up to 3 tanks per year but of course that all depends on how much boondocking we actually do and what weather we find ourselves in AND what we do with solar. This will always be a variable. One thing is for certain, having the induction cooktop and having our electric Breville oven sure saves on propane use.

*- Having a all-electric coach and camping off the grid is another big topic that gets hashed over again and again and again and all we will say about it is YOU CAN BOONDOCK JUST FINE WITH AN ALL ELECTRC COACH, PERIOD!! Don’t get wrapped up with all the NEA sayers. Those that say it can’t be done just haven’t done it or given it a chance.

I think the longest we have boondocked or dry camped off the grid at one time without moving was 17 days and we did just fine in an all-electric coach. Even though our holding tanks were getting pretty darn full, but they were the only deciding factor on when we had to find hookups.

**- Obviously we have no real comment on this now that we have propane in our 5th wheel other than we still liked the all-electric with the Aqua-Hot option for heat and hot water and the convenience of using the diesel from the fuel tank in the Class A.

It probably sounds funny but every time we kick on a device that uses propane I’m almost counting the minutes until I can turn them off and not use up our propane LOL!! I can’t help it but I’m sure that feeling will change.      

*- I guess the last thing we should touch on in regards to the outside stuff is that we have felt the hooking up and un-hooking of our toad is a breeze. We have never timed it but I’m guessing we do it within 5 or10 minutes pretty easy.

We have made it a little tougher on ourselves by carrying the bikes on the rear of the motorhome instead of on the back of our toad but luckily we are still pretty nimble so it’s not really a big deal, and the benefits of having them on the motorhome for us outweighs any added inconvenience by far.

The only inconvenience we are referring to is that I need to duck and bend over a little more to work under the bikes when storing and taking the tow bar out of its cradle but that’s not really a big deal.

**- Ok, this has been a real change coming from a Class A, I would MUCH rather hook and unhook a toad from a Class A than deal with hooking up the 5th wheel so far. There is no way we can hook up the 5th wheel as fast and easy as we could the toad to the motorhome, not yet anyway.

Keep in mind that we could do the motorhome thing almost with our eyes closed after doing it for so many years so maybe with time our tune will change about hooking up a 5th wheel, time will tell.

Oh, and we mount our bikes behind the 5th wheel now which works very well so far.

*- As far as having a toad behind a motorhome I love that when we get to a campground we can unhook before ever going to our site which makes out total length shorter when driving through campgrounds which can be pretty tight at times.

And it means that once we back into our site we are out of the way of anyone needing to get by us. Many times we see trucks pulling a 5th wheel still sticking out into the road and at times blocking traffic until they get unhooked, which also means they will block the road while hooking up as well and I admit that this gives me a little anxiety thinking about that when we make the switch.

But fellow RVers know this can happen and are pretty patient for the most part so I guess I shouldn’t worry about it that much.

**- This hasn’t been a big issue yet but we have not been in any what I would call real tight and busy campgrounds yet.

*- I have also liked that our motorhome is only 12’ 8” tall at the highest point which really hasn’t been an issue for us so far, and we have mainly traveled backroads, not that we still don’t need to pay close attention.

Our new 5th wheel will be roughly 1 foot taller so I’m thinking we will encounter height issues a little more as we travel and it will be something we will need to pay even closer attention to.

**- Our new 5th wheel is 13’ 5” tall and certainly is on our minds more than the height of our last Class A was at 12’ 8” but we have not had any issues yet. I will say that at 13’ 5” we are taller than most RV’s that roll into most campgrounds so we are sort of pioneers as far as what campgrounds have cut their limbs to.

*- I could go on and on about the outside stuff but let’s move on to the inside.

*- The first thing we want to bring up as far as the inside goes is the ongoing debate about the steering wheel. It never fails that when a 5th wheel owner talks about a motorhome they almost always bring up having the steering wheel be part of your decor in the living area and how ugly it is.

Well that’s a problem only if you let it be. We on the other hand have turned it into a great place to put a lamp and dressed up that area and we never think about a steering wheel being there. So really it shouldn’t even be a topic, but I’m sure it always will be.

**- Obviously no comment about this now that we are in a 5th wheel other than we will stick with our motorhome comment about the steering wheel in a Class A not being an deterrent to us. In fact we sort of liked and miss it.

*- And our seats turn around to add extra seating in the living room area and provides a great spot to sit down to take off or put on our shoes and the spot behind the driver’s seat and under the steering wheel is a great place to put shoes.

So to us the cockpit area in a class A just might have an advantage over a 5th wheel setup and that’s something we will have to figure out once we make the switch. We will let you know what we think at some point in the future.

**- We were spot on with our comment about the cockpit area of a Class A, it is one thing we do miss. Having the chairs that turned around gave us extra seating and a great place to put our shoes. Even though we did have a shoe cubby built in next to the entry door in our 5th wheel it’s just not as convenient and we don’t have nearly as much space to stow shoes in the 5th wheel.

Plus because I’m a anti clutter freak being able to hide the shoes behind the captain’s seat was a huge plus because they are certainly more visible in the 5th wheel.

**- And we use the dash like we used to use our “behind the couch” table we used to have when we lived in a house for plants and stuff like that. A real non-issue for us.

**- We sort of miss having the dash to display things and for putting plants on but not a big deal. I do see Diane moving the single plant we do have room for now from window to window chasing sun more often in the 5th wheel.

*- While we are talking about the front of the coach I guess we could touch on the windshield. For us we know that in a Class A we will always be looking out at the street in a campground unless we have a pull-in site, and in a way we thought that was an advantage because we know we will never be looking at someone else’s patio while in parks that have RV’s backup up to each other like so many do or staring at some brick wall or something like that. If you stay in enough RV parks you know it’s going to happen.

We would much rather look at people walking their dogs or something like that than looking out at someone sitting on their patio trying to have some private time.

And we always feel in touch with what’s going on outside and have always thought in a 5th wheel we might feel more out of touch. I’m sort of an extravert so I like being in touch but for people who are more of an introvert like Diane it’s probably not a big deal. Everyone is different.

But on the other hand if you are in a state park type setting or out boondocking having the back window of a 5th wheel would probably have the advantage. This is another thing we will have to get used to living in a 5th wheel.

**- The 5th wheel is still pretty new to us and we have not camped at any campground where we back up to another camper so far so that has not been an issue yet. But we were right and think we are a little more detached from what’s going on around us in the 5th wheel but have not decided if that’s a good thing or not LOL!!

Our site

 

 

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*- And that big windshield can attract a lot of heat if you parked so the sun beats on it but we have overcome that by using a Magna-shade which we can’t speak highly enough about.

We love not having any snaps to deal with or having to use a ladder to put it up or take it down. AND it stops the sun’s rays BEFORE they reach the glass which is a huge advantage over just using the inside shades.

**- Well we certainly don’t have the windshield to think about any longer even though with the Magna Shade it wasn’t a big deal. But along with the big Class A windshield letting in heat it also let in light and I think we might miss that a little on some days.

*- Moving back a little we like the seating arrangement in our current class A with the 2 front seats turned around and the L shaped couch that gives a “separation” feel between the kitchen and living room area. Even though we have never felt our couch was overly comfortable like in some other brands we have been in like Winnebago or Entegra for example. Tiffin could do a lot better job picking comfortable furniture.

**- As far as separation between the kitchen and living room area goes the floorplan in the Class A we had win’s hands down. In fact if we were to do it over again we would add one more foot to the living room or most likely we would re-design the floorplan all together with a distinct short wall separating the two areas.

This shows our old rug.

As far as comfort the furniture in our 5th wheel is more comfortable than what we had in the Class A but that’s just our particular situation. Tiffin just isn’t known for having comfortable furniture and that’s what our motorhome was.

*- And we love having the TV where it is with the fireplace below instead of having it up over the windshield like in our last class A, it’s so much easier to watch without neck strain.

**- Our TV situation is very similar to what we had in the Class A with it being right above our fireplace, no neck strain. AND it’s a 55” Smart TV so a little larger and nicer where the TV in our motorhome was a dumb TV.

*- In our particular setup we can comfortably seat 6 or 7 people while visiting without having to move in additional chairs to the living room.

**- In our 5th wheel we can seat 5 comfortably while visiting and 7 if we use our kitchen chairs so we gave up a little seating by going to this particular 5th wheel. But on the other hand it’s more comfortable for just the 2 of us which is the way it is most of the time because I always sat in the rocker / recliner and Diane was always stuck with the uncomfortable couch in the motorhome and now we have 2 Lazy Boy rocker / recliners and a much more comfortable couch.

*- And speaking of the fireplace, we love it. In the mornings if we are having cool weather I hit the button on the remote control that we keep by the bed at night and turn on the fireplace before getting out of bed and within minutes the chill is taken off and it’s very comfortable when I get up. And we use the fireplace as our main source of heat in the front part of the coach 95% of the time that heat is needed.

But keep in mind, we don’t spend any time in areas that get real cold for extended periods of time in the winter.

**- We love the fireplace in our 5th wheel every bit as much as we did in the Class A except that the remote in our 5th wheel will not turn on the fireplace from the bedroom, just too much distance I guess.

So now I have to get out of bed and walk to the door leading to the kitchen and turn on the fireplace with the remote. Not a real big deal except if it’s that cold then the floors are cold on my feet!!

*- Another added heating feature we have in our class A that we love is the heated floors. We have tile floors everywhere in the coach except for our slide room and they can get very cold if in cool weather but the heated floor system keeps them nice and warm when turned on. And let me tell you, there is nothing more inviting than rolling out of bed and putting your bare feet on nice warm floors.

And it’s surprising just how much heat radiates from them when left on which helps heat the entire coach. We hate the fact that we will not have heated floors in our new 5th wheel.

That’s one of the first things we ran across when going to a 5th wheel manufacture that boosts “fully custom” because even though they would install the heated floors they would not warrantee them, that was almost a deal breaker for us to be honest, that’s how much we love the heated floors. But we gave in and it was our 1st “known sacrifice” in switching to a 5th wheel.

**- OK, I KNEW I would miss the heated floors LOL!!! In reality the heated floors were something we didn’t use a lot in the Class A because we do try to stay in warm weather and when we were at campgrounds that we had to pay for electricity they did run up the bill a bit BUT on times we are in cool weather those heated floors were damn nice and I wish we had them in our 5th wheel. Once you have them it’s a different world not having them.

*- While still talking about heat sources our current coach uses a Aqua-Hot system for hot water and those times we need a little extra heat.

Without going into it much the Aqua-Hot system operates off electricity or diesel and can provide endless hot water while using diesel if we so desired. And for us we used the electric side of the system mainly because we don’t spend much time in cold areas where the diesel side would be needed. (The electric side is really only good if temperatures stay above 40 degrees or so).

It’s a good system that we have really liked and I’m sure we will miss when we switch to the 5th wheel.

**- So far we have not missed the Aqua Hot system but then again I have not had to re-fill the propane tanks yet either LOL!!

Not having the Aqua-Hot also means that we now have a water heater and with a water heater comes a dielectric rod that needs attention now and again, something we have not had to think about for many years.

*- Moving back to the kitchen and eating area we have everything we could possible need. We have a induction cooktop (which may not be the best one on the market but we got used to it).

**- We liked the induction cooktop in our motorhome and opted to install on in our 5th wheel also, just a better brand that operates much better so we are liking it even more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*-We have a full sized dishwasher that we love even though we didn’t think we would want one in a RV, and it uses so little water it appeases people like Diane that worry about that type of thing.

**- We had almost the exact dishwasher we had in our Class A installed in our 5th wheel except the one in our 5th wheel does not have a remote control. Not having the remote seemed like a big deal at first but once we got used to what lights needed to be flashing inside the door to make it come on when we closed it all was good. But we did cuss a bit trying to figure out such a simple thing the first couple weeks.

*-We have a full sized residential refrigerator that we would not be without, we will never switch back to a “RV style” propane slash electric unit. (Now remember, these are just OUR feelings, not everyone is the same. Remember there is no right or wrong).

**- Once again we liked the residential refer we had in our Class A enough that we had the same thing installed in our 5th wheel, just a newer model. One of the main reasons we like this one is that there is a button that allows us to turn off the cooling unit which comes in handy while boon-docking. You see when we go to bed knowing the door will remain closed throughout the night we push the button which ensures that the compressor will not turn on in the middle of the night and use battery power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to worry, the temp inside the refer only raises a couple degree’s, not enough to cause any issues at all.

There certainly are fancier units we could have gone with but none seemed to have that feature so this one works just fine for us.

*-We have plenty of cupboard space for us even though some RV’s we go into have some pretty nice pantries that I’m sure are nice to have.

**- Ok, we do have more cupboard space in our 5th wheel but we cannot say that it’s all EASILY used cupboard space.

We now carry a 2 step ladder inside that resides next to the couch so we can actually reach some of the cupboard space but we just plan what we put where to lessen the need of that ladder. In fact just like I mentioned that I have totally re-arainged the outside storage a few times, well Diane has totally re-arainged the inside cabinets just as many times LOL!!!

And we do have a nice pantry now but just like the cupboard space it is impossible to see what’s in the top shelf pullout without the ladder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I don’t know why but when they built the pantry they leave about 5” of dead space behind each pullout shelf. That’s just wasted space! In fact we have 6 pullouts and if we added the 5” to each of them it would be like adding one more entire pullout, that’s a big deal when living in a RV.

I’m sure it’s a cost saving thing on their end but you know what, I think we will ask to have new pullout’s made that are 5” deeper and replace the ones we have now. We will let you know how that turns out.

*-Our counter top space is adequate and being able to pull out the extension where our bank of drawers are sure helps when cooking larger meals or for us mainly we use it when using the Instant Pot (which we love by the way).

**- Our main countertop space in our 5th wheel is almost identical to the main countertop we had in our Class A but now we have an island which creates more space.

You can see what the cabinet looked like closed and hiding the oven.

Accent lighting around the island

To be honest I thought we would use the island space more but I guess it just hasn’t become a habit yet but I’m sure it will as time goes on.

*- And we really like the way our dining room table just slides out to add more space. No legs and no leafs to deal with. And the tabletop space behind the table is a great spot for a small lamp and other do-dads.

**- We still have a table space behind our dining room table to put do-dads even though it isn’t as deep as what we had in the Class A but in our 5th wheel we have to deal with a leaf to extend out table which is more of a hassle than just pulling it out like we did in the motorhome and we do have a table leg to deal with.

The leaf really isn’t a big deal and the leg may not sound like a big deal but many times I like to toss a leg up on the chair across from my spot when I’m just kicking back having coffee in the morning but that doesn’t happen as freely with that damn leg in the way. It’s the little things in life LOL!!

*- Speaking of the cabinets and tabletop behind the kitchen table, it’s deep enough that we can have a file cabinet drawer there and the most important thing, a spot for a computer station.

I use this computer station every single morning and to be honest it might just be the biggest single item that I will be sacrificing by going to the 5th wheel because once again it’s something we will lose by going to a “fully custom” 5th wheel.

In fact if we think back not having a computer station is one of the reasons we did not go with the Entegra brand Class A back in 2014 when we were switching from our previous motorhome.

Oh well, I will figure out a system that works I’m sure once we make the switch but I really hate this one. And if we gave it some more thought or changed the floorplan some in the 5th wheel I’m sure something could have been figured out but for us it just wasn’t meant to be.

**- I sure do miss not having the computer station and the file cabinet just like I thought I would but we make due. There is a cabinet above the entertainment center that has a electrical plug where the printer now resides and that works out great.

And we now have a cheap plastic file holder box where we keep our paperwork and it lives in the closet in the bedroom which is just fine I guess.

But my laptop computer not sits on the ledge behind the kitchen table and when I want to use it which is every morning I move it to the kitchen table.

This works but as I have mentioned before I’m an anti-clutter freak and it bugs the heck out of me having the computer sitting out when not in use. At first I put it away in the cabinet with the printer each time but that was a hassle so I’m trying to learn to ignore it sitting out.

I still think the plan is to purchase a new 2 in 1 type tablet/laptop that can live next to my recliner where it will be out of the way and not seen when not in use. I just have not made myself pony up the $$$ to make this happen but my current laptop is continuing to get older and having more problems so it will happen.

*- We like that there is really just 1 small step involved to get from one end of the coach to the other once we are inside and that step is just 7” tall and leads into our rear bathroom.

At this stage of our life steps are not an issue and we hope they never become a issue in the future because we will have more steps to negotiate in the new 5th wheel.

**- In our 5th wheel we now have 3 steps to get from the living room / kitchen to the bathroom / bedroom areas and that isn’t a big deal so far for us even though we certainly liked not having steps like we didn’t in our Class A much better without a doubt.

*- Speaking of the rear bathroom, we really love the separation having a rear bathroom has from our living area AND it’s good sized so we don’t feel claustrophobic and feel like we need to rush out.

Probably the only thing we are not crazy about in that bathroom is the closet. The space is adequate but we have a electrical panel located inside and it takes up a chunk of space on the bottom of ½, which of course is my side.

**- The overall bathroom space in our 5th wheel is just as big as what we had in the Class A just laid out differently and the toilet has a separate little toilet room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A plus to our new bathroom layout is that our cloth’s closet is not in it and we now have a MUCH bigger closet in the bedroom MUCH BIGGER.

A negative to me would be the separate room for the toilet. For me I now close the door between the living room area and then leave the actual toiler room door open when I’m doing my morning “thing” so I don’t feel so closed in. Is that too much info LOL!!!

And now we don’t have a ½ bath like we did in the Class A but with our current floorplan that’s just fine.

*- We have a stacker washer dryer in the bathroom as well. The “have or not to have” a washer drier is another ongoing debate among RVers but we can honestly say that we would not own a RV without having a Washer Drier on board while full timing.

In our first Class A we had a combo unit and we didn’t have any real complaints about it but we do like the stacker units we have now better. But if we felt we were tight on storage we would have the washer dryer combo at a minimum.

**- We have a Whirlpool stacked set washer dryer in our 5th wheel and the capacities are larger than what we had in our Class A so that’s a positive. The only negative is that the washer is a little more, how should we say, gadgity “is that a word?” and we would be happy with something more plain if we were to ever need a new one. Just give us a dial and call it good, all this push button stuff with flashing lights and bells is a bit much LOL!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact the original washer that came with the 5th wheel had problems after just a few weeks and it had so much techy stuff that even the repair guy was scratching his head. It turned out is was easier to replace the entire washer than to figure out how to fix it, something is wrong with that picture.

Actually it was easier for Whirlpool, not us. If it was just an old fashion dial instead of a flashing light want to be Las Vegas slot machine I might have been able to fix it myself.  

*- I guess the only room we have not mentioned is the bedroom. We have a king size bed that we love even though making the bed is a bit of a challenge, but I think that probably holds true with most RV bedroom setups.

And we did switch out our mattress to a Tempure Pedic like we used to have while living in the house. In fact we like it so much that we are taking this mattress with us to the new 5th wheel.

**- Just like in the Class A we have a King size bed with our Tempure Pedic mattress that we love. And because of the way the slide is designed in our 5th wheel we actually have a lot more storage space under this bed.

*- And there is plenty of storage in the bedroom including the nice sized storage area under the bed.

**- We actually liked the cabinet arraignment in our last Class A enough that we had the layout pretty much duplicated in our 5th wheel but we actually have more storage because the electronics are no longer in the bedroom and the storage under the bed is about 25% larger.

*- The only thing in the bedroom area that we do not care for is the electronics area.

First off the way Tiffin located some electronics in a small closed in cavity is pure stupid because of heat buildup, and we all know heat is a killer on electronic.

We went through 2 splitters at well over $100 each before I wised up and installed a fan in that compartment which fixed the problem.

**- No electronics cabinet in the bedroom in our 5th wheel, everything is located above the TV in the living room AND the components have gotten smaller which was a win as well.

*- The other thing about the electronic being located behind a louvered door in the bedroom is that the power lights shine through which bugged us a bit at night. So every night we drape a cloth over the door to block the light.

I suppose we could have done something else like put a piece of tape over the lights but we just didn’t. Or do what Diane always told me to do, JUST SHUT YOU’RE EYE”S!!

**- As mentioned, we do not have this problem in the 5th wheel.

*- I guess that pretty much sums it up and as you probably noticed there are far more things that we like about full-timing in a Class A than there are things we don’t like. But as we said before, the real main reason that we are making a switch to a 5th wheel is because we plan to sit longer at spots and we just don’t want a big expensive diesel engine and transmission sitting for extended periods of time. And again that’s just my opinion.

**- I think because we liked and were so used to the configuration of our last Class A we are a bit more critical about how we now are in our new 5th wheel but we do like it.

*-Plus from what we have found with a little research the yearly expenses owning a 5th wheel should be less than owning a Class A.

**- It’s too soon to say if or how much we will save by being in a 5th wheel.

**- There are many more topics that come up when comparing 5th wheels to Class A’s like fuel economy or how convenient or inconvenient it would be if you have a mechanical issue with a Class A compared to a 5th wheel and we have our own thoughts on those topics but this is getting a bit long so they may be something we touch on in the future when we actually experience them in our 5th wheel.

**- One thing that has come up since going to the 5th wheel that we actually planned to have happen sometime in the future (just not so soon) is a second car. Yup, Diane decided that she didn’t want to drive the truck when she was out running around by herself so we bought a 2019 Honda CRV as a second car.

We know having a second vehicle will have its pluses and minuses like everything else in life and we will deal with whatever it brings but if having the car makes Diane feel better in our life style then so be it.

In doing our research and crunching a few basic numbers other than the initial cost the savings on fuel while using the CRV compared to the truck while just our running around and saving on the miles on the truck which effects depreciation, service intervals and the cost’s involved with miles it shouldn’t add much cost to our yearly numbers.

Probably the biggest thing to be concerned about is having room for it at campgrounds and with the way we are starting to travel now being more destination oriented and staying in one spot longer instead of being so Willy-Nilly we should be able to plan for it without too much problem.

Well this has turned into a much longer update than figured so we will call it good for now. We hope that this in some way helps someone getting ready for this great life style.

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12 Responses to Comparing or 5th wheel experience to our Class A experience

  1. Robbie and Alice Simons says:

    You are right, that is some update! Thank you!

    • Dave & Diane says:

      LOL, I probably could have gotten more in-depth but it was getting way to long the way it was. I think we might update it after we live in it for an entire year or maybe 1.5 years . By that time we should be fully used to the 5th wheel and it will be more second nature. Hope all is well on your end!

  2. Steve & Dianne Colibaba says:

    Very thorough and excellent review on your RV ownership experiences Dave! I’m sure many in the planning/upgrading stages will really appreciate it.
    Safe travels!

  3. exploRVistas says:

    Wow…great update! Took a long time to read, but worth it. I know you didn’t notice the wind much with the tag axle, but do you notice it at all in the fifth wheel? And spot on with the 2nd car. We love having our Escape. As you said, biggest issue is the campgrounds having room. That hasn’t been a real big deal in the five years we’ve been doing this.

  4. kenneysseeamerica says:

    Great update. Really helps as we are considering a change as well.

    See you on the courts.

  5. Pingback: 5th Wheel Or Class A? – RV Castaways

  6. chris p hemstead says:

    Good writeup. You’ve used apostrophes in several places for plurals, like furnace’s. May want to clean that up.

    • Dave & Diane says:

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. As far as the grammar mistakes, well English was always my worst class. Heck if I went back in to fix things I would mess up the ones I had right most likely LOL!! I always say if you can figure out what I mean it’s good enough. Funny story, we talked to a nice lady at a campground one time and ended up telling her about our blog. THEN we found out she was a retired English teacher, I told her she would probably get neck strain from shaking her head if she read our blog LOL!!!

  7. Kelly says:

    Love this post! Thanks for the great detailed comparison! Good luck with the car – I’m sure she will love the CRV. We have never regretted having it, and only left it “home” with my parents the year we went to Alaska. It will save your truck a lot of miles!

    • Dave & Diane says:

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. I can already tell that having the car will be a big plus for Diane, she has been out running around more on her own this last month or so than she ever has before. And I will admit it is nice to have in some of the tighter areas even though I still love my truck LOL!!

  8. Derek Gore says:

    Excellent, not too long for the info!

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