Top 5 Fifth Wheel Brands to Consider
If you have never considered purchasing a fifth wheel camper now may be one of the best times to do so. The COVID-19 pandemic created many unexpected circumstances in all areas of human life. The obvious circumstances include financial hardships, medical emergencies both literal and systemic, and social distancing requirements previously not experienced in modern times. The not-so-obvious circumstances include a sudden spike in fifth wheel RV (recreational vehicle) sales.
The initial expectation was for sales to drop so far businesses would go literally out of business. Instead, sales increased in 2020 and many fifth wheel RV businesses are thriving. In fact, between the 2020 Memorial Day and June 7 National RV Day holidays, the popular RV rental company RVshare reported its number of bookings were 1,000 percent higher than during the beginning of April, only two months prior. If you have never owned a fifth wheel camper before you may wonder which models are the most popular and reliable. Use this quick reference to help you narrow down the field and get you out and enjoying Mother Nature faster.
Benefits of Fifth Wheel RVs
During the pandemic some consumers bought fifth wheel RVs in lieu of flying or going on cruises. When social distancing and mandated shutdowns went into effect, many vacation and travel plans had to be canceled. Owning a fifth wheel RV allowed consumers to make vacations portable and transportable. Instead of traveling to a resort or vacation site, many consumers decided to let the travel itself be the vacation.
Camping in a tent is ruggedly good fun. Camping in a fifth wheel RV is ruggedly good fun with a touch of luxury and a lot of entertainment. Lodging in hotels are also fun, enjoyable experiences. Owning a fifth wheel RV eliminates excess packing and unpacking, searching for laundry services (based on options) and worrying about room cleanliness. Most of all in a world impacted by COVID-19, it allows families to travel safely together and still share a much-needed vacation.
Requirements for Hauling a Fifth Wheel RV
Fifth wheel RVs have multitudes of options making the definition of a base package variable for each consumer and dealer. Even adding an extra refrigerator or storage compartment affects the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating), which can in turn affect which type of truck is required to safely haul the RV. For a truck to safely haul an RV, its own GVWR should exceed the combined weight of the truck and trailer tongue weight by 10% or more.
There is no special license specific to operating an RV. However, some states do require a special license for the operation of vehicles 26,000 lbs. and over. Having skill and experience pulling trailers is also essential. Finally, a proper fifth wheel hitch is required. Distribution of weight is crucial for safe traveling in an RV and understanding what hitch is required prevents accidents.
Please Note: Due to the variable nature of RV options, floor plan additions and changes to incoming models, it is essential to consult your local dealer for accurate and up-to-date information on GVWR, towing capacities, hitch requirements and all safety/operational-related questions.
Top 5 Fifth Wheel Brands for 2021
The top 5 fifth wheel brands for 2021 include:
1. Grand Design Solitude
Grand Design takes the concept of livability to maximum fruition with its 2021 Solitude RV. 15 floor plans to choose from are designed with residential finishes and plentiful living space. Starting base-package MSRPs range from $57,269 to $78,706, but to pinpoint specific prices use the convenient Build and Price feature on the Grand Design website. Additional top Solitude features are:
- GVWR of 16,800 lbs. and GAWR (2) 7,000 lbs. (GVWR vs. GAWR).
- More storage space than most competitors, all of which is designed to blend into bountiful livability spacing.
- Conveniently designed, elevated kitchen allowing for additional storage space below it.
- Well insulted including a heated underbelly making the Solitude comfortable in any climate.
- 34’ 4” to 41’ 5” in length depending on trim.
2. Forest River Cardinal
The Forest River Cardinal offers three trims each with multiple floor plans and options. Trims include the 25th Anniversary Edition, Limited and Luxury. Starting MSRP for the Limited ranges between $77,000 and $87,000. Starting MSRP for the Luxury can run between $91,000 and $103,000. Contact your local dealer about pricing options for the 25th Anniversary Edition. All Forest River Cardinal models require a 3/4-ton diesel truck for towing. Some top features of the lineup are:
- Powered theatre seating, 50-inch TV inside and entertainment outside.
- 72x80-inch Serta mattress bed and prestige bedroom features/technology.
- Large amounts of storage space capable of comfortably housing families and visitors for long vacations.
- Sleek, classy exterior appearance w/comfortable, modern interior design options.
- Length ranges from 34’ 11” inches through 41’ 8”.
- Gross vehicle weight can register between 15,500 and 16,780 lbs.
3. Keystone Montana
Keystone describes their Montana model as being the RV consumers know they deserve. 22 floor plans with starting prices ranging from $89,874 to $102,504 (before options) offer an almost countless number of customizable amenities and features. The inside of the Montana looks like a spacious high-end hotel suite and the exterior is sturdy and bold. More great features of the Keystone Montana are:
- Pass-through storage compartment.
- 4-door refrigerator sized at 18 cubic feet.
- Renovo Sleep™ memory foam mattress, central vacuum system and porcelain toilet .
- 4G LTE, Wi-Fi Pre and KeyTV systems.
- 50” LED TV and soundbar.
4. CrossRoads Redwood RV
Self-billed as being a foundation of luxury, The CrossRoads Redwood fifth wheel RV offers a combination of ruggedness, class and comfort on a level close-to-home. 9 floor plans starting around $35,000 set the tone for easily building the luxury RV desired. A few of the best Redwood features are:
- Enclosed underbelly keeping people and items warm and dry, making this RV ideal for winter travel.
- King size bed.
- JBL soundbar and electric outdoor awning/entertainment.
- Norcold fridge and plenty of kitchen features for a variety of situations, including a baker’s oven.
- 15,000 BTU AC.
- Stunning residential living room furniture.
5. Jayco Pinnacle RV
The 2021 Jayco Pinnacle boasts being a complete package RV due to its premium towing equipment, full-time warranty and focus on comfort and luxury. Pricing and options for the incoming 2021 Pinnacle can be configured on the Jayco website as each one of its six floor plans is configurable in a multitude of ways. Some of the best incoming Pinnacle features are:
- Extensive warranty keeps consumers feeling protected.
- Sleeps up to eight with certain floor plan options.
- Magnum Truss™ XL6™ Roof System is the strongest industry-tested roof available.
- MORryde suspension system creates smooth rides.
- Residentialrefrigerator (21 cubic feet), marine-grade speakers and oversized kitchen/bay windows.
Make sure to compile a list of things you need in your new fifth wheel before you start your search!