EPDM Coatings
RV LED Bulbs offer Sponsored by Spotless Water Systems Sponsored by RV Upgrades width= Composet Products EVDO

Author Topic: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels  (Read 5221 times)

abansgrove

  • ---
  • Posts: 5
Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« on: January 22, 2010, 12:49:26 PM »
Hi all;

I have always been a truck and camper person, and currently have a pop-up on a 3/4 ton 4x4. I love it as it's low profile and low center of gravity are great on paved roads, and it is also very capable off-road as well. But the kids are now both into double digit ages, and we need something larger. Any recommendations for manufacturers/models of small (max 21 feet, preferably about 17 to 18), lower profile, light weight, and rugged 5th wheels that  can take some moderate off-highway use? I do not mean anything too extreme, of course, but lots of logging roads, smaller access roads, rough camping, etc. We are likely looking for a used unit, perhaps 5 years old.

Thanks for any advise that might be offered.

Cheers,

Ash

1997 F250 4x4
Pine Mountain Pop-up Camper

RoyM

  • ---
  • Posts: 1193
Re: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 08:32:59 PM »
An 18' fiver is not going to be much of an improvement with two adults and teenagers. We have a 17' Vanguard and find it is not enough for two of us. For starters the bathroom is too small and living space will be at a premium if the weather is bad.
You are my kind of camper. Forest service roads and primitive campsites are my favorites, just need to get my city born and raised fiancee to buy into the program. She panics if I leave the pavement. ;D
Ram 2500 diesel
Prowler fifth wheel
Urge to travel

abansgrove

  • ---
  • Posts: 5
Re: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2010, 12:09:27 AM »
Thanks RoyM. I am fairly confident a smaller 5th wheel, with bunks, will do us OK; the kids are outside a lot! However, I am not familiar with 5th brands. I am after a lighter one that is still very sturdy. I assume aluminum frame, but beyond that I have yet to find many brands that actively "market" off-road capability.  I'm not looking to go on jeep trails, just off the beaten path. Cheers, a
1997 F250 4x4
Pine Mountain Pop-up Camper

Jammer

  • ---
  • Posts: 1490
  • Moar Aluminuminum!
Re: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2010, 12:19:04 AM »
Offroading is tough on campers, though less so if you have the discipline to keep your speed down to about zero.  The frame, the appliances, don't like the bumping around.

I see 5ers in the north woods in Minnesota fairly frequently and had a friend in Las Vegas who had one that he took into the desert.  He had modified the axle to pick up a little ground clearance.  So, it can be done.

Having been in some questionable places with a TT I would say that ground clearance is indeed the major issue with axle clearance and approach/departure angles, and on a TT, hitch clearance, also a problem.  Much of that can be solved by modifying the axles and raising the hitch.

I encounter a larger number of forest service roads which, while quite passable, do have ruts or mudholes or steep approaches that could easily high center the stock suspension on a trailer.  I would think that, with any camper, raising the suspension and installing larger tires would be the first order of business.

I personally am more of a fan of TTs than 5ers.  For offroading the benefits of a TT are lower overall height so that branch clearance is less of a problem and greater ease of rehitching from another angle in the event that the tow vehicle must be unhitched to get it out of the mud.  5ers potentially give you a little shorter overall length which helps a little with maneuverability.  The weight distribution is maybe a little better on a 5er but not by much (5%).
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 12:22:33 AM by Jammer »
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

Jammer

  • ---
  • Posts: 1490
  • Moar Aluminuminum!
Re: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2010, 12:20:32 AM »
Might want to look at the Scamp 5er.  They are small and narrow, and very solid.  They make TTs too.  All fiberglass.  Casita is a similar west-coast maker; not sure what part of the country you're in.
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

abansgrove

  • ---
  • Posts: 5
Re: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2010, 01:23:00 AM »
Thanks Jammer! I agree ground clearance is a key issue, raising suspension and installing larger tires, or perhaps even just the latter, might be the fix. I figured 5th wheels would at least not have hitch clearance issues, and have reduced length and better weight distribution, though perhaps less than I thought. Tree clearance - well, I don't want a "tall" one, but agree this is a bit of sacrifice area. My current pop-top slide in is only a foot or so higher than the top of the cab of my truck.

The Scamp 5th wheel looks very interesting, just the sort of thing I am after. Would love to have 2 permanent bunk beds for the kids, but then again they can be the ones to set them up each night, so no big deal!
1997 F250 4x4
Pine Mountain Pop-up Camper

Jammer

  • ---
  • Posts: 1490
  • Moar Aluminuminum!
Re: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2010, 07:35:31 AM »
Be sure you get a 4-way hitch.  I don't know much about 5er hitches but some people here do, ask around, not all are equally suitable for uneven ground.

On the TT side of things one of the facts to consider is that it is rare that the hitch will drag unless something else is dragging too.  On level ground the truck rear axle and the trailer axles will be at the same height, and if you're in a dip the bumper of the trailer will hit first.

The Scamps are neat trailers.  We were considering one and finally decided that they just weren't big enough for what we're doing.
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

Gary RV Roamer

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 42286
  • We're on the road again...
Re: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2010, 08:31:16 AM »
Sounds like the 19' Scamp would be ideal for you. 

A fifth wheel may have minor advantages in hitch clearance, but you give up a lot of space in the truck bad for gear. Hard to know which will be more important to you.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

maryland-david

  • ---
  • Posts: 92
Re: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2010, 09:12:45 AM »
Toy hauler trailers/fithwheels tend to have a higher ground clearance as they know that the owners do not stay on pavement all of the time. I have seen some smaller trailers that fall into this length.
David
Baltimore, MD
2003 American Heritage 45'
500 Cummins
6 Speed Allison

Robert Ryan

  • ---
  • Posts: 87
Re: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2010, 04:36:37 AM »
Quote
Any recommendations for manufacturers/models of small (max 21 feet, preferably about 17 to 18), lower profile, light weight, and rugged 5th wheels that  can take some moderate off-highway use? I do not mean anything too extreme, of course, but lots of logging roads, smaller access roads, rough camping, etc. We are likely looking for a used unit, perhaps 5 years old.

Thanks for any advise that might be offered.
5th Wheelers are being reintroduced  back into Australia(1995) after a very long absence, they were here in the late 1940's. One of the negatives especially  for Australia they were mainly blacktop only,  which restricted  their popularity. Still very  early days for local 5th Wheelers in Australia, compared to the hundreds of Caravan builders. No  Luxury builders as such.
Recently some local manufacturers  have  appeared and they  have developed 5th wheelers that can be taken onto dirt roads. Using IRS and an airbag suspension, local builder Truelux has a 33ft Model that can go on some pretty rough tracks.
Unlike what  the description  says  about the 5th Wheeler it  has been built
http://d454457.u23.fasthit.net/Special_Vehicles.html
Travelhome is developing a 23ft Off Road model. Although the tow vehicles for their 25ft and 29ft Models will have you puzzled. They are all diesel by the way.
http://www.travelhome.com.au/news.htm
http://www.travelhome.com.au/29gallery.htm

This manufacturer has also developed a Off Road model
http://www.fifthwheelers.com.au/coastal%20qld.htm
Quote
Hodge RV manufactures two different lines of RV; Coastal's which are high end luxury fifth wheelers and caravans with aluminium chassis's and slide-outs, and Outback's which are off-road suitable 5th wheelers.
Maybe a US manufacturer might produce something similar?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 04:55:17 AM by Robert Ryan »

5erjunkie

  • Posts: 4
Re: Recommendations for Off-road Capable 5th Wheels
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2010, 06:42:08 PM »
Peterson Industries makes The Excel Line of Fifth Wheels. They use to have 3 lines... RT, Classic, and the Limited...they advertised their RT as off road, for those who love to boondock,  fifth wheel...may want to look at their web page.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 07:37:15 AM by 5erjunkie »