Truck Recommendation-Bed Size

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New member
Nov 26, 2006
I am new to the world of travel trailers. I am starting to look for my tow vehicle. I have narrowed it to a Dodge Ram Diesel, 2500 or 3500 series. My first trailer may be a conventional trailer with an eventual upgrade to a fifth wheel. I am wondering if I should go with a short bed or long bed. Is there is an advantage or disadvantage going with a short bed or long bed.

Also, are there any advantages or disadvantages going with a 2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive.

Any recommendations would be appreciated.
A long bed is nice in that you can carry more gear and it avoids any possible question of a fifth wheel hitting the truck cab when backing into a sharp turn.  That's not always a problem with a short bed, but it can be with certain trailers and hitches.The downside is that it is a much longer truck, about 18 inches longer than the same model witha short bed, and thus needs more space to maneuver and park. A crew cab long bed truck is  21+ feet long and a club/extended cab long bed about 20.5 feet. That's a handful of truck in tight quarters, e.g. some supermarket parking lots.

Some people get short bed trucks and avoid the potential for back-up problems with a sliding hitch, which extends the distance between hitch and cab when backing.  It's not needed for all trailers, but it does the trick where needed.

Be careful about some of the newer trucks with really short beds - some models are  only 5.5-6.0 feet and that's too short for a fifth wheel. These utra-short beds are usually found on half ton models with a crew cab (quad cab).

If you really plan an upgrade to a fifth wheel in the future, you need to carefully consider the weight of the future trailer, since that is the key to selecting a truck. Get a truck that can tow the GVWR of the largest trailer you think you may get in the future. Chances are that will be  alot more truck than you need for the current travel trailer, so it may be more practical to simply plan on trading the truck when the time comes.
Hey There,

We are very new to RV'ing, but here is what we've experienced thus far. We have an '06 Chevy Crew Cab with a short bed and a 36' fifth wheel, we had a sliding hitch installed, as Gary mentioned above. I don't always Need to put it into 'maneuvering mode', but I'd say 95% of the time I do just to be safe. Have not had a problem with it yet. However, on our first trip camping where we would have to take a generator, I was real concerned that I'd have enough clearance for the 6500watt generator in the truck bed. I had enough, but just barely. In retrospect I would prefer the long bed for the carrying space, but for maneuvering, the short bed with the sliding hitch works great!!!

4x4 versus 2 wheel drive, I like having the 4x4 because where we store it, you have to drive thru a large well maintained field to get it into it's parking spot. No other way around it, I must pull it thru. Lately here in Houston it's been raining a Lot, if not for the 4x4 I would have been stuck in the mud several times. I have not needed the 4x4 at any of the camping areas I've been to, but we've also only been to a few areas close by. The down side to the 4x4 for Me has been that the truck sits higher then a non 4x4, as a result I have a bit less clearance between the bottom of the fifth wheel and the bed rails. This is not a problem going down the road, it pulls great. But the hitch is designed to pivot a few degrees left to right, this allows the 5er to get awful close to hitting the bed rails when pulling thru uneven camping areas or country roads that have real steep dips going into a left or right hand intersection. As I said, we have not hit yet, and may never do so, but it's been a concern.

If I had to do it again, I'd get the 3500 over the 2500 just for safety, but our setup works great thus far. Also, we have no intention of traveling the country with it until retirement (and that's a good 20+ years away). At which point we won't have this setup anymore. The longest trip we plan on taking (and have done) is 300 miles from Houston to Ft. Worth for the NASCAR races, and that is all flat land driving. ;D It was a blast!!!

In a nut shell, we like our Crew Cab 4x4 short bed w/ the slider hitch and big 5er. But I also wanted to voice the concerns or issues that we have thus far experienced with our setup. Other folks here have a whole lot more experience than I do in this area, we got our first setup back at the end of July this year. We're pretty much newbies. ;)
Thanks to all who responded to my posting. This was very helpful for my final decision.

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