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Old 06-09-2016, 02:37 PM   #1
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Trailer vs. Fifth wheel

We are in the process of determining what vehicle/trailer to purchase. Currently we tow a 16' Casita with a Jeep Wrangler. As we are getting up in age, we are wondering about switching to a different set up. We would like to know the thoughts of those of you who have both towed a trailer and a fifth wheel as to ease of set up, advantages/disadvantages of each, and which you prefer and why. My husband had back surgery last year and we are trying to determine which would be better for his back. Either way, we want to become Escape owners in the near future😊. Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 06-09-2016, 03:04 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Karen and Leon View Post
We are in the process of determining what vehicle/trailer to purchase. Currently we tow a 16' Casita with a Jeep Wrangler. As we are getting up in age, we are wondering about switching to a different set up. We would like to know the thoughts of those of you who have both towed a trailer and a fifth wheel as to ease of set up, advantages/disadvantages of each, and which you prefer and why. My husband had back surgery last year and we are trying to determine which would be better for his back. Either way, we want to become Escape owners in the near future��. Thank you in advance for your help.
We started out about 30 years ago with a pop-up, went to a Scamp fifth-wheel, which is actually a goose-neck, then went to a 25' fifth-wheel, and finally a 17' Casita. We have tried almost every type of camper except motorhomes. After dealing with a stick-built trailer, we knew we wanted one that was molded fiberglass. After doing the tour of the Escape factory, we decided on the 5.0 TA. We like the fact that it has a queen bed and there is no crawling over the other person to get into and out of bed, plus the bed is in a separate area of the trailer. With a fifth-wheel, you get more length to the trailer without having so much extending beyond the back of the truck. The downside is not being able to utilize every inch of space in the bed of the truck. We have found that we can still fit in everything needed even with the hitch in the truck bed. We are picking up our new 5.0 TA at the end of July and we can hardly wait. Good luck on your new adventures. I don't think you can go wrong with an Escape.
Lucy
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Old 06-09-2016, 03:29 PM   #3
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I've had both, possible issues...

5th wheel

Have to get down under the overhang to plug in the umbilical cord, or get one installed in the bed of the truck. If you are tall you occasionally smack your head.

Depending on the type of hitch, may have to reach the center of the truck bed to install the latch pin.

Have to climb up the stairs and crawl to get into bed, vice versa for bathroom runs in the middle of the night.

Quite a bit taller then the bumper pulls. Harder to wash and such.

Climbing in and out of the trucks cab as well as the truck bed.


Bumper Pull,

Need to manipulate the Weight Distribution Hitch/Sway Control.

Can get a power jack so that should not be an issue.


With a 5th wheel you need a decent size truck, can get away with a smaller vehicle for the 21.

We went with the 5th wheel for the layout, more of a separate bedroom area, the bigger bed, and just being a longer more roomy feeling trailer then the 21. Already had a good size truck so that was not an issue for us. FWIW, we would not have gotten an Escape had the 5th wheel not been available, we were looking for a small trailer with a real queen size bed.

Would have liked the bigger bath of the 21.

Didn't like that we lost the ability to use the truck cap with all the bennies it provided.

Added benefit of the 5th wheel is that it tows nicer, but that had nothing to do with choosing it.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:48 PM   #4
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Hi: Karen and Leon... We are on our second Escape 5th. Had a single axle '07 and now the '14 TA. Had a 13' Boler first. The reason I like the 5.0TA is ease of hook up. I drive the truck, my wife uses the electric jacks to drop the trailer on the hitch. It's easy... and I can do easy very well. Our umbilical cord hook up is in the box so no bending down and our truck is a Nissan Frontier so it's no monster to drive.
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Old 06-09-2016, 05:05 PM   #5
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We have not had a 5th wheel and honestly did not consider one for one big reason. That being the loss of [for practical purposed] the bed of the truck. We use our truck bed a lot even when not camping and need the clean open truck bed space. The other smaller concern was climbing down from the bed during the night for bathroom trips.
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Old 06-09-2016, 05:44 PM   #6
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The only point I didn't see mentioned was overall length: for the same interior space and tow vehicle length, the fifth-wheel setup will be shorter because the trailer and tow vehicle overlap. That's rarely a factor of any importance, especially with trailers the size of an Escape, but if you need to park at home in a limited length an Escape 5.0TA plus truck will be shorter than an Escape 21' plus the same truck.

It seems to me that the easiest-on-the-back setup would clearly be
  • a fifth-wheel trailer,
  • using a normal fifth-wheel hitch but one with a long latching handle,
  • with the receptacle for the electrical cable mounted in an easily accessible location (inside the box just ahead of the tailgate avoids reaching down to the bumper or up over the box sides),
  • with power stabilizer jacks or a cordless drill and extension to run the stabilizer jacks.
From a bending-down point of view, you're still faced with the sewer hose, but that is not dependent on the type of trailer.


Just for clarity - a trailer which uses a fifth-wheel hitch (such as an Escape 5.0 or 5.0TA) is still a "trailer". Unfortunately, there is no really good terminology to distinguish the two styles of trailer.
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Old 06-09-2016, 05:46 PM   #7
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The clean truck bed is an issue, BUT if you're a new buyer, there are 5th wheel hitches now that come completely out of the bed and leave it flat. But that still entails pulling it out of there, and they ain't lightweights. You'll also see folks with the standard rails left in the bed, and they aren't too obtrusive, and rubber mats can be cut around them to leave a flat bed. But almost all small 5th wheels will have you sliding out of the end of the bed and heading "downstairs" to get to the bathroom. We're taller folks and a full size queen bed was a must have, and we have one in our 5.0TA...
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:46 PM   #8
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My wife doesn't do well with stairs so the regular 21' trailer was an easy choice for us; (actually for her, and I have learned not to argue).
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:48 PM   #9
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We didn't want to consider stairs either but wanted a Queen bed. ETI has us all covered and we ended up in the 19.
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:08 PM   #10
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My sweetheart wanted no stairs and no crawling over me or me over her to get out of bed, so the 21' it will be for us. Plus I will want to carry a canoe on racks over my pickup bed which would not be possible with the 5.0TA.
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:21 PM   #11
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Lets see. I've towed both, heck I still own both and while there's nothing difficult about hitching up and unhooking the 5th wheel, IMHO it's much easier with the bumper pull. But, I'm also a single traveler and have no one to spot me when I go to hookup either trailer.

Brian mentioned overall length. There's just a bit less than 20' of interior space in the 5th wheel. You'd get 18' pulling a 21'. The 5er has more cupboard space (we get both a pantry AND a closet), plus storage under the stairs. There's storage under the 21' bed which a 5er doesn't have.

The bed is queen size in the 5er and a double in the 21'. That's six inches difference in width. In the 21' you can sleep with your back against the wall and not fall out! There's a bit of space on each size of the 5er bed. Doubtful anyone sleeps right on the edge in a queen... there goes those six inches that you're not using.... three inches a side.

I don't find the stairs to be a problem in Ten Forward. I typically go upstairs on my hands and feet (toddler climb)... down on my rear (purposely!). It's really only two stairs and the loft.

Karen, you said your husband has had back surgery. I strongly suggest whatever trailer or size you buy... you also know how to hookup/unhook. Better to be prepared than stranded.

Best of luck!
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I don't find the stairs to be a problem in Ten Forward. I typically go upstairs on my hands and feet (toddler climb)... down on my rear (purposely!). It's really only two stairs and the loft.
Sounds like we could start a new topic: How do you go up and down the stairs in a 5.0?
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:50 PM   #13
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... Plus I will want to carry a canoe on racks over my pickup bed which would not be possible with the 5.0TA.
Carrying a canoe is certainly easier without a fifth-wheel trailer in the way, but it can still be done with a fifth-wheel. The key is the length of the canoe, versus the length of the truck ahead of the hitch, how much support you decide that you need for your canoe, and what type of rack you're willing to mount on your truck. In any case, the canoe rides mostly over the cab, rather than over the bed.
A recent discussion (which is mostly about canoes rather than the rack): Canoes and the 5.0TA
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Old 06-10-2016, 02:01 AM   #14
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I've had both pull behind and now the 5.0TA. For me, the 5th wheel is so much easier to hook up than the pull behind. There are several different styles of 5th wheel hitches that may make a difference in the ease of hook up. I have the B W Patriot.
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Old 06-10-2016, 05:40 AM   #15
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Most of the pluses and minuses are covered, and can differ greatly from one person to another.

Much of it for me comes to layout, rather than hitch type. Preferring the bed to be out of the way this eliminated the 21 regardless of it's many other great attributes. The 19 served us very well, but when we saw the layout of the 5.0TA, we were sold on it.

There is no one layout that meets all criteria for everyone, there is always a compromise of some kind with trailers, especially these relatively (compared to the big stickies) larger ones. It is just a matter of figuring out which one will fit your style and circumstances better, and go for it. You can have a great experience with any model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Doubtful anyone sleeps right on the edge in a queen... there goes those six inches that you're not using.... three inches a side.

I don't find the stairs to be a problem in Ten Forward. I typically go upstairs on my hands and feet (toddler climb)... down on my rear (purposely!). It's really only two stairs and the loft.
My side of the bed is 12-16" wide, no matter what the mattress size is.
I do like to sleep at the edge, as I often have an appendage or two hanging out for cooling.

Using our sticky fifth for about 10 nights now, we found that is how we enter and exit the loft too, and ours steps are much taller too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Carrying a canoe is certainly easier without a fifth-wheel trailer in the way, but it can still be done with a fifth-wheel.
Our new Sea Eagle Travel Canoe will fit in the bed of the truck with no problem. I plan to build a custom box for it to stow in. I only got it delivered by Carl at the Escape Rally, and have not used it yet, but I have inflated it, and played around with a few ideas for outfitting. It meets my every expectation so far. I am just figuring out where to attach the rod holders, and how to install a mount for an electric motor, but am pretty much there.
https://www.seaeagle.com/TravelCanoe/TC16
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:09 AM   #16
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The clean truck bed is an issue, BUT if you're a new buyer, there are 5th wheel hitches now that come completely out of the bed and leave it flat. But that still entails pulling it out of there, and they ain't lightweights. You'll also see folks with the standard rails left in the bed, and they aren't too obtrusive, and rubber mats can be cut around them to leave a flat bed. But almost all small 5th wheels will have you sliding out of the end of the bed and heading "downstairs" to get to the bathroom. We're taller folks and a full size queen bed was a must have, and we have one in our 5.0TA...
If you have the goose neck built into the bed of the truck (excludes the need for bed rails and leaves the bed flat when not in use) you can use a Andersen aluminum goose neck 5th wheel hitch that only weighs 30 lbs, but expensive, $600.00 on Amazon. If you're going to be pulling your hitch out a lot, it would be worth the investment...I have the bed rail version, it only weighs 38 lbs. My previous hitch weighed 150 lbs, a true PITA.
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:29 AM   #17
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Ditto to Donna's comment on the 21's bed seeming wider because you can lean against the wall. Though I would have preferred the bedroom being out of the way and not right there when you open the door, I find it to be a non-issue. The nightly trip to the bathroom just requires one to slide off the bed (easy for us), take two or three steps and you are at the toilet. One can remain in semi-sleep mode. Our truck bed has a canopy and is filled with motors, BBQ, bins of fishing gear and can be locked. If I were over 6 ft 3 inches, the 5 TA's extra height would sway me the other way.

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Old 06-10-2016, 07:41 AM   #18
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Yes, it helps having the bathroom right there in the middle of the night, as you age you just have to remember to be sure and get up.......
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:46 AM   #19
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Um.... Not sure if anyone not trying one of the other models noticed, but the bathroom is really, really close by the bed in all Escape trailers.
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Old 06-10-2016, 01:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen and Leon View Post
Either way, we want to become Escape owners in the near future😊. Thank you in advance for your help.
I would strongly suggest that you contact ETI and get names of folks that live near you that are willing to show you their trailer. You're going to get tons of information as to which trailer is better, but it really boils down to what is best for YOU folks. Not what is best for anyone else.

We were trying to decide between the 21 and the 5.0TA. While I still really like the 5.0, the 21 won out for us. However, you might decide differently. We also looked at the 19, but it was too small for our needs. Be sure to check out all of the different sizes that you can.

You need to try out each trailer and see what works for you. Flop on the beds and see how you can get in and out of them. Which bathroom works better. Can you both get around in the trailer at the same time comfortably. Only you two can decide which is best for you.

Good luck and have fun looking at those trailers. Heck, there might be forum members near you willing to show you their trailer. If someone is really helpful when showing you their trailer, be sure to remember their name for when you order. ETI will send a check to up to 2 different owners ($100 CND per owner) that let you view a trailer. But, they need to know that name at the time you order.
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