Trailer vs. Fifth wheel - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 06-09-2016, 03:37 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Alamo, California
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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, 04:04 PM   #2
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Location: Lake Panasoffkee, Florida
Trailer: 1997 casita & 5.0 ta July,2016
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Quote:
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, 04:29 PM   #3
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Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
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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, 05:48 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, 06:05 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, 06:44 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, 06:46 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, 07:46 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, 07:48 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, 08:08 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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