Fifth wheel towing advantages vs more living space - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 10-17-2020, 05:53 PM   #1
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Fifth wheel towing advantages vs more living space

I toured a 5.0 in person for the first time today (thanks PaSo in Tahoe!) and wow...I am so impressed with its design!

Until recently my wife and I (and 2 big dogs) were full-timing in a huge 30-ft Arctic Fox bumper pull. We were camp hosting a lot, which meant just a few long hauls, and in between we'd be parked in one spot for long periods. So max living space was the priority. Long story short, that is no longer our modus operandi. Now we have a literal "home" base, and are taking more frequent long-haul trips. I've learned that I now crave a better towing experience more than max living space...although my wife, who doesn't share the driving, might be less willing to embrace that change.

Downsizing from such a huge trailer, I was naturally drawn to the idea of the 23 as the best Escape for us. I've been thinking the 21 and the 5.0 would be too small for this family (did I mention how big our dogs are?). But after touring the 5.0 today and being blown away by its space efficiency, and thinking perhaps it may just be big enough; and speaking with this owner and others about how they are to tow, I am now returning to this question, which I have pondered before:

Do the benefits of the fifth-wheel towing experience outweigh the extra living space of a bigger bumper pull?

I should state for the record, that I have towed many different travel trailers, but have never actually towed a fifth wheel. My current TV is a RAM 2500 Cummins diesel, but even with that I have known the disadvantages of a bumper pull. I drive from Cali to FL just about every year, and usually by the time I hit the rough highways of Louisiana, I'm damn sick and tired of the bumpy, jerky ride. The 23 is 2'7" longer, 7" wider, and will presumably have lots more storage and just feel bigger inside when we are all in it. But...would I gladly give all that space up for the ease of towing a 5.0? There's also the overall tow rig length difference: I'd be about 38' total with the 5.0, compared to about 44.5' with the 23.

And finally...perhaps my wife would be convinced by this: she hated towing the bumper pull, but maybe the 5.0 is so much easier to tow that she'd actually want to share the driving, and so better enjoy and participate in the long hauls together?

Tough call...or is it?
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:02 PM   #2
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Clearly I meant the title of this thread to say "Fifth wheel..." but apparently you can't change the title after it's been posted...
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:59 PM   #3
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Clearly I meant the title of this thread to say "Fifth wheel..." but apparently you can't change the title after it's been posted...
I changed it for you.
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:01 PM   #4
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I changed it for you.
Thanks! I know it wasn't a big deal, but I'm an accountant who hates fixable mistakes...
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Old 10-17-2020, 09:31 PM   #5
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Joe, I can’t speak for everyone but I have found that 5th wheels tow better than bumper pulls, although most Escape owners will tell you their bumper pulls track very well. Most of the time I would not know I was towing anything except for the big “white out” when looking in the rear view mirror. You also hit on something else, shorter overall length due to overlap of trailer and truck. The shorter length makes it a bit easier to maneuver in tight areas; not a lot easier but every little bit helps. The 5.0TA is actually about 3 inches longer than the 21 as far as the fiberglass portion is concerned. I measured both with a tape measure in Osoyoos while at the 2016 annual rally. I personally think the 5.0TA is the best Escape. What appeals to us is the “separate” bed area, a full queen bed, and neither one of us has to crawl over the other to get out of bed. Others prefer the 19 or the 21 for two primary reasons: 1, they do not want or are afraid they might fall down the stairs, and, 2, many people do not want be restricted to a truck as a tow vehicle.
Consider everything, and good luck in making a choice.
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Old Yesterday, 06:14 AM   #6
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You missed another reason people go with a bumper pull over the fifth wheel, to use the bed of the truck for purposes other then a hitch. They do not want to give up their truck bed.

There's a learning curve to towing a fifth wheel, corners need to be taken a little wide as the trailer tracks inside the trucks turn radius. Backing up is different too, at least coming from a single axle bumper pull to a double axle fifth wheel it is.
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Old Yesterday, 06:47 AM   #7
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IMHO, I have always thought and heard that 5th wheel towing is more stable, that said the dual axle pull behind Escapes have never given me any cause for alarm and I'm on #4. Having the use of the truck bed, to me outweighs and perceived better towing experience.
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Old Yesterday, 07:21 AM   #8
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From a dog perspective...As a big dog owner (just one though!) we found that the steps up to the bed keep her from laying that big head on the bed with “Hey, it’s morning! Let’s get up and start playing!”. Also putting the dinette down and making it HER bed keeps her there way later in the AM than usual, for a little extra sack time. We sometimes get up and she’ll be looking at us from her perch in the back like “What? Y’all getting up?” Although when an 80 lb dog shifts from one side of the trailer to the other back there and flops back down, you feel the sway!
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Old Yesterday, 07:36 AM   #9
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Dedicated tug!!!

Hi: TahoeJoe... We have 2 vehicles so that leaves the truck to tow the trailer. The hitch rarely leaves the bed nor the camping gear we stow in there, and this winter might be extra weight in the snow. Looks like no Florida for us !!! I'm not ready to buy winter tires yet and there seems no reason to go out often!!! No loss to me but a positive gain for towing and hitching ease using the trailer. We had one 13 hr. stint on the road coming home from the east coast last year and I could only have done it with the 5.0TA... it tows that good. Alf
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Old Yesterday, 07:47 AM   #10
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From a dog perspective...As a big dog owner (just one though!) we found that the steps up to the bed keep her from laying that big head on the bed with “Hey, it’s morning! Let’s get up and start playing!”. Also putting the dinette down and making it HER bed keeps her there way later in the AM than usual, for a little extra sack time. We sometimes get up and she’ll be looking at us from her perch in the back like “What? Y’all getting up?” Although when an 80 lb dog shifts from one side of the trailer to the other back there and flops back down, you feel the sway!
Hi: Tford... Pretty soon you'll be singing "Way down yonder in the paw paw patch"!!! Alf
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Old Yesterday, 10:21 AM   #11
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Three of the main reasons we chose the Escape 21C over the Escape 5.0 TA are , my wife liked the 21C better , having to navigate steps at night to use the bathroom and the payload capacity of our tow vehicle ..
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Old Yesterday, 02:32 PM   #12
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The reason I put a deposit on the 5.0TA is the efficiency of interior space per overall length and height, (I was actually looking at truck campers initially). Maneuverability and access to smaller campgrounds are my first priority but at 6'4", I need a high ceiling to feel comfortable standing up to cook or change clothes, ect. The 5.0 has the highest ceiling of any of the campers that I have researched.
I have never towed a 5th wheel but hooking up and disconnecting a bumper pull has never been super quick. I assume 5th wheels are slightly more convenient?
Also, I'm not sure the advantages of towing a 5th wheel over bumper pull would be very noticeable at the light weights of Escape trailers but I like the idea of optimizing my towing experience so I can enjoy driving on scenic roads better.
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Old Yesterday, 07:24 PM   #13
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Joe, the post by Raider47 makes a good point that is often overlooked about the 5,0 TA; the interior height makes a big difference. I am over 6'3" tall and whenever I've been in the bumper pull Escapes I find the ceiling brushing my hair and it just feels claustrophobic. The high ceiling in our 5TA feels makes the trailer feel a lot bigger.

We spent almost 3 months on a long trip last winter and having an upstairs and downstairs also makes it feel larger. Also the full size queen mattress with about 6" of space on either side is great for a big fella like me, lots of room and no having to climb over my partner during my rather frequent visits to the washroom at night.

I tow mine with a Ford F150 with a v8. Honestly with a large TV like ours I would not think there's that much difference towing my trailer or a bumper pull model. That said our 5TA does pull nicely.

Lastly, I've spent a lot of time in my sisters 28' bumper pull and my best friends 34 foot 5th wheel, I've actually helped both of them repair numerous things like water system stuff, rattles and slides in their trailers, I can say with assurance that no matter what Escape model you buy, you and your wife will fall in love with it; their quality is amazing!! their customer service beyond reproach. My wife was very skeptical with the size of ours as we headed out for our first long trip last year, now she cannot wait to go out again.

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Old Today, 12:58 PM   #14
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Great feedback everyone, thanks! This helps. Yes the space efficiency and interior height impressed me, and makes the inside feel a lot bigger. But, less outdoor storage + no cargo box + reduced use of truck bed = a whole lot less storage with the 5.0. And you're right, I bet there won't be a ton of "towing feel" difference with my big truck, but of course there is the smaller overall footprint difference. Oh well, what I really need to do is wait and see the final 23 details so I can better compare...in the end there may be another factor, which is timing...if it turns out I can't get a 23 until 2022, I'll be on the hunt for a used 5.0 for sure! I don't think I can go a whole 'nother year without an RV to play with...and even new 5.0's are looking at 2022 deliveries now.
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Old Today, 03:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TahoeJoe View Post
Great feedback everyone, thanks! This helps. Yes the space efficiency and interior height impressed me, and makes the inside feel a lot bigger. But, less outdoor storage + no cargo box + reduced use of truck bed = a whole lot less storage with the 5.0. And you're right, I bet there won't be a ton of "towing feel" difference with my big truck, but of course there is the smaller overall footprint difference. Oh well, what I really need to do is wait and see the final 23 details so I can better compare...in the end there may be another factor, which is timing...if it turns out I can't get a 23 until 2022, I'll be on the hunt for a used 5.0 for sure! I don't think I can go a whole 'nother year without an RV to play with...and even new 5.0's are looking at 2022 deliveries now.
First of all, the front storage box of the 21' really isn't that big. Even with the storage box on the 21 there is as much or more storage with the 5.0 when you realize there is a large storage area above the LP tanks, room for our water hoses/filter directly on top a board that rides on top of the LP tanks, +12" of storage on each side of the queen bed, and huge usable storage underneath the steps. Plus many of us have opened up the top step for storage also.

We've owned quite a few pull campers and really have never stacked items above our pickup bed. There are always outliers though. Yet we carry one trike, a huge box (41"x19"x19") for bike gear, another large box for kindling and charcoal, a 13# LP tank, our Weber Q grill, an Andersen Trailer Jack, a set of lego blocks, plus plastic coffee containers full of crap.

If hauling Terry's electric Tern bike, it folds and goes behind the drivers seat in the pickup, otherwise her electric trike goes on a trike hitch behind the camper. There are times we take the two trikes and her Tern.

We have a roll-up toneau cover to help prevent opportunity theft when not pulling the camper.

We use a rail mounted Andersen hitch that gives us enough space to haul the trike. The gooseneck version would have taken up too much space to hall the trike back there. Underneath the hitch is plenty of room for coffee containers and Gatorade.

So, you really don't lose much space in the pickup bed when you realize how little space is taken up by the rail version of the Andersen hitch, and then need to realize all the additional storage compartments available on the 5.0.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old Today, 06:23 PM   #16
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First of all, with the LP tanks in the front storage box of the 21' it really isn't that big.
I'm puzzled by this - the propane tanks are not inside the external storage box on any Escape model (although the 19' does have the battery or batteries inside the storage box).
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Old Today, 07:04 PM   #17
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I'm puzzled by this - the propane tanks are not inside the external storage box on any Escape model (although the 19' does have the battery or batteries inside the storage box).
Oops I stand corrected. It's still not that big a box, but it certainly is useful.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old Today, 08:21 PM   #18
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I love my 5.0! It can carry everything I need for camping. With a pop up shelter I have a great outdoor space. This space can be used for cooking, relaxing, and hosting friends.

My wife and I just completed our first 6 month work camping position in the mountains of Tennessee. The camper performed perfectly. After a wash and wax she's as good as new. Man was the roof black.

Works for us, you have to adjust your mindset to live without all those things.
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Old Today, 08:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by TahoeJoe View Post
Great feedback everyone, thanks! This helps. Yes the space efficiency and interior height impressed me, and makes the inside feel a lot bigger. But, less outdoor storage + no cargo box + reduced use of truck bed = a whole lot less storage with the 5.0. And you're right, I bet there won't be a ton of "towing feel" difference with my big truck, but of course there is the smaller overall footprint difference. Oh well, what I really need to do is wait and see the final 23 details so I can better compare...in the end there may be another factor, which is timing...if it turns out I can't get a 23 until 2022, I'll be on the hunt for a used 5.0 for sure! I don't think I can go a whole 'nother year without an RV to play with...and even new 5.0's are looking at 2022 deliveries now.
In 2011 just prior to retiring at the end of January, I sold my A-liner and ordered a Scamp 19. That was admittedly a big mistake; the quality control of Scamp is, in my experience, highly questionable. I purchased a 2012 F-150 (Silver, though I really wanted white) to tow it. Because I wanted to store camping equipment in a cross bed toolbox so I wouldn’t have to load it for every trip, I got a Super Cab rather than the Crew Cab. In 2014, I sold the Scamp (one of the happiest days of my life) and ordered a 5.0TA. In 2015, I traded the F-150 because I still wanted a white truck and I thought that by going from a 3.5L EcoBoost to a 2.7L EcoBoost and from a steel to an aluminum body I would get a big increase in fuel efficiency. The big increase turned out to be .1 extra mile per gallon. I am now on my third F-150 because lightning fried the electronics in my 2015, and I have gone back to the 3.5 L engine. All three F-150 were Supercabs with a 6.5-foot bed. I have always transported an Extend and Climb ladder under the toolbox, 2 or 3 camping chairs, a milk carton with a 20-lbs propane cylinder, and sometimes a small Clam shelter beside or behind the 5th Wheel hitch. Since 2012, I have had passengers in the back seat of the truck on exactly two occasions, and both times were for short trips from the campsite. The point I am making is that when towing, my entire back seat is storage. I do not feel that I have sacrificed any cargo carrying capacity because of the 5th Wheel hitch. And I have a fold-up aluminum cargo rack on the back of the trailer should I need it. I often hear I would have bought a 5.0TA but I didn’t want to give up outside storage space. I consider the back seat of the truck outside storage space that stays dry in periods of inclement weather. So when I hear the line about losing cargo space I chuckle to myself. The ceiling height, the separate sleeping area, and not having to crawl over one’s partner far outweigh the loss of outside space argument for me.
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Old Today, 09:32 PM   #20
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When I picked up our 21 in 2017, I had agonized over buying the 5.0 or the 21. Had a bit of buyers remorse when we got to pickup day. But the die had been cast. We use our pickup bed to transport a clam pop up tent, tables, other camp furniture and various items. Glad we have it. I will be interested in the new 23 as a little more room would be nice. The bed pickup space experience has us thinking in this direction. My dream trailer would be a Bigfoot 25b, but 60 plus k is out of our budget range. 5.0 are really nice however. And realizing we would have ended up with truck as our tow vehicle might have changed our decision in 2017
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