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Old 08-13-2018, 04:14 PM   #1
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Trailer Length vs. Maneuverability?

What are the differential effects (if any) of driving and parking travel trailers? Is running around with a 25' trailer any easier or harder than with a 35' trailer?

For purposes of this discussion, please ignore fuel cost and finding campsites that fit. We just want to discuss handling issues where they are different. This may seem like a silly question to some, but we are newbs at pulling a trailer.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:34 PM   #2
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Ive Gone 14' 27' 29' 33' to 43' in the past 8 years. Pulling around my 43 foot 5th wheel is not fun in city traffic or trying to back/park maneuvering tight campgrounds etc. It pulls in a straight line down the road just fine cause my truck can handle the weight but common sense would say bigger is harder. (space constrictions not actual backing)
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:54 PM   #3
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We went from a 32 to a 40 foot fifth wheel a few years ago. Not much difference going down the highway. Backing into spaces is effected more by your truck wheelbase and turning radius, and the distance from your hitch to the trailer tires. The longer trailers have more tail swing behind the trailer tires. Our maunverability was affected more by going from a short bed, extended cab truck to a long bed crew cab truck because the wheelbase is so much longer on the truck.
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:55 PM   #4
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People say that backing in a longer trailer is easier. Go with the size that fits your family’s needs and your bank account.
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:56 PM   #5
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Naturally the longer the RV, it's going to be to somewhat harder to maneuver in certain situations. They're going to be about the same going straight down the highway, but when maneuvering around streets, trying to park in restaurants, etc., or maneuvering in and around campgrounds you're going to have to be more careful and observant with a longer rig.

We've owned several from a 19' unit that we never gave a second thought about where we went to a 32' tag-a-long that required some planning when we wanted to stop along the way to spend the night, or at a restaurant, even to fuel up required a little more planning. Now that we have a fifth wheel, we have to be a little more aware of the height as well as the length.
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Old 08-13-2018, 05:02 PM   #6
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the trailer wheel-base length can contribute to either 'easy' maneuvering, or harder. Some with shorter wheel-base may turn quicker, but can also lead to a quicker 'mistake' as well, while a longer wheel-base trailer will turn slower...and not 'follow' the tow vehicle in the same wheel path.
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Old 08-13-2018, 05:26 PM   #7
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I've been a tractor trailer driver with more than 1M miles under my belt. I've also been driving many sorts of trailers behind many sorts of vehicles since I was in my teens, and that was a very long time ago.



General rules of thumb:
Shorter two vehicle, longer trailer easier to work with.



By work with with, I mean to maneuver around obstacles and back up into places.


Well balanced rigs handle best.
long wheel base tow vehicles ride the best, and are the most difficult to back a medium or short wheelbase trailer with.


So...if you are looking to tow a 20 to 25ft trailer, a crew cab long bed truck (tow vehicle), will be your most difficult to back or otherwise maneuver.



Bumper pull v 5th wheel isn't going to make that much of a difference.


If you are going to pull a 35+ foot trailer, with slides (weight added) and height, then a crew cab, long bed, DRW will give you more confidence going forward, but still be more difficult to maneuver with, though with practice you'll get used to it, and be okay.


The key to driving any of these rig configurations is always, always, always, go slowly and be aware of your surroundings. Its much easier to alter the vehicle course going slowly than otherwise.



Also, designate one if any person to assist you in backing or going around an obstacle. Tell everyone else to "shut it". Its just to overwhelming to deal with to many drivers in your seat.



Be safe. Good luck. Practice, practice, practice.
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Old 08-13-2018, 05:39 PM   #8
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In my years of towing, I've found that dual axles are much easier than single axles, much more responsive in all facets, especially backing and cornering while backing. Probably makes a difference where the axles are located on the trailer, too, but in general, that is something I have noticed. Single axles are far less forgiving.

My large trailers have handled well on the road, as have my small ones. In addition to the design of your rig, it also has a lot to do with how well you balance your load and how well matched your TT is to your TV.

And it is an apples to apples comparison as I have used the same TV to tow all sorts of TTs, from the shortest to the longest.

I agree that you should shop for what suits your family and needs best, and then adjust to the conditions to get the best driving and camping experience possible. Happy Camping!
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:02 PM   #9
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Also, designate one if any person to assist you in backing or going around an obstacle. Tell everyone else to "shut it". Its just to overwhelming to deal with to many drivers in your seat.

I agree 100%. To many helpers is not helpful.
Many times I have looked in the mirrors to see my wife saying go left. My dad saying go right. The kids saying straight back. And my mother in law telling me to move forward...........
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:20 PM   #10
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Trailer Length vs. Maneuverability?

Here are the times it is tricky to get around with my 32’. My storage lot as it is pretty packed then they will put empty uhaul trailers on corners-tough to thread the needle. Convenient store gas stations where the pumps are close to the building- so we look for truck stops as much as we can. And campgrounds that you have to use their tent loop to turn around to get out/to your spot. That causes stress as tires drop off pavement or someone’s vehicle is a little too far out in their spot.
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