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Old 10-07-2011, 11:14 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 31
New member - 1st 5th wheel - looking for lighter, 4 season , reliable

We are excited to join this community. Our plan is to go full time some time in the next few months, and take a year or two to see US and Canada. We've travelled a lot, backpacking and tent trailering. Now we are eager to try a 5th wheel and go see what this country is all about.

We bought a 2010 Tundra and want to stay inside its limits (10300 towing and 1640 hitch weights). Currently our top two contenders are a PrimeTime Crusader 290RLT and Cougar 278RKS. I must admit, it's been a bewildering search process. Trying to stay somewhat small, but maximize room, have the capability for dry camping, adding solar and staying warm in cold places. So far, we haven't seen a lot of 5th wheels to meet those goals and not be huge. Certainly we can't be the only ones looking for midsize, lighter and sturdy in a 5er.

The 290RLT looks like a good 3 season unit. But its insulation is kinda wimpy. Does anyone have any experience full-timing in that unit or other PrimeTimes?

I'd also love to hear any ideas about full-timing in some of the newer lighter units. Thanks in advance - we're looking forward to the dialogue.

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Old 10-08-2011, 12:10 AM   #2
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Flagstaff 8528 series ultra light
Right around 1,000 lbs hitch
7260 uvw

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Old 10-08-2011, 09:12 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum!

I commend you for doing your research in advance of purchasing a fifth wheel or other trailer. I would be concerned about several things in your proposed plan:

1) The 1640 is most likely not the hitch weight, but the cargo capacity of your Tundra. This is the total weight you can carry in the vehicle: persons, cargo, hitch and pin weight. The 290RLT has a dry (aka empty) weight of 1336 pounds. Loaded, you can realistically expect it to be in the 1600 pound range. This has used all of your cargo capacity and you have not added in the weight of the fifth wheel hitch, cargo or persons which will be in the Tundra.

2) The "Ultra Lights" usually have a lower cargo capacity, which makes it very easy to over load them when packed with all the items most will be needing to "full time".

3) These "lighter" units are geared for "recreational use" and usually are not insulated well or have the construction quality to hold up the daily use demands of "full time" use.

Our Rockwood is great for our use, but I would never consider "full timing" in it.

Just my .02. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Glenn & Beth (Dad & Mom)
David & Audra (12 year old twins)
2006 Dodge Power Wagon (Adventure & Tow Vehicle)
2006 Rockwood 8281SS (Home away from Home)
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
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I hate to rain on your parade, but I believe you're going to have trouble finding a 'true 4 season' camper that you can pull with your Tundra.

True 4 season camper will be more robust, heavier construction than something like Rockwood/Flagstaff 5th wheels.

If I would ever replace our current camper, I'd be looking a Crossroads Cruiser Patriot series of 5th wheels. They have R27 roofs, R28 floors and R15 walls. Their smallest is a 3 slide 32' 10", dry weight of 9090 lbs, dry pin 1905 lbs...way outside of the capability of your Tundra.


Nights camped in 2013 - 55, 2014 - 105, 2015 - 63
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:59 AM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 31
Thanks. It helps to hear from some experienced folks. It forced me to double check specs again...1640 IS Cargo Capacity on the Tundra.
One RV sales rep suggested air bags to extend the capacity, but that doesn't sound safe to me.
It looks like the fork in the road is to a)stay smaller and lighter, and not worry about sturdy, 4 season capability, or b) sell the Tundra and step up to a 3/4 or 1 ton. Is it "mission impossible" to find a 1/2 ton towable four season rig? Why is it that the manufacturers assume four season means giant? I wasn't planning on needing room for a pool table and indoor sauna....

Great suggestions, I checked them all out. In fact, Dave, it was seeing the Crusader Patriot that made us stop and reconsider all this weight capacity stuff.

We're going to keep our Don Quixote hats on for a little while longer, searching for that four season, mid-size robust unit. Maybe the new 2012 models will have something for oddballs like us. If you see or hear anything, please post it. Thx
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:33 PM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Anacortes, WA
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I'm a Class A guy, but we looked at trucks and fivers before we made the choice. DW would not consider a big truck as our only vehicle.

It was my understanding that cargo weight is what's inside the truck, which is people, fuel (maybe) the 5th wheel hitch and the pin weight. Whatever the fiver is carrying on its wheels doesn't count in the carrying capacity of the truck.

That is part of the Gross Combined Weight. As long as pin+hitch assembly + passengers and other stuff IN the truck doesn't exceed 1640 lb the Tundra is within its capability. Now you need to calculate what's left of the GCW Rating to see if you can pull the fiver you want to buy.

I'm forever amazed by the wimpy ratings that are applied to vehicles in the US and Canada. The UK "Caravanning" magazine published its annual "Best Tow Vehcles" list a couple of months ago. This covered bumper-pull travel trailer towing, as fivers are very rare in the UK. For a 3000 lb trailer, the Ford Focus listed best, for a 3800 lb trailer the best was a VW Passat diesel and they reckoned the Land Rover Discovery could handle a 6000 pound trailer. In the US, my 03 Kia Sedona is limited to 3500 pounds bumper pull. In the UK, with a smaller engine, it's rated to 3000 kilograms (6600 pounds).
Frank and Eileen
No longer RVers or FR owners
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Old 10-08-2011, 03:01 PM   #7
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unfortunately, 4-season doesn't mean "bigger" but it does mean "heavier".
ultra-lite trailers are not going to be good 4-season trailers, because of the compromises needed to lose that weight.
you can get some with "winter packages" but that's usually just heated holding tanks and double pane windows.

a true 4-season trailer will be much heavier, but it doesn't have to be bigger.
Dan-Retired Firefighter/EMT
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and Zoe the Wonder Dog(R.I.P.)
'07 Roo 23SS pushing an '07 Chevy Avalanche
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:47 PM   #8
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I think I have to agree with most of the posts here. As much as we love our Flagstaff, I would never consider full-timing in it. The lighter campers are simply not designed for it.
You really need to think bigger, or at least heavier, and that means more truck. The Tundra just won't cut it. The new diesels are a lot more driver friendly than our old Ford, as it is kindof stinky and rides like a wagon!
And if you are thinking of being anywhere cold, check out all of the makes and look for the highest insulation values. We have seen a few posts on people running an extra extension cord into their camper just to run a second heater, that speaks volumes.
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:55 PM   #9
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You might look at the Artic Fox line of fifth wheels by Northwoods Manufacturing, especially the model 27 -5L. These are true 4 season campers. The 27-5L has a dry weight of 7500 pounds but is a little pin heavy for your Tundra at 1500 pounds and the overall length is just a hair over 28 feet.

Bob and Joyce
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Oakman View Post
You might look at the Artic Fox line of fifth wheels by Northwoods Manufacturing, especially the model 27 -5L. These are true 4 season campers. The 27-5L has a dry weight of 7500 pounds but is a little pin heavy for your Tundra at 1500 pounds and the overall length is just a hair over 28 feet.

BTDT Northwood does build strong RV's However they are generally way over the advertised specs. Weight wise I really do not see any of the Fox fivers that the OP could pull comfortably with a Tundra.
To the OP, if you insist on traveling with your 1/2 ton I suggest you scrap the fiver idea and go back to a TT. Keep its overall size at 25 feet or less and you will be good to go.
Remember, terms like "dry" or "shipping" weight are totally meaningless. By the time you add batteries, propane, food clothes, dishes etc,etc,etc you can be very close to the trailers GVWR very quickly. Not to mention the trucks GVWR and or GCWR. BTW a salesman will tell you anything to sell you his product. There are NO suspension add ons that can/will increase a vehicles GVWR one pound. All air bags are good for is helping to level the TV's ride when hitched to the trailer. You must do your home work before making a purchase, or be prepared to remake your purchases in the near future.

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