Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-13-2018, 04:14 PM   #1
Multi-Slacker
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,857
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.
__________________
2017 Forest River Sonoma 280RKS
2018 Silverado 2500 HD 6.0L, 4:10 rear
CurtPutnam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 04:34 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Kalamazoo
Posts: 1,804
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)
Kimber45 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 04:54 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Stevemc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 239
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.
__________________
Steve & Jean
Furbaby - T.J. RIP
Towmotor - 2013 Chevy LT DRW Duramax/Allison
5er - 2013 Cedar Creek 36CKTS Classic Champagne Touring Edition
Stevemc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 04:55 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
CampingGator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: North Central Florida
Posts: 1,629
People say that backing in a longer trailer is easier. Go with the size that fits your family’s needs and your bank account.
__________________
_____________________________________________

2010 Ford F-150 Crew Cab
2015 Salem Hemisphere 263RL
CampingGator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 04:56 PM   #5
Head Rambler
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southwest Alabama
Posts: 7,860
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.
__________________
Salem 29RKSS Pushing a GMC Sierra 2500HD!
Gotta go campin!
Bama Rambler is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 05:02 PM   #6
...far N Georgia!
 
formerFR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Hiawassee, GA!
Posts: 3,107
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.
formerFR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 05:26 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 16
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.
mfen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 05:39 PM   #8
GOODBYE SUIT - HELLO RV!!
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 385
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!
__________________
HAPPIEST WHEN CAMPING!
2019 Rockwood 2104s ****
2017 Starcraft Satellite 16KS
2012 Jayco X23B Hybrid
2009 R-Vision C243S Hybrid
2006 Coleman Bayside PUP
HappyCamper1962 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 10:02 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Mslaman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 182
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...........
Mslaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 10:20 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
HONDAMAN174's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Big brown desert
Posts: 2,918
Trailer Length vs. Maneuverability?

Here are the times it is tricky to get around with my 32í. 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 someoneís vehicle is a little too far out in their spot.
__________________
2014 Stealth Evo 2850- "Woodstock"
2011 Toyota Tundra Rock Crawler TRD 5.7- "Clifford"
2013 Honda Accord Coupe V6 w/Track Pack- "Julia"

Just glad to get away
HONDAMAN174 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 10:24 PM   #11
Denver To Yuma In 90 Days
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Yuma, Arizona
Posts: 3,882
With longer TT's or 5'vers you will have less choices for gas stations.

No more Costco or in town away from highway with cheaper prices gas stations when hitched up.

However, no matter what you get, if you can back up a shorter trailer...you'll figure out the bigger one soon enough!
JohnD10 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 10:41 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtPutnam View Post
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.
I'm interested in this, as well. My current (& first) trailer is 24' 11", ball to bumper. It is easier than I expected it would be to tow it, from a maneuverability standpoint. Uphill weight is the difficult issue (5000lb at 6% grade puts me in the blinking flasher club, currently)

Thinking about going 5ft bigger with the next one (and I'm changing out my TV, to a 3/4 ton crew cab / 6.5 ft bed). So I'm wondering - at what trailer length, generally, do things like tail swing & tracking in turns (both left / right) become issues? (and I know that this is partially dependent on axle placement, so it can vary.)

I do realize that handling (crosswinds, etc.) can change as well, but I'm thinking those are secondary issues, compared to the maneuverability aspects.

Perhaps I haven't experienced strong enough crosswinds with the current TT, but right now, the biggest handling issue I've noticed is when a semi is passing on my left at highway speeds - just before, and as he begins to overtake me, I can feel the rig being pulled toward him (vortex). It's not severe, but it's noticeable enough to mention.

Expecting to hear that this gets worse with added length, if anything. Guessing it could be lessened with added weight on my end, but it would have to be a lot of added weight.
Reprise is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2018, 10:59 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
dbledan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: KS
Posts: 2,123
What mfen said 100%.

I have a smaller work trailer that is much shorter (10ft) than my 30ft TT. I can jackknife the small one quickly but the TT is easy to control. Both are dual axle so it is an easier comparison. Single axles are much less forgiving.

Getting in and out of gas stations with the TT is not fun. I would rather back out or wait for an end spot than try to swing by traffic in front of the pump. Patience works here. Truck stops are easier for diesel drivers but gassers still have to fight around the pumps even at truck stops. The work trailer I just zip in and out with it and don't have a lot of issues.
dbledan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2018, 01:32 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 432
Trailer Manueverability

We went from 24' to 32'. I had a heck of a time until I realized the trailer wheels were in a different location relative to the rear wheels on my TV. Now, I don't look at the rear of the trailer when spotting it. I look at the location of the wheels. Makes all the difference in the world.
JimMorrell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2018, 01:40 PM   #15
jkoenig24
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Box Elder, SD (formerly NY)
Posts: 749
"Is running around with a 25' trailer any easier or harder than with a 35' trailer?"



Yes.
jkoenig24 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2018, 02:02 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbledan View Post
I have a smaller work trailer that is much shorter (10ft) than my 30ft TT. I can jackknife the small one quickly but the TT is easy to control. Both are dual axle so it is an easier comparison. Single axles are much less forgiving.
I agree with dbledan mostly

I think the distance from the pivot point (ball or pin) to the wheels (middle of tandem or axle on single) is the factor that matters. The greater this distance the wider turn you'll need to make going forward and the greater input you need backing up. A shorter distance means the trailer will track closer to the tracks of the TV but backing can be tricky...much less steering input for the same or greater trailer response. It just take a bit of time to get the feel.
Hoyt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2018, 02:26 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
W5CI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Carlisle, Arkansas
Posts: 1,354
After 25 years of over the road pulling all lengths of trailers, I assure you that Longer is better. Especially Backing up and Parking. Just choose your fueling stations wisely and always GOAL, get out and look.
__________________
2005 Cedar Creek 30RLBS/TrailAir Hitch/ MORryde 7K IS/Disc Brakes/ PI PT-50 EMS/ RV Flex Armor Roof
2015 RAM 3500 DRW 6.7 Cummins 3.42/ Garmin 760RV
40 Gal TransferFlow fuel tank/ TST 507
Amateur Radio W5CI 2017 Days Camping 77
2018 Days Camping 44
W5CI is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2018, 02:31 PM   #18
Member
 
Oops's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 82
We just downsized from 36í tongue to bumper to 26í tongue to bumper - much nicer to get in and out of everywhere! No question about it. Towing down the road is no diffferent, except weight both pulled fine. Itís gas stations, campsites and the back roads where itís so much easier.
The other aspect is how far back the trailer axles are located and how far they spread apart. Beyond that ease of maneuvering is based on the TV, 4x4 long wheel base etc.
Another thing to note thatís nice about shorter trailer is when the campsite is unlevel it generally takes less blocking to level front to back....
It also takes up much less room in my home driveway.
No regrets about downsizing at all here!
Oops is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2018, 05:59 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
rockfossilman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Western PA
Posts: 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by CampingGator View Post
People say that backing in a longer trailer is easier. Go with the size that fits your familyís needs and your bank account.
X2. We have owned three trailers--a 10-foot Apache pop-up, a 29-foot Wildwood and a 30-foot Rockwood. Backing up with the pop-up was always more challenging than either of the longer trailers--a small adjustment in the steering wheel would cause a big change in direction of the trailer when backing up.

What my wife and I can't figure out is how we camped with six of us in the pop-up, but find it crowded for just the two of us in our 30-foot Rockwood with two slides. 😨
rockfossilman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2018, 08:00 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Suffolk, Va.
Posts: 1,274
Specifically on backing - very, very short trailers are difficult to back because of how fast the trailer jacks. Unless you are very slow, precise and not too aggressive turning you will have to keep pulling forward to straighten the rig back up. A medium length trailer say 25-30 foot seems to be the sweet spot with a good balance between easier to maneuver and not overly intimidating. A very long trailer say 40+ foot can get a little difficult in tight spaces and requires wide turns. Turning in small, busy intersections requires a little patience and backing in small campsites can be difficult. Get out and look or have an experienced and good spotter like my DW. Your worst enemy is getting in a hurry or fear of blocking traffic. Better to be slow and inconvenience someone sometimes than to get in a hurry and tear something up.
__________________
Michael & Fran Dilday (Baxter & Honey 2 Labs)
'18 Cedar Creek Champagne 38EL - '17 Ford F350 Lariat DRW w/Reese hitch - TST 507 Color TPMS - Garmin RV 770 LMT GPS
mwdilday is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
trailer

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Forest River, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:31 PM.