You may have seen them rumbling into the campground, that enormous trailer attached to a heavy-duty pick-up. It might even tower over your tow-behind like a highway rig, leaving you to ask: Could I ever drive one of those? Like all trailers and RVs, 5th wheels come in all shapes and sizes. And there’s a lot to be said for these spacious trailer options. And the short answer is: yes, you can drive on of these!
What is a 5th wheel trailer, exactly? 5th wheels are travel trailers that connect to the bed of your truck, rather than the traditional hitch location beneath the rear bumper. Connecting close to the center of the towing vehicle provides better stability and drivability.
But you don’t have to go for that super-large rig, there are plenty of great, small to medium sized options, with all the features you need to stay comfy. And in these days of quarantine and travel restrictions, heading out with a self-contained unit makes a lot of sense. But how small can you go with a 5th wheel travel trailer? Here’s our list…
The 7 smallest 5th wheel travel trailers:
1. The Escape 5.0 (21 feet 2 inches)
Size: 21’-2” x 7’-4” x 9’-7”. Sleeps 4.
This is a classic looking trailer with clean lines and rounded edges, and plenty of living space. Like many 5th wheels, the primary bed is in the raised area above the truck bed, giving you plenty of privacy, and accessed by wide, carpeted steps.
A roomy dining area also converts to additional sleeping room for friends and family. The Escape boasts improved aerodynamics and fuel economy due to the rounded, streamlined design. Good news for those long trips!
For more information: escapetrailer.com/the-5-0-escape
(featured image top of article: @takeyourescape / G. Griffin)
2. Winnebago Micro Minnie (26 feet 9 inches)
Size: 26’-9” x 7’ x 11’-5”. Sleeps: 4-5.
This efficient trailer from Winnebago offers all the perks, in a space-saving 7-foot width. The slide-out gives you that extra space for the dinette, and elbow room while you’re cooking. The Micro Minnie comes in three different models, one of which offers theater-style seating in place of a couch (2405RL), and another model (2405BH) offers sleeping room for 5.
Winnebago is one of the most trusted brands on the market, so you can (and should) expect excellent quality in any model you choose.
For more information: winnebago.com/micro-minnie
3. Forest River Rockwood Ultra Lite 2441 WS (28 feet 5 inches)
Size: 28’-5” x 8’ x 13’-1”. Sleeps: 4+.
The Rockwood delivers a lot of amenities (and space) without overdoing it on the trailer’s weight. Double bump-outs give you plenty of room in the kitchen and master bed areas. I also like that the bathroom is in the center, dividing the trailer and lending more privacy to the master bedroom.
It’s a little longer than others on this list, but it’s still pretty light, so it offers you plenty of options for towing vehicles, along with that nice elbow room the added space brings.
For more information: forestriverinc.com/rockwood-ultra-lite/2441WS
4. Scamp Standard Trailer (19 feet)
Size: 19’ x 6’-8” x 8’-10”. Sleeps up to 6.
This is an incredibly economical 5th wheel, and perfect for a couple with one or two children, or just enjoying life on their own. Despite its minimal size, you can still sleep up to 6 people in this fun trailer. Choices are between Standard and Deluxe, and numerous floor plans give you plenty of choices like extra bunks or a larger shower compartment.
And with its low starting price, it works well on a family budget. And check out the interior- it’s beautifully finished with wood.
For more information: scamptrailers.com/19-standard-trailers
5. Keystone Carbon 337 Toy Hauler (35 feet 11 inches)
Size: 35’-11” x 13’-2”. (width not listed). Sleeps 6.
Toy haulers are a fascinating hybrid trailer, and a great option if you plan to bring your larger toys along, like motorcycles or four-wheelers. The floor plan looks similar to many RVs, however, the very back end is a mini-garage for storing the equipment while you’re on route. Once you arrive at your site, use the ramp to unload the toys, and this space converts to a living/sleeping area. Pretty clever!
Keystone’s Carbon 337 is one of the smallest 5th wheel toy hauler options I could find and offers a lot of amenities at a lower weight and size than many. It has plenty of interior space and sleeps 6, so you can bring the kids and a few friends along. The Onan 5,500-watt generator is a nice feature, we had a good experience with our Onan-brand model. The only downside, it’s a little on the pricey side, but it looks like you get a lot for your money.
For more information: keystonerv.com/carbon/337-toy-hauler
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6. Forest River Sandpiper 3220 RL (35 feet)
Size: 35’ x 8’ x 13’-4”. Sleeps 9.
At 35-feet, the Sandpiper is still pretty long, but if a short mid bunk 5th wheel is a must-have, then this may be a great option. It has a friendly price point and sleeps up to 9- which is pretty amazing. Having the master bedroom separated from the living area offers nice privacy, and includes a toilet and shower.
The four bump-outs give you plenty of elbow room in each compartment, so having 9 people together shouldn’t feel too cramped. It does stand above 13-feet, so be sure to check any height restrictions on your route, and at your destination.
For more information: forestriverinc.com/sandpiper/3220RL
7. Winnebago Minnie Plus 25RKS (27 feet 3 inches)
Size: 27′-3″ x 8′ x 12′-7″. Sleeps 4.
I keep coming back to the Scamp 19’ Trailer as an ideal small 5th wheel for a family because of its economical size and family-friendly price point. But if your family needs just a little more space, the Minnie Plus is a great option. At 27’-3” long, the Minnie offers more room to maneuver, more storage space, and the roomy bathroom is nice.
It sleeps four (4) and the bathroom also divides the trailer between the living/dining space and the master bedroom, offering parents some extra privacy. The bump-out for the dinette adds floor space, and you can choose between a booth or table and chairs. There are also theater seat options for family movie night.
It’s a little pricier than other models in this range, but if you need some extra creature-comforts for those long family journeys, it may well be worth the money.
For more information: winnebago.com/minnie-plus
What sizes do 5th wheels come in?
Like all RVs and trailers, 5th Wheels come in a wide range of sizes to suit your needs. Length and width primarily determine your floor plan and elbow room, but always check the height and take into account the height, especially for low bridges and utility lines.
Weight is another factor and will influence what size/type of towing vehicle you’ll need. If you have a truck already, just remember to verify its towing capacity before honing-in on your favorite model.
Do I need a special truck for towing?
Possibly. 5th wheel trailers tend to require larger trucks for bearing the weight of the hitch and for the towing capacity needed for the trailer’s weight. However, the nice thing about the smaller 5th wheel trailers is that the truck may not have to be as big as you think. Some brands are even offering models that can be towed with 1/2 ton pickups.
But as always- confirm this with your selected model and truck before proceeding. Good news- unlike with a traditional RV, you won’t have to tow your run-around vehicle. Just hop in your truck and go.
What is the lightest weight 5th Wheel?
At 2,000-2,400 pounds dry weight, the Scamp 19’ is one of the lightest 5th wheel trailers on the market. After that, the Escape 5.0 is 3,810 lbs, and the Micro Minnie is around 5,700 lbs.
How high is a 5th wheel RV?
Overall height ranges from around 7-feet to 13+ feet, with the average being around 9-12 feet. If your 5th wheel is on the taller side, pay close attention to underpasses and utility wires along your route.
Tip: We kept a card on our dashboard with our RVs measurements so the passenger could always quickly check it as we approached tunnels or other low-clearance features.
How long is a 5th wheel trailer?
They typically start around 16-feet and go upwards of 40+ feet in length. The longer the trailer, the more challenging turning will be, and campsite selection will get more limited. But if you’re looking for comfort and room for plenty of family and friends, go for that luxury model and enjoy it!
Can my family travel comfortably in a trailer?
Yes! Part of the fun of trailer/RV travel is creatively planning and storing your belongings. And travel trailers offer so many clever storage options, bump-outs, and conversion beds, that your family is sure to have fun snuggling your way into your campsite.
You may have to pack light, and you may have to leave some of the toys at home, just remember that campgrounds and parks will have all of the amenities you need to have fun.
Go for it!
After spending 3 months in a 32-foot RV (plus a tow car), the idea of a trailer sounds pretty appealing. You have all the living space you need, and you already have your vehicle for running around and taking those small trips. Your money can also go a lot further with a trailer, especially if you already own a truck. This can mean more space, more features, and better bang for your buck.
5th wheel trailers specifically offer many advantages, like increased stability while towing, which is a concern for many first-time RVers. And there’s a chance you can tow with your truck, offering you that additional familiarity. Just remember, you can do this. And most of all, you won’t regret it.
Traveling as a couple or a family is time well spent. And in this age of quarantines and travel uncertainty, having that “home-on-the-road”, may just be the best investment you ever made.
Happy, safe travels.
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Bryce is an architect, freelance writer and avid hiker, and lives with his family in southern Maine. He loves old buildings, mountains, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and getting crushed by his daughters in Monopoly. Get in touch if you want to chat about hiking, backpacking, traveling, architecture, or just say hello!
I’m considering a 5th wheel in the future. It’s primarily my wife and I but occasionally will have maybe one other person. What’s your recommendation on one a half ton truck can tow?