The first thing I did was off to the nearest big open parking area and practice, practice, practice!
The first few times out were, I have to admit, a little nerve wrecking but as I got more and more hours under my belt everything became easier. You can read all the information you want but the only way to truly learn is by doing it over and over. It’s how you learned to drive your car, right?  Take some cones and mark out pretend scenarios like backing into a campsite, turning through some tight corners, etc.Learn how your rig reacts and how long it takes the trailer to turn and how much extra room it takes. If you perform any jerky movements you’re not going to be able to correct the motion the same way as in a car. I see this issue all the time on the freeway when folks pulling trailers do a jerky quick lane change and then spend 10 seconds trying to get the trailer to stop fish tailing.When braking, remember that even though you may have electric trailer brakes they won`t stop on a dime.
Check the nut and bolt torque settings every once in a while tooI have a routine for hitching and unhitching and do it the same every time, that way it becomes second nature, and I’m less likely to forget something. Just before departure  my wife goes through our checklist and I confirm the tasks were done.No DistractionsWhen your towing it is your responsibility to have complete attention on the truck, trailer, and road. Unlike a car, your recovery and reaction time is limited due to the weight and size of the rig.
Every second will count if an emergency maneuver is required.I won`t even let Anne play a podcast while we drive unless we are on a very wide open expressway with little traffic or she uses headphones. Make sure you set yourself up with ones big enough and far out from the vehicle enough to see all the way down the trailer side to the back. With these, you can see vehicles that sneak up beside you, your trailer roof line and they are an aid when backing up the trailer. When you take the corner the trailer is going to track a path inside that of your tow vehicle.
During the turn take it slow and check your mirror to make sure the trailer is clearing the corner.Also, keep in mind the back-end of the trailer will swing wider than the tow vehicle path so allow space for this. Worse yet the electrical pedestal or water tap!Plan Your RouteThis can save you much time and aggravation.
When you are touring around in a car it’s so easy to turn around, get fuel, and deal with any type of roadway.
Some of the websites I use to check on weather, routes and campsites are listed in this blog post.
You’ll usually get a boat load of information back from folks that have done the same route or have intimate local knowledge.Pay attention to your TiresA big problem fifth wheel and travel trailers may face is tire blowouts. Before every tow, I check the pressure, lug nut torque, visually inspect the sidewall and treads.


Whenever stopped for a rest break I feel the tires for overheating along with the bearings. A handheld infrared temperature gun is also a great tool for this.Many people invest in a tire pressure monitoring system and it is on my upgrade list. Replace your tires after 5-7 years whether they look like they need it or not.  Tires can look perfect but be rotten on the inside.
For an extra margin of safety when I purchased my second set of tires, I elected to upgrade them to a higher load range.
Being that the rig is near 13 feet high and box-shaped any sort of wind has a dramatic effect. The worse scenario is on the big Interstate highways when traveling among the tractor trailers. When it’s really gusty and they are passing by you pushing a lot of air themselves there is a push-pull effect that happens that you must be aware of. The wind can also devastate fuel mileage and is hard on the truck trying to pull the trailer through it, worse if you add hills into the equation.So I always check the weather and tend to plan my tow days around the wind. One time we were towing across South Dakota’s rolling hill country into 30 mph winds I had enough and just pulled into a fancy RV Resort to wait it out. May as well spend the money on a nice place then diesel fuel spent to drag the trailer through a wall of wind.
I find traveling in anything above 25-30 mph of wind is no fun.Backing it upThis can be the most intimidating part of fifth wheel ownership. The dreaded backing into a campsite with the local peanut gallery watching.The first tip is to take your time, rushing it is only going to enhance the chance of problems.
Fifth wheels respond to your steering input in a delayed manner, by going slow you have a better chance to correct a miss guided path. I will sometimes do this twice or more if in doubt, no shame in looking.  It’s actually an acronym used by professional truckers. If you watch the back of the trailer it can get you out of line quickly as there is a large swing to the end and doesn’t follow the same arc as the tires. Hope this helps some of you RVers that are new to towing. For more help check out my post and video specifically explaining backing a fifth wheel trailer and another one with advice on traveling on the Interstate highways.Follow our RV adventures! Sign up for the free monthly Love Your RV Newsletter – Receive the eBook “Tips for the RV Life” as a gift. Also head on over to the RV Happy Hour and chat with me and other RVers about all things RV. If you could start from scratch, what specs would you choose for a truck that’s going to pull a 5th wheel that will be holding what’s left of all our worldly goods?


We see so many options and are not certain which configuration would give us the most flexibility. But, I would be inclined to find the fifth wheel you really like first then get a truck that can safely pull it. Make sure the truck can pull it fully loaded with a 10-15% margin of safety and you’ll be a lot happy camper.
Of course, you’ll have to ballpark it when fifth wheel shopping and make sure it won’t need a truck that is a ridiculous size and some do! I have a gmc 2500 6.6 diesel that is already set up and ready to go but I was told I should get rear suspension air bags to keep my pick up level while towing. You need to first know how heavy of a trailer you are going to buy and the load ratings for your truck and whether it is for extended use or just a weekend and holiday thing.
For extended use, IMHO I would want a truck that can hold the load level without the aid of air bags. My feeling is if you are needing to install air bags to maintain level you don’t have a heavy duty enough truck for the load. Is it bad for the truck suspension ,and or tires, to keep the trailer hitched to the truck?
RayShouldn’t hurt anything, we have left our truck hooked up many times for days at a time with no ill effects. Scott JamesI have been told 5th wheel travel is a lot safer than hitch…can I consider a 5th wheel with with a 5.3 liter v-8 Silverado?
With the right package, an F150 with a V6 can pull a small 5th wheel.What you need to look at is pin weight, and overall weight of the 5th wheel. You don’t want to overload your truck, because that can be more dangerous than anything you would have pulled on your bumper. If you look at your weights, you can probably find one that’s within your tow rating.
Usually what limits me on dips is the rear end dragging the ground as the rig is heading up and the rear hasn’t finished coming down.



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