Why Is It Called A 5th Wheel?

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One popular belief as to why a fifth wheel is called a fifth wheel is that it has to do with the number of wheels on a carriage or wagon. Back in the day, carriages and wagons typically had four wheels, with the 5th wheel being used to steer.

Another theory is that the term originated from railroad engines. Early steam locomotives had five driving wheels, with the 5th one being located at the back of the engine. This wheel was used to support the weight of the large boiler, and was therefore known as the "5th wheel."

Advantages Of A 5th wheel

There are many different advantages of 5th wheels. Below will be a list of these advantages in detail.

  • More Room - 5th wheels provide more living space than traditional trailers. This is because the trailer's "bedroom" and "living room" are combined into one large space.
  • Better Fuel Efficiency - Since 5th wheels have more aerodynamic designs, they are able to move through the air more efficiently. This results in better fuel economy, which saves you money on your camping trips.
  • Increased Towing Capacity - Higher towing capacity means better bang for buck.
  • Higher Quality Construction - 5th wheel trailers are typically built with higher-quality materials and construction methods than traditional travel trailers.
  • More spacious Interior - 5th wheel trailers tend to have more interior space than traditional travel trailers. This makes them a better option for larger families or groups.
  • More Flexible Storage Space - Unlike traditional travel trailers, which have storage compartments that are built into the walls, 5th wheel trailers typically have storage
  • More Comfortable - 5th wheel trailers have more living space than traditional travel trailers, which makes them more comfortable for extended trips.
  • More Attractive - 5th wheel trailers are often more aesthetically pleasing than traditional travel trailers, and they can be customized to match your specific needs and preferences.
  • More Versatile - 5th wheel trailers can be used for a variety of purposes, including camping, tailgating, road tripping, and even boondocking.

Disadvantages of a 5th wheel

As there are advantages in owning a 5th wheel you will definitely be greeted with some disadvantages:

  • More Expensive - 5th wheels are generally more expensive to purchase than traditional travel trailers, and they can be difficult to tow behind certain vehicles.
  • Heavier - 5th wheels tend to weigh significantly more than comparable travel trailers. This makes them more difficult to tow and requires heavier vehicles than comparable travel trailers.
  • No Sleeping in Cab While Towed - Unlike enclosed trailers, 5th wheels have no sleeping area built into the cab while it is being towed.
  • More Expensive - 5th wheels are typically more expensive than travel trailers, both in terms of the initial purchase price and in terms of maintenance and repairs.


Well, a gooseneck is a type of hitch which is primarily used with large trucks and trailers to allow for the attachment of a semi-trailer. The best way to convert your 5th wheel to a gooseneck, therefore, would be to purchase another 5th wheel trailer only then it can function as a gooseneck. However, if you are interested in simply converting your current 5th wheel into something that has more features than just being able to change positions then you might want to consider switching over to an adjustable 5th wheel hitch.


fifth wheel hitch

5th wheel hitches are the largest of all hitches and are specifically designed for large trucks. These types of hitches consist of a king pin, which is located on the bottom of the trailer, and then has an upper crossbar that slides across the top of this kingpin. This allows you to change positions quite easily because it can slide back and forth between two different areas.


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What do 5th wheels weigh?

Typically, 5th wheels will weigh anywhere from 5900 pounds to 14100 pounds. You will need a truck that is able to handle that much weight.


One of the most important things to remember when using a 5th wheel hitch is tire pressure. You can usually find the recommended psi for your vehicle in the owner's manual. Failing to do so may result in damage to both your tires and your hitch.

How to choose the right 5th wheel?

Choosing a fifth wheel can be a daunting tasks. Follow the tips below to better make a decision.

These things are the weight of your tow vehicle, the size of your cargo trailer or 5th wheel, and the distance between the king pin on your tow vehicle to where you would like it mounted on your trailer.

Before buying a fifth wheel, take some time to research options for different makes and models. Look at magazine reviews, online reviews, and ratings from consumer services.

Once you know what company made your favorite fifth-wheel trailers, do some comparison shopping to see if there are similar styles available at lower prices elsewhere. You may also find that you can save some money by purchasing a pre-owned fifth wheel rather than a new model. Just be sure to have the unit inspected before signing on the dotted line.

As long as your hitch is compatible with the weight rating of your trailer, there are few restrictions on which type of vehicle you may tow behind you. You will need to ensure that any extra equipment or accessories you use are also suitable for your rig. For example, if not already included, you will need to purchase appropriate brake controls and wiring harnesses that will offer support for larger trailers like fifth wheels. A standard ball mount will not fit onto these large hitches without extensive modification.


Despite these disadvantages, there are many people who prefer 5th wheels for their camping trips. They offer a great deal of space and flexibility, which can be essential for long trips or larger families. If you are considering purchasing a 5th wheel, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully to make sure it is the right decision for you.

About Author:

image of Kevin Pommells

Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of CamperRules.com, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

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