How to Choose the Best Tow Vehicle for Your 5th Wheel Trailer

If you’re new to the trailer life and are looking to purchase your first 5th wheel or are simply looking to upgrade, it can be so easy to get caught up in the features of the unit you want to buy, dreams of awesome family vacations, (dumping and cleaning out the septic tank…) and all the other perks that come along with being an RVer.  But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here, guys.  You need a truck to tow that bad boy first!  And not just any truck will do.  There’s plenty of crucial information necessary to determine what type of tow vehicle will best suit your dream trailer.

Know Your Tow Vehicle’s Ratings

In order to tow your new 5th wheel safely, and by safely we mean without exceeding the weight ratings of the tow vehicle (we’ll get into those ratings in just a minute), you’re going to need to know the towing capacity of the truck BEFORE purchasing the trailer.  A couple things to keep in mind when shopping for a new truck…Look for a 2WD truck, 4 wheel drive/AWD vehicles typically have a lower towing capacity due to their heavier weight.  The same goes for trucks with extended cabs.  When speaking to the salesperson while truck shopping, make sure to find out the following important rating information:

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) – this is the actual weight of a fully loaded vehicle (includes cargo, passengers, fuel, etc.) without the tow hitch or trailer attached

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) – this is the most the tow vehicle should weigh and should never be exceeded

Rear Gross Axle Weight (RGAW) – this is the actual weight on the rear axle (wheels, tires, etc.) with the hitch or trailer attached

Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (RGAWR) – this is the most weight the rear axle of the tow vehicle should carry

Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) – this is the total weight of the tow vehicle, hitch, and trailer and should never be exceeded

In order to determine how heavy of a trailer you should purchase, subtract the GVW from the GCWR.

 

Find the Right Hitch for your Tow Vehicle/Trailer

Pro Series 5th Wheel Trailer Hitch

There are tons of different hitches out there for any type of trailer and/or towing vehicle.  For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to just 5th wheel hitches.  When it comes to 5th wheel hitches, they can be rated to tow trailers that weigh over 30,000 pounds.  The most popular 5th wheels, however, usually weigh in at about half that.  For example, this 40’ Forest River Cedar Creek 5th wheel has a GVW of 16,540.  If your truck has a shorter bed (approximately 70” – 80” in length measured outside to outside), you’ll need to look at a sliding hitch.  The sliding hitch allows the hitch and the king pin to move closer to the tailgate to increase the turning clearance of the trailer and to avoid the truck and the trailer rubbing together (Quick Note – the king pin should be approximately 15 – 25% of the GVW).  For tow vehicles that have longer beds (up to around 100”), a fixed hitch will work fine.  Remember, the weight of the hitch factors into the GCWR and will play an important role in the decision making process.  Also, sliding hitches are slightly more expensive than fixed hitches, so you may want to take that into consideration when shopping for a new truck.

 

Tow Vehicles to Consider

Here’s a short list of tow vehicles to consider if you’re looking to purchase a 5th wheel that weighs in the neighborhood of 10,000 – 19,500 pounds.

Ford F150 Ecoboost

Ford F150 Ecoboost

Dodge Ram 3500, 4500, 5500

Ford F-150 w/ Ecoboost Engine, 250, 350, 450, 550

GMC Sierra 3500

Toyota Tundra

This may seem like a lot of information to swallow, but don’t forget, knowledge is power.   Make the right decision the first time and save yourself the headache later.  And now that you’ve got the tow vehicle straightened out (which is basically a new toy in its own right…), it’s time to get serious about that new 5th wheel!

Crossroads Trailer Sales has been the #1 5th Wheel dealer in New Jersey for the last 8 years.  Our 10 acre lot features over 200 5th wheels, travel trailers, and toy haulers to choose from.  We are a family owned and operated business that has been proudly serving the RV community since 1988.  Please contact us for all of your 5th wheel and trailer needs.  We look forward to hearing from you and thanks for reading!

 

Ice Fishing!

Ice FIshing

Ice Fishing

If you happen to be in the Northeast part of the country today, you may have noticed that it’s snowing.  A lot!  So as we sat here trying to keep warm, we started to think about what cool things we could do if we loaded up a trailer and decided to embrace the hand mother nature has dealt us.  Fishing is a pretty common activity amongst the RVing and camping communities, but how about ice fishing?  Most people want to snuggle up under warm covers during the winter months, especially when we get weather like this.  But not us! We’re outdoors people for crying out loud!  And for that reason, we’ll take a look at great places to ice fish in the Northeast, the basics of setting up your ice fishing location, tactics for catching fish, and some of the things you’ll need to have a successful trip.

Gustafson & Goldman having a lovely day ice fishing

Gustafson & Goldman having a lovely day ice fishing

First, being the travel enthusiasts that we are, we’ll need to find a few locations we can make a trip out of.  Here are four great spots to ice fish in the Northeast part of the country.

–          Presque Isle Bay in Erie, PA (http://www.presqueisle.org/).  Presque Isle is a great place to catch panfish, perch, bass, walleye, crappies, and several other species of fish.

–          Lake Winnipesaukee at Ellacoya State Park in New Hampshire (http://www.nhstateparks.org/explore/state-parks/ellacoya-state-park.aspx). *Quick note: Do yourself a favor and give yourself a pat on the back if you immediately thought of “What About Bob?” when reading the words ‘Lake Winnipesaukee’.  While you won’t find Bob Wiley or Dr. Leo Marvin here, you will find whitefish, brook trout, rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, and more.

Bob Wiley & Dr. Marvin at Lake Winnipesaukee

Bob Wiley & Dr. Marvin at Lake Winnipesaukee

–          Lake Champlian in New York (http://www.lakechamplainregion.com/recreation/outdoors/ice-fishing).  This 120 mile long lake boasts some of the best ice fishing you can do in the whole country.  Get setup in the shanty village and catch salmon, lake trout, perch, and bluegills.

–          Lakeside Lodge on Long Lake in Sinclair, ME. (http://www.mainelakesidelodge.com/fishing/icefishing.html).  If you like fishing for trout, this is the place for you.  Although, the trout aren’t huge here, there’s plenty of them to make for an exciting ice fishing trip.

Second, we’ll need to setup shop.  This isn’t like regular fishing where you plop down a chair and a cooler and cast your line off.  This is ice fishing where there’s real work involved! You’ll need to dig out a hole in the ice so you can drop a line.  Depending on the thickness of the ice, you’ll need either a spud or an auger.  A spud, or a chisel, is a better choice if the ice isn’t super thick.  If you happen to be fishing in a spot where the ice is very thick, you’ll need to use an auger to drill through the ice.  Once you’ve created your fishing hole, make sure to clear any excess ice and slush away with a skimmer so your reel doesn’t get caught when you have a fish on the line.  If it’s super cold and there’s not a shanty available for you to rent where you’re fishing, then you may want to consider getting an ice shelter to hang out in while you’re out there.

Now that we know where we’re going and have a hole dug out, we may want to actually consider catching some fish.  Make sure to bring a variety of jig lures and live bait.  Believe it or not, fish can catch on (see what we did there?) to the type of bait you’re using when they see it over and over again and start spitting it out once they swallow it or just ignore it all together.  In order to prevent this “bait fatigue”, make sure to pack plenty of jigs and change them up periodically.  Small, large, different colors, vertical, horizontal, whatever you can get your hands on.  Also, don’t move your jig around too much because the fish may start to see your bait as too much of a chore to chase down.  To prevent this, use a tip up, which will allow your line to stay relatively still and will alert you when a fish is on the hook by having a flag pop up.  Check out this video for an example on how to set up your tip up on your fishing hole.  If you happen to be fishing in shallow water, make sure not to let too much sun get into the hole.  The bright light can potentially scare the fish away.

Hopefully this article will not only be useful if you do decide to go ice fishing one day, but more importantly we hope that as a RV and camping enthusiast you’ll be open to new experiences and ways to hook the trailer up and go enjoy nature!

 

Crossroads Trailer Sales has been the #1 5th Wheel dealer in New Jersey for the last 8 years.  Our 10 acre lot features over 200 5th wheels, travel trailers, and toy haulers to choose from.  We are a family owned and operated business that has been proudly serving the RV community since 1988.  Please contact us for all of your 5th wheel and trailer needs.  We look forward to he