Buying any kind of camping vehicle can be exciting. With dreams of roaming the UK and Europe in your very own home from home at your own pace is something many of us dream of doing and seeing the sights from the comfort of a 5th wheel is one of the best ways to do so however before splashing out on your dream outfit there are some things you need to know.
What is a fifth wheel?
A 5th wheel in basic terms is a larger than average touring caravan usually manufactured from tried and trusted American brands adapted for UK roads and driving standards. 5th wheels are towed by a select few familiar brands of car manufactured flatbed trucks, the coupling of the 5th wheel to the bed of the tow truck is a jaw pin connection giving precise maneuvering ability along with a more stable drive plus when you arrive at you holiday destination and allowing the in built in self levelling system to finish off the pitching process.
What are the benefits of buying a 5th wheel?
In many cases the costs of buying a 5th wheel are comparable to many mid to top ranges of traditional touring caravans. The biggest benefit of a 5th wheel is space. 5th wheels are built taller for greater internal living space than touring caravans as well as heavier for better road handling. The clever built in storage solutions both inside and outside the unit has been meticulously planned to utilise every available inch. Internally many 5th wheels have all the creature comforts of a holiday apartment on wheels from a fully fitted kitchen with full familiar domestic appliances to fixed king size beds and fitted wardrobes for your holiday fashions. What’s more, many 5th wheels are no wider than the average touring caravan making towing it a breeze.
Are you eligible to drive a 5th wheel?
All UK driving licence holders no matter when you passed your test are subject to driving category restrictions, these restrictions can be found on the back of the photo part of your licence. While most 5th wheels weigh under 3500 Kilos if you require a larger trailer we advise you check you licence:
Category B auto
You can drive a category B vehicle – but only an automatic one.
You can drive a vehicle with a MAM of 3,500kg with a trailer.
The size of the trailer depends on the BE ‘valid from’ date shown on your licence. If the date is:
- before 19 January 2013, you can tow any size trailer
- on or after 19 January 2013, you can tow a trailer with a MAM of up to 3,500kg
You can drive vehicles between 3,500 and 7,500kg MAM (with a trailer up to 750kg).
You can drive C1 category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.
The combined MAM of both cannot exceed 12,000kg.
You can drive vehicles over 3,500kg (with a trailer up to 750kg MAM).
You can drive category C vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.
What should I use to tow a 5th wheel?
5th wheels are heavier than traditional touring caravans and ensuring you have enough power to tow the unit safely is key. Popular tow trucks in the UK are
The Nissan Navara, this familiar Japanese model has been around for a long while and many 5th wheel owners would recommend this pick up truck as it has more than enough power to pull a 5th wheel.
The Dodge Ram is one of the US’s biggest and most identifiable pickup trucks. These huge trucks tend to have 4 litre plus engines and huge payloads meaning if you are looking at a large 5th wheel this truck will be more than capable of safely towing you and your family in comfort and style, Most Dodge pickups will be left hand drive and have been imported from the states. The Mitsubishi L200 (not advised due to towing capabilities)
Where will I keep my 5th wheel when I’m not using it?
If you are lucky enough to keep it at home this will also benefit your insurance costs however if this is not the case you might want to consider looking on the Cassoa website for secure storage options. Storing your 5th wheel on a farm or industrial yard may have insurance implications.
How much do 5th wheels cost?
Some used 5th wheels can sell for under £10.000 and depending on your budget and requirements the cost will go up from there. It is best to have an idea of why you are buying a 5th wheel and how you plan to use it, consider what size and layout will best suit you. Check the Eurocruiser stock list for more information .