Last updated on October 30th, 2023 at 07:07 am
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When it comes to finding the right rig, how can you narrow down the options, especially if you’re looking for some of the best fifth wheels for full-time living? Not only are there countless options on the market today, but not all RVs are ideal for full-timing!
Are you seeking more information about what to look for in a fifth wheel RV? Do you need some guidance as to what floor plan works best for full-time living? And what brands are reliable in terms of fifth-wheel RVing?
In this article, we’ll endeavor to answer all of your questions and more. We’ll also address all of the things to consider before making your final purchase. Finally, we’ll wrap up all of this fantastic information with our list of some of the best fifth wheels, built perfectly for full-time living.
Take it from this full-timer: making your RV into a full-time living situation is possible, and magical! Let’s get started and go over everything you need to know now.
Why Choose A Fifth Wheel For Full-Time Living?
There are a vast number of RV types available on the market, but none of them are alike a fifth wheel. These rigs have a number of different benefits for full-timers looking for a versatile, spacious RV they can call home; let’s explore some of these now!
Can Be Towed And Left
Fifth wheels are some of the most spacious RVs on the market today, and they also offer the ability to park your rig and leave it for a while. Many full-timers enjoy having a fifth wheel or travel trailer for their full-time setup, given the fact they can disconnect and take their tow vehicle out on the road on its own.
This isn’t to say you can’t also do this using a motorhome, but fifth wheels are designed to be towed and left at camp when you want to go hiking for the day or take a day trip elsewhere.
Another reason why fifth wheels are so popular with full-time RVers is the fact they are so large and offer an array of floor plans. Fifth wheels can easily house amenities such as laundry and residential-size refrigerators, but they also offer spacious bedrooms and bathrooms that feel more like a residential home.
More Space For Full-Time Living
With more space comes more room to store all of your full-time necessities, in addition to your recreational hobbies. Many people who live in their RV full-time choose a fifth wheel and never switch to anything else because of how spacious and convenient they truly are!
What To Consider In A Fifth Wheel For Full-Time Living
It’s no secret that a fifth wheel is a fantastic option to go for if you’re looking to transition into full-time living. With countless benefits, it may seem like these rigs are simply the best option, but there are a few considerations worth making before diving into a fifth wheel purchase!
Length And Weight
One of the first things to consider before buying a fifth wheel RV is deciding upon a suitable length and weight limit for your tow vehicle. The overall length of your RV matters when it comes to maneuverability and parking in National Parks, but what about the weight limit?
If you already know what vehicle you’re planning on using to tow your fifth wheel, you need to pay special attention to the weight limits and towing capacities of both rigs.
This is especially true if you already own a truck you want to tow with, as you won’t have any wiggle room. If, however, you’re looking at purchasing a truck as well as a fifth wheel, the weights and measures still matter greatly. You never want to do more than your tow vehicle can handle, and fifth wheels are not exactly known for being lightweight and easy to tow.
On the flip side, choosing a fifth wheel that’s particularly large and in charge means you have more living space and storage on board your RV. If you aren’t particularly concerned about your weight limits but want to make sure you have space for belongings and guests, choosing a large fifth wheel shouldn’t be a problem for you.
As with any large purchase, budget matters greatly. Fortunately, fifth wheels are more affordable than a variety of motor homes, including Class B camper vans. Depending on luxury features and additional accessories purchased, the average fifth wheel costs anywhere from $50k all the way to $200k, though most fifth wheels hover around $100k.
Given this is such a wide range of prices, you can definitely expect to see a wide range of fifth wheel styles and types. You may be seeking out a rig with luxury features, or you may be hoping to find something budget-friendly for your next life steps.
No matter what you’re looking for, chances are extremely high that you will find what you need and want within your price range! However, it’s always important to remember that the initial purchase price of most fifth wheels is not the price you end up paying. Most of the time, you’ll find that there are non-standard features you’ll want to add, which will indeed drive up the price.
Layout Or Floorplan
There’s nothing better than finding an RV floorplan that works perfectly for you. While you may think the majority of fifth wheels have identical interiors or highly similar floorplans, the opposite is true. There are so many options on the market today that it’s difficult to find 2 floorplans that are identical to one another! I highly recommend touring your local RV lots or dealership so that you get a true feel and understanding of the interior of fifth wheel RVs.
If you are unable to do so, many RV manufacturers offer 360-degree tours on their website so you can take a look at all of the features without needing to leave your home. The layout or floor plan of your fifth wheel will make or break your RV experience. This is especially true if you are living in it full-time. Just like any rental or residential home purchase, you want to make sure it has a certain flow and is easy to manage without becoming overwhelming.
Given there is such a limited amount of square footage inside a fifth wheel RV, you may want to take a look at floorplans that prioritize the same things that you do. For example, if you want a highly functional kitchen rather than a spacious master bedroom, keep an eye out for floorplans that support this feature.
I have no doubt you will find exactly what you’re looking for, but it may take some time to comprehend what that is fully. The more floorplans and layouts you are able to look at, the better! And where better to start than with our “best of” list?
Storage Solutions And Options
Storage is always at a premium, even in residential homes. So why wouldn’t the same be true on board your fifth wheel? Choosing an option with ample storage for everything you need is always a good idea, especially if you want to live in your RV full-time. The problem is that most RVs have storage solutions that aren’t always helpful for full-time living.
Most storage compartments are located on the exterior of your RV, though there are interior storage solutions making the rounds through a variety of RV floor plans. Some storage options work better than others, and knowing where you want your storage to be located may help you narrow down a proper floor plan for your lifestyle.
If you are brand new to RV shopping, it may surprise you to know there are different makes and models of RVs. Most commonly, when purchasing an RV, you will see many standard features and rigs along with other luxury options. You may be curious about what this entails, but ultimately, luxury rigs offer more style and features at a higher price compared to standard RVs.
Some popular luxury finishes include:
- Theater seating in the living area
- Upgraded kitchen, including large residential fridge and dishwasher
- Power lift bed in the master suite
- Frameless windows and other energy-efficient perks
- Additional air conditioning units or ducted heating
- Electric tongue jacks and stabilizers
- Electric fireplace or woodstove
Choosing a luxury rig doesn’t just mean you are paying more. You’ll likely find that the interior design and furnishings are better suited to your lifestyle, given that luxury rigs have more character and fine touches compared to standard rigs.
While you may be bringing your own special touches, you may still want some of the features luxury rigs bring to the table. However, if you aren’t particularly concerned about theater seating and marble countertops, a standard rig might suit you just fine.
Speaking of luxury features, automated or power features tend to go hand-in-hand with luxury rigs. There are a number of popular electronic and automated features to help make living in an RV easy. Many RVers look for power jacks or automatic leveling systems to make camping easier. There are also power awnings as well as tank monitoring systems, and even utility systems that work automatically.
It all depends on what you’re looking for in terms of day-to-day convenience, as RVs have a lot to offer in this department if you have the budget for it. This is likely where your budget will be altered in some way, as many luxury or automatic features don’t come standard.
However, most RV manufacturers offer these helpful conveniences, just not in the initial purchase price. This is something to consider, especially if you are concerned about your physical health or how convenient it is to set up camp as part of your full-time living situation!
Obviously, one of the most important things to consider before purchasing a fifth wheel made for full-time living is the types of full-time amenities you need to feel comfortable in your RV. But what might some of those be?
Popular full-time amenities include:
- A stackable washer and dryer
- A dishwasher
- A residential-sized refrigerator with freezer
- Queen or king-sized walk-around bed
- Master bedroom wardrobe
- Two bathrooms
- Wifi or cable
Again, you may not need all of these amenities, but it’s something to keep in mind as you shop. If you are only used to renting or purchasing residential homes rather than RVs, some of the things that come standard in residential homes are not at all standard in an RV setting.
The 9 Best Fifth Wheels For Full-Time Living
Feeling confident that you know what you need from a fifth wheel that’s made for full-time living? Let’s go ahead and dive into our list of the 9 best fifth wheels for full-time living now!
Best Overall: Grand Design Reflection
- MSRP: $78,154
- Exterior Length: 32′ 10″ – 41′ 7″
- Exterior Height: 12′ 3″ – 12′ 8″
There are a number of reasons why the Grand Design Reflection is an extremely popular fifth wheel rig for weekend warriors and full-timers alike. With 9 available floor plans across multiple lengths, this fifth wheel is the perfect combination of affordability, luxury, and function. One of the first things I notice about the Reflection is the fact that it comes in multiple lengths, ranging from 32 feet all the way to 41 feet.
This results in ample living space for any size group, from small families to big groups of friends. I like the versatility of the floorplans; a bunkhouse, theater seating, spacious kitchen, and spacious bathroom can be found across the range of layouts. As an added bonus, most of the floorplans include a bathroom with a large shower and skylight, which is something I haven’t seen in many RVs!
Grand Design have really pushed the boat out with the number of standard features included in the Reflection. There’s a solar package, 4-season weather insulation, and additional house batteries, all included as standard features. Options like these tend to be an additional purchase on top of the sale price of an RV, so this is great news!
While the Reflection has just about everything I can think of included in the initial purchase price, that does mean it’s fairly high for a fifth wheel. The Grand Design Reflection isn’t the cheapest fifth wheel out there, but it made our overall spot for a reason! The high-end finishes and luxury edge make the price worth it in my eyes, but it all comes down to personal budget.
- Range of floorplans
- Countless standard features
- Spacious bathroom
- High price
- Long length hard to maneuver
Best On A Budget: Jayco Eagle HT Fifth Wheel
- MSRP: $51,006
- Exterior Length: 29′ 5″ – 34′ 8″
- Exterior Height: 12′ 6″
Finding budget-friendly RVs can be a big task since there are so many options on the market! This Jayco Eagle HT fifth wheel, however, is friendly on the pocket and still manages to pack a punch too. For new RVers or those wanting to downsize or try something new, the Eagle is a great option to go for and costs a fraction of the price of luxury fifth wheels.
Jayco considers the Eagle to be an entry-level rig, but this doesn’t mean they’ve sacrificed any features. Inside, there’s a 35,000 BTU furnace, a TV antenna with Wi-Fi, a HELIX cooling system, a porcelain foot-flush toilet, and more as standard. I’m also drawn to the 4-star handling package fit with TPMS monitoring as it makes towing the trailer that much easier and straightforward.
This fifth wheel doesn’t have the dazzle as luxury options, but that’s no surprise since it’s a far more budget-friendly option. It’s also not as big as many other rigs, and this can be both a benefit and a drawback! I find towing smaller rigs easier, and I’m a lot more confident when I don’t have a 40′ trailer behind me.
Smaller fifth wheels do mean less space, and this is something to take note of. Large families may feel the squeeze inside the Jayco Eagle, although it’s the perfect size for both my partner and me, and our furry dog companion. For full timing, this is a basic but functional rig to start out in, and maybe venture onto a trailer with a bit more style and personality in the future.
- Sleeps up to 10 people
- Lifetime warranted roof system
- Weighs less than 10,000lbs
- Simple interior design
- Overlander solar package isn’t standard
- Only 4 floorplans
Most Amenities: Forest River Riverstone
- MSRP: $222,186
- Exterior Length: 42′ 7″ – 44′ 4″
- Exterior Height: 13′ 4″
The Forest River Riverstone is a fantastic option for those seeking numerous features and amenities, all standard – yes, it’s possible! This is a luxury rig dedicated to convenience, and the Riverstone is ideal for full-timers given the fact it has so much on offer to make life a little easier. That’s why Forest River made the Riverstone with just about any optional feature as a standard one, to fully maximize this fifth wheel.
With 5 available floorplans and 3 toy hauler options, there’s no struggle in finding a rig to suit individual needs. This fifth wheel ranges in length from 42 feet all the way to 44 feet, making it huge and spacious on the inside, which is ideal for full-time living. I love how airy this trailer feels, and although the space makes storing belongings and cohabiting easy, it really isn’t the simplest to tow!
Being so long, it’s crucial to be confident and know how to tow this big rig safely and securely. When it comes to standard features, there’s just about everything included I can think of. This even includes solar panels, a washer and dryer, on-demand hot water, automatic leveling, and so much more. The vast array of standard features on the Riverstone is truly staggering, and something hard to find elsewhere.
This luxury fifth wheel is a high-end option, and it has an expensive price to match! However, this rig and its available floor plans truly offer full-timers practically everything I can possibly think they would need or want.
- Multiple floor plans including toy hauler options
- Stunning exterior
- Beautiful and classy interior design with a fireplace
- Very long so harder to tow and park
Lightest Weight: Coachmen Chaparral
- MSRP: $84,091
- Exterior Length: 34′ 8″ – 42′ 7″
- Exterior Height: 12′ 4″
Starting just over the $80k mark, the Coachmen Chaparral has a lot to offer RV owners of any level. This fifth wheel boasts 10 floorplans, all at an affordable purchase price, which is the freedom of choice I like to see when I’m looking at different rigs. Each of these creative layouts is built on a lightweight frame to help make towing a breeze and take some stress off my tow vehicle so it won’t suffer on long journeys across the country.
The weight of the Chaparral starts at just under 10,000 pounds and reaches around 13,000 pounds for larger models. While this isn’t necessarily incredible in terms of numbers, it does mean my tow vehicle has a bit of wiggle room compared to other larger fifth wheels. This is still a considerable amount of weight to tow, and since the weight and length increase as the models get bigger, I think it’s wise for newbies to opt for the smaller, lighter models of this Coachmen trailer.
One of the best parts about the Chaparral is that it’s highly equipped for 4-season weather and terrain! Since I spend a large proportion of my time parking off-grid and boondocking, I need a fifth wheel able to handle challenging terrain and weather. The Chaparral ticks this box for me as the insulation and build of this rig are fantastic, but this is mainly thanks to the optional Weather Shield and Road Guardian package.
Optional extras are available with most RVs, and although they can transform a camper, they hike up the final price considerably! I do think upgrading the Chaparral so it’s better suited to tough circumstances is wise, especially for full-timers who will likely face all sorts of road and weather conditions. For those on budget, be sure to keep an eye on additional expenses to save having a shock when it comes time to arrange the financial side of purchasing an RV!
While the interior design is fairly simplistic on this Coachmen, it’s built to last and won’t take too much time to liven up. The vinyl flooring and real wood Cabinetry come with their own warranty options, as does the entirety of the fifth wheel itself. I like how this RV blends functionality and practicality in one, but I do feel like Coachmen could have been a bit more attentive to the interior design. The warranty options, however, are reassuring and give me peace of mind that I’m covered if anything goes wrong when I’m out on the road in my Chaparral.
- 10 versatile floor plans
- Good warranty
- Impressive extra packages
- Interior design is quite plain
- Larger lengths not suitable for beginners
- Lacks luxury edge
Best Toy Hauler: Forest River Vengeance Rogue Armored
- MSRP: $141,003
- Exterior Length: 45′ 1″ – 45′ 4″
- Exterior Height: 13′ 4″
RVing is all about having the flexibility of carrying everything you need and want on the road, and the Forest River Vengeance Rogue Armored is a fifth wheel toy hauler promising to do just that. Along with durable Forest River construction and design, the Vengeance Rogue also offers ample storage space for everything I can think of, from ATVs to kayaks, and more!
This particular toy hauler won RV News’s award for the best-featured fifth wheel toy hauler a couple of years ago, and it’s easy to see why. There are 5 floorplans to choose from, all of which are suited to different types of RVers. Some floorplans have two bathrooms, and others have a more open feel to the living space. Although 5 floorplans aren’t as much choice as our last mentioned fifth wheel, there are still enough layouts to find the one that works best for individual needs.
With the array of additional package options accompanying the Vengeance, I can truly build a rig that matches my lifestyle. I love that heated holding tanks and solar panel mounting are standard features, along with a washer and dryer system, as these make full-timing throughout the year substantially easier!
All of the floor plans offer convenient toy hauler ramps for loading and unloading, and the storage area for additional equipment converts into a living space or bunkhouse for optimal use of space.
This is one impressive fifth wheel, but these innovative features do come at a price. The Vengeance Rogue isn’t the cheapest option on our list, but it arguably is one of the more useful and diverse for carrying extra kit. The package options offered by Forest River improve the Vengeance even more, but the end price suffers because of this. I love enhancing an RV and tailoring it to my lifestyle, but my wallet has a different opinion!
Even if no packages are added to this fifth wheel, I will still get a functional floorplan full of livable features, including multiple bathrooms, a spacious kitchen, and a master suite with wardrobes and walk-around beds.
The only negative thought I have about this RV is its mighty length. I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, but at 45′ 4″, the largest floorplan is simply far too big for me to comfortably tow on the road, let alone park and store!
- Great carrying capacity for additional gear
- Range of extra packages
- Some layouts feature two bathrooms
- Large, so difficult to park and maneuver
- Harder to store due to length and height
Best Starter Rig: Forest River Cardinal
- MSRP: $89,269
- Exterior Length: 29′ 4″ – 43′ 6″
- Exterior Height: TBD
Forest River has a number of fantastic fifth wheel options, and the Cardinal comes in both a standard and luxury version for an RV with a bit more style and substance. Forest River claims to have built the Cardinal to suit just about any camper and lifestyle, and this includes full-timers. This impressive rig boats 10 unique floorplans which allows me to explore an array of options and get a feel for what suits me best.
In particular, I’m drawn to the diversity of the floorplans. I can opt for a layout with a bunkhouse, a separate theater room, a large and spacious king-bedroom master suite, and more. This setup is ideal for a number of families, especially those with older children. One of the floorplans offers a master suite as well as a separate secondary bedroom, which is a pretty rare find in the RV world!
The interior design is also impressive and mimics the residential lifestyle, with the option of matching decor too. The Cardinal has fantastic exposed beams, tile detailing and inlays, and fantastic flooring to coordinate with the cabinetry and upholstery.
This Forest River truly feels like an apartment rather than an RV, and this is one of the reasons it’s so well-suited to beginner RVers as a starter rig. The Cardinal is a mid-range fifth wheel leaning towards the higher price range for some.
The price might be a deal breaker, but it’s clear to see why the Cardinal is priced as it is. The interior is sleek and modern, allowing light to beam into the rig, keeping things light and airy – essential for full-timing in my eyes!
I’m not the biggest fan of slide-outs for full-timing as they require additional maintenance and aren’t best suited to winter weather. This is my only concern with the Cardinal, but by being vigilant and staying on top of maintenance, this rig will stand the test of time.
- Array of lengths
- Attractive interior design
- Optional washer and dryer
- Slide-outs may be tedious in winter
- Tank heaters aren’t standard
Most Luxurious: Jayco Pinnacle
- MSRP: $122,568
- Exterior Length: 36′ 4″ – 44′ 5″
- Exterior Height: 12′ 8″
Luxury doesn’t have to be sacrificed when transitioning to live full-time in an RV. The Jayco Pinnacle is a fifth wheel with a stunning interior and convenient features such as 4-season insulation and automatic leveling jacks. It’s thoughtful additions such as these that help make this rig well-suited to full-timing, and what better way to RV than in a luxury Jayco?
Priced at just over $122k, this isn’t a budget-friendly rig, but it’s not designed to be. This fifth wheel is a luxury option, and as such, it has a higher price tag. There are 7 floorplans to choose from, with nearly all of them offering ceiling fans and fireplaces, so I’m covered during summer and winter travel.
I like that I can also opt for a secluded theater room or a large and spacious master bathroom en suite, complete with double sinks and a huge countertop, as it makes this rig feel less like a camper and more like a home on wheels.
So many features catch my eye in the Pinnacle such as the full-size stainless steel refrigerator, pendant lighting, highly detailed laminate flooring, and more. This is a rig that needs to be seen to understand how stunning it truly is. The array of luxurious features included is astonishing, and all work to make full-timing that much easier. Washer and dryer prep is standard, along with many other features such as a farmhouse kitchen sink, large countertop space, LED lighting throughout, and AC units.
The Pinnacle has so much potential as a luxury fifth wheel, but the only concern I have is its weight. Ranging from 13,000lbs to 15,000lbs, there’s no shying away from how heavy this Jayco is! Owning a heavy trailer may not be an issue if you already own a tow vehicle capable of handling this weight, however, many vehicles won’t be able to handle such weight, which may cause additional expenses of a new tow vehicle.
- Suitable for summer and winter travel
- Luxury, spacious kitchen
- Gorgeous interior design
- Substantially heavier than other fifth wheels
Most Floorplans: Grand Design Solitude
- MSRP: $118,410
- Exterior Length: 34′ 4″ – 42′ 6″
- Exterior Height: 13′ 5″
With a whopping 20 floorplans, some of which are dealer stock only, the Grand Design Solitude is one mighty fifth wheel, with a lot of versatility to offer. This rig is a popular choice among many, and it’s not difficult to see why! Ranging in length from 34′ to 42′, there’s a size for everyone, from new RVers to seasoned pros, and that’s one of the reasons this rig is a popular choice.
The Solitude is a close rival to our last mentioned option, the Pinaccle, as it too is a slice of luxury. Within the trailer is everything I could ever want from an RV such as fantastic storage solutions, residential appliances, a huge kitchen with an island, multiple seating areas, a double sink bathroom, and more. Grand Design wants this fifth wheel to be utilized year-round, whether it’s being lived in or not.
They expect their customers to take this RV anywhere, and I feel fully comfortable doing so with fully laminated walls, triple insulated main floor, and Rail-Tite underbelly seal to keep the rig in the best condition for as long as possible. With so much choice, the Solitude isn’t the best for indecisive folks, and it may be a bit too sleek and modern for those who prefer a classic, rugged feel.
- Huge number of floorplans
- Superior construction
- Spacious bathrooms across multiple floorplans
- High price tag
- Large models are heavy
Runner-Up: Jayco North Point
- MSRP: $110,775
- Exterior Length: 36′ 0″ – 43′ 10″
- Exterior Height: 12′ 8″
There are so many great fifth wheels on the market today that it’s difficult to choose just one as our best overall. That’s why the Jayco North Point is our runner-up choice. Not only does this rig start at just over $110k, but it also packs plenty of features in for this price. Jayco recommends this fifth wheel for starters as well as senior RV owners, as it suits a wide variety of people.
There are 7 floorplans, some just as unique as those available with the Pinnacle and Solitude. Some of the floorplans of the North Point include a centralized living space, a large rear kitchen, and a master en suite bath. This is a game-changer for full-timing, and makes all the difference for couples traveling with friends or family, as there’s a dedicated private bathroom and bedroom to use. I love the electric fireplace featured throughout many floorplans as it makes everything feel extra warm and cozy in winter months.
The under-mounted spare tire is a great security feature, as I know I can get the trailer back up and running if the worst happens and a tire gets damaged or blown. Jayco’s North Point is just as impressive on the outside as it is inside, all thanks to thoughtful additions such as an exterior griddle, an LED lighting package, and marine-grade speakers. My only holdups with the North Point is the fact that solar panels are additional and not standard options.
For full-timers, solar is a huge benefit and honestly, I couldn’t imagine traveling around without knowing my panels are keeping me charged up, so this is something I would opt for, even if there are extra expenses involved.
The weight of this fifth wheel is also something to keep mindful of. Larger models are close to weighing 16,000lbs which is a huge number, requiring a hefty tow vehicle, and practice on the road.
- Larger layouts can sleep up to 10
- Climate Shield weather protection
- Magnum Truss roof system
- Might be too heavy for some tow vehicles
- Solar is additional
Finding a fifth wheel for full-time living is easier than you think. Just keep in mind all of the amenities and features you need to feel comfortable living in an RV full-time. There’s no doubt in my mind that you can find a layout and a rig that works well for you, especially one that’s both budget-friendly and functional.
Enjoy living full-time in your fifth wheel!