Best 5th wheel (in your opinion) for full time living?

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  • #9588

    any thoughts on a Palomino Puma or any of the Palomino’s seem to be inexpensive which makes me wonder if they are cheaply made. Time is getting closer 1 month from today :dance:  and I will retire!!! The hunt for our full time rig is on!  :good:




    Scott VanArtsdalen

    I’m still a newbie here but since I’ve been researching, and since this thread is about opinions… we can all have one!

    From what I’m gathering doing my research and reading reviews (when I can find them) is that quality and money are directly proportional.  Better quality = more money.  But it seems you can still get a decent RV for lower money if you go used or if you are willing to put in time on doing maintenance on a more affordable (slightly lower quality) RV.

    Dan Huhn

    I had a palimino Bronco (small truck camper ) they are definatliy made cheep. Me personally i would not buy another one. as they say you get what you pay for.


    I would agree with Dan  about the Bayhill and  Grand Design, but don’t overlook the Montana either.

    Pamela & Anna

    We bought our first 5th wheel new, lived full time in it for ten yrs., learned a lot and realized you can get a much better rv used. Most used rvs have not been used very much. In our opinion you can save an awful lot of money by buying a used rv. A few brands to check out, Teton, Travel Supreme, Alfa Gold, Carriage, Newmar, Although these brands are no longer making 5th wheels, they made some of the best for full time living. If you would rather have a newer unit, find something new you like and then do a search for a used one.

    Scott VanArtsdalen

    Yeah, that’s why we’re looking at this year’s models.  We figure that’s what we’ll be buying used when the time comes.  We just had a look at some Redwood units yesterday where are supposed to be designed for residential use.  But yeah, used trailer definitely.  Hopefully we can score a lightly used truck too. 🙂

    Scott VanArtsdalen

    Well now, doggone it, I got to take a look at a Keystone Montana.  Now I want one of those!  Time to research Keystone’s product support and reliability.

    Don Kline

    Just FYI after i found the one we wanted i searched the internet and found a “new one” in Michigan that was $12,000 less that where i live.. Dealer here said he couldn’t match that price.. So i made the deal over the phone and off we went to Michigan.. Cost me 1500 round trip.. Well worth it…

    Cougar 318SAB..


    Scott VanArtsdalen

    So far our favorite model is the NuWa Hitchiker 32IK.  But I’m confused by them.  They just announced they were back in business and then now I see on their website they are selling off their last two Hitchikers.  Do they go in and out of business or do they only make a few a year?

    I also found Americana 5th wheels.  They look good but there is no pricing anywhere.  Probably puts them in the “if you  have to ask you can’t afford it” realm.  They are supposed to have a dealer in Bullhead City, AZ but when I check Google Maps, they aren’t there.  So not sure about that outfit.

    At least with all the research we know what we’re looking for now.  Something less than 35 feet, that does not look like a “camper”, ie. no dinettes, must have plumbing and room for a washer dryer or combo unit, and good sized basement for my flying machine.

    If NuWa or Americana don’t pan out then I also like the Keystone Montana 3100 RL.

    Scott VanArtsdalen

    Just talked to someone at NuWa and he confirmed that Excel was building new HitchHiker models up until 6 weeks ago.  At this point HitchHiker is done.  I think the next most affordable model for us will be the Keystone Montana 3100RL.

    Scott VanArtsdalen

    Well for a while I had settled on a HitchHiker.  But they have gone down for the 2nd time.  Excel-Petersen was making them for NuWa and now Excel has gone out of business.  After reading all the reviews online (that’s all I have to go by) I’m going to go back to the DRV Mobile Suites.

    I’m really liking the 32 RS3 model:

    rob grune

    With no criteria listed, “best” is at best a matter of opinion. 🙂

    A very big thanks to fellow Canuck Ray for creating this site and posting his comments/blog about his Cougar.


    Scott VanArtsdalen

    But that is the question I asked.  The title of this topic is “Best 5th wheel (in your opinion) for full time living?”  :mrgreen:   Opinions are what I am looking for.  “Why” would be great to know too.  Why do you think it’s the best full time 5er?

    rob grune

    Well, an RV is really all about trade-offs, pros & cons, and personal tastes.  I am currently without an RV, but looking for the best solution for my needs; hence my interest in this group.

    My last 5w was old, a brand no longer existing, and was at least 50% “customised” (ie rebuilt, that thing simply disintegrated day by day), so really of no import to review. But that old beater gave me many valuable lessons both for what my “needs” are and what constitutes a good 5wRV. One thing I learned quickly was shorter-is-better and lighter-is-better.  Thus my #1 criteria is no more than 30ft length, which severely limits my choices for a 5w.  Of the brands that have grabbed my attention are (in no order):

    Keystone!  The Sprinter model. This brand seems to be the bang for buck, as new units are definitely lower in price to other brands. All owners give this brand an approval, but very few owners met are full timers. The price discount comes at corner cutting, so expect to change many small items during use (as Ray has noted). Overall a good structure, but the woods are chip board, which is a real negative for me (one serious water soak, and the wood is ruined and a very costly repair).  The Lippert frame is good and items can be added as needed, but too light to take off road.

    Northwood. Both Foxes (arctic and mountain). Owners met swear by these, which is perhaps why I have not yet found any decent used ones for sale! Seem to be very well built, and can go off road (Northwood designs its own chassis). Very heavy RVs for their size and compared to other brands. Extensive use of wood, but this is plywood not chip board. Like all brands, none of the woods are marine-grade, so this is a con for me. Everything else is very positive.  Seems to be high quality, and reliable. Highest price per sq.ft.

    Open Range.  Lite. This one has really captured my curiosity. Have seen only 1 unit at a show. Seems to be very well made and designed with many useful features. Woods are ply. Roof is PVC, a plus. Interior decor not to my taste. Lippert chassis. Best warranty; 2 years, double other brands. I want to see more and meet many owners.

    LivinLite. Too new to find owners yet. Units are all-aluminium, so no fears of water damage. Seems well built with good running gear. But designs and decor are very basic, so no luxury! By far, these units have greatest carry capacity: 4500# !  Definitely on my list to investigate deeply.  A tad costly for such plain units.

    Escape. 5TA. All fibreglass, no woods, lightweight, but only 25ft. These are great units, but too small for my needs.  I am hoping the company will go to 30ft and provide a much more upscale experience. All owners met swear by these.

    So there you have the units to pique my interest and why.  But none have exactly everything I want: eg, no clothes washer, no independent suspensions, no disc brakes, rid of carpeting (yes, I want all-lino), and many other things.  The furniture in all brands simply will not last, so you can expect to replace in a few years; same for carpets.

    A member stated the value of buying used. Definitely this is good advice, if you find a unit with no damage, strong frame, and the floor plan you like. The money you save on purchase can then be applied to upgrade the unit for all the things you like, to achieve possibly the best of worlds for you.  I am seriously considering this route: but the time to search and travel to see, then rebuild, is daunting and is time away from RV-ing.

    as stated, pros and cons.


    Scott VanArtsdalen

    Now THAT was pure gold!  Great stuff!

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