Living full-time in an RV or trailer is a great way to reduce your run rate while exploring plenty of new places. Whether you’re retired and ready to see parts of the country you’ve never visited or you’re living frugally to save up for a bigger place down the road, living full-time in a 5th wheel is the way to go.
Many of them also boast residential-sized appliances and other luxurious amenities that make them feel more like living in a residential home.
Unfortunately, not all 5th wheels are set up to provide the daily comforts that you’ve come to expect of a full-time residence.
But instead of focusing on designs that are lacking, we’re going to spend our time today highlighting the best 5th wheel for full-time living!
Three Best 5th Wheels For Full-Time Living
1. The Keystone Cougar
- Price: ~ $50,000
- Length: 37’2”
- Exterior Height: 12’6”
- Hitch Weight: 2,095 pounds
The Keystone Cougar 5th Wheel is our #1 choice for the best 5th wheel for full-time living. This rig offers the most luxurious amenities to make it feel as close to home as possible.
In addition to having residential-sized appliances that come standard on every rig, the Cougar features industry-leading water tank sizes so that you don’t have to waste extra time refilling every other day.
There are a total of 11 different floor plans to choose from with the Cougar, but the 338RLK stands out for its open kitchen and living area design.
This best 5th wheel for full-time living has a length of just over 37 feet and a rated hitch weight of 2,095 pounds. It also has a large, 13-foot power retractable awning on the passenger side to give you a shaded outdoor living area.
The kitchen features an island for food prep, which is also where you’ll find the kitchen’s double-basin sink. We really like this setup because it allows you to keep the dirty utensils and dishes well separated from the cooking area in your 5th wheel, which isn’t always the case with all floor plans.
The 338RLK floor plan also offers a total of three pop-outs. There are two on either side of the living/dining area, respectively, and a third in the master bedroom.
And speaking of that master bedroom, it usually comes with a standard queen-sized bed, but you do have the option of upgrading to a king-sized bed if you desire.
2. The Grand Design Solitude
- Price: ~ $80,000
- Length: 34’11”
- Exterior Height: 13’5”
- Hitch Weight: 2,350 pounds
The Grand Design Solitude comes in a close second on our list for the best 5th wheel for full-time RVing.
It’s a perfect selection if you’re new to full-time trailer living. This fifth wheel offers a number of essential and luxury features and it boasts a relatively affordable price tag, especially if this is your full-time home.
The Solitude comes in a standard length of 34’11” and has a rated hitch weight of 2,350 pounds. This 5th wheel’s exterior height of 13’5” translates to higher interior ceilings and a more spacious, comfortable living area.
You’ll also be able to enjoy the use of an all-important island for cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. The dining nook is a comfortable place to enjoy your meals or get some work done during the day.
This best 5th wheel for full-time living is also one of the full that includes a walk-in closet in the master bedroom and it includes an 80” tall pop-out in the main living area.
Throughout the living area, the designers have also included solid hardwood floors for easier cleaning and maintenance, which is a must for full-time RV living.
The Northwood Arctic Fox
- Price: ~ $67,000
- Length: 34’7”
- Exterior Height: 13’4”
- Hitch Weight: 2,490 pounds
Our third choice for the best 5th wheel for full-time living is the Northwood Arctic Fox because it’s arguably the most insulated choice for camping in colder climates.
As its name suggests, the Arctic Fox is one of the best choices for full-time 5th wheelers that encounter freezing temperatures during the winter months.
But it’s also a more compact and affordable choice for first-timers. It comes in a standard length of 33’11” and has a rated hitch of 2,023 pounds. It also comes with a more wallet-friendly price tag than some of the other 5th wheels on our list.
Inside the Arctic Fox, however, you’ll enjoy an open floor plan that provides an abundance of interior living space. It also includes multiple RV air conditioning units that keep your space cool during the hotter months of the year.
But our favorite thing about this 5th wheel for full-time living is the option to have solar panels installed on the roof for off-grid living or greater energy efficiency. You’ll be able to choose 60, 80, 100, or 170-watt panels, depending on your preference.
Choosing a 5th wheel with a solar panel installation can help you save a significant amount on your annual energy bill and can also increase the amount of time you can spend outside of traditional RV parks and campgrounds.
Another optional feature that you can choose with the Arctic Fox is the addition of a washer and dryer combination. Again, having this feature will make your overall setup more self-contained so that you don’t always have to rely on paying for space in an RV park when you want to visit more remote destinations.
Tips For Picking The Best 5th Wheel For Full-Time Living
Selecting the best 5th wheel for you requires an honest assessment of your lifestyle and intended method of using your rig.
Only you can determine the exact specifications and features that are your highest priority, but you should be careful to consider these factors when picking the best 5th wheel for full-time living.
Length and Weight
Length should be one of the first factors you consider when you begin the process of narrowing down your options for a new 5th wheel. Obviously, more length will equate to more living space, but that will also mean a heavier 5th wheel that will require a heavy-duty truck with a larger towing capacity.
You’ll be able to find 5th wheels with lengths ranging from 22 feet up to 40 feet. The most common sizes, however, range from 32 to 36 feet. And as someone who has lived in a 26-foot rig with another person, a dog, and all of our life’s belongings, I’d recommend looking for the best 5th wheel for full-time living with a minimum length of 30 feet.
If you already have a truck that you intend to use to tow your 5th wheel, check it’s maximum towing capacity before you start to explore 5th wheels. This will give you an idea of how heavy of a rig you can feasibly tow without having to upgrade your truck.
And as a good rule-of-thumb, make sure you subtract at least 1,000 to 2,000 pounds from your truck’s rated towing capacity and then use that number as the upper weight limit for the 5th wheels that will work for your vehicle.
This will ensure that you don’t max out your truck’s capacity and cause unnecessary damage once all of your camping supplies, clothing, and other recreation equipment is loaded into your 5th wheel.
Number of Beds
The number of beds in the best 5th wheel for full-time living is really important depending on the size of your family. And while a set of bunk beds can be ideal for younger kids, they might not continue to serve your family as your kids age.
If you’re just a couple traveling and living full-time in your 5th wheel however, you might not need much more than the king or queen-sized bed in the master living suite. That is, of course, if you don’t ever expect to host guests or members of your extended family that will need a place to sleep.
While you could always mandate that your guests set up their own tents outside of your 5th wheel, it’s always nice to have an extra bed or two inside your rig.
So you’ll need to balance having a few extra beds (which can include a pull-out sofa or fold-down Murphy bed) with your need to maximize the interior living space in your rig when it’s just the two of you.
Number (And Location) of Pop-Outs
The number of pop-outs on a given 5th wheel is going to greatly influence the amount of interior living space you’ll be able to enjoy. As a general rule-of-thumb, more pop-outs equals more living space!
This is important for full-time RV living because there are undoubtedly going to be several colder months out of the year when you might not be able to enjoy the indoor-outdoor freedom of 5th wheel living as much as you would during the warmer months.
Speaking from experience, it can be easy for your living space to start feeling cramped during the months when you don’t feel as comfortable spending time outside.
But a 5th wheel with more pop-outs will give you additional living space and help to counter the lack of outside living space that so many of us come to rely upon when living full-time in an RV, travel trailer, or 5th wheel.
That being said, the location of the pop-outs can also come into play. Some 5th wheels have pop-outs in the kitchen, living/dining room, or bedroom. Some of the best 5th wheels for full-time living offer pop-outs in all three of those locations.
What you’ll need to consider is where it’s most important to you to have that extra space. While a bedroom pop-out might sound good in theory, it might not serve you best if you only really use that space for sleeping and, instead, spend most of your free time in the living area.
In our opinion, the living area and kitchen are the two spaces where it makes the most sense to have a pop-out. For the majority of full-time 5th wheelers, these are the most frequented areas and the best spots to have a pop-out so that you don’t constantly feel cramped in your day-to-day living routine.
While there might be other factors that you’d prioritize before the design of your 5th wheel’s kitchen, you have to remember that we are talking about full-time living here. And unless you’re going to be dining out or ordering take-out for 90% of your meals, your kitchen will need to be functional and (hopefully!) fun.
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to how their kitchen is set up. But there are a few factors that can make the kitchen in your 5th wheel much more enjoyable to cook in.
For starters, if the kitchen in your 5th wheel includes an island, this is a major plus.
Need some help organizing your RV? Check this out: 16 Space-Saving RV Kitchen Storage Ideas You Can’t Miss
One of the hard parts about cooking in an RV, 5th wheel, or travel trailer is that counter space can be extremely limited. But an island gives you additional space for your sous chef (aka husband, wife, partner, kids, etc.) to help with food prep while you’re tending the gas range or oven.
Additionally, you’ll need to consider the layout of the sink, range, and other kitchen appliances. The way in which your kitchen appliances are laid out in relation to one another will have a major impact on the functionality of your kitchen.
For example, consider the benefits of a layout in which the refrigerator is next to the sink, which is then followed by a section of counter space before you get to the gas range/oven/microwave area.
This layout will allow you to take foods out of the refrigerator, wash them in the sink, chop them on a cutting board, and then toss them into your frying pan or preferred cooking instrument in a more logical order than if you had to keep walking back and forth across your kitchen to perform these various tasks.
And while not everyone works in their kitchen in the exact same fashion, the point here is to take some time to consider your ideal cooking scenario before buying the best 5th wheel for full-time living.
This is one area where you’ll likely be spending a lot of time, so you’ll need to make sure the layout suits your lifestyle.
Positives and Negatives of Living in 5th Wheel
You really do have many choices when it comes to moving your life into a mobile home. For starters, you’ll need to choose whether an RV, travel trailer, or 5th wheel is best suited to your lifestyle.
So let’s explore some of the positives and negatives of the best 5th wheel for full-time living to help you decide if this is the right type of mobile home for you.
The Negatives of a 5th Wheel
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first so that we can finish by focusing on the positives!
You’ll Need a Bigger Tow Vehicle
Generally speaking, 5th wheels tend to weigh more than smaller travel trailers. This means you’ll need a truck with a larger towing capacity in order to safely tow them from campground-to-campground.
You Won’t Be Able to Store Anything In Your Truck Bed
The design of 5th wheels means that they need to hook up to a very specific hitch. This hitch should be installed directly in the bed of your truck, rather than to the more traditional tow hitch below your rear bumper.
This hitch design means that you won’t be able to store other camping gear or recreational equipment in the back of your truck when towing your 5th wheel.
They Are More Expensive
Compared to travel trailers, most 5th wheels come with a higher price tag. And while this is generally because they offer more features and amenities than a standard travel trailer, you need to consider your ideal budget when selecting the best 5th wheel for full-time living.
The Positives of a 5th Wheel
Now it’s time to focus on the reasons why 5th wheels make so much sense for full-time living!
They Offer More Living Space
Fifth wheels are exceptional for full-time living because they tend to offer much more living space than travel trailers or RVs. They have higher ceilings that make them feel much more spacious and they also tend to include the most pop-outs of these three types of mobile homes.
You Can Use Your Tow Vehicle To Get Around
Once you reach your desired living destination, you’ll be able to detach your truck from your 5th wheel so that you can still get around.
For full-time living, this is essential because you’ll need to restock groceries and you’ll probably want to explore off-the-beaten-path areas where you wouldn’t be able to tow your 5th wheel anyway.
They Have More Full-Time Living Amenities
While you can certainly live in an RV or travel trailer full-time, 5th wheels offer much more in the way of luxury living amenities for full-timers.
Some examples of these amenities include more robust home entertainment systems, fold-down decks for indoor/outdoor living space, more beds for guests or extended family, and larger kitchens for hosting dinner parties or casual get-togethers.
Conclusion on The Best 5th Wheel For Full-Time Living
When you’re living in a mobile home full-time, having a smaller vehicle to help you get around is essential. Speaking from experience, there are no positives to commuting in a large recreational vehicle or trying to figure out where to park it when you’re just making a quick trip to the grocery store.
That’s probably one of the best reasons to choose a 5th wheel for full-time living and we hope you’ve found some great options for your next full-time mobile home.
We appreciate you stopping by and wish you the best of luck on all of your upcoming 5th wheel adventures!
Other RVing stories to check out!
- RV Loan Calculator: Figure Out Your Monthly Payment
- The Best Small RVs for Full-Time Living
- 9 Adorable A-Frame Campers