The Best 5th Wheel Hitch Options – Factors to Consider Before Purchasing!
For those trailer owners and outdoor enthusiasts who love to explore, you know that there is a core list of things which must be in place before you set out on the road. There are a lot of recreational vehicle owners across the world all of which come with varying capabilities and amenities. Some of the most popular roadster vehicles currently on the market are fifth-wheel trailers, this is largely due to the vast selection of these specific vehicles which are available on the market currently. Fifth wheel hitch options are also oftentimes called trailers or campers and this is for good reason, for those who want the experience of a full-on RV but don’t want the responsibility of keeping up with the scheduled maintenance and utilities that come with them, a fifth wheel hitch can be a great alternative. With regular RVs, you gain access to mobile utilities such as plumbing, kitchen, living spaces, lighting, bedrooms, storage options, outdoor areas, and more.
All of these features come in one inclusive package meaning there are a sole vehicle and infrastructure in which you drive and experience all of the amenities mentioned above. Fifth wheel hitches, on the other hand, allow you to attach a separate trailer to your truck or SUV in order to access those on-the-road living features as you desire with the option of removing it at any time. This is a really popular option with most people because it allows them to easily attach and disconnect their trailer when they do not want to haul it around anymore.
Standalone RVs, trailers, and campers can be very expensive to maintain and operate when in comparison to fifth-wheel trailers. By being able to use your own truck to haul the trailer, you can adjust the configuration of your towing vehicle to save money and other hefty costs associated with driving and sustaining a regular RV. To properly haul your fifth-wheel trailer, you’ll need to use a fifth wheel hitch which allows you to connect the trailer to your existing towing vehicle set-up.
Fifth wheel hitches come in many different configurations and design options, which is why it’s important for you to know about and understand all of the various elements that will go into deciding which fifth wheel hitch is right for your intended use.
To begin, let’s look at some of the most commonly used terms and words that you will want to get familiar with on your journey to purchasing a fifth-wheel hitch.
Top Recommended Fifth Wheel Hitch Option
The B and W RVK3300 Companion 5th Wheel comes with a max weight rating of 20,000 pounds which is perfect for medium-sized trailers. The hitch allows for a variety of vertical adjustments ranging in degrees and angles. This hitch comes with cam-action latching handles which makes the hitch itself a lot easier to release and put back over time. The hitch also comes with integrated noise reduction technology which ensures a quiet trip when towing your trailer.
Important Terms to Know Related to Fifth Wheel Hitches
As with all industries and special purchases, there are a lot of unique terms that are used in the trailer industry. Before buying the right fifth wheel hitch option for your trailer or camper, you will need to familiarize yourself with these different words to ensure that you will understand what all of them mean in relation to your desired selection.
In the following section, we’re going to go over some of the most commonly used terms that you’ll encounter when purchasing a fifth wheel hitch to ensure that you’re making the right decision. Make sure you pay attention to this entire section so that you can make sure you understand what certain words and phrases refer to in terms of your desired fifth wheel hitch selection.
Extended Pin Box- the term extended pin box refers to an apparatus that is commonly used on short tracks. This device will prevent the chances of the trailer you’re hauling hitting your cab when turning in tight corners or at fast speeds. If you have a short bed truck and are interested in hauling trailers, you will want to use an extended pin box to reduce the potential overall damage that your vehicle will sustain.
Pucks- these devices usually come integrated into the rear bed of your truck underneath the bed itself. Pucks are mounting rails that you can use in order to hitch your trailer with more ease and security than complete separate hitch attachments. If you see pucks on your truck, they indicate that your truck has an under-bed hitch prep package.
Mounting Rails- mounting rails are an essential part of connecting your selected fifth wheel hitch option. Mounting rails are attached to the bed of your truck and are required for all fifth wheel hitches in order to be connected correctly. A device known as the hitch coupler is what connects to the mounting rails in order to secure your trailer.
King Pin- the kingpin is a device that comes integrated into the design of all fifth wheel hitches. The main purpose of the kingpin is to attach to the coupler on the hitch which allows the trailer to pivot and turn while driving.
Slider Fifth Wheel Hitch- slider fifth wheel hitches are variable hitch connectors that automatically change the position of your trailer by sliding back and forth on its axis in the back of your truck bed. They help prevent your trailer from coming in contact with your truck bed while trying to maneuver the vehicle around tight turns and at fast rates of speed. These types of connectors slide back and forth in order to adjust the length of your trailer from your cab automatically.
Hitch Locking Leveler- the hitch locking leveler serves the main purpose of locking down the bar which is used to release the fifth wheel pin box. This is used to ensure that the fifth wheel remains stays attached to your trailer, for best practice, you should always choose a hitch locking leveler that will prevent your trailer from detaching while you’re driving.
Hitch Coupler- hitch couplers come in two main styles being either welded or bolted to the bed frame of your truck. These flat devices provide the necessary connection for you to properly attach your trailer to your truck.
Now that we’ve covered some of the most common words and phrases that you’ll hear when purchasing a fifth wheel hitch, it’s time to look at the critical elements and variables that you need to consider before making your final purchase decision.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing A Fifth Wheel Hitch
While fifth wheel hitches come in many different models and configurations, one thing will remain consistent regardless, that is weight. Fifth wheel hitches weigh around a ton on average which is a lot of weight to haul behind virtually any truck. In order to make sure your truck will be able to pull the fifth wheel hitch that you select, you need to consider a few important elements so that you can ensure you’re making the right decision. It’s very important for you to ensure that your truck is rated to haul the fifth wheel hitch that you’re interested in using because selecting a hitch that is incompatible with your truck can put the lives of your family and other passing vehicles at serious risk.
To prevent any accidents from happening while on the road with your fifth wheel hitch, there are a few key elements that you can look for when selecting the right fifth wheel hitch for your desired use. Below, we’re going to list all of the important elements and variables that you need to consider when purchasing a fifth wheel hitch for your trailer.
Make sure you pay close attention to this following section to ensure that you select the right fifth wheel hitch option specifically for your truck’s hauling capacity.
Total Length of Your Truck Bed
The length of your truck bed plays a very important part in determining the type of hitch that will be compatible with your vehicle. Truck beds that shorter than 6 & a half feet or shorter are only compatible with sliding hitch configurations in order for you to install it correctly. Sliding hitches give you the ability to release the hitch manually and adjust its depth according to the specific dimensions of your truck.
The adjustment capabilities that you get access to when using a sliding hitch allow you to make more efficient use of your trailers with reduced odds of your experiencing accidents while out on the road. It’s important for you to choose the right fifth wheel hitch because it will allow you to drive your trailer around without any interruptions.
Max Allotted Weight
When it comes to trailers in general, the total amount of weight in and outside of your trailer plays a major role in determining which hitch you’ll be able to use. Usually, the manufacturer of the fifth wheel hitch option in question will supply you with the overall max weight that your trailer hitch is rated for. You can find this information by looking at the packaging that the hitch comes in.
Fifth wheel hitches come in many different configurations and styles, not all of them are easy to remove from your truck bed after use. In order to make sure you’re still able to use your truck bed, consider going with a gooseneck hitch setup. A gooseneck hitch setup will allow you to easily remove the hitch anytime you’re done with it to regain access to your truck bed. This type of hitch setup uses only an under-mount system that comes with a ball hitch that is attached by way of your truck bed.
It’s the most convenient setup especially if you know that you’re going to be using your truck bed later. When it comes to a standard fifth wheel hitch configuration, they require you to disassemble them completely before regaining access to your truck bed. This can be a hassle for some however it’s really not that big of a deal if you don’t plan on utilizing your truck bed often.
Now that we’ve gone over the most important factors that you need to consider before deciding on which fifth wheel hitch is right for you, it’s time to look at all of the various hitch types and mounting options that you’ll find on the market when you begin your search.
Types of Fifth Wheel Hitch Mounting Designs
While they all serve the same basic function, fifth wheel hitches come in a few main designs and configuration types. All of the various fifth wheel hitch options out on the market provide different benefits to those with trucks of a certain length and their overall hauling capacity. It’s important for you to ensure that you’re choosing the right fifth wheel hitch configuration for your specific truck model so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with any accidents while out on the road.
In the following section, we’re going to go over all of the various types of fifth wheel hitch options that are out on the market for you to choose from. Make sure you read this entire section in full so that you will be able to make the right choice on which fifth wheel hitch configuration is perfect for your truck.
Above-Bed Mounting Systems
Above-Bed hitch mounting systems use a bracket that is typically installed inside the bed of your truck which then allows you to attach your selected hitch option. The brackets used to install above-bed mounting systems are oftentimes left inside of the truck bed even once the trailer is disconnected. The overall compatibility and size of these installation brackets will vary depending on the model and type of fifth wheel hitch that you purchase.
Under Bed Mounting Systems
Under-bed mounting systems use many of the same design features as the standard pucks that come installed in the bed of many trucks. The infrastructure used to mount hitches that use this system are made to be attached to the frame of your truck bed by way of access holes which are made by drilling through the metal layer. The fifth wheel hitch is connected to the fasteners beneath the truck bed which adds a more secure connection to the towing process overall. The best part about using an under-bed mounting system is that you can remove it at any time without any other connections obstructing your truck bed.
Industry Standard Rails
Industry-standard rails come in kits which provide a reliable rail system for your hitch that will work with a wide variety of different hitches currently out on the market. Depending on the type of industry-standard rail configuration that you use, you may be able to remove it in order to use your truck bed when the hitch is not in use. Other configurations must remain installed in your truck bed even when the hitch is not in use so always keep this in mind before making your final purchase decision.
Now that we’ve covered all of the various mounting options you can choose from when selecting the best setup for your trailer hitch, it’s time to look at all of the various fifth wheel hitch types out on the market currently.
Fifth Wheel Hitch Variants & Models
Fifth wheel hitches come in a variety of different models and variations that are compatible with truck beds of many different sizes. Not all fifth wheel hitch options are compatible with every type of truck so it’s important for you to know the exact dimensions of your truck bed before finalizing your purchase.
In this section, we’re going to go over all of the different types of hitch models that you’ll come across when selecting the right model for your specific truck and hauling needs. it’s important for you to know about what kind of hitch model you’re buying so that you can ensure it will serve it’s intended purpose in your life.
Gooseneck adapters allow those who have already configured their trucks for gooseneck hauling to simply attach an adapter which would then allow you to tow your fifth-wheel trailer. Depending on the model of the adapter, you will either be able to attach the trailer to the gooseneck ball or you can use the ball hose of your gooseneck to attach your fifth wheel. These adapters are great because you can simply attach your fifth wheel hitch without having to modify anything in your truck bed or on your vehicle in general.
Gooseneck adapters come in four main designs which are:
- Adapters that use the ball hole of your gooseneck hitch for installation
- Adapters that replace your existing pin box
- Adapters that attach to the gooseneck ball in the truck bed
- Adapters that bolt into the kingpin plate in your truck bed
All of these adapter configurations have their own advantages and disadvantages, always consider your individual needs before deciding on which setup is right for you.
Sliding Fifth Wheel Hitches
Sliding fifth wheel hitches allow you to attach your trailer to a truck with a relatively short bed style. Sliding fifth wheel hitches come in two main configurations being manual and automatic. Automatic sliding fifth wheel hitches automatically adjust the mounting position of your trailer according to the current driving conditions and speed. Manual sliding fifth wheel hitches require that you manually adjust the hitch in order to match it up perfectly with your truck bed.
Depending on your particular needs, either an automatic or manual sliding hitch will provide you with the secure connection you need in order to maneuver with your trailer without any accidents.
Standard Fifth Wheel Hitches
Standard fifth wheel hitch options are stationary hitch attachments that come in two main configurations being the standard fixed model and an air ride model. The fixed hitch options do not move or adjust to the road conditions you’re experiencing, this can lead to damaging your trailer and truck if you fail to perform the correct research before making a final purchase decision. Air ride fifth wheel hitches come with a singular system that uses an air-inflated cushion to prevent serious damage or accidents to your trailer when driving on the road.
All of these hitch options provide their own benefits and come designed for very specific truck types and configurations. Before making your final purchase decision, it’s important for you to understand what hitch options are compatible with your truck type and how you should go about choosing the correct configuration that will work for your hauling needs.
Now, we’re going to look at some of the most commonly asked questions that many people have in terms of how to choose the right fifth wheel hitch.
In this section, we’re going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions that many people have when trying to figure out which fifth-wheel option is right for their specific needs. make sure that you read this following section in full to ensure that you’re making the right decision when it comes to your desired trailer hauling needs.
Q: Can I install my selected fifth wheel hitch myself?
A: as long as you are equipped with the right tools and knowledge, it’s absolutely possible for you to install your fifth wheel hitch on your own. Most fifth wheel hitch options come with installation kits which makes it easier for you to install the hitch yourself.
Q: How do I connect my fifth wheel hitch?
A: mainly all trailer hitches connect to your truck by way of a downward pin that holds your trailer in place while driving.
Q: How does the installation process work for fifth-wheel hitches?
A: While every installation method will vary depending on the type of hitch you select; they all will have to be mounted into the bed of your truck in order to properly haul your trailer.
Top Fifth Wheel Hitch Recommendations
Now that we’ve covered all of the most important features and information you need to know when choosing the right fifth wheel hitch for your needs, it’s time to look at some of our top fifth wheel hitch options that are currently available on the market. Keep in mind, all of the fifth wheel hitch options mentioned below will come in various different designs and model so you always want to consider your personal intended use before making a final purchase decision.
The Pro Series 30128 Fifth Wheel Hitch 15K has a maximum weight capacity of 15,000 pounds which is more than enough to haul medium to small-sized trailer options. The hitch has a pin weight rating of 3,750lbs which makes it easy for you to ensure that your trailer remains attached to your hitch. The hitch also comes with a 4-way pivoting head which makes it easier to avoid high raised ground when driving and it makes the installation process much easier.
The CURT 16130 Black Q20 5th Wheel Hitch, 20,000 lbs. comes with an integrated 3 position indicator which allows you to see the current security rating for the connection between your hitch and truck. The hitch also comes with industry-standard fifth wheel base rails which makes mounting the hitch a lot easier. This hitch was designed to provide quiet operation and efficient towing capacity and uses a very durable design for long-lasting performance.
The Reese 30142 Elite Series 18K (Pre-Assembled) & 90 Degree Fifth Wheel Adapter Harness has a maximum 18,000lb towing capacity and comes with a 4,500-pound pin weight rating. This hitch is pre-assembled which makes it very easy to install in your truck bed to begin towing your trailer in no time. The hitch has an integrated round head that uses a 4-way pivot system that makes it easier to tell how tightly the connection between hitch and trailer are. Is also reduces the amount of damage your hitch takes over time.
The Pro-Series 30056 Fifth Wheel Hitch 15K has an integrated 4-way pivoting head that has a side tilt degrees of 5. This hitch is an automatic model and uses self-latching technology to ensure a tight and secure fit all the way around. This hitch comes with 4 separate bolt rails and even come with an installation kit which makes it easier for you to install this hitch yourself.
The CURT 16516 E16 5th Wheel Slider Hitch uses a dual pivot head which allows up to 10 degrees of movement at any time for improved hauling capabilities and power. This hitch has a max weight rating of about 16,000lbs which makes it an optimal option for anyone looking to securely tow a small trailer. This hitch also has integrated anti-noise technology which reduces the overall sound created by the hitch while driving.
Use all of the information in this guide to help you make the right decision about which hitch option is right for your truck model. We’ve covered all of the important factors and variables that you need to know about when selecting the correct fifth wheel hitch for your trailer. Take the times to look at all of your personal needs and intended uses before purchasing a fifth wheel hitch to make sure you’re choosing the right option.