If you’re the type of RVer who prefers fifth wheels over other types of RVs, then you know the importance of getting the best truck for towing a 5th wheel. Your towing truck is your means to get to different camping destinations and it would dictate how much you can bring with you and how comfortable you can get while camping.
This is why it is very important to choose the best truck for towing a 5th wheel so that you can have an awesome camping adventure.
In this article, we’ll help you find the best truck for your fifth wheel. We’ll also answer other questions that you have about these campers. So, sit back, relax, and continue reading so that you’ll know more about fifth wheels and their towing trucks.
Reviews of the 8 Best Trucks for Towing a 5th Wheel
We’re immediately giving you a quick rundown of the 8 trucks that made it to our list.
- Ford F-350 Super Duty
- 2020 Ram 3500
- Nissan Titan XD
- 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD
- 2021 GMC Sierra 3500 HD
- Ford F-150
- 2021 GMC Sierra 1500
- 2021 Toyota Tundra
Now, we’ll tell you what’s so great about these trucks that you should use them for towing your 5th wheel.
Ford F-350 Super Duty
The Ford F-350 Super Duty is a top choice among fifth wheel owners. It has optimal towing capability with GVWR, payload, and gross combined weight ratings that are best in its class. No doubt about it, Ford F-350 Super Duty can get the job done.
There are different engines available so you can choose the level of power and performance that you want in a towing vehicle. If you like off-road adventures, you can get their Tremor Off-Road Package so that you can confidently take your 5th wheel across any kind of terrain.
Ford F-350 Super Duty also uses the most advanced technology to enhance your driving experience. It features Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) to ensure your safety on the road, Pro Trailer Backup Assist™ to help you in backing up your trailer, SYNC™ to respond to your voice commands, and FordPass™ which allows you to get a lot of things done simply by connecting your smartphone.
With all its features, it is really no surprise that Ford F-350 Super Duty is a top choice for towing 5th wheels.
- Fuel Capacity: starts at 29 gallons
- Drive Type: 4×2 or 4×4
- Available Engines: 6.2L V8 Gas (FFV)/ 6.7L Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel / 7.3L PFI Gas V8
- Horsepower: starts at 385 @ 5,750 rpm (6.2L V8)
- Torque: starts at 430 @ 3,800 rpm (6.2L V8)
- Transmission: TorqShift® G 6-speed SelectShift Automatic® / TorqShift® 10-speed SelectShift Automatic® with Selectable Drive Modes
- Wheelbase: 141.6 (Regular Cab) / 148.0″ (SWB SuperCab); 164.2″ (LWB SuperCab) / 159.8″ (SWB Crew Cab); 176.0″ (LWB Crew Cab)
- GCWR: starts at 19,500 lbs
- GVWR: starts at 9,900 lbs
2020 Ram 3500
The 2020 Ram 3500 comes from the manufacturers of America’s longest lasting heavy-duty pickups. has impressive towing and payload capacities. This truck has a powerful engine that has been specifically designed for hard work.
It has great features that will help you on the road. Its digital rearview mirror has an LCD monitor that shows a real-time video of what’s happening behind the truck. Driving at night won’t be a problem with its Class-Exclusive Adaptive Forward Lighting System for improved visibility at night.
You will also love its Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking as it helps keep you safe to the point that it will automatically stop the truck when there’s imminent danger on the road. Its Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop works in such a way that drivers can set the distance they want to maintain from those vehicles ahead of them. This smart feature can also adjust your speed according to road conditions. The best thing about it is that this truck can perform all these features even while your 5th wheel is attached to it that’s why we love it for towing a 5th wheel.
- Engine liters (L): 6.4
- Cylinder configuration: V-8
- Horsepower (hp): 410 @ 5,600RPM
- Drive type: Rear-wheel
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) (lbs.): 10,700
- Payload (lbs.): 4,640
- Towing capacity (lbs.): 14,970
- Gross combined weight rating (GCWR) (lbs.): 21,500
- 5th-wheel towing capacity (lbs.): 14,790
Nissan Titan XD
With the newest model of Nissan Titan XD, you get so much value in just its standard package. It boasts of being best in class when it comes to standard horsepower, torque, and safety technology. It also offers the largest screen and best truck warranty.
The Nissan Titan XD is not too big nor too small for a towing vehicle. It comes at the right size to comfortably tow a 5th wheel that’s up to 10,880 lbs. It already comes with a gooseneck hitch where you can connect your trailer.
So what more can you expect when you choose to upgrade? You can only expect unparalleled power, performance and safety features that’ll be able to take you through different terrains effortlessly.
- Maximum towing capacity Receiver Hitch (lbs.) up to 10,880
- Maximum payload (lbs.) up to [*] 2,390
- Base curb weight (lbs.)6,402
- Base GVWR (lbs.)8,800
- 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine
- 400 hp @ 5,800 rpm [*]
- 413 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm [*]
- Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL®) technology
- Iridium-tipped spark plugs
- Alternator (200 amps)
- Battery (710 CCA)
- Fuel Type: Gas Regular Unleaded
- Drivetrain: 4×4
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD
The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD is a heavy duty truck with a powerful performance on the road. It has a reliable towing capability, an impressive diesel engine, and its interiors and exteriors are built to last.
Chevrolet gives you the option to choose among 4 configurations from standard to long bed and 4 trims so you can choose which one suits your towing needs going from the most basic to upscale luxury when you travel.
You also have the option to get the 6.6-liter Turbo diesel V8 engine with 10-speed automatic transmission and even upgrade it to 10-speed automatic transmission with integrated Power Take-Off or go with the direct injection with variable valve timing gas engine with the 6-speed, heavy-duty, electronically controlled automatic transmission.
You can choose between a dual rear wheel or a single wheel rear as well as the length of your truck bed. These options will help you save on fuel cost and maximize your truck’s performance..
Whichever trims or engines you choose, the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD is truly a dependable truck for your fifth wheel camping adventure.
- Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm): 445 / 332 @ 2800 (SAE certified)
- Torque (lb.-ft. / Nm @ rpm): 910 / 1234 @ 1600 (SAE certified)
- GVWR: starts at 11000 / 4990 – gas (standard bed)
- Max Trailering (5th Wheel): 6.0L: 5985 lb
- Payload: starts at 4316 / 1958 – gas (standard bed)
2021 GMC Sierra 3500 HD
GMC allows you to choose the configuration, engine, trims for single wheel rear or dual wheel rear, colors, and other accessories you want to have in your truck such as a hitch package or fifth wheel prep package. This gives you the opportunity to add more power and comfort to your 2021 GMC Sierra 3500HD as you tow your 5th wheel.
Its standard safety features are above par. Its advanced and intelligent safety features include the OnStar® & GMC Connected Services capability, hitch guidance, hitch guidance with hitch view, HD rear vision camera, and StabiliTrak, stability control system with Proactive Roll Avoidance and traction control. These will help keep you safe and be more confident while towing your 5th wheel.
- Maximum conventional trailering capacity of up to 36,000 lbs
- Maximum fifth-wheel/gooseneck rating of up to 35,500 lbs
- Maximum payload of up to 7,442 lbs
- GMC MultiPro Tailgate
- 6.6L V8 Direct Injection with Variable Valve Timing Gas engine
- Horsepower @ RPM: 401 hp [299 kW] @ 5200 rpm
- Torque @ RPM: 464 lb-ft of torque [629 N-m] @ 4000 rpm
- Transfer Case, Manual: Magna MP1625/6
- 6-Speed Automatic Transmission
- Rear axle, 4.10 ratio
Ford F-150 XL
The Ford F-150 XL is a popular choice because Ford also gives buyers various opportunities to customize your truck according to your travel and towing needs. Ford promises that this year’s model is tougher and smarter.
The Ford 150 truck is strong with its military grade, aluminum alloy body. Its steel frame has been torture tested to guarantee its strength and durability. It is powerful in towing your 5th wheel as it has best in class payload and towing capacities.
Ford 150 can also serve as your mobile generator. With its Class Exclusive Pro Power Onboard, F 150 delivers the power you need and you can use it even when your truck is parked. It also enhances your home on the road with the use of smart technologies like SYNC 4.
With the combination of strength, power, safety, and convenience, you can be sure that this truck won’t give up on you wherever you go.
- Horsepower (hp@rpm): 290 @ 6500
- Torque (lb.-ft. @rpm): 265 @ 4000
- Fuel delivery: Port Fuel Injection and Direct Injection
- Recommended fuel: Regular Unleaded or E85
- GCWR: (3.3L Ti-VCT V6) 9,400 lbs
- GVWR: (3.3L Ti-VCT V6) 6,010 lbs
2021 GMC Sierra 1500
The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is a light duty pickup truck that can tow trailers a maximum of 11,800 lbs for their Max Trailering Package. You can hitch your 5th wheel in its carbon fiber composite bed that’s the first in the industry.
It is fuel efficient whether you’re at the highway or city driving. It also boasts of a lot of advanced features like the HD vision camera and StabiliTrak, electronic stability control system with traction control. It is also OnStar® GMC Connected Services capable that make towing your 5th wheel easy, safe and comfortable.
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: from 6,900 lbs to 7,100 lbs
- Gross Combined Weight Rating: 15,000 lbs
- Maximum Payload Capacity: from 2,185 lbs to 2,298 lbs
- Cargo Volume: 62.90 ft³
2021 Toyota Tundra
Rounding up our list of the best trucks for 5th wheel towing is another crowd favorite, the 2021 Toyota Tundra. Its standard 5.7-liter V8 engine with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque is suitable for heavy towing with its GCWR of 16,000 lbs. The 2021 Toyota Tundra has more power and is built to be able to tow heavier trailers.
Its advanced safety features include having front and rear parking sensors, Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) Blind Spot, pre-collision system (PCS) and rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA). These smart features will help keep you safe on the road as you tow your 5th wheel.
Key Specifications and Features:
- Gross Combines Weight Rating: 16,000 lbs.
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 7,000 lbs.
- Horsepower: 381 @ 5600
- Torque: 401 @ 3600
- Gas mileage: 13 mpg City/17 mpg Hwy
There you go! Those are our reviews for the 8 best trucks for towing a 5th wheel.
What is a fifth wheel and why should you choose it over other campers?
A fifth wheel refers to the hitch or U-shaped coupling component that allows you to connect your camper at the back of a large towing vehicle such as a truck.
This particular type of recreational vehicle offers specific advantages to vanlifers. The hitches are very useful in facilitating a better driving experience. It is easier to maneuver as the trailer will follow suit. It also makes traveling safer as there’s less swaying, better weight distribution, and the anchoring point of the trailer is more secure.
Fifth wheels are a more gas efficient means of traveling. You also have the flexibility to go solo or bring more people with you when you go camping. They make such good use of space that you can maximize your floorplan according to your travel needs. When you reach your camping destination, you can simply unhook it from your truck and you can use your truck to explore the town.
It is no wonder that there are vanlifers who are loyal to fifth wheels even with all the other travel trailers and motorhomes available in the market. Fifth wheels offer great value and enhance your camping experience.
What are aftermarket rails?
If your truck doesn’t come with a pre-installed rail system, you can get an aftermarket rail. There are installation kits available in the market. These rails can be customized to fit your truck.
There are different kinds of aftermarket rails. These are:
- Above-bed rails
- Below-bed rails
- Semi-custom rails
- Universal rails
Check the compatibility of the aftermarket rails with your truck before you get one.
What are wiring harnesses?
Wiring harnesses will help improve the efficiency of your rails and your truck’s towing. These harnesses are plugged into your truck’s factory wiring. It is best to use a harness with 90 degree angled connectors or those with seven-way connectors as they are easier to install.
Do I Need Fifth Wheel Hitches Installed?
If you want your truck to be able to tow your 5th wheel trailer, then you definitely need to install fifth wheel hitches. A fifth wheel hitch will give your truck optimum towing capacity.
It is very common to have hitches or aftermarket rails installed in truck beds. Some truck manufacturers already offer packages that include installed 5th wheel hitches to make it convenient for buyers should they immediately want to use their trucks for towing.
There are 2 kinds of installation rails: rails below the truck bed and rails above the truck bed.
If your truck already comes with a pre-installed hitch straight from the factory, chances are the rails are below the truck bed.
If your truck doesn’t have a fifth wheel hitch yet, there are installation kits which are available in the market. Check the kit’s compatibility with your truck before buying one. The good thing about these prep kits is that they are so easy to install. It will only take you less than 30minutes to get the job done. But if you don’t have a prep package, then expect the installation of the 5th wheel hitch to take half a day.
Which Hitch Should I Use?
There two most common types of fifth wheel hitches: the fixed hitch and the sliding hitch. The kind of hitch you should use would depend on your truck bed.
Fixed hitches are used for long bed trucks. They provide excellent cab clearance for long bed trucks making it easier to make turns on the road.
Sliding hitches are used for short-bed trucks. Because they are able to move backward in the direction of the truck’s tailgate, there is an increased distance between the towing vehicle and the fifth wheel trailer which facilitates better movement especially when taking sharp turns.
But if you have a very short bed truck (under 6 feet), you would need a different kind of hitch that’s made specifically for this size of truck beds. These hitches are called Revolution or Sidewinder Pin Box. They allow trucks with a very short bed to still be able to tow fifth wheel trailers by creating space needed when making turns.
How To Tow A Fifth Wheel Using A Truck?
Once you make sure that your truck has the towing capacity to handle your fifth wheel, make sure you have your fifth wheel trailer properly hitched to your truck. The hitch will make it easy for you to drive your truck with your fifth wheel in tow. You’ll be able to take on sharp turns and there’s less swaying as you drive.
The trick in towing a fifth wheel when using a truck is you must make wide turns to avoid hitting the curbside or other vehicles on the road. Drive past the lane where you want to turn before you make the turn. You need that extra space to be able to angle your fifth wheel trailer while maneuvering.
You should also maintain a comfortable distance between your truck and the vehicle that’s right in front of you to give you the space you need when you need to slow down or stop. Take note that the additional weight that you’re carrying will make it more difficult for you to stop or slow down immediately.
It is also good to practice driving your truck with your fifth wheel trailer in tow in a driveway or not so busy street so that you can get used to its weight before you take it through heavy traffic.
How to Choose the Best Truck for 5th Wheel Towing?
If you’re sill looking for the best truck for towing a 5th wheel, here are the factors that you need to consider before you make your decision.
Consider The Power
First and foremost, you should get a truck with sufficient raw power to be able to handle its towing job. This means it will not heat up nor breakdown when towing your 5th wheel trailer.
You should consider the specifications, features, mechanisms, and technologies that make up the truck that enable it to transmit power smoothly.
Diesel Vs Gas Engines
Gas engines offer a more affordable option for those with fifth wheels. The fuel cost is less expensive and their maintenance and upkeep is more affordable as well.
But if you want a truck with greater towing power, then it is recommended that you get a truck with a diesel engine. Their engines have more torque so you can expect greater performance especially when it comes to their towing capacity.
Diesel engines also offer better fuel economy so you actually get to save more money in the long run. In terms of longevity, diesel engines outlast their gas counterparts making them the better choice of engine overall.
Long vs Short Bed
Long bed trucks are trucks with beds that are 8 feet in length while short bed trucks are between 6 to 8 feet. Very short bed trucks have beds that are below 6 feet.
Although you can still tow a 5th wheel using a very short bed truck, you would need a special hitch for this to solve the challenge of having a tight turning radius in the short bed truck.
As such, experts recommend long bed trucks in towing your 5th wheel so that you will not be limited when it comes to movement or making sharp turns. They are safer to use on the road. As a bonus, long bed trucks also give you more available storage space. This is why long bed trucks are considered to be the better choice over short bed trucks.
Trailer Brake Controllers
Trailer brake controller is a device that is connected to your trailer that will ensure your safety on the road. It helps you have control of your trailer and stop smoothly as needed.
Trailer brake controllers work by applying the trailer brakes based on the input of the driver of the towing vehicle. When the driver presses the brake pedal, the trailer brake controllers are activated.
Consider getting electric brake controllers. They use an electrical circuit that’s able to detect changes in the vehicle’s momentum. When the brake pedal is pressed, the trailer brake controllers apply power to the trailer brakes as needed according to the momentum of the towing vehicle.
Electric brake controllers have a better and safer performance especially during emergency braking situations. They also reduce the wear and tear between your tow vehicle brakes and trailer brakes.
If you have a large 5th wheel trailer, then you need a heavier truck. The heavier the truck, the more payload capacity it has.
If you only have a small truck, make sure that your 5th wheel camper doesn’t exceed the maximum weight capacity of your truck. You can also use suspension enhancements to help in leveling and stabilizing your vehicle.
It is better to get a larger truck so that you won’t cause too much strain on its suspension and other components while it is towing your 5th wheel trailer.
The tires on your truck have particular payload ratings. If you want a truck with more payload capacity, you should consider upgrading your truck’s tires.
Truck Towing Capacity
Your fifth wheel shouldn’t surpass the towing limit of your truck. This is why you should always check all the details of your truck to find out if it’s capable to handle your fifth wheel. In particular, determine your truck’s towing capacity or towing limit.
If your fifth wheel is beyond your truck’s towing capacity, the burden will be too much for your towing vehicle. This is dangerous as it won’t be able to pull your fifth wheel properly. Your truck’s engine might overheat especially if you pass by steep slopes. It will also affect the performance of your truck’s transmission and wear out your brakes.
In other words, it’s a disaster that’s waiting to happen. And if ever there is an accident, you might not be covered by your insurance because of overloading. This means you have to shoulder the expensive cost of repairs and replacement. For your own safety on the road, make sure you observe the truck’s towing limit.
Net Combined Weight Rating
The Net Combined Weight Rating or NCWR refers to the total combined weight of the loaded truck and loaded trailer. This includes the weight of all passengers, fuel, water, your equipment and appliances in the trailer, and everything else inside the truck and trailer.
You should take note of your truck’s net combined weight rating and stay within its limit so that you can expect your truck to perform well on the road. If you exceed your truck’s NCWR, you will wear it out faster and you will experience damages and breakdowns sooner rather than later in your truck’s lifespan.
Your truck makes a big difference in your travel experience. It will determine your safety on the road. These are the main factors that you need to consider when looking for the best truck for towing a 5th wheel. When all of these are accounted for, it will guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience on the road as you go on your way to your favorite camping destination.
Which Is Better: Dual Rear Wheel Or Single Rear Wheel?
There are certain advantages to each one.
If you have a large fifth wheel trailer, then a dual rear wheel will provide better assistance in pulling your fifth wheel. It also makes the ride more stable. Dual rear wheels gives your truck a higher weight capacity. It will lessen the strain on your truck as you tow your 5th wheel.
In case you experience a tire blowout, it won’t be much of a bother when you have a dual rear wheel as the extra set of wheels will allow you to carry on. They are very handy during long rides or when traversing uneven terrains.
On the other hand, a single rear wheel is more comfortable to drive. They are easier to maneuver on the road. They make towing your 5th wheel easier. You can enjoy better fuel efficiency and improved road visibility when you use a single rear wheel.
In the end, it depends on your particular situation which one is better to use. Single rear wheels are good for occasional towing while dual rear wheels are useful during long drives.
How Much Can A Truck Tow?
All the information you need to know are indicated on the driver side of your truck. Take note of the following specifications:
- Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) – This is the combined weight of a fully loaded truck and fully loaded trailer.
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)- This is your truck’s total weight which includes the weight of all your passengers, cargo, fuel, and everything inside your truck.
To determine how much your truck can tow or its towing capacity, subtract the GVWR from the GCWR. The difference is the maximum weight of a loaded trailer that your truck will be able to tow. You should stay within this limit to avoid putting too much strain on your towing vehicle and prevent overheating and other damages.
Your fifth wheel and towing truck go hand in hand. Together, they can take you to amazing camping destinations where you can create beautiful memories. This is why you should get the best truck to tow your 5th wheel. It is the key to having a safer travel on the road and an enhanced camping experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of truck can pull a 5th wheel?
You will definitely need a truck to tow your 5th wheel. A 1/2 ton truck is enough to pull an average sized fifth wheel but more RV owners prefer a 3/4 ton truck so that it is big enough for a bed-mounted hitch. This is why it is important to check the capacity of the truck to see if it can accommodate your fifth wheel.
Can I rent a truck to tow a 5th wheel?
Yes, there are truck rental companies out there that allow you to rent their trucks for 5th wheel towing. To be on the safe side, you should rent a one ton truck to be sure that it can handle all the weight of your trailer. You should also rent a truck with a fifth wheel hitch.
When renting a truck, make sure you go over all the fees and costs with the truck rental company so that you won’t be taken by surprise with the expenses involved. The rental price will depend on how long you want to rent it for, where you rent your truck from, and if you want to include insurance. The average cost of truck rental is $100 to $150 a day.
Do I need a CDL to tow a 5th wheel?
Generally, a commercial driver’s license is not required for towing a fifth wheel that weighs less than 10,000 lbs. You would be needing a non-commercial driver’s license once the total combined weight of your truck and fifth wheel goes beyond 26,000 lbs. But since each state has different driver’s license requirements especially for trailers weighing more than 10,000 lbs, it’s best to consult their website for specific guidelines.
Is towing a 5th wheel hard?
The honest answer to this is it takes practice to get used to towing a fifth wheel trailer. It doesn’t have to be hard when you know how to handle your camper on the road. In fact, towing a fifth wheel is considered safer than towing travel trailers. Their hitches make them easier to maneuver on the road.
Do you need a long bed to tow a 5th wheel?
Although you can tow a fifth wheel trailer using a short bed (6 feet) and a very short bed (under 6 feet) trucks, long bed trucks (8 feet) are considered to be the ideal trucks for towing 5th wheel campers. This is due to the fact that they allow ample space for clearance whenever you have to make a sharp turn without you needing a pin box or special type of hitch to be able to do so.
Your trailer can sit comfortably near the cab and it won’t bump the cab when you make a turn.
Long bed trucks or 8-foot bed trucks provide the best turning clearance. They are the most convenient to use when towing your 5th wheel. They also help reduce the swaying motion and provide better traction on the road. These are the main reasons why long bed or 8-foot trucks are recommended for towing your 5th wheel trailers.
Can you tow a fifth-wheel trailer with a short bed truck?
Although experts say that long bed trucks are the ideal choice for towing 5th wheel trailers, you can still tow a 5th wheel using a short bed truck (under 8 feet) or even a very short bed truck (under 6 feet). You would just need a sliding hitch for a short bed truck and a Revolution or Sidewinder pin box if you have a very short bed truck. These types of hitches will create the space needed between the towing vehicle and the 5th wheel when they make turns.
What if the hitch is incompatible with the factory prep kit?
It is always best to check the compatibility of the hitch with your rail system. You can get this information from the manufacturers. Look at their fit guide to ensure the compatibility of the model to your vehicle.
But in case your hitch is incompatible with the factory prep kit that you got, you can still use it. You would just need an above-bed adapter to still be able to use the hitch.