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Lighter-Weight Fifth-Wheels

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

See Related Story: 12 Value-Priced Fifth-Wheel Trailers

Now that you’ve decided to buy a trailer, the real fun begins: Do you opt for a travel trailer or a fifth-wheel? In the past, your tow vehicle often made quick work of that dilemma — larger, full-size truck owners could choose between the two trailer types, while owners of lesser-rated trucks were restricted to far less fifth-wheel options, or to selecting from the vast travel-trailer pool.

But these days, buyers are faced with a bevy of options of lighter-weight fifth-wheels, thanks in part to changes in the construction process, and the fact that many trucks have had their tow ratings boosted dramatically in recent years.

Following is a collection of some of our favorite lighter-weight fivers. We set the cap at 10,000 pounds — a weight provided by the manufacturer that includes LP-gas but no water — which should help you get a basic idea of the weight range.

Once that’s been established, be sure your tow vehicle is properly rated to handle the trailer’s weight; check your tow vehicle’s tow rating (available in the Towing Guides here on www.trailerlife.com, or by contacting the manufacturer) before plunking down any cash.

Allen Camper Idle-Time 8-2690 RETS
The Idle-Time 8-2690 RETS is a lighter-weight fiver that’s half-ton towable, yet is designed to include most of the amenities found in larger, heavier fifth-wheels.

The trailer comes standard with rear-living-area opposing dual slides that house the sofa and dinette — both of which make into full-size beds for overnight guests. The entertainment center features an electric fireplace and an electric pop-up flat-screen TV. The floorplan offers an optional wardrobe slideout in the master bedroom, while the bathroom includes a neo-angle shower with a glass door and a linen closet. The unit comes standard with aluminum siding, which can be replaced by the optional lightweight fiberglass.

Weight: 6,500 lb
Gvwr: 8,400 lb
Ccc: 1,837 lb
Hitch Weight: 1,400 lb
Ext Length: 26′ 11″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 46 gal
Gray/Black Water: 30 gal/ 38 gal
MSRP: $26,550
(580) 857-2413,  www.allencampermfg.com

Coachmen Chaparral Lite 275 RLS
The Chaparral Lite fifth-wheel is designed with ease of towing and campground maneuverability in mind. The kingpin box placement and aerodynamic fiberglass front cap combine with Coachmen TurnTec Engineering to help achieve a 90-degree turning radius, which is great for shortbed trucks. Chaparrals are built with aluminum frames and floors, in addition to Azdel composite materials in the side walls, which help maintain a lighter weight and greater longevity. A convenience docking station outside places the holding-tank valves in one convenient location, meaning you won’t have to crawl around to empty your tanks. Highlights inside the Chaparral include hardwood cabinet doors, a pillowtop queen mattress and a “Televator,” which moves the TV up and down with the push of a button.

Weight: 7,771 lb
Gvwr: 9,892 lb
Ccc: 1,869 lb
Hitch Weight: 1,730 lb
Ext Length: 29′ 10″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 47 gal
Gray/Black Water: 42 gal/ 42 gal
MSRP: $34,990
(574) 825-5821,  www.coachmenrv.com

CrossRoads RV Cruiser CF 335SS
Designers of the Cruiser’s interior clearly had an eye toward entertaining. The galley features a center kitchen island, which increases the already expansive solid-surface counter top. The living room includes a large built-in entertainment center, a freestanding dinette with four chairs, a sofa bed with an innerspring mattress and two residential swivel/rockers, all of which add up to plenty of seating for guests.

The side-aisle bathroom features two entry doors, meaning guests don’t have to trudge through your bedroom to use the facilities. The master bedroom features a pillow-top queen mattress, designer bedspread and his-and-hers wardrobe closets. Exterior highlights include a Rota-flex pin box, Equa-flex suspension, high-gloss gelcoat exterior walls, 16-inch aluminum wheels and 50-amp electrical service with second A/C prep.

Weight: 9,798 lb
Gvwr: 12,484 lb
Ccc: 2,434 lb
Hitch Weight: 2,083 lb
Ext Length: 34′ 11″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 58 gal
Gray/Black Water: 80 gal/ 40 gal
MSRP: $49,025
(888) 226-7496, www.crossroadsrv.com

Eveland’s Scamp 19
By far the most compact trailer in this roundup, the Scamp 19 is designed for compact truck owners. That means owners of Ford Rangers, Dodge Dakotas and Chevy Colorados can join the fiver crowd. The trailer features a loft queen bed (think truck camper) and a convertible dinette and sofa bed, bringing the sleeping capacity to six people. An LP-gas stove, galley sink and optional side bathroom all enhance livability. The no-frills unit comes standard with fiberglass cabinets inside, but buyers can select from a surprisingly large array of options, including oak or birch cabinetry, a refrigerator, a microwave, cable TV hookup/antenna, a conventional oven and a 16,000-BTU furnace, to name a few. The trailer’s low price and ease of maneuvering make the Scamp popular with people who want to get into a fifth-wheel.

Weight: 2,400 lb
Gvwr: 3,500 lb
Ccc: 1,058 lb
Hitch Weight: 400 lb
Ext Length: 19′
LPG: 10 gal
Freshwater: 12 gal
Gray/Black Water: 26 gal/ 9 gal
MSRP: $19,895
(218) 947-4932, www.scamptrailers.com

Forest River Cedar Creek Silverback 29RE
The 29RE is currently Cedar Creek’s best-selling Silverback floorplan, and with good reason. The all-aluminum super-structure leads to a relatively lightweight, fully loaded unit that’s easy to tow thanks to a 90-degree turning radius, Dexter axles and an E-Z Flex suspension. Plus, the gelcoat exterior adds to durability and overall aesthetics. Three slideouts open up the interior, which includes highlights like standard recliners, Corian countertops and a rear entertainment center that includes a 32-inch LCD HDTV. The living-area and kitchen slides feature cathedral-style vaulted ceilings with solid-wood fascia. Popular options include an electric fireplace, a booth dinette in place of the standard freestanding table and chairs and a king bed.

Weight: 9,790 lb
Gvwr: 13,615 lb
Ccc: 3,766 lb
Hitch Weight: 1,615 lb
Ext Length: 34′ 7″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 64 gal
Gray/Black Water: 40 gal/ 80 gal
MSRP: $51,090
(260) 593-2404, www.forestriverinc.com

Heartland ElkRidge 27RLSS
Heartland claims that ElkRidge trailers come equipped with more standard features than any other fiver on the market. While that may be debatable, what isn’t is the long list of amenities found inside and out, including large storage areas, stainless-steel hardware, laminated fiberglass side walls, a rear ladder and a Trail-Air Equa-Flex suspension.

Inside is a sofa bed with inflatable mattress, which also allows for deep-drawer storage beneath for bedding and other items. ElkRidge trailers also offer “wireless convenience,” which enables users to remotely operate the front landing gear, rear stabilizers, awning, slideouts and exterior lights at the push of a button. An extended hitch pin makes ElkRidge trailers a great choice for short-bed, extended-cab pickup owners.

Weight: 8,617 lb
Gvwr: 13,665 lb
Ccc: 4,968 lb
Hitch Weight: 1,665 lb
Ext Length: 29′ 11″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 57 gal
Gray/Black Water: 80 gal/ 40 gal
MSRP: $30,500
(574) 266-8726, www.heartlandrvs.com

Holiday Rambler Savoy LX FW 32 RKT
Based on nearly 60 years of brand-name recognition, chances are you have seen a Holiday Rambler at your favorite campground. The reason, claims HR, is the superior build-quality and ease of towing afforded by the Savoy LX. An enclosed underbelly protects the holding tank. The 32FKRT features a rear kitchen with an L-shaped solid-surface countertop that works to create a true galley area, in addition to a wide-open living room. A residential-style home-theater system keeps owners entertained, while tinted-safety glass not only helps with privacy, but also keeps the unit cooler. Plus, a standard battery-disconnect switch makes for worry-free storage.

Weight: 9,098 lb
Gvwr: 12,400 lb
Ccc: 3,050 lb
Hitch Weight: 2,010 lb
Ext Length: 34′ 3″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 50 gal
Gray/Black Water: 40 gal/ 40 gal
MSRP: $35,770
(800) 877-0870, www.holidayrambler.com

Jayco Eagle Super Lite Half-Ton FW 26.5RLS
The Eagle SL HT is designed specifically to be towed by a half-ton truck, and still manages to feature many amenities of larger fifth-wheels. Its lower aerodynamic profile leads to smoother towing, and the new full-body gray fiberglass exterior is a real head-turner. Standard construction on the Eagle includes a gelcoat front cap; TuffShell vacuum-bonded laminated floor, side walls and slide rooms; a structural I-beam frame; and reflective-foil insulation in the slideout room(s) and floor.

The interior boasts Concord Cherry cabinetry, residential-style furniture, an optional wardrobe slide in the bedroom and a side-aisle bath configuration. Outside, there’s plenty of basement storage, and the exterior kitchen makes connecting with the outdoors while dining a breeze. Options include an electric patio awning, a sofa bed with inflatable mattress and electric stabilizer jacks.

Weight: 6,800 lb
Gvwr: 9,950 lb
Ccc: 3,091 lb
Hitch Weight: 1,435 lb
Ext Length: 29′ 9″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 48 gal
Gray/Black Water: 32 gal/ 32 gal
MSRP: $30,550
(574) 825-5861, www.jayco.com

Keystone High Country Cougar 291 RLS
Keystone has utilized advanced materials and manufacturing technology in a process the company has dubbed Helium Technology to reduce the weight of the laminated HC Cougar. Outside, the Max Turn Technology front cap features tapered edges on the bottom of both sides to help create a tight turning radius. A Hitch Vision system makes hitching and unhitching easy, while the EZ Camp LCD wireless remote control allows owners to control the slideouts, landing and stabilizer jacks, patio awning and outside light with push-button ease.

The interior features a full-depth 38-inch sofa slide, solid hardwood Glazed Cherry cabinet doors, Corian countertops and a freestanding dinette that can slide back and forth to increase space between the seating and the fixed table. The Cougar also offers an abundance of wardrobe, overhead and cupboard storage, making it a great choice for extended stays at the RV park.

Weight: 7,150 lb
Gvwr: 9,000 lb
Ccc: 1,598 lb
Hitch Weight: 1,155 lb
Ext Length: 30′ 9″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 47 gal
Gray/Black Water: 56 gal/ 28 gal
MSRP: $34,000
(574) 535-2115, www.keystonerv.com

KZ Durango 1500 245 RL
The Durango 1500 is available in eight floorplans, all of which are half-ton towable. The dual-slide RL features a rear living-room layout that packs a lot of open space into a (relatively) smaller package. The optional inflatable air mattress for the sofa bed offers guests a comfortable night’s sleep, and the standard 32-inch LCD TV and home-theater system will provide entertainment. The galley features a 6-cu-ft refrigerator, microwave and three-burner stove, and the wrought-iron accents on the valances and cherry-toned cabinetry give the 1500 a touch of class.

The Durango comes standard with heated tanks, an enclosed underbelly and a front cap, adding to the streamlined appearance. Options include an electric fireplace, central-vacuum system, Equa-Flex suspension and a Sidewinder hitch. A finished basement storage area, grab-bar assist handle and stabilizer jacks show that KZ-RV has the serious RVer in mind.

Weight: 6,963 lb
Gvwr: 8,800 lb
Ccc: 1,837 lb
Hitch Weight: 1,279 lb
Ext Length: 27′ 11″
LPG: 15 gal
Freshwater: 55 gal
Gray/Black Water: 32 gal/ 32 gal
MSRP: $34,450
(866) 472-5460, www.kz-rv.com

Northwood 235RLS Fox Mountain
Northwood is known for its four-season livability, and the 235RLS continues that trend. An enclosed chassis with heated holding tanks — along with beefed-up insulation in the roof and floors — keeps things cozy. Dual-pane windows are a popular option to help with the four-season capabilities. A fiberglass front cap, molded-wheel-well skirts and a shock-absorbing rubberized suspension mean the trailer is built to last in extreme towing situations, and its increased ground clearance helps protect the undercarriage while straying from the beaten path.

Inside, a rear slide houses either a full-width sofa or two optional recliners, and the galley with a peninsula counter configuration makes the trailer ideal for hosting a few visitors over the weekend. The master features a custom headboard, a pillowtop mattress and a residential wardrobe to help enhance the extended-stay livability.

Weight: 6,833 lb
Gvwr: 8,500 lb
Ccc: 1,608 lb
Hitch Weight: 1,394 lb
Ext Length: 27′ 2″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 60 gal
Gray/Black Water: 40 gal/ 30 gal
MSRP: $33,361
(541) 962-6274, www.northwoodmfg.com

Palomino Thoroughbred F829 BHSB
Built with an all-aluminum superstructure and vacuum-bonded laminated construction, the Thoroughbred lineup of fifth-wheels has been designed to be lightweight and durable for extended-stay use. Standards such as a fiberglass exterior, a molded spare-tire cover and an EPDM rubber roof add to the long-term livability.

The fivers also feature many upscale interior amenities generally reserved for higher-priced models. Options include a U-shape dinette, a countertop extension, La-Z-Boy recliners and a raised refrigerator door upgrade. The rear of the trailer houses a bunk bed, which makes it a great choice for RVing families.

Of note on this particular model are the optional solarium windows, which help bring the outdoors in.

Weight: 7,253 lb
Gvwr: 8,644
Ccc: 1,328 lb
Hitch Weight: 1,644 lb
Ext Length: 32′ 6″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 32 gal
Gray/Black Water: 69 gal/ 31 gal
MSRP: $29,019
(269) 432-3271, www.palominorv.com

Starcraft Lexion S-Lite 315BSSA
What immediately grabs an RVer’s attention in the Lexion S-Lite is the optional Ledgestone fireplace in the rear, an elegant feature not found in many trailers. The fact that it comes with a 40-inch HDTV doesn’t hurt things either. Lexion S-Lite fivers feature a host of amenities designed to make the trailer more like a home. Corian countertops, an open-kitchen arrangement and a living area with a stand-alone recliner and end table (in addition to the sofa bed and dinette) make you believe you’re in a model home; rear electric stabilizer jacks, a high-gloss gelcoat exterior, vacuum-bonded lamination and a MOR/ryde CRE 3000 suspension system help make this mid-profile fifth-wheel worthy of that feeling. Plus, the master bedroom features a queen bed and ample storage — including a chest of drawers — and the optional bunk/trundle bed option further expands the residential options.

Weight: 9,240 lb
Gvwr: 11,700
Ccc: 2,401 lb
Hitch Weight: 2,030 lb
Ext Length: 34′ 8″
LPG: 14 gal
Freshwater: 76 gal
Gray/Black Water: 32 gal/ 65 gal
MSRP: $40,708
(800) 945-4787, www.starcraftcamping.com

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