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What are Fifth Wheel Campers?

Many fifth wheel campers come with microwaves.
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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2014
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One of the greatest ways to see beautiful sights without spending hundreds of dollars on hotel rooms is by purchasing or renting a camper. Fifth wheel campers are the perfect choice for families or for people who prefer plenty of space and modern conveniences. There is a brand and a model that can fit everyone’s idea of fun.

Fifth wheel campers are basically trailers that are towed by pickup trucks. A unique hitch must be mounted in the truck bed. Then, the camper is mounted over the rear axle of the truck. That way, the truck supports a large portion of the weight of the camper.

Fifth wheel campers can be fairly basic – an ideal option for those who only camp a few times each year or for those who use it for daytime activities, such as tailgating at football games. For those that camp more frequently or enjoy a more luxurious camping experience, there are many “fully-loaded” models available. Typically, a fifth wheel camper ranges in size from 19 feet (5.79 meters) to over 40 feet (12.19 meters) long.

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Although many fifth wheel campers call for a large or heavy duty pickup truck, a light duty pickup truck is capable of pulling several models. Looking at the truck’s tow rating will reveal whether a particular truck is able to pull a given model of camper. To make sure the truck has ample power, it is often recommended that the truck be able to pull 15% more weight than the weight of the camper.

As mentioned, fifth wheel campers can be incredibly lavish. Options include air-conditioning, heat, entertainment center with surround sound, central vacuum, large screen LCD televisions, washer/dryer, fireplace, shower, toilet, refrigerator, king size beds, and sky lights. Microwave, oven, range, water-purifier and ceiling fans are frequent options, as well.

There are several steps that must be taken to maintain a fifth wheel camper. First, the water tank must be filled with clean, potable water. The water in the tank is used for drinking, cooking, and showering. If the water is not potable, tablets and purifiers can be purchased to make it ready to use. Second, after the toilet has been used for a few days, the tank storing the toilet waste should be dumped in a proper dumping sanitation station. The tank holding the waste should contain special chemicals. The chemicals break down the waste material and help sanitize the tank. The tank holding the dirty dish and shower water should be dumped appropriately, as well.

In addition, the generator and batteries that power the fifth wheel camper should be fully charged and ready to go. It is important to note how long the generator will run – it would be terrible to lose power mid-way through a camping trip. Many privately owned campgrounds have electrical hook ups; so, electricity is never an issue.

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