Working With What You’ve Got: Choosing The Right Towable RV, Part 1

Here in western Oregon, we’re having a wonderfully mild February, the trees are already beginning to bud out around Guaranty RV and people are starting to think about warm weather and summer camping. If you’ve been dreaming of getting an RV and taking the perfect road trip or spending more time with the kids close to nature, 2015 is looking to be an excellent year to make the leap into becoming an RV owner or upgrading to get the travel trailer, pop-up camper, fifth wheel, motorhome or toy hauler that would be best for your lifestyle. Gas prices are low and still moving downward, so you’ll be able to make the most of your investment this year and cross some of those well-earned vacations off your bucket list.

But what is the right RV for you and how do you make the most of what you already have? Perhaps you already own a pickup, SUV, minivan or crossover vehicle, and you’re looking for a towable RV that will be a great match. Now is the time to look at what you have and think about the experience you want, because camping season is just around the corner.

In this blog we’re going to look at towable RVs and spend a little time exploring which ones will work best with the tow vehicle you already own. This week, we’ll look at travel trailers and fifth wheels that are designed for half-ton pickups, and next week we’ll continue with smaller pickups, SUVs, minivans and crossovers.

If You Have a Half-Ton Pickup

The folks who own the big, diesel-powered, ¾ or 1-ton pickups can pretty much take their pick of towable RVs, but if you don’t already have that kind of tow vehicle, the price tag of purchasing one and then the sheer size of driving and parking can be off-putting. For the average family, a half-ton pickup is as much as they need in their day to day lives. But what about towing a trailer or fifth wheel? Some of the best RV manufacturers in the nation are now building lighter-weight, easier-to-tow travel trailers and fifth wheels specifically for half-ton pickups. And because they strategically use slide-outs to expand the living space, you won’t have to compromise on room or amenities. This doesn’t mean that all half-ton pickups are built alike, and you should definitely check the tow rating on your make and model, but the world of towable RV options has opened up for you.

Some of our favorite travel trailers for half-ton pickups are from manufacturers like Keystone, Jayco and Forest River. Keystone’s Cougar is a renowned half-ton series. You’ll get high end amenities, full-depth slide-outs, quick recovery hot water heaters, enclosed and heated underbellies, and other features that you’d expect to find in heavier, more expensive models. Similarly, Forest River now produces some extremely well-rated travel trailers that you can easily tow with a half-ton pickup. Take a look at models like their Wildwood X-Lite for a good family friendly option. And also be sure to look at Jayco’s White Hawk Ultra Lite for another lightweight option from an excellent manufacturer. The 2015 Summit Edition models feature 36”-deep slide-outs, arched interior ceilings to give you extra height, and exterior Chill N’ Stor refrigerators for extra cold storage.

When it comes to 5th wheels for half-ton pickups, we recommend that you look to RV manufacturers like Heartland, Jayco and Northwood; all of these manufacturers have extremely high ratings and years of high customer satisfaction. Heartland’s Elkridge Express line offers a variety of floorplans with strategically placed slide-outs for extra living space where you need it the most. With Heartland’s patented Tight Turn Technology and strong aluminum frame, and a dry weight under 10,000 pounds, this fifth wheel will work even on short-bed and extended-cab pickups, and you’ll still get all the amenities of a heavier model. Jayco’s Eagle HT line is another option to pay attention to. Although slightly more expensive, they come in at a lighter weight than the Heartlands (under 8,000 pounds) and you can get Glacier Packages that give you extra insulation and a heated, enclosed underbelly to make it a more all-season model. Also take a look at Northwood’s Fox Mountain fifth wheels. You can get multiple slide-outs on these models and still have a fifth wheel under 8,000 pounds. They have beautiful amenities and their Four Season package gives you heated, enclosed underbellies and extra insulation.

If you need help figuring out what the tow capacity is on your half-ton pickup, give us a call; we’ll be glad to help you explore your RV options. And be sure to check back next week for the second part of this blog, as we look at travel trailers and folding campers (also known as pop-up campers) that work well with smaller pickups, SUVs, minivans and crossover vehicles.

Happy camping!

Check out part two of our blog here.

Photo: Guaranty RV

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