What size truck should I buy for a Fifth Wheel or Travel Trailer? Buy Once, Cry Once.

1 Ton truck with 5th wheel

“What size truck should I buy for a Fifth Wheel or Travel Trailer?”

This is an age old question (or some variation) that many people have asked in forums across the Internet.

To give my best advice, I’ll tell you a story:

After taking the long trip out west and living in our camper over the course of 3 months, Kristi and I both realized things that we now really wanted and other things that we had but didn’t need.

For example, we originally thought that having a toy hauler would be super useful for pulling out golf cart around to campgrounds.

However, we quickly learned that this would only be useful for local camping trips around the state where we were simply there to camp for a week or two.

Since the kids bedroom also dubbed as the garage, it was impractical to think that we’d haul the golf cart on a long trip, only to have to back it out and lower the bunks each night.

Just imagine a golf cart sitting outside of a Camper in a Cracker Barrel parking lot.

Not for short people

Plus, the downside of having a toy hauler with high ceilings is that all of the storage is up high. This is done intentionally so you have more room for ATVs and things. 

But as a family of short people (K is 5 feet tall), I would be the one who always had to get cups down for anyone to get a drink, to get plates from the top shellfish, and to grab extra supplies down from the overhead compartment.

That started to become a pain.

This was just one example of many including the desire for a fifth wheel instead of a bumper pull after our scary cross winds in Texas.

Kristi falls in love (not with me).

So Kristi and I agreed if we could find the right camper and get the right dollars out of our current one, we’d pull the trigger.

We walked away from one at LazyDayz but found another that Kristi fell in love with at Campers Inn, where we originally bought our last camper.

So we signed the papers.

What about the truck?

There was just one little problem, according to our payload specs, we were just a tad bit over once loaded.

Once we added a generator and loaded up, we’d be a bit more than a few pounds over.

So we needed to upgrade the truck as well.

The good news was that due to the automotive chip shortage of 2021, lightly used 3/4 ton trucks were getting a premium at car dealerships.

In fact, they paid us OVER sticker for my used truck which we didn’t pay in the first place.

That actually made us money on the trade of both the camper and truck!

So after less than a year but thousands of miles with our Momentum 25g and F-250, we upgraded to a 40ft Solitude fifth wheel and F-350.

1 Ton truck with 5th wheel
1 Ton truck with 5th wheel. Had to upgrade both.

Although we ended up on top, it wasn’t without a struggle. We lucked out due to market conditions and shortages. 

Moral of the story: As the old saying goes “buy once, cry once.” If you are thinking about getting a camper, aim a little higher than you are intending to land. This will help you future proof your setup.

Buy Once, Cry Once

For instance, a 1 ton truck doesn’t cost much more than an 3/4 ton. And sometimes the larger dual tire trucks even cost less than a standard 1 ton. I just didn’t want to play the parking game at say an airport with a dually. Parking at the airport was tough enough with a long bed.

Long bed in the airport parking lot
Parking at the airport was fun with a long bed truck. Notice how my rear tires barely clear the parking spot.

Although it is not a big truck world, if you are buying a camper and think you might like it, get the biggest truck you can get. You can never have too much truck. Otherwise you might find yourself upgrading both your RV and your truck.