How To Move A 5th Wheel Without A Truck (Hassle-Free)

September 30, 2023
A 5th wheel that needs to be moved without a truck

Knowing how to move a 5th wheel without a truck is a valuable skill to have. While it might not be common, there are plenty of situations where you might not have a truck available (or simply need an alternative).

This guide will show you the best options for doing this quickly and safely.

Is It Possible To Move A Fifth Wheel Camper Without A Truck?

Believe it or not, you don’t need a truck to move a fifth wheel camper. There are several alternative methods that work quite well!

While trucks are typically the go-to choice for towing these hefty mobile homes, they aren’t your only option. Depending on the situation and what you have available, you’re not out of luck if you don’t have a tow-ready truck at the moment. 

How To Move A 5th Wheel Without A Truck

There are a few different ways you can move a 5th wheel without a truck. Here are our favorites.

1. Trailer Dolly

A trailer dolly is one of the most convenient ways to move a 5th wheel without a truck. Not only are they small and easy to use, but they’re surprisingly agile. Typically, navigating a large camper around tight corners or into narrow spaces can be a real challenge. And for many people who don’t have or want to use a truck to quickly move their fifth wheel, needing to reposition around corners or driveways is common.

In order to use these trailer dollies to move your 5th wheel, you simply position it in front of the camper. After that you’ll attach the dolly to your RV (this could mean clamping onto the wheels or connecting directly to the frame or hitch). Once secure, use your dolly’s controls to move and turn your fifth wheel as needed. Some models even come with remote controls!

A trailer dolly can be rented out by certain services if you don’t own one yourself. This is likely the most affordable option if you don’t see yourself needing one very often.

While trailer dollies are one of the best ways to move a 5th wheel without a truck, it’s worth noting that this method isn’t viable if you need to tow long distances. It’s best suited for moving around on your own property.

Note: It’s essential to choose a model that can handle the weight of your fifth wheel. Stick closely to all safety guidelines and manufacturer instructions when using these devices.

2. RV Transport Company

Opting for an RV transport company is another great solution if you’re looking for a stress-free and secure way to move your 5th wheel without a truck. These professional services have the right equipment, expertise, and experience for the job.

They are well-versed in various towing processes including traditional or flatbed towing based on what’s best for your particular model. And not only are they perfect if you need reliable long-distance transportation, but they also reduce the risk of damage that could occur from self-transportation due to the lack of appropriate tools or knowledge.

In order to choose the right RV transport company for the job it’s important to do some research. One of the best ways to go about this is to simply ask fellow RVers (this is not an uncommon problem) or friends and family that have had experience with this in the past. If you don’t know anyone firsthand, you can look around online for some services in your area.

Pro Tip: We primarily focus on Google Reviews when doing this sort of research. In our experience it tends to be the most reliable and trustworthy.

Once you have some candidates, check out their websites and even give them a call. This will allow you to explain what you need and get a quote as well as get a feel for how they operate.

It’s important to get multiple quotes from different providers if possible (this might be easier in some areas than others). Prices can vary significantly based on mileage and vehicle weight, so it’s always smart to compare.

Don’t forget to ask about insurance coverage as well. Even though a reputable company shouldn’t have any trouble moving your 5th wheel, you’ll want to protect against potential accidents or damages during transport.

3. Your RV Dealer

If you’re purchasing a new fifth wheel and need to move it without a truck, your RV dealer might be the answer to your problem. Many dealers provide transport services for their customers, making it hassle-free for you to get your new purchase onto your property without needing a truck of your own.

This is a fantastic option if you’re unable to move it yourself or don’t want to track down a third-party transport company. However, keep in mind that costs for this service can vary significantly from one dealer to another. Some may even offer complimentary transport as part of the package when you buy a 5th wheel.

If your dealership typically charges for this service, consider seeing if you can get them to throw it in for free if you’re negotiating. If the RV dealer wants to make the sale, it’s probably worth their while.

That means before you finalize any purchase, it’s wise to inquire about these services and understand any associated costs or benefits. That way, you won’t have any unpleasant surprises after closing the deal and can make an informed decision that suits both your needs and budget best.

4. Tractor

Got a tractor gathering dust in the barn and need to move your 5th wheel without a truck? With a little work (and the right tractor), your tractor might be able to do the job.

With this method, it’s not as simple as just hitching up and heading out. You’ll need to ensure you have the right equipment by investing in a hitch and an adapter compatible with both the tractor and your fifth wheel camper.

First off, check the towing capacity and GVWR of your tractor. If it’s strong enough, then you’re halfway there.

The next step is getting the correct hitch and adapter. This is crucial (and sometimes tricky), but it’s worth doing your homework. There are various types of hitches available on the market, so make sure to choose one that fits both your 5th wheel camper and tractor perfectly.

Here’s a great video we found from someone who has built a number of these for his tractor. You can see the complete fifth wheel setup at the three minute mark.

Once installed correctly, double-check everything before proceeding. Inspect all connections thoroughly to ensure they’re secure, test the brakes, and make sure that the tractor is holding the weight of the fifth wheel effectively.

Alternative Option: Rent A Truck

Renting a beefy truck could be your best bet when you’re faced with the task of towing that hefty 5th wheel camper around. This can sometimes be a cheaper and less complicated way to address the problem than the other methods listed above!

While it might take some searching, it’s possible to find and rent heavy-duty trucks with 5th wheel hitches. You can also consider flatbed trucks during your search as well.

You’ll obviously want to make sure that the towing capacity and GVWR of the truck you rent work with your 5th wheel. It’s also a good idea to give the truck a good inspection for existing damage before signing it out.

What To Do Before You Tow

Now that you know how to move a 5th wheel without a truck, let’s go over the essential steps to take before you get towing. It doesn’t matter what method you go with (assuming you’re not having someone else handle the job for you), these should all be on your mind before you start rolling.

Check GVWR

Before you get started, it’s crucial to check the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) to ensure your vehicle can safely handle the load.

Understanding your 5th wheel camper’s GVWR is especially important if you’re considering moving it without a truck. Knowing this number will help you determine what type of equipment or vehicle will be needed to move it safely and legally.

If your camper exceeds its GVWR, then using an inadequate towing device could result in serious consequences such as damaging the tow equipment or causing an accident due to loss of control.

Know Tow Capacity

Having just discussed the importance of checking the GVWR before you plan to move your fifth wheel without a truck, another crucial factor you can’t afford to overlook is the tow capacity of the vehicle or equipment you use. As you can imagine, knowing this figure is incredibly important.

The towing capacity refers to the maximum amount of weight that your vehicle or towing apparatus can safely handle. This number isn’t something to take lightly or estimate; it’s a matter of safety and practicality. If the weight of your loaded 5th wheel exceeds the towing capacity, it could compromise control and stability during transit, increasing the risk of an accident.

Verify Hitch Setup

When moving a 5th wheel without a truck, it’s essential to make sure that your hitch setup is correct. Different towing methods require unique hitches or adapters.

If the equipment isn’t compatible with both your fifth wheel hitch system and the vehicle being used for transport, you likely won’t get very far. Even if you can get things connected, you could experience ineffective towing or even potential accidents caused by trailer detachment.

Checking your hitch setup isn’t just about avoiding inconveniences, it’s about ensuring safety. Understand that not all hitches are designed to haul fifth-wheel campers. Some are suitable for smaller trailers, while others are specifically designed for larger ones.

Secure Everything

If you’re moving or towing a 5th wheel without a truck, the last safety check you should do is to make sure everything is secured properly. This will vary depending on the kind of setup you have.

Check all connection points and think about if you’d be comfortable with the way things are secured if your family members were going to be nearby. If you’re not, take a little extra time to address this.

Even the smallest fifth wheel campers are heavy, so this isn’t something you want to be lackadaisical about.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, it’s definitely possible to move your 5th wheel camper without a truck. Whether you choose to use a trailer dolly, a company, or another method, there are plenty of options available to you. 

Remember, safety is the most important thing when towing. If you’re ever unsure if the method you’re trying is wise or not, take some extra time to research and verify your setup.

Getting comfortable with towing without a truck is a helpful skill to have if you own a fifth wheel, and eventually it will become second nature!

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