Class C RV vs 5th Wheel – Which is Better and Why?

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Updated April 9, 2024

A Class C RV vs. a 5th Wheel is a very common question we get from our subscribers. Many wonder if it’s easier to drive a Class C and others like all the room a 5th wheel offers.

We own a Class C motorhome and we rented a 5th wheel to try it out because we were deciding between a Class C vs 5th wheel. But the decision between buying our Class C RV and a 5th wheel was really tough.

Both have pros and cons. We attended many RV shows, and after seeing hundreds of RVs, we ended up more confused than ever about what type of RV we wanted to buy.

So, which is better, a 5th wheel vs Class C RV? The answer is that it is a personal decision that each person must make for themselves. But if you break down the decision-making process, you will have a much better chance at making the best decision for yourself.

There are so many factors to consider before deciding whether a 5th Wheel or Class C RV is best. These include cost, drivability, interior features, and usability. We break down each of these categories in the article below to help create an organized approach to evaluating all of your options.

But first, you need to think about how you plan to use your Class C RV or 5th Wheel. Understanding how you like to travel is the first step in deciding which RV is better for you.

How Will You Use Your RV?

We have created four categories of how most people’s travel personality traits affect how they use their RV. The categories are:

  • Full Time or Vacation Time
  • Stationary Campers or Campers on the Go
  • Minimalist or Creature Comfort Oriented
  • Frequent Stoppers or Get There in Record Time.

It’s important to understand your own travel preferences before evaluating the features of a 5th Wheel or Class C RV to ensure you make the best choice.

1. Full Time or Vacation Time

If you are a full-time RVer versus a vacation-time RVer, there will probably be a big difference in which type of RV will be a better choice. Full-timers will look at the features of RVs very differently than vacation RVers.

For a full-time, the RV is their home, and everything they need or want has to fit within the confines of the RV. So, there isn’t as much room for compromise for a full-timer. It either works or it doesn’t.

Vacation time RVers’ motivations may be very different if they only spend ten to thirty days a year in the RV. For example, they may like to spoil themselves while on vacation. So they may want as many features as possible to stay comfortable.

Or maybe they just want to get away from it all and can do without many things while on vacation. They just pack what they need and off they go to enjoy the journey.

2. Are You a Stationary Camper or On The Go

How do you travel when you are on the road? Do you go to one spot and set up camp or do you stay one or two nights in each location and then move on?

Understanding this is important because it makes a huge difference in which RV is better for you. For example, if you move a lot, a Class C RV may be a better choice because it literally takes minutes to set up or break camp.

A 5th Wheel may be a better choice if you are more stationary because it will offer many more conveniences, such as massive storage and using your tow vehicle to get around, in exchange for the increased setup and breakdown time required between moves.

3. Are You a Minimalist or Do You Enjoy the Creature Comforts

I used to enjoy creature comforts but have become a minimalist over the years. Neither way is right or wrong, but you need to understand who you are before you decide on a Class C or fifth-wheel RV.

Since a 5th Wheel is larger, has more storage space, and has more amenities, it will be a better choice for those who enjoy all the creature comforts of home.

5th Wheels offer conveniences like a separate living room and dining area, bigger bathrooms, separate sleeping quarters, a king-sized bed, and lots of storage space so you can bring everything from home you will ever need on your road trip.

A Class C RV is smaller and designed for more efficiency. Therefore, it may be a better choice for folks who can pack what they need, live without all of the conveniences of home, and enjoy a simple, smaller living arrangement.

4. Do You Like to Stop Often or Reach Your Destination Fast?

When we travel, we like to be spontaneous and stop whenever and wherever we want to. We do this because we love taking photos, stopping at scenic overlooks, checking out cool small towns or festivals, or whatever else we want to do.

There are times, however, when we have a time constraint, like catching a pre-scheduled ferry boat or attending a wedding and we need to drive straight through to be on time.

But how about you? Do you like to stop and smell the roses, or do you like to drive straight to your destination at a record pace? Again, neither style is right or wrong.

You should just understand what you like and don’t like about traveling. So, what kind of traveler are you, and how might a Class C RV vs a 5th Wheel affect your travel style?

In our experience, if you like to stop often, Class C is a better choice because of its smaller size and drivability. You can easily pull into a scenic overlook or pull off on the side of the road to take pictures of the scenery. You can also be more spontaneous and drive through a small town while driving a class C RV without worrying about turning around or getting stuck.

When pulling a 5th Wheel, it is much more difficult to be spontaneous because of its size. Pulling into a scenic overlook is more of a challenge because the parking area may be too small to accommodate you.

Finding a spot on the side of the road to pull over is really difficult because of the length of the towing vehicle and fifth Wheel combined. Fifth wheels don’t maneuver as well as a Class C RV, so driving through a small quaint town may prove to be extremely difficult.

So, now that you have considered the travel preferences, you can better match the features and benefits of a Class C RV and a 5th Wheel RV to your travel needs.

Below we have broken down the features and benefits of Class C and 5th Wheel RVs into four main categories: Cost, Drivability, Interior Features, and Usability. We also provide a chart for each category to help you make your best choice.

7 Features and Benefits of a Class C RV vs a 5th Wheel

1. Cost Considerations

Price of a Class C RV vs a 5th Wheel

The price range for a Class C RV is from $85,000 to $150,000 and the price range for a 5th Wheel is from $60,000 to $120,000. But, you also have to get a truck that is able to pull the 5th Wheel and that will cost you around $80,000.

So, if you bought a mid-range 5th Wheel your cost would be about $150,000,000 as compared to $115,000 for a Class C RV.

RELATED READING: Check out our full-length article called How Much Does A Class C RV Cost? for more info!


I have my insurance through Nationwide, so assuming the following scenario, here are the insurance costs. The cost to insure a Class C 2019 Thor Freedom Elite 26HE with 30 days of use per year is $516.00

The cost to insure a 2019 Ford 350—Super Duty Diesel Crew Cab pickup truck and a 2019 Keystone Cougar 30RLS 5th Wheel RV is $1,822.00 per year.

Clearly, the cost to insure the 5th Wheel and new pickup truck, which by the way will probably be used to drive to and from work, is way more than the Class C insurance under similar circumstances.


I would call this a wash. The cost to maintain the Class C is certainly more than the cost to maintain just the 5th Wheel, but you also have to maintain your towing vehicle with a 5th Wheel, so oil changes, tires, etc., are pretty equal, in my opinion.

Gas Mileage

When you search the internet for Class C RV mpg, you will see estimates between 8 and 12 mpg. Almost everyone I talk to gets 8 to 10 mpg. So, let’s assume the 8-10 mpg. A Ford 350 Super-Duty King Ranch with a Diesel Engine will get about 9 to 11 miles per gallon when hauling a fifth Wheel.

However, if your pickup truck is also the vehicle you drive to work daily, you will only get 14 to 15 miles per gallon.

CostClass C5th Wheel
Gas MileageEqualEqual

RELATED READING: Check out our article called What is the Average Gas Mileage for a Class C RV?. In this article, we discuss ways that you can improve your gas mileage.

Full-Time Living: 5th wheel vs Class A

Both 5th-wheel RVs and Class A motorhomes are great options for those who are living full-time in their RV. The one you choose really depends on your preferences and what you enjoy doing while on the road.

There are some advantages and disadvantages to each that you should consider when deciding between a Class A motorhome and a 5th-wheel trailer.


Both the 5th wheel and Class A options are relatively mobile. You can take both to most campgrounds and both offer you plenty of flexibility in travel. Class A motorhomes tend to be quicker to pack up and move. On the flip side, if mobility for you means traveling off the beaten path, a 5th wheel may be more mobile.

One other thing to remember, with a Class A motorhome, you will need to tow a separate vehicle if you want to explore after getting set at a campground. Otherwise, you will have to pack up your rig every time you want to go out for dinner or sightseeing.

Space and Comfort

While Class A motorhomes are often larger and offer more space, 5th-wheel motorhomes tend to have a greater variability in floor plans. Class A motorhomes tend to have comfort features like larger sleeping areas, spacious bathrooms, and roomy living spaces.


Class A motorhomes are pretty simple to get set up and packed when you are moving from place to place. Those with auto leveling and automatic slide-outs require you to park, push a few buttons and you are good to go.

Fifth-wheel trailers also offer auto-leveling and automatic slide-outs, however, before you can get to that point you have to unhook your tow vehicle, place chock blocks, and make sure that the trailer is secure before doing anything else.

Travel and Driving

Class A motorhomes are generally very comfortable to drive. If you travel through larger cities on a regular basis, you may find that it is less stressful to drive a Class A RV instead of pulling a large 5th-wheel trailer.

However, some people like the separation between their driving space and their living space, if this is your preference, a 5th wheel may be a better option. Fifth-wheel trailers also tend to be smoother and easier to haul than bumper-mounted travel trailers.


Class A motorhomes, depending on the size and features can be quite expensive. In fact, for many RVers, it is more affordable to purchase a tow vehicle and a 5th-wheel trailer than to purchase a Class A motorhome. 

2. Drivability

Frequent Stops or Pulling Over

The Class C wins this category by a long shot. It is just much safer and easier to pull over into scenic overlooks or along the side of the road in a Class C RV. A 5th Wheel is just too long to be safe or convenient for frequent stops and or pullovers.

Turning Radius

A Class C Motorhome has a tighter turning radius than a Fifth Wheel. This makes driving a Class C much easier.

Imagine making a right-hand turn at a red light. You would have to pull much further into the intersection before starting your turn with a 5th Wheel. This makes judging turns more difficult, dangerous, and likely that you will hit something.

Check out our article Travel Trailer Turning Radius Tips for more details on making turns in your RV.

Backing Up

Backing up any vehicle while towing an RV or boat is very difficult for most people. It’s even hard to keep the towing vehicle straight while backing up. Trying to turn while backing up with a 5th Wheel is not easy because you have to turn the towing vehicle’s steering wheel in the opposite direction that you want the 5th Wheel to go.

Anyone who has tried backing up a camper, trailer, boat, or 5th Wheel will tell you how difficult it can be. I installed a wireless backup camera on our RV and it has really helped but backing up will always be difficult.

Backing up a Class C RV is much easier. It’s just like backing up your car or truck so it’s pretty easy to get used to the size difference.

Height, Width, and Length

The Class C RV is better in terms of drivability regarding height, width, and length. An average Class C RV is between 24′ to 35′ long, 11′ to 12′  tall and 8.5 feet wide. An average 5th Wheel with a tow vehicle is 45′ to 60′ long, 12′ to 14′ tall, and 8.5′ wide.

Just in terms of the vehicle dimensions, it is easy to see that a Class C RV is much easier to handle than a 5th-wheel RV.

RELATED READING: Check out our article RV Weight Explained – Travel Trailers, Motorhomes, and 5th Wheels for all of the details about towing capacities.


Parking a Class C RV is much easier than parking a 5th Wheel. It’s easier to back up and it fits in more parking and campsite spaces. It’s also easier to park in store parking lots, gas stations, and restaurants.


Since a fifth Wheel is so much longer and taller than a Class C RV, it is also much harder to drive in windy conditions. A fifth Wheel also has a higher center of gravity, so the wind can tip it a bit while driving, creating a very uncomfortable feeling!

DrivabilityClass C5th Wheel
Backing UpWinLose

RELATED READING: Check out our article called When is it Too Windy to Drive an RV? so you don’t get blown off the road!

3. Interior Features

Ceiling Height

The ceiling height inside a 5th Wheel ranges from 7.5′ to 10′, making the living space feel very large and spacious. A Class C RV typically has a 7′ to 7.5′ ceiling height.

Bathroom Size

Bathrooms are usually larger in a 5th Wheel and include a larger shower, vanity, and toilet than you would find in a Class C RV. Some 5th Wheels even have two bathrooms.

Heating and Cooling

Class C RVs usually have a rooftop A/C unit that is louder than the AC and is vented by interior ductwork. Many 5th Wheels have the vent system built in, and the AC is much quieter.

Sleeping Arrangements

Class C RVs typically have three sleeping areas: an over-cab bunk that is queen size but with very little headroom, a dinette that converts to a bed, and if the RV is 22′ or longer, a queen-sized bed in the back. If you need to use the dinette as a bed, it can be very inconvenient for everyone and uncomfortable for the person sleeping on the dinette bed.

A 5th Wheel has much better sleeping arrangements and offers features like bunk beds, a pullout sofa in the living area, and a king-sized bed in the bedroom! 5th Wheels are much more convenient and comfortable for the most part.

Floor Plans

Since 5th Wheels are larger and have more room to work with they offer much better floor plans than Class C RVs. There is really no competition between the two in this category.

Interior FeaturesClass C5th Wheel
Ceiling HeightWinLose
Bathroom SizeWinLose
Heating and CoolingWinLose
Sleeping ArrangementsWinLose
Floor PlansWinLose

4. Usability

Passenger Comfort While Driving

A Class C RV has a huge advantage because passengers can be in the back of the RV while driving. They can use the bathroom, have a snack or watch TV all while driving down the road. In many locations, passengers are not allowed to be in the back of a 5th Wheel while it is being pulled. So, if you own a Fifth Wheel, everyone has to pile into the pickup truck while driving.

Setting Up and Breaking Camp

Class C RVs take much less time than 5th Wheels to set up at the campsite. Just easily back in, level up, hook up the utilities, and you are all set. We can usually get set up in 10 minutes.

5th Wheel RVs take much longer. They are much harder to back into a camping spot, and then you have to disconnect them from the truck and level them, stabilize them, and hook up the utilities. A 30-minute setup is not uncommon.

When it’s time to break camp, the same holds true: Class C RVs are easier and faster to pack up and go. I actually pride myself on getting all set up for our Class C RV in less than 15 minutes.

Check out our Class C RV setup video below!


There is way more storage in a 5th Wheel than there is in a Class C RV. The design of the 5th Wheel allows for increased storage capacity under the front area. A Class C RV typically has limited storage in the rear of the RV.


There are many more steps in a 5th Wheel RV than a Class C. Sometimes you have to go up 4 or 5 steps just to get into a 5th Wheel and then there may be additional steps inside to get to the forward bedroom or bathroom. This may be perfectly fine for some but for someone with limited mobility, this can be a real challenge.

A Class C RV typically has 2 steps to enter the RV and that’s it. If you are in a compact Class C then you will need to climb up to the over-cab bunk to sleep, which isn’t really easy if you’re not up to the challenge.

Traveling Once You Reach Your Destination

So, here is where the 5th Wheel really excels over a Class C in my opinion. With a 5th Wheel once you disconnect you have your truck to get around and sightsee.

With a Class C RV, you will need to unhook the utilities and drive the whole RV if you want to drive anywhere. We did this for years, and it was fine. But we weren’t full-time RVers then, so it was a minor inconvenience. Luckily, it’s really easy to unhook and set up, so to me, it’s not that big of a deal.

You can also tow a car behind your RV like we do with our Class A RV. This has changed the way we camp because we can leave the RV at the campsite and use our Jeep to explore.

Vehicle Break Down

I always hear the argument that a 5th Wheel is a better choice because if your Class C breaks down, you won’t be able to stay in it while it is in the shop for repairs. And I agree. The reverse side of the argument is that if your pickup truck breaks down, you can still stay in the 5th Wheel. And this is true too.

However, most breakdowns occur while the pickup truck is pulling the 5th Wheel! I just haven’t seen many breakdowns occur after the 5th Wheel is all set up, and then people are driving just the pickup truck around.

So, I contend that neither situation is good.

Toy Hauler

Some 5th-wheel RVs are designed to hold motorcycles, ATVs, etc. These are called toy haulers and if you are into riding dirt bikes or ATVs they are a great option. Although they take up some living space they are a very convenient way to haul your toys around. Class C RVs just don’t typically have a toy hauler floor plan available.

UsabilityClass C5th Wheel
Comfort While DrivingWinLose
Set-Up/Break Down TimeWinLose
Travel Vehicle at DestinationLoseWin
Vehicle Break DownLoseLose
Toy HaulerLoseWin

Final Thoughts about Class C RV vs 5th Wheel

I hope you found this article to be helpful for deciding which is better, a Class C RV vs a 5th Wheel.

Do you have an idea or thought about which is better and why? Please leave your comments below!

If you would like to contact us directly, please feel free to go to our Contact Page and send us an email.

To see a list of all of our articles check out the Blog Archive!

Learn More:

What is the Average Gas Mileage for a Class C RV?
How Much Does a Class C RV Cost?
10 Best Half-Ton 5th Wheels for 2024
10 Best Used Half-Ton 5th Wheel Campers

Mike Scarpignato – Bio

Mike Scarpignato created over five years ago in 2018 to share all we have learned about RV camping.

Mike is an avid outdoorsman with decades of experience tent camping and traveling in his 2008 Gulf Stream Conquest Class C RV and 2021 Thor Challenger Class A motorhome.

We attend RV Shows and visit RV dealerships all across the country to tour and review drivable motorhomes and towable trailers to provide the best evaluations of these RVs in our blog articles and YouTube videos.

We are 3/4-time RVers who created to provide helpful information about all kinds of RVs and related products, gear, camping memberships, tips, hacks and advice.

Mike and Susan from RVBlogger at an RV Show touring reviewing and rating RVs

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11 thoughts on “Class C RV vs 5th Wheel – Which is Better and Why?”

  1. Hi! Have you ever pulled a small vehicle behind your Class C and if so how was it?

  2. Great article. I think your win/lose columns in the Floor Plan section are all reversed.

  3. Hi Mike,

    Nice blog. I think for us it would come down to $$$. The cost of a monthly Class C payment and insurance vs. the monthly cost of a car payment (have to buy a truck) and trailer plus insurance for both. Also, we would have to get rid of one of our cars (both paid off). Probably the CRV which gets good gas mileage and I am not sure if I would want to get a low mileage vehicle just for pulling a trailer maybe 1x a month. So again, taking gas money into consideration, I am almost leaning toward a class C because of money and everyday functionality. Wish we already had a truck. Would have made things much easier.

    Thanks agian

    • Hi Ricky,
      We have a Class C but wonder if we should buy a travel trailer so we have a vehicle to explore and get around. But the Class C is just so convenient and easy to drive and get set up at the campsite. The debate rages on I suppose.
      Thanks for reading the article and for your comment.

  4. Mike,
    I like that you said I should opt for a fifth wheel if I’m more of a stationary camper since it would be more convenient for me. My girlfriend and I are planning to go on a cross-country trip for a year or more after new years next year. Since we’re not in a rush and would love to sit back and relax in every destination, perhaps we should consider buying a used fifth wheel for our planned adventure.
    Thanks for this!

  5. Dear Mike, thank you so so much for this blog. It was so so helpful !! We are starting to research rv purchase, and your point about 5th wheels decided me about that. I want to work, cook, or use my travel time in rv, not in truck passenger seat. Blessings on your comments. Do you have any more? Robert and Charlene

    • We are in the research phase also and this shed some light on things we haven’t considered, thanks!

  6. I have a 34′ 5th wheel and have no problems manoeuvring it or backing it up. Most trailer people I have met can back up their units easily it takes a bit of practice and the skill learned stays with you ! As far as being 14′ tall, I don’t think so mine is 12′ 5″ and it is a large 5th wheel and 8.5′ wide. You seem to be down on trailers but when I get to a park I have a vehicle to go exploring with because rving is seeing different places and exploring. Thanks for the insight but seems one sided.

    • Hi Ken,
      Thanks for reading my article. I am still struggling with deciding between and 5th wheel or my class C RV myself. Susan and I were just out last weekend looking at towable RV’s for the exact reason you like yours – you have a vehicle to drive around once you set up at your campground. I’m glad you pointed out the fact that many RVers can maneuver and back their rig up like a pro. My opinion is probably a little biased because my old next door neighbor’s travel trailer would occasionally end up in my front yard when he was backing down the driveway.LOL!
      Thanks for reading and I appreciate the feedback. I’ll try to do a better job of keeping my personal bias on the sidelines.

    • I totally agree with this response. We are trying to choose between a class A and a 5th wheel. If you add the insurance in for the nice tow vehicle you’re pulling behind the class C or A your insurance comparison gets closer to equal. Turning radius with a 5th wheel and F350 I know would be better than either motorhomes. I don’t think I have even seen a class c with auto leveling which means you do it manually I’m guessing. Auto level then sewer after you’re unhooked the 5th wheel seems as fast or faster than leveling the C and unhooking the towed car. If you look on UTube they show lots of RVers who can pull up to a 12’ or 14’ wide spot and back it in with way less space needed than a motor home. I think a class c is going camping and a 5th wheel or class A is going RVing. Only advantage of a motor home is the ability for the passengers to get up and make a sandwich or use the bathroom. This is my humble opinion.


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