Travel Trailer, Motorhome, or 5th Wheel ~ Which is Best for Families

When we set out on our full-time RV, we explored all the options for what would be best for our family of 6.  Each particular RV type has pros and cons.

Today I’m sharing what I see as important factors when deciding which of these 3 types of RVs suit a family.

RV Types Best for Families

Travel Trailers

Pros –

  • Economical
  • Lighter-Weight

Cons –

  • Ceilings are Lower
  • Not Well Insulated
  • Smaller Master Bedrooms
  • Minimal Storage

We considered getting a Travel Trailer which is also called a bumper-pull.  The fact that they are less expensive was a draw for us but we decided the loss in space was not worth it.  Looking back, I think we would have been just fine with a travel trailer had we not wintered up North.  (You can order them more insulated but that will drive your cost up.)


Pros –

  • All-in-One Ease of Moving
  • Generator is Usually Included for Boondocking
  • Decent Storage
  • More Seating

Cons –

  • Mechanical Breakdown – Out of Your Home
  • Rarely Come With Bunks
  • More Expensive

When we decided to buy an older RV and undertake a camper remodel, we went with a motorhome.  We love our Winnebago Adventurer and it suits us well.  Since we are a family of 6, we had to get creative with our sleeping arrangements.  I wrote all about our renovations and converting the master bedroom into a bunk room.

5th Wheel

We actually bought a 5th Wheel

Pros –

  • Higher Ceilings
  • Larger Master Bedrooms
  • Much More Storage Throughout

Cons –

  • Winter Energy Costs High
  • More Expensive
  • Less Seating

We actually bought a 5th Wheel and we loved it.  There were so many positives to our 5th Wheel.  In the end, the cost is why we decided to sell it and remodel our motorhome.

So that’s our run-down on RV types.  Hopefully our insight helps you decide what is right for you and your family.


11 thoughts on “Travel Trailer, Motorhome, or 5th Wheel ~ Which is Best for Families”

  1. I think another pro of a bumper pull is that you can use something other than a pickup truck to pull it, and if you have a pickup, you can actually use the bed. I bought a well-insulated bumper-pull for my family of three before I even got a tow vehicle, and part of my reasoning against a fifth wheel was because I was considering buying a van. I ended up getting a pickup after all, but I’m still glad I don’t have to deal with a hitch in my bed.

  2. Julie,

    When you say that you got rid of the 5th wheel because of the cost, do you mean because it was a new RV and the monthly payment in your budget stretched your budget too much? Reason I ask is that most monthly budgets that we look at for full-timers…the drivables are always significantly higher.

  3. We are a family of 7, and we just bought our first RV, a 37′ travel trailer and we jumped into fulltime rving to keep our family together after our landlord decided to sell our house. My husband is active duty military, and we only have one more year at this duty station, so finding another rental was not appealing!

    Because we won’t all fit in our pick-up, we needed a light bumper-pull to use with our Suburban. I have to say we really love it. The bunkhouse has opposing slideouts, so there is plenty of room for all five kids without having to tear into the dinette or pull out the couch every night. We actually under-packed, in that we still have lots of storage available. Also, we homeschool, so lots of books and supplies are included in the stuff we had to bring.

    The only time I notice the smaller height is when I go outside and see the massive motorhomes and 5th-wheels parked around us. 🙂

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