RV Caravan & Motorhome Magazine | Tips & Tricks, News, Blog (2022)

Investing in an RV is both exciting and nervy. There are so many choices, and if you're getting a trailer, you have to be sure your truck can tow it. For anyone who doesn't want to worry about the size of their tower, half ton towable 5th wheels are perfect.

But what are the best 1/2 ton towable trucks on the market? Are they even safe with a smaller truck? It's important to know that not all half ton trucks are created equally, and so even a smaller 5th wheel might not be compatible.

Trucks are getting better every year, and most modern 1/2 ton pick up trucks can tow between 5,000-12,000 lbs, but the older and less looked after it is will hinder its towing capabilities. So, always take the age and condition of your truck into consideration before buying a 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel.

In this article we look at some of the best lighter 5th wheels on the market. We also include a guide on what to look for when choosing an ideal fifth wheel for your half ton truck. We've also added an FAQ section so you won't be left short and will have a better understanding of what to look for.

With that said, let's take a look at some of the best half ton towable 5th wheels.

What Should I Look For When Buying a 1/2 Ton Towable Fifth Wheel?

Half-ton towable fifth wheels are useful, but you have to buy the right one to enjoy all of its perks. After all, investing in a fifth wheel will do you no good if it does not suit your needs. Here's a list of things to look for when you're considering buying one.

Clean Layout

The first thing that you have to notice in a fifth wheel is the floor plan the manufacturers are offering. It has to be clean with a practical space distribution.

You should avoid floor plans that have a cluttered appearance. They don't have much room for you to move around or relax while you are out on a trip. So, go for a properly set-up floor plan so that you do not feel fatigued when you are out there to wind down.

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Forest River XLR Hyper Lite 2513

Number of Beds

The next consideration has to be the number of beds that a fifth wheel offers. The more beds you want, the heavier it will be. And not just because there'll be more beds, but there'll be more people and fittings designed for more people.

Horsepower Consumption

Another important factor to bear in mind when looking for an ideal 1/2 ton towable fifth wheel is horsepower consumption. Some fifth wheels consume a lot of power, and you don't want to push your half ton truck to further limits when you're already towing a heavy camper.

Review of the Best Half Ton Towable 5th Wheels

If you’re interested in a 1/2 towable fifth wheel but aren’t sure where to begin, take a look at our top picks below.

Best Overall Half Ton Towable Fifth Wheel:
Cougar Half-Ton 25RES

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Pros

  • Never-adjust brakes and heavy-duty axles
  • Electric fireplace with remote and thermostat control
  • Climate Guard protection, in-floor heating ducts, and A/C
  • Optional equipment, like theater seating and free-standing table and chairs
  • Multiple safety features, including carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector, fire extinguisher, and gas leak detector

Cons

  • A/C unit may not cool whole RV
  • Pull-out bed not very comfortable

Cougar Half-Ton 25RES Specs

Carrying Capacity: 2,370 lb.

Length: 28' 10"

Height: 12'

Fresh Water: 60 gal

Waste Water: 30 gal

Sleeping Capacity: 6

Warranty: 3-year limited structural, 1-year limited base

Cougar Half-Ton 25RES Floorplan

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Review

The first thing you notice about this RV is just how beautiful it is. The interior design is not only gorgeous but functional, too. We love the optional off-the-grid camping package for those who like to travel off the beaten path in comfort and style.

This RV is loaded with safety features and high-quality appliances and has enough storage space for the whole family. That said, it sleeps six, which means it might be a bit much for smaller trucks.

Alternatively, you can opt for the theater seating instead of the pull-out bed in the living area if you don’t need to accommodate as many people. Either way, it's a beautiful 5th wheel and one a half ton truck should be capable of towing quite comfortably.

Bottom Line

This RV is great for the family that loves to travel in style. We love that there’s an option for an off-the-grid package so you can take it on different adventures with all the creature comforts of home.

Runner-up:
Palomino Puma 253FBS

Pros

  • U-shaped dinette in slide-out
  • Micro outside kitchen with a girdle
  • Queen-sized bed with shirt closets
  • Recliners and sofa for the sitting area
  • Several overhead compartments for storage

Cons

  • Slightly on the pricier side of the spectrum

Palomino Puma 253FBS Specs

GVWR: 8,800 lbs

Dry Weight: 6,788 lbs

Hitch Weight (Dry): 1,128 lbs

Exterior Length: 28 feet

Exterior Height: 12 feet 2 inch

Fresh Water Capacity: 43 gal

Gray Water Capacity: 69 gal

Black Water Capacity:34 gal

Palomino Puma 253FBS Floor Plan

Palomino Puma 253FBS Layout

The 253FBS by Puma is an amazing fifth wheel with its floor orientation. It has three slide-out compartments that bring a lot of extra room to the camper. The U-shaped dinette and recliners with a table are set up in the outside extensions.

In addition, there is a central kitchen with an entertainment center to its right. Besides that is a bathroom that has a 32 x 32 shower in it. Opposite the bathroom is a large wardrobe and pantry to store the edibles. And then there is a queen-sized bed with shirt closets on either side.

Who Is The Palomino Puma 253FBS Best For?

This is most suitable for couples who like to invite people along for the odd trip. There's only one queen-sized bed with no bunkers or sleeper sofas, so there is a restricted sleeping space. However, the sitting area and the entertainment center make it great for your guests and as long as it's not every trip, you can fix some temporary sleeping space.

Popular Features

One of its most striking features is the slide-out compartment with two recliner chairs and an end table. This could serve well as a reading room or a place to casually chill at. The micro outside kitchen is great as well since it has a griddle and a refrigerator in it.

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Best 1/2 Ton Towable 5th Wheel for the Money:
Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 230RL

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Pros

  • Shower with skylights
  • 30-inch stainless steel microwave
  • Theatre seating with a tri-fold sofa
  • Aluminum entry steps for children and elderly
  • Electric LED awning with one-touch technology

Cons

  • No closets in the bedroom space

Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 230RL Specs

GVWR: 9,495 lbs

Dry Weight: 6,888 lbs

Hitch Weight (Dry): 1,195 lbs

Exterior Length: 28 feet 1 inch

Exterior Height: 12 feet

Fresh Water Capacity:52 gal

Gray Water Capacity: 71 gal

Black Water Capacity:39 gal

Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 230RL Floor Plan

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Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 230RL Layout

The 230RL from Reflection 150 Series has a great layout. Its overhead compartment in the bedroom and a spacious entryway to the bathroom and bedroom are quite welcoming. Also, it has pass-through storage on one side, making it easier for you to stow away your luggage.

There's an L-shaped kitchen with a large pantry on its side. Right next to it are aluminum steps to get in the camper easily. There is a tri-fold sofa in theatre seating to help you relax while providing room for extra sleeps.

Who Is The Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 230RL Best For?

Keeping its features in mind, the 230RL is ideal if you have a small family, or maybe an older retired couple who might want to take the grandkids along now and then. The living area is spacious enough to keep the little ones happy and active.

Popular Features

This fifth wheel stood out to us because of its affordability and simple floor plan. One thing that sets it apart is the large open space in the kitchen and living area. This makes it perfect for anyone with a small family and maybe even pets.

Best Half-Ton Towable Fifth Wheel Bunkhouse:
KZ Durango Half-Ton D275BHS

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Pros

  • Sealed and heated basement storage
  • Dexter axles with self-adjusting brakes
  • Theater dinette with integrated USB ports
  • Double-size bunks and hide-a-bed sofa for maximum occupancy
  • Electric awning with LED lights and exterior speakers for outdoor entertaining

Cons

  • Despite the award-winning design, very few customer reviews available

Specs

Carrying Capacity: 2,630 lb.

Length: 32' 1"

Height: 12' 1"

Fresh Water: 55 gal

Waste Water: 53 gal

Sleeping Capacity: 8

Warranty: 2-year limited

KZ Durango Half-Ton D275BHS Floorplan

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Review

The KZ Durango Half-Ton D275BHS is the winner of RV New’s Best Lightweight Fifth Wheel of the Year and an RV Business Must-See RV for 2021, and it’s not very hard to see why. In addition to being gorgeous, this fifth wheel bunkhouse is loaded with useful and convenient features, including in-floor heated water lines, a full perimeter rain gutter, and a large cargo capacity.

The floorplan on this camper sleeps eight, so it’s a great choice for large families. There is also optional equipment available so you can make sure it suits you in every way, like an off-the-grid solar package, 40 or 48-inch fireplace, a central vac system, and a second ducted AC unit.

Bottom Line

This RV is another great option for large families who enjoy traveling in a style that can also be fitted for off-the-grid adventures. With a two-year warranty, plenty of storage, and an impressive outdoor entertainment setup, and of course comfortably towable by a 1/2 ton truck, this 5th wheel checks all the boxes.

Best 1/2 Ton Towable 5th Wheel Toy Hauler:
Forest River XLR Hyper Lite 2513

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Pros

  • Hardwood cabinet doors
  • Stain-resistant vinyl flooring
  • Optional party deck and solar package
  • Electric awning with LED lights for outdoor entertainment
  • Plenty of storage, including an underbed storage shelf, full-extension kitchen drawers, and exterior storage with insulated doors

Cons

  • Poor quality materials
  • Finish peels after short period of time
  • AC breaker may trip with consistently hot weather

Specs

Carrying Capacity: 3,532 lb.

Length: 29' 10"

Height: 2' 1"

Fresh Water: 102 gal

Waste Water: 30 gal

Sleeping Capacity: 6

Warranty: 1-year limited

Forest River XLR Hyper Lite 2513 Layout

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Review

If you’re looking for a lightweight toy hauler that’s easy to tow, this is a great option. It’s slightly more affordable than the other options on this list, and it comes with some nice features. The cast iron cooktop looks amazing and should last a really long time, and there is plenty of storage.

There are excellent relaxation choices with the dual sofas and the two lounge chairs with an end table in between. For sleeping, the electric queen bunk above the sofas and the queen-size bed in the master suite ensures plenty of sleeping space.

Bottom Line

This half ton towable fifth wheel has a lot of great features and options, and it’s one of RV News’ Travel Trailer Toy Hauler of the Year. If you want to take your "toys" along with you, and you want your friends to come along, and of course you want a 5th wheel that can be towed easily by a 1/2 ton truck, this is for you.

Half-Ton Truck Towing Terms You Should Know

Before you have a look at the fifth wheel options available to you, you need to understand their basic terminology. Keeping this in view, we have described the common terms for you.

Tow Capacity

The towing capacity refers to the amount of weight your vehicle can support when it comes to towing a trailer. Most vehicles can tow fifth wheels weighing up to 12,000 lbs quite comfortably.

Payload

The payload is the maximum weight that can be loaded on a truck. The fifth wheel's weight has to be just right so that it is easy for the truck to withstand it. If the payload exceeds the vehicle’s designated limit, it can cause serious accidents. To calculate the payload of your truck, you should subtract its curb weight from GVWR.

Hitch Weight

Hitch weight, also called tongue weight, is the amount of weight that a fifth wheel puts on the axle of your vehicle. It directly affects the payload capacity of a truck, so buyers have to be mindful of it.

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Photo credit: rvusa.com

(UVW)

Unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) is the weight of a vehicle without any fuel or passengers. It's colloquially known as dry or empty weight.

(GVWR)

Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the weight of a vehicle, including its dry weight and all itsaccessories. It also includes the weight of the cargo as well as the passengers.

What Makes a Half-Ton Towable Fifth Wheel Great?

A half-ton towable fifth wheel can make your adventures more enjoyable. There are so many perks of having the right vehicle. So, let’s see what makes a half-ton towable fifth wheel great.

Ease Of Transportation

Unlike recreational vehicles, fifth wheels do not need major expertise on your part to drive them. You just have to be proficient at driving your usual truck in order to handle one of these easily.

Pricing

What actually makes fifth wheels such a cool option is that they are much more affordable than other options. These are admittedly lessluxurious, but the price range is definitely a win with these.

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Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 230RL

Lesser Weight

Fifth wheels with the least weight and most space are ideal for many reasons. The bulky ones just add more pressure on the engine, which could lead to accidents.

Fuel Efficiency

Another factor that makes lighter fifth wheels great is a better fuel economy. Lighter fifth wheels do not need much fuel to tow them along, so they are more fuel-efficient.

What is a ½ Ton Truck and How Does a Towing Package Affect Towing Capacity?

A half ton truck is one with a half-ton payload capacity. The payload includes all of the weight the pickup truck can carry, including cargo, passengers, and its hitch weight. A ton is 2000 pounds, so, on the surface, a half-ton truck can handle 1000 pounds. But, it’s not really that simple. Thanks to modern materials and designs, new half-ton trucks have stronger suspensions and heavier frames, so they can actually carry closer to ¾ ton or 1500 pounds.

Towing capacity is the amount that the truck can tow and the gross combined weight includes the weight of everything, including the truck, cargo, passengers, and anything the vehicle is towing.

You also have to consider gross axle weight rating, which is the total weight that each axle can handle at the maximum gross combined weight. Bear in mind that the weight of the trailer also includes the cargo capacity of everything in the trailer, so any food and equipment or anything placed in the storage area is included.

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Forest River XLR Hyper Lite 2513

Popular Trucks With Half Ton Towing Capability

Here are some of the most popular half ton trucks on the market today:

Chevy Silverado 1500

There are many options available with the Chevy Silverado 1500, but with a 6.2L V8 engine, it’s capable of pulling 13,300 pounds.

Next up on our list is the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with its turbo engine, which generates a torque of 450 Nm. It can tow a 5th wheel weighing up to 13,400 pounds without any difficulty. So, consider it if you are carrying a moderately-sized camper along with your truck.

Dodge Ram 1500

With a max payload of 1930 pounds and a towing capacity of 10,610 pounds, this popular truck has more than enough power to haul any of the travel trailer fifth wheels in our review.

RAM 1500 is a premium gas engine-powered truck that can take on a fifth wheel really well. It has a max payload of 2,300 pounds and a towing capability of 12,750 pounds. These enable it to drag along a fifth wheel with your essentials and passengers in it quite easily.

GMC Sierra 1500

Between the Sierra AT4, Denali, and Elevation, there are options for anyone interested in a GMC Sierra 1500. Depending on the model, it can tow between 9,200 and 11,800 pounds.

Toyota Tundra

There are many Tundra options, too. With the tow package, the SR can handle 10,200 pounds and the Limited can haul 9,400 pounds.

Nissan Titan

Nissan offers the Titan King Cab, which hauls up to 9,310 pounds, and the XD Crew Cab hauls 11,040 pounds.

Ford F-150

Ford F-150 is one of the most popular half-ton trucks that can support a fifth wheel. With a towing capacity of 13,000 pounds, it can be the perfect match for most 5th wheels out there. The delivery of 250 horsepower by its engine further improves the truck’s suitability for the job.

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Photo credit: holmanrv.com

Aspects To Consider Before Buying

In order to make the most out of your trips, you have to be fully prepared. And, having the perfect fifth wheel at hand is a sure way to complete your preparations. So, keep the following aspects in mind to buy the right vehicle for your adventures.

CCC

Cargo carrying capacity or CCC is the amount of weight that a vehicle can carry. It has to be within safe limits for you to carry all of your belongings and still have a lesser strain on the vehicle.

Curb Weight

The curb weight of a vehicle is the weight that all the liquids in a vehicle amount to. It includes the weight of the fuel in tanks, the water that you are carrying, and other automotive fluids.

GVW

Gross vehicle weight or GVW is the weight that a vehicle can support safely. It includes everything that is inside the vehicle and the stuff that is attached to it as well. The accessories, passengers, cargo, fuel, and the fifth wheel are all a part of this.

Pin Weight

The pin weight is the amount of weight that the hitch receiver is going to deal with. It has to be 20% of the weight of the GVW that your fifth wheel comes with.

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KZ Durango Half-Ton D275BHS Floor Plan

Do's and Don’ts of Towing Fifth Wheels

Towing fifth wheels is not something very technical. But you certainly have to take care of the stuff you are allowed to do with them and the stuff you have to avoid.

The Do's

Here is what you can do when towing the fifth wheel without risking anything.

Road Trips

Fifth wheels are a great way of improving your road trip experience. You do not have to worry about prior bookings at any fancy restaurant. All you have to do is to pack away your stuff and hop in your truck. You can have as long a road trip as you want once you have a nice fifth wheel with you.

Cargo Carrying

Another important thing that you can do is carry cargo with you on a towable fifth wheel. When you are not vacationing, you can just remove the major things from the fifth wheel. And, then you can transport your business-related things in that space.

StorageofPicnic Stuff

Now, it is not necessary to always have week-long road trips. You can just go out for a long ride with your friends or family. Just pack some picnic stuff inside your fifth wheel, go somewhere nice, and have some quality time together.

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Forest River XLR Nitro 405 (Source)

The Don’ts

Now, here are some of the things you have to avoid doing with your towing fifth wheel.

Use for Storing Extra Fuel

One thing that you have to avoid at all costs is storing fuel or inflammable in your fifth wheel. They can cause fires and other misadventures that you do not want to happen. So, you need to be careful about that.

People Also Ask

Half-ton towable fifth wheels are a nice alternative to expensive RVs. But, they are generally used less than recreational vehicles because a lot of people do not know about them. So, here are some quick answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding these. Go through them to clear any confusions that you might be having.

Why Do They Call It a Half-Ton Truck?

As usually assumed, half-ton does not refer to the weight of the fifth wheel or the truck. Rather, it is named so because the estimated payload capacity is half a ton. It means that your vehicle can support almost 500 kg of passengers and cargo.

How Much Can a Half-Ton Truck Tow?

Most half-ton trucks can tow 9,000 to 10,000 pounds worth of weight. But, if you have a heavy-duty tow truck, you can tow much more weight than this range.

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Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 230RL (Source)

How Much Is Half a Ton?

Half a ton is roughly 450 kg or 1,000 pounds.

How Much Do 5th Wheels Weigh?

5th wheels have different weight ranges depending on their size and frame. They can weigh anywhere between 2,500 and 20,000 pounds. Ideal half ton towable 5th wheels weigh up to 12,000lbs.

Do I Need a Special Hitch to Tow a Fifth Wheel Camper With a Half-ton Truck?

Yes, you might have to buy a special hitch to tow a fifth-wheel camper with a half-ton truck. Most campers are too heavy for usual truck axles to support. So, having a moreappropriate hitchto support the camper is a wise choice.

How to Tell If My Vehicle Can Tow My Fifth Wheel

You need to refer to the specifications of your vehicle to see if it will be able to accommodate a fifth wheel. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) helps you in this regard. This is the ultimate weight that your vehicle can support or carry.

The Best Half Ton Towable 5th Wheel Campers

Summing it all up, a half-ton towable fifth wheel can bring a lot more fun and recreation to your life. If you're in the market for one, it's important to know exactly what you want from it.

DO you want your 5th wheel for you and your other half? Do you have a family and in need of more sleeping space? Are you into SUVs, ATVs and maybe you want a Toy hauler?

Whichever type of 5th wheel you desire, if you want one that can be comfortably be towed with a half ton truck should be no issue as long as you do your homework. Happy travels!

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