What Truck Bed Length Do You Need to Tow a Fifth-Wheel Trailer?

By: South Thompson Motors & RV   |   24 Apr 2024

If you’re a little green to the #RVlife and have your eye on an adventure-ready fifth-wheel trailer, you may have some questions about the complexities of towing one. While it can seem a little daunting at first, once you get the hang of it, hitching, towing, and heck, even backing up a fifth wheel will soon become second nature! Still, ensuring your truck is equipped to handle the task is crucial for safety and efficiency.

One of the key considerations is the truck bed length, as it directly impacts the stability and maneuverability of your towing setup. In this guide, the team at South Thompson RV is here to help. Keep reading to explore the factors you need to consider when choosing the right truck bed length for towing a fifth-wheel trailer.

Understanding Fifth-Wheel Trailer Dynamics

Before diving into truck bed lengths, it's essential to grasp the unique dynamics of fifth-wheel trailers. These trailers hitch into the bed of a pickup truck, placing significant weight directly over the rear axle for improved stability and handling. 

Importance of Truck Bed Length

The truck bed length is critical in determining the clearance between the cab and the front of the fifth-wheel trailer during sharp turns. Insufficient clearance can lead to collisions, damaging both the truck and the trailer. While there is not necessarily a standard truck bed size for a fifth wheel, an 8-foot bed, also referred to as a long bed, is ideal.

It’s also important to consider the trailer width in proportion to the truck bed. Generally, longer fifth-wheel trailers necessitate longer truck beds to ensure adequate clearance. However, it's essential to consider the distance from the truck's rear axle to the trailer's kingpin, as this impacts maneuverability.

Shop Fifth-Wheels Get RV Parts & Accessories

Maneuverability vs. Bed Length

Shorter truck beds offer enhanced maneuverability, making them ideal for navigating tight spaces. However, longer beds provide more stability and may be necessary for towing larger fifth-wheel trailers. Truck bed length can also influence payload capacity, with longer beds typically accommodating higher payloads. However, it's crucial to maintain proper weight distribution between the truck and the trailer to ensure safe towing.

Beyond trailer size and maneuverability, factors such as towing regulations, driving preferences, and budget constraints may influence your choice of truck bed length. When making this decision, consider your specific towing needs and lifestyle.


How can I determine if a sliding fifth-wheel hitch is necessary?

If the space between your truck bed and the fifth-wheel jaws measures less than half the width of your trailer, opting for a sliding hitch becomes essential. This adjustment ensures that the front of the trailer won't obstruct the truck cab during turns.

Is it possible to install a fifth-wheel hitch in a short-bed truck?

Certainly, a fifth-wheel hitch can be installed in a short-bed truck, provided the trailer's front end doesn't interfere with the truck cab. In cases where half the width of the trailer exceeds the distance from the truck cab to the hitch point, a sliding fifth-wheel hitch is recommended. This option grants short-bed trucks the necessary clearance for turning maneuvers. CURT offers a range of fifth-wheel towing solutions tailored to various pickup truck bed dimensions.

Is a slider hitch necessary for a 6.5-ft bed truck?

While a slider hitch isn't always mandatory for a 6.5-ft bed truck, it's commonly recommended for most short-bed trucks. Truck bed dimensions vary, and the need for a slider hitch depends on the width of the trailer. To determine if a slider hitch is needed, measure the trailer's width and divide it by two. If this measurement is smaller than the distance between the truck cab and the hitch point, then a slider hitch is advisable. 

Shop New & Used Fifth-Wheel Trailers Near Kamloops At South Thompson RV

Selecting the ideal truck bed length for towing a fifth-wheel trailer requires careful consideration of various factors, including trailer size, maneuverability, payload capacity, and personal preferences. By weighing these factors and seeking expert guidance when needed, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable towing experience on your adventures.

When in doubt, consult with truck manufacturers, towing specialists, or your experienced RV dealer in Kamloops, South Thompson RV. We can provide personalized recommendations based on your towing setup and preferences. Shop our extensive selection of new and used fifth-wheels and other residential vehicles online today to get started!


Shop Fifth-Wheels Get RV Parts & Accessories

Contact Us

Leave us a voicemail
or send us a message

Give us a call at (250) 374-4949 or click here to send us a message!

2449 Trans Canada Hwy E, Kamloops, BC V2C 4A9