Every year we ask our research team to rate the Top 3 Fifth Wheels on the market. Our researchers hate projects like this. Researchers like to use charts and graphs. They want to explain every point in detail. In their minds, asking for the Top 3 fifth wheels is like asking how long is a piece of string. It depends, they insist, on price point, features and intended use. How can an Entry-Level fifth-wheel designed for quick weekend trips compare to a four-season Fiver designed for full time travel in all types of weather? Well, it can’t. There are hundreds of fifth-wheels on the market this year, and the cost of a top-tier fifth wheel from someone like DRV could buy three fifth-wheels from the bargain basement bin at Forest River. So is DRV automatically on the Top 3? No, it isn’t. Most RVers travel in the warmer summer months, take trips of two weeks or less, and have no need for a camper with residential grade plumbing and electrical systems. A DRV would be a waste of money.
The tip of the iceberg…
Our Top 3 Fifth Wheels is a list of fifth wheels that we genuinely like. It’s that simple. We’ve chosen from manufacturers that have earned their reputation, honor their warranties, and frequently appear near the top of their charts included in our Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide. DRV, for example, frequently appears near the top of the Premium chart. Dutchmen, on the other hand, ranks highly in the Entry Level chart. It’s worth noting that the following fifth wheels all have competitors that are worth consideration, as well. Don’t limit yourself to a single model or manufacturer. If one of the following appeals to you, the easy-to-read Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide will go in to much more detail while letting you see how they compare to their competitors.
Top 3 Fifth Wheels (in no particular order)
Keystone Montana: A proven winner
Keystone Montana: Anyone who has spent any time researching fifth-wheels knows about the Montana. It was the best-selling fifth wheel in North America seemingly forever. (Seriously, like fifteen straight years.) It is Keystone’s claim to fame and Montana owners are so enthusiastic that they have their own fan club: The Montana Owners Group (or MOG). They hold rallies all over North America and you can’t find a campsite anywhere that doesn’t have at least one Montana on hand. Construction and fit and finish are above average and price/value is traditionally fair. Sales and discounts are available several times a year and are worth waiting for. Grand Design knocked them from the #1 perch a couple years ago, but we feel the Montana still holds it own. In constant production for almost twenty years, Keystone has had plenty of time to work out all the bugs. For anyone considering a Montana, the MOG is run by actual Montana owners and they’re both welcoming and happy to answer any questions.
Grand Design Solitude: This is the upstart that took the top award from the Montana in Trailer Life’s Annual Readers’ Choice Awards. Since then the two have waged a constant battle for the top spot but the real winner is the RV buying public. In our opinion, Grand Design’s presence motivated the designers at Keystone to innovate and update the Montana, which had been starting to show its age. Today, the Solitude has had plenty of time to prove its worth as a well built and rugged fifth wheel. Customer service from Grand Design rates well above average and prices tend to be fair, but the company can be stingy with discounts. Grand Design is known for their “Wow!” factor, with their very eye catching and impressive decor and interior design. Not only do they know how to build a darn good fifth wheel, they also know how to dress it to impress.
Forest River Flagstaff: Surprised? For those of you who have read about Forest River in our Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide, you probably never expected us to put them in a Top 3 list. But keep in mind, most of the negative comments in our guide are based on owner feedback. We just report the information we’re given, and, yes, there’s lots of unhappy Forest River owners out there. So why include them here? Well, Forest River has a huge lineup. HUGE. And the bulk of their lineup is geared toward entry level buyers focused almost entirely on price. Not surprisingly, when you buy the cheapest RV you can find, chances are you’re going to disappointed with the end result. But Forest River’s Flagstaff is a step above their entry level fare and is priced accordingly, but still delivers lots of bang for the buck.
One advantage that Forest River has is their massive buying power. They purchase parts and materials in bulk and pass on the savings to the customer. They also build in high volume, so there’s always plenty of Flagstaff fifth wheels on the market. The Flagstaff can’t compete with the Solitude or the Montana in build quality, resale value, or initial owner satisfaction, but when it comes to bang for your buck, the Flagstaff is a good camper at a bargain price. For anyone considering a fifth wheel for Weekend and Vacation travel, the Flagstaff is worth a look. To save some real money, avoid the latest model year and find a heavily discounted model from last year. Model year changes for the Flagstaff in the last three years are minimal at best.
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The information above is based on our work in researching travel trailers and fifth wheels over the years. Within 2-hours of reading our #1 selling RV Travel Trailer Guide, you’ll have the information you will need to select and purchase your next fifth wheel or travel trailer at an awesome price.
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RV Research Team!