Like RVs, hitches come in several different sizes and types, so choosing the right one may seem a bit overwhelming at first. But honestly, it’s pretty simple. The type of hitch you’ll need depends on the type of RV you’re towing. It’s all in the weight my friends.
The first thing you should know is that hitches are divided into five classes:
- Class I hitches are for the smallest trailers and can be used on most vehicles, carrying loads up to about 2,000 lbs.
- Class II hitches are meant for mid-sized vehicles. They can haul loads up to about 3,500 pounds. And, if you’re towing a lightweight travel trailer over about 3,000 lbs, I recommend using sway bars. These help minimize sway from passing trucks or sudden wind gusts while on the road.
- Class III hitches can handle loads of up to 5,000 when towed with a mid-sized pickup, van or SUV. Class III hitches also require weight distribution and sway control.
- Class IV hitches can haul up to about 10,000 pounds and are often weight-distributing hitches.
- Class V hitches are typically considered 5th wheel or gooseneck hitches. These are installed in the bed of truck and are used for large RVs. Fifth wheel hitches can handle up to about 30,000 lbs.
The second thing you need to know is that most 5th wheel RVs require between a 7,000 and 15,000 pound hitch. A 5th wheel hitch can be installed in the bed of any pickup truck so long as the box is longer than 5 and one-half feet long.
Fifth wheel hitches are beneficial because they allow for sharper turning, more towing capacity and increased stability. They also naturally help distribute the weight of the load because of their placement in the truck bed. One downside is the amount of space they take up, although many are removable for when you don’t need to tow your 5th wheel.
I recommend having your hitch installed professionally for two reasons: 1) Special care needs to be given not to damage any components of the truck that are located on the underside, including the brake and fuel lines; and 2) If you don’t already have one, your vehicle will need a 7-way connector for lighting, brake control, charging wire, and backup lights.