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A walkthrough of my 2016 Grand Design Reflection 29RS Fifth Wheel.

It had become apparent as time went on - especially in the last year, that our motorhome was no longer the best fit. We did have a lot of fun in it, and I am not sure if I would have gone a different route in retrospect. However, or lifestyle is changing to part-time full-timers, meaning we would like to spend 100 days or so each year RV'ing. For that reason, we realized that a 5th wheel, with it's extra room and 4 seasons (ish) capability would be a better solution.

Fortunately, we were able to sell our Class C, and pick up this 5th wheel without any financial hardship, and the time was right for us to make the change.

Whether you go with a travel trailer, 5th wheel, or motorhome depends on your lifestyle, and even then, each type is a bit of a compromise as most folks have needs that don't favor one type exclusively. And since we will hopefully do some cross-country traveling with the 5th wheel, our tow vehicle is much more capable in severe terrain than our Class C was.

Projects? You bet! Just because we have new rig does not mean it's setup exactly the way I want it, and with even the best of RVs, if it isn't already broken from the factory, it soon will be broken as we are bouncing it down the highway.

You can view my prospective project list here: Projects

I wanted to do this initial walkthrough so that a before and after comparison could be made. So, after 2 weeks of April snow (it snowed 9" in April where I live), the weather has improved enough to uncover the RV so that we could finally begin to use it.

Although this RV is badged as a 29RS, the actual length is 30ft-11in, which makes it just about 1ft longer than our Class C. The GVWR is 9,995lbs with an unloaded weight of 8,700lbs, giving it a cargo capacity of 1,295lbs. While that at first seems plenty of cargo capacity, we will have to be careful that we don't overload the RV. Given that there is a 60 gallon fresh water tank, carrying a full load of water will reduce the cargo carrying capacity by 480lbs.

This RV is known as a "Super-Lite", which means it weighs perhaps 500lbs less than the smallest non-light RV, so it is really not much lighter. However, we went with this coach primarily because of it's shorter length, not because of the light-weight category.

I have plenty of truck to pull this RV, but we often like to visit state parks. Unfortunately, the typical state park in our area was built 50yrs ago when RVs were under 20ft long, and while some of the lots have grown larger to accomidate today's larger RVs, often the roads are tight and narrow.

The problem was that just about every 5th wheel manufacturer builds their 30ft coaches as light-weight models, marketed to the 1/2ton pickup market. So if you want a 30ft'er, it's going to be a light-weight. This does make me scratch my head a bit though. True, there are a few 1/2ton late model pickups that will pull this thing, but that means you can head down to the lake... it does not mean you are going to head out cross country.

Now some of you folks with 1/2ton pickups might disagree with me, but I have several RV friends that tow with 1/2tons that struggle with them. You can never have too much truck to tow with.

 


Last reviewed and/or updated May 10, 2017