Do They Make Gooseneck Campers? (5th Wheel vs Gooseneck)

Some times people like to haul their trailer and use their tow vehicle for all the sightseeing and errands they want to do. This helps them save a little money and not have to pack up their campsite every time they want to go some place.

Do They Make Gooseneck Campers? From what we have been able to find out the answer is no. There are a lot of gooseneck trailers on the market and in use today but none for people to use when they want to go camping. The reason for this is that most states don't allow gooseneck designs for RV camping or traveling.

To find out more about gooseneck versus 5th wheel hitches, just continue to read our review. It is filled with the information you need to know before you hook up a gooseneck hitch to your RV trailer.

What is a Gooseneck Camper?

A gooseneck camper is a camping trailer that comes with a hitch that looks like a 5th wheel hitch. The two are often confused because they have quite a few similarities. You can only use a pickup truck of various sizes to haul a trailer with a gooseneck hitch.

There are 3 types of gooseneck hitches available today:

  • #1. below the bed- the rails for the gooseneck on this version are installed below the bed of the truck. You get complete access to the rails once the hitch has been removed. With no exposure of the rails, putting the hitch on or taking it off is quite simple and very easy to do. It also doesn’t take a lot of time to do either. You can do a lot of customizing with this style of hitch
  • #2. Above the bed- this looks like a 5th wheel hitch and does just about the same thing. Like the below bed hitch, the above bed style is also very easy to use and hitching or unhitching should not be a hassle. This style of gooseneck hitch is very versatile as it will accept 5th wheel balls.
  • #3. fold down- this is the below bed style with a twist. After installation, you can fold the ball to the side under the truck bed. The only drawback to this style is that you need a cutting hole in your truck bed for the twist to work properly.

Is a 5th Wheel Better Than a Gooseneck?

To find out which one is better, let's take a look at a few facts about both. The gooseneck can haul a lot more weight than a 5th wheel hitch can. On a gooseneck, you can haul up to 25,000 to 30,000 pounds. A fifth wheel cannot match that performance.

The gooseneck, as described above, has 3 versions while the 5th wheel has only one style and no more. Versatility is part of the game with a gooseneck trailer as one model can handle a 5th wheel hitch.

One point for the 5th wheel side of the debate is that it can be used to haul people. The gooseneck is not allowed that option. Then the 5th wheel takes up a lot of space in the truck’s bed. The gooseneck does not which allows you to use the extra room for more cargo.

Another point for the 5th wheel is that it uses a king pin set up to make sure the trailer you are pulling is secure and should not fall off. The gooseneck just uses a ball and a coupler. It also needs a security chain just in case the hitch slips and comes unhooked.

Finally, tone of the more important facts in the debate is that the gooseneck is cheaper top purchase than a 5th wheel. The extra cost for the 5th wheel as it is allowed to haul passengers while the gooseneck is not allowed to do so.

In the final analysis, the gooseneck may be the better of the two hitches. But where it counts, hauling an RV trailer, then it loses out to the 5th wheel. In that regard, the 5th wheel is better.

What’s the Difference Between a Gooseneck and a Fifth Wheel

There are some differences between the two types of hitches. One side note is that the gooseneck looks and acts a lot like the bumper ball and couplers used to tow many smaller trailers.

The bumper ball style can be used on a variety of vehicles including cars but the gooseneck requires a pick up truck. For the gooseneck, there is a small plate that is attached above or below the pickup truck bed and it uses a ball and coupler to make the towing connection.

Also, a safety chain is needed to make sure the trailer does not come loose from your vehicle. On the other hand, the 5th wheel has two steel rails that need to be mounted to the pickup truck’s bed.

On top of that, it has a flat, plate as the hitch which can be customized to fit your trailer. This hitch looks like a horseshoe and comes with two levers to help unhook the trailer when you have reached your destination and stabilized the trailer.

Then to make the final connection, the king pin goes down into the 5th wheel and its flat plate connects with the flat plate on the hitch. The king pin rotates as you make your turns.

Gooseneck vs Fifth Wheel Towing Capacity

While the 5th wheel may provide a smoother ride, it is not rated to haul more weight than the gooseneck hitch. There are occasions where a 5th wheel has been rated to haul 30,000 pounds but those are not common.

Usually, the tow weight of the 5th wheel is in the range of 24,000 pounds. The gooseneck on the other hand, can haul about 30,000 pounds regularly. They have a high weight capacity because they are reserved for commercial use only.

Just double check the rating before you buy to make sure the hitch you want will handle the load you need to tow.

Pulling a Fifth Wheel with a Gooseneck Hitch

This is not a difficult task and some RV owners have used these adapters to pull their 5th wheel trailer with their gooseneck hitch. What you need is a good adapter but you have a choice to make.

Some of the adapters attach to or use the ball hole on your gooseneck hitch. This allows you to hook up to your 5th wheel without having to do any modification work to your 5th wheel connection.

The other style attaches to and modifies your 5th wheel trailer allowing you to connect directly to the gooseneck ball and coupler. Which one you use will depend on your situation and your needs.

Here are 3 links to different websites that should have all the adapters you need in stock. Click here, and here and finally here. Two things to be aware of when you use adapters. They can be hard on your 5th wheel frame and it is possible that they will void your manufacturer’s frame warranty.

Before you buy, you better check your warranty to make sure you remain covered if you use an adapter.

Advantage of 5th Wheel Over Gooseneck

The first advantage the 5th wheel hitch has over the gooseneck is that it is legal to use when you want to haul recreational trailers and humans. The second advantage will be that it is a more secure connection between truck and trailer. Goosenecks require a safety chain to be attached to both the vehicle and your trailer.

A third advantage is that the 5th wheel provides a smoother ride than the gooseneck hitch will. It is not hard to install the 5th wheel either. It shouldn’t take you too long to get it in place despite the fact you may have to remove the rear wheel for a successful mount.

Also, the 5th wheel style is the most common hitch when towing recreational vehicles. Repairs should not be that hard to do and you should be able to find a qualified tech to make those repairs quite simply.

Gooseneck Camper Conversion

One of the things that make gooseneck style trailers so popular and attractive is that you can customize them and make them fit for human living. There are a lot of good DIY ideas on the internet to help guide you through the conversion and make the gooseneck a place fit for you and your family. But that may not be what you had in mind.

Switching hitches to accept an adapter is not hard to do. You just have to have the right tools on hand and spend a little time modifying either your hitch or your trailer.

Some people recommend installing a 5th wheel hitch first as it is easier to swap it out and put a gooseneck in its place without hurting your truck or removing all of the 5th wheel rails, etc. Adapters make sure your trailers are safe and very secure during your towing time.

5th Wheel Camper Gooseneck Adapter

The best 5th wheel to gooseneck adapters on the market right now are the kind that allow you to remove the king pin from your 5th wheel. This allows you to directly lock your 5th wheel into the gooseneck hitch.

The good news about these adapters is that they are made from about 40 pounds of solid steel. The bad news is that they may cost you up to $500 and no lower than $400. You can justify the expense by telling yourself that this is the most important connection you have and it is worth the cost to make the conversion.

Another good justification is that this method is also cheaper than removing your gooseneck hitch and replacing it with a 5th wheel model. Installation is easy and there are a lot of 5th wheel to gooseneck adapters on sale so you have a little choice as to which one you will purchase.

Where to Find Gooseneck Campers for Sale

This is actually a difficult question to answer because gooseneck hitches are for commercial use only. They are not allowed by most states to be used for hauling recreational trailers or people.

If you really want a gooseneck camper then private sales may be the best bet. Some trailer owners have made the conversion and may not need their trailer anymore. Or if you can find them, you could choose to purchase what is called a geese camper.

That is a small camper pushed all the way forward on a gooseneck trailer. These conversions may be around but again, they may only be in those states that allow gooseneck hitches to be used for hauling recreational trailers or campers.

You can also try RV or Truck magazines, searching their classified sections to see what is available near you. Or talk to RV owners on the various RV forums to get your leads.

Some Final Words

Overall, the gooseneck hitches seem to be superior to the 5th wheel version. They have the towing capacity prowess, the short turning radius and the versatility you may need.

But what makes the 5th wheel better is that it is legal to haul RV trailers and people and that tips the scale in favor of the 5th wheel over the gooseneck. That one factor makes using the 5th wheel the best option.

Also, the 5th wheel hitch has a more secure connection. So no matter how much cheaper the gooseneck is or how much more weight it can haul, it is still not a better trailer hitch to use over the 5th wheel when it comes to recreational vehicles.

You can do conversions on those trailers that require a gooseneck hitch or you can turn to adapters to make your trailers fit what you have in the back of your pick up truck. But the key will always be is it legal.

That is question you have to answer as well as are you willing to take the risk.

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