In July 2017 we made the decision to make the switch from our 2007 Monaco Dynasty 40′ coach to a 5th wheel. The coach was beautiful and we loved it however it was a big expense and we weren’t planning to travel extensively for a few years therefore it would have been sitting in two locations all year. We weren’t thrilled the coach had two couches vs a set of recliners which didn’t make watching TV very comfortable. We contemplated replacing a couch with recliners but eventually concluded a 5th wheel would be more comfortable for what we were seeking. The coach vs 5th wheel decision seems to be a very common dilemma people are confronted with for various reasons and often people switch back and forth more than once.
We shopped 5th wheels and trucks for about 2 months while renting a house. The truck shopping is yet an entirely different decision as one must be sure they buy enough truck to pull the 5th wheel they plan to buy. Since we were shopping 38’+ 5th wheels we decided we didn’t want the truck to limit the size/brand of 5th wheel we would have or could have in the future therefore we decided to buy a dually and be done with it. We purchased the truck first since we also needed transportation after also selling the Mini Cooper we towed behind the 5th wheel.
The 5th wheel shopping was much more difficult than we had anticipated. We had done a lot of research online and knew buying a new one wouldn’t be smart financially and also just about every new RV has a host of problems/issues that need to be fixed early on. It made more sense to buy a private party like-new unit where the original buyers already a brunt of the depreciation and had any initial issues fixed.
We had a list of brands we shopped for specifically which included:
- Mobile Suites/DRV
We shopped RVTrader and other online RV sites, Craigslist and others for weeks with not much luck. We made 2-3 all-day road trips to look at what we thought was “the one” only to be disappointed in condition, etc. But we kept at it …patience patience was our motto as we didn’t want to buy something we would regret out of desperation.
We finally found a 2016 39′ ArcticFox 35-5Z 5th wheel that was like new and had most factory upgrades for sale by a private party in the Portland area. The unit had been towed from LaGrande, OR where it was made to a dealer in Portland and ultimately to an RV park in Troutedale, OR where we purchased it.
ArcticFox’s are made in LaGrande, OR by Northwood. They are known to be high quality units made in limited production runs. Most units are sold before they hit dealer lots and seem to be difficult to find since they aren’t mass-produced like the other 99% made in Indiana. ArcticFox use their own in-house made heavy duty frames which are a key selling point. They also have excellent insulation, double-pane windows and seem to have a very happy owner following.
The unit we purchased has a 22 cu ft refrigerator which is the largest one made, awning toppers, king size bed, 6 point auto-leveling system, dual AC’s, 16 gallon hot-water heater, G-rated GoodYear tires and a few other upgrades. Included in the price we also got a 6-year transferable bumper to bumper warranty the original owner had purchased for an extra $4500 which was a bonus.
So far we really like it. We had one water leak problem early on that was rectified quickly (loose water connection). Other than that it has been problem free.
Overall we are glad we made the switch from the coach. While the 5th wheel is not in the same league as the coach quality wise it is in fact more comfortable for day to day living and feels like a mini apartment.
Click on the image below to via more pictures in the Google photo album.