Triple Combination (truck, 5th wheel and boat) - Colorado Fishing Forum

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Old 05-05-2019, 12:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Triple Combination (truck, 5th wheel and boat)

Not trying to be whimsical with this question although you may well think so after I explain why I am asking... My brother in law just bought a 25 foot 5th wheel (used mind you) and plans on hauling it with his Ford 250 and hitching his bass boat behind the trailer. (I call it Ricks choo choo train). My brother in law is single, 74, and a terrible backer. I have had at times needed to take over his truck and back his boat into Lake Powell, Miramonte, and Blue Mesa as he couldn't find the water with his boat to save his life. Not sure what he is thinking trying this with a 5th wheel now. I am sure he has enough smarts to unhitch the 5th wheel prior to rehitching the boat to his truck and then try putting it into a lake. (At least I hope he has enough smarts to think that through).

So, before we even get to that point of taking his choo choo train down the road I wonder if there are any tricks or techniques to getting this all hitched up in tandem. Obviously he should be able to get the 5th wheel hitched but I even wonder about that. But let's say he does get it hitched (the 5th wheel), how does he get the boat hitched behind the trailer. With his backing skills getting everything lined up to hitch the boat will be next to impossible. I am assuming that the bass boat on the trailer will be too heavy to just pick up and move it to the 5th wheel so what do others do to get everything hitched when and if you are doing this solo which I am guessing the brother in law will be doing as he lives 85 miles away from me and I am not about to drive over every time he wants to accomplish this enterprise.

The reason I ask is the good ol' brother in law had a camper on his truck prior to the 5th wheel purchase and the last time he came back from Lake Powell he managed to mangle the boat trailer while backing it into his driveway. I can't even begin to imagine how he is going to get this all hooked up on his own. So any ideas to share so I can pass them on to brother in law before he wrecks either the 5th wheel, the boat, or his house!!!
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Old 05-05-2019, 04:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Just my (ever so humble) opinion... but if he can't back a trailer with accuracy, he has no business hauling triple. That's a lot of weight and linkage to not be proficient and comfortable with. I suggest he spends enough (lots of) time in a parking lot with road cones to be safe and comfortable with one trailer before he tries two.
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Old 05-05-2019, 05:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My suggestion to you PF would be to go buy him a life insurance policy before he tows the first trip, you might as well profit from his derangement! This is the most unsafe danger to others on the highway and roads and people that can't hit the water with a boat truly should not even attempt to tow a 5th wheel!!!
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Old 05-05-2019, 05:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yep. It's one thing to put himself and his family at risk, but when he puts mine at risk, frankly, it really pisses me off. He should do his best to get better with a trailer before attempting a triple.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've towed tandem (there are only two trailers, so it isn't triple) for over 20 years. Going down the highway, as long as the rig is set up properly, there really isn't any difference between having the boat behind the 5er vs not.

For the most part, the biggest challenges are getting fuel (I have 95 gallons of capacity, so that is no longer a problem) and finding a place to drop the boat when you get to the campground.

As far as hooking up, I don't think it is much easier having help (unless it is GOOD help) vs doing it myself. Pretty easy if you have a straight shot. To make it easier, he can add a rear view camera on the back of the 5er (probably a good idea for going down the road as well, because you can't see the 2nd trailer at all). Or he can get the 5er close enough and move the boat if it is small enough.

If I need to fuel, I look for a truck stop, and just fuel there. If a semi can get in and out, so can he. Tow the boat full of fuel. That little amount of weight isn't going to make any difference.

When he gets to the campground/lake, go straight to the boat ramp and leave the boat in the parking lot. Go and find his camping spot, set up the 5er, and go back to get the boat. Same thing when leaving. Pull the boat, leave it in the end of the boat ramp parking lot, and leave the boat there. Break camp, dump if he needs to, hook up and go home.

How heavy is the boat he is going to tow? I would make sure that you have a GOOD welder take a look at the hitch on the back of the 5er. When I was towing my ski boat, I broke a weld on the boat trailer, and also the hitch on my 5er. Towing tandem will put a LOT of extra force through the 5er, and if it isn't properly set up, he will damage the trailer.

If he has a lot of tongue weight, it can unbalance the whole rig. My first 5er was a POS, and didn't pull worth a crap. New one (relatively, I've now had it since 2002) tows tandem great - as long as I am under 5000 pounds. When towing my old Lund, or a 14' flatbed with two ATVs on it, you literally didn't notice any difference with the 2nd trailer.

As far as backing up, if he struggles with one trailer, he won't be able to do two (most people can't). I can back up in a straight line if I have to, but I don't like to do it. I only know one person who is adept at backing up both trailer. Plan ahead, and don't get into a situation where he needs to.

Towing tandem isn't for everyone. But to me it is a better option that a truck bed camper or a motorhome.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bionic Man View Post
Towing tandem isn't for everyone. But to me it is a better option that a truck bed camper or a motorhome.
Good write up... Have been doing it for over 20 yrs. as well and I approach things much the same way. My biggest concern, and the point I was trying to stress, is it is a big step and safety issue for a person that can't even back his boat down the ramp to jump headlong into tripling (or doubling if you don't count the tow vehicle). Some folks just don't have what it takes and their ignorance might just kill someone.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostman View Post
Good write up... Have been doing it for over 20 yrs. as well and I approach things much the same way. My biggest concern, and the point I was trying to stress, is it is a big step and safety issue for a person that can't even back his boat down the ramp to jump headlong into tripling (or doubling if you don't count the tow vehicle). Some folks just don't have what it takes and their ignorance might just kill someone.
We are in agreement. But your last statement is pretty important too, as there are many people who shouldn't even be driving a car.....
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Be aware that some states only allow total lengths of 65 or 70 feet, so depending on his truck length, 5th wheel (~25 ft) and boat he might exceed these restrictions. I can't recall which states are the most restrictive but an internet search should answer these questions. Also about 20 states do not allow two trailers at all.
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Following!this seems like a very interesting thread
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