In May, 2008 we went to Chanute, Kansas, to do a factory tour of the NuWa Hitchhiker 5th wheel manufacturing plant. We were so impressed that we bought a new fifth wheel trailer right then and there. This 2007 NuWa Hitchhiker II LS 34.5 RLTG fifth wheel trailer was the third RV we had owned and was our second full-time RV home.
Ever since that time, other than a nearly four year cruise of Mexico on our sailboat from 2010-2013, during which time we alternated between cruising and RVing, this fifth wheel trailer has been our only home.
It is a 36′ long fifth wheel with an open floorplan that includes three slides and offers 360 square feet of living space. It was designed and built with full-timing in mind, so it is more rugged and better insulated than almost any other brand on the market.
For us, the two recliners and the desk were the major reasons for our move from our smaller travel trailer into this bigger fifth wheel, as those features make life infinitely more comfortable. We swapped the position of the sofa and recliners, and put one of the four chairs at the desk and the other in storage so there are just two chairs at the dinette table.
The specs for our 5th wheel are:
- 70 gallons of fresh water
- 78 gallons of grey water
- 50 gallons of black water
- Dry weight 10,556 lbs
- GVWR 13,995 lbs (which we reached with the cabinets only 1/3 full)
- 15,000 BTU air conditioner
- 40,000 BTU furnace
- 8′ Dometic fridge
The upgrades we did on it are:
- 20,000 BTU vent-free propane heater
- 4 Trojan T-105 6 volt AGM batteries
- 4 Kyocera and Mitsubishi solar panels (= 490 watts total power)
- Outback MX60 solar charge controller
- Exeltech 2000 watt true sine wave inverter
- Kodiak Disc Brakes with Hydrastar Brake Actuator
Before we bought this 5th wheel trailer in 2008, we already owned a 2007 Dodge RAM 3500 long bed single rear wheel truck which we had purchased brand new the summer before. It works a lot harder pulling this trailer than it did the Lynx travel trailer, which was our previous full-time RV, however we could still get up and down the big mountains out pretty well..
We used to get 8.5-10.5 mpg while towing, but since we installed an Edge Tuner on our diesel engine in October 2014, we now get 10.5 to 13 mph while towing.
To learn more about the upgrades we have done on our truck and trailer, visit these pages:
- Solar Power – Tutorial pages with extensive details about our solar power setup
- Vent-Free Propane Heater – A vital component in the winter if you like to boondock.
- Electric over Hydraulic Disc Brakes – An upgrade that radically improved our stopping power and safety
- Edge Tuner – Gives us programming control over our truck engine for better mileage / performance without “chipping” the engine.
Unfortunately, the economic downturn in 2008 shook up the RV industry right to its core, and many excellent manufacturers of full-time quality RVs went out of business. NuWa ceased building fifth wheel trailers in 2014. Their outstanding RV service center in Chanute, Kansas, is still in operation, however. Their manufacturing plant has been replaced with an RV dealership called Kansas RV Center.
As for towing this trailer, after towing it over 50,000 miles with our 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 Single Rear Wheel Long Bed truck, in December, 2015, we replaced that truck with a much more powerful 2016 Ram 3500 Dually Long Bed. The difference in power is staggering. We have a very detail post explaining the differences between these two trucks and why our new truck is so superior here:
Dodge Ram 3500 Dually Truck – Best Truck for RV Fifth Wheel Trailer Towing
We had a blast buying this truck when we found out that our dealership had a marketing relationship with Alice Cooper, one of Mark’s rock star idols since his teenage days:
Alice Cooper Sells Us a New Truck
We decided to add some really awesome bling to this truck by outfitting it with a new B&W Companion Fifth Wheel Hitch. This hitch is unique because it takes advantage of the Dodge Ram fifth wheel hitch in-bed puck system. It took just one hour to install this hitch, and we have a step-by-step pictorial installation guide with instructions for how to install it:
B&W Companion OEM Fifth Wheel Hitch – Installation Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions
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Have you looked at the Fifth wheel campers with the living room up front? Would this be something you would want?
We’ve seen several. It’s cool. You get a great view of the surroundings from high up. We haven’t considered it for ourselves because we like an open floorplan that puts the living/dining/kitchen areas in one place. The bigger area and taller headroom in a big fiver is the downstairs area. So we prefer to have all of those things down there and to keep the lower headroom area for the bedroom where we are usually horizontal.
How do you carry you bicycles on the back of your rig?
We use a Kuat NV Bike Rack. Detailed blog post here.