Long Bed vs Short Bed Trucks for Towing

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Long Bed vs Short Bed Trucks for Towing

When shopping for your next truck for towing your camper, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is whether to get a long or short bed truck.

There are so many choices. You can pick leather or cloth seats, a gas or diesel engine, and so much more. And that’s all personal preference.

However, we know towing can make the decision more difficult. So we’ve gathered information to help determine if a long bed is better than a short one.

Let’s take a look!

Long Versus Short Bed Trucks for Towing: Which Is Better? 

When it comes to towing, there’s no contest between a long or a short bed. A long one provides a longer wheelbase, which creates a more stable towing experience for the driver.

A more stable towing experience means you won’t be battling with your RV while traveling down the highway. You want to be as safe as possible while towing, and a long bed is the best option to keep you, your passengers, and your RV safe on the highway.

Does Bed Length Matter When Towing a Travel Trailer? 

Yes, while a properly equipped short bed truck can tow a travel trailer, a long bed will provide more stability. Many RVers who upgrade their tow vehicle from a short to a long bed enjoy a smoother ride.

The longer wheelbase is the largest contributing factor to this smoother towing experience.

Long Bed Trucks for Towing: Pros and Cons

There are many things to love about a long bed truck, but there are also some negatives. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons to see if it’s right for you.

Pros:

There are a few things to love about a long bed truck for towing. Let’s take a look.

2021 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Limited Crew Cab Dually

Best Choice for Fifth Wheels

A long bed truck is most definitely the best choice if you own a fifth wheel. Fifth wheel hitches take up a lot of space in the back. The longer your bed, the more space you’ll have for carrying cargo.

Fifth wheel hitches are often very beefy and can be difficult to remove. Many RVers leave their hitches installed, especially during camping season, to avoid the hassle of installing and uninstalling. By choosing a long bed for your fifth wheel, you’re less likely to get annoyed by the fifth wheel hitch when you’re not camping.

Don’t Need a Sliding Hitch

By choosing a long bed truck, you won’t have to worry about needing a sliding hitch for your fifth wheel. These hitches are more expensive, weigh more, and take up more space. A long bed naturally creates more separation between the front cap of a fifth wheel and the back of the truck.

RVers who have a short bed often rely on a sliding hitch to create separation during tight maneuvering. Due to the shorter length, many RVers have broken their back windows or damaged the sides of their trucks or RVs.

You won’t have to worry about damaging your back window if you choose a long bed.

Pro Tip: We love the 5th wheel hitch in our long bed GMC.

Usually Has Higher Towing Capacity

The longer wheelbase of a long bed provides more stability and provides maximum payload capacity for a truck. The greater the distance of the wheelbase, the more payload and towing capacity available.

If you’re planning to tow a massive fifth wheel, you’ll likely love the increased towing capacity found in a long bed.

2021 Ram 2500 Tradesman – regular cab and 2021 Ram 3500 Tradesman – dually regular cab

Cons:

While a long bed can be a beast at towing, it’s not perfect. Let’s take a look at a few of the cons for long bed trucks.

More Expensive

If you’ve ever bought a truck, you know they’re not cheap. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, it might be disappointing to discover that a long bed truck costs more than a short one.

You’ll pay $200 more for a long bed in a Ram 3500 and $150 more for one in a Ford F150. While it’s a small price to pay when you’re considering a $40,000 truck, it may make you think twice about whether or not you need the longer bed.

Less Easy to Maneuver as Daily Driver

Driving a long bed truck can take some adjustment. You’re probably not going to whip around the parking lot or make U-turns while driving one. They require more space and intentionality when maneuvering.

If your truck will tow your RV and serve as a daily driver, a long bed is more difficult to maneuver, especially in tight spaces. You could have difficulty parking as well.

You’ll likely be walking from the back of the parking lot to ensure you have room to maneuver and aren’t taking up multiple spaces due to the truck’s length.

Pro Tip: Here are the 5 best dually trucks for towing.

Short Bed Trucks for Towing: Pros and Cons

A long bed may be a towing beast, but a short bed can still pack quite a punch. Let’s take a look at both the pros and cons of short bed trucks.

Pros:

While long beds are great, there are still some things to love about a short bed. 

2021 Ram Power Wagon Crew Cab

Easier to Maneuver

A short bed truck is much easier to maneuver and fit into tight spaces than a long bed. 

A short bed is approximately two feet shorter than a long bed truck. While you may still want to park near the back of the parking lot, you’ll have more options than with a long bed. 

Usually Cheaper

If price is a concern, short bed trucks are often a tad cheaper than long beds. You’ll get many of the same great features and luxuries, but for a bit of a discount. No matter which truck brand you prefer, a short bed is a bit cheaper than its longer counterpart.

Great for Families

A short bed truck is a great choice for families. Whether you’re looking to take your family to the lake or your favorite campground, a short bed has ample room in the bed and cab.

Your entire family can spread out and have plenty of legroom on the way to your next adventure.

2021 Ram Heavy Duty windtunnel

Great for Travel Trailers

If you’re looking to get a travel trailer, a short bed truck can be a great option. You won’t need the highest possible towing capacity or payload when towing a travel trailer.

A short bed truck will provide you with plenty of room to store your camping gear while towing your travel trailer.

Cons: 

There are a couple of cons you should keep in mind when looking at a short bed truck. Let’s take a closer look at the negatives.

Usually Less Towing Capacity

A short bed truck will usually have a lower towing capacity than a long bed. This includes the payload capacity and gross vehicle weight ratio (GVWR).

If you plan on towing larger loads, a short bed truck might not be the best option for you. A short bed will limit your options if you dream of owning a big RV.

Need a Sliding Hitch for Fifth Wheels

If you’re planning to tow a fifth wheel with a short bed truck, make sure to invest in a quality sliding hitch. The distance between the front cap and the truck cab can be very close during tight maneuvers.

If you’re not attentive to this distance, it can result in damage to your back window or the front cap of your RV.

A sliding hitch increases the distance between the truck and the front cap of the RV during these maneuvers. While you won’t always need a sliding hitch with a short bed truck, many RVers choose to get one just in case. 

Long Bed Versus Short Bed

There’s a lot to consider when deciding between a long bed versus a short bed truck for towing. If you’re looking to tow heavier weights, or don’t mind the inconveniences of driving a longer truck, a long bed truck is a fantastic option. However, a short bed truck can still get the job done in many instances.

Do your research and pay attention to what others are driving. You could even talk to them about why they chose a long or short bed truck. Do you prefer a long or short bed truck for towing your RV?

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1 comment

  1. Thank you for this! We are considering moving from FT to PT & having a home base. Which likely means selling our 43’ Monaco Diplomat & opting for a towable, which brings us to THIS question – what size truck. This article was so helpful & gave us an unbiased viewpoint. As always your articles & info are SPOT ON.

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