Finding the best 4 season 5th wheel for full-time living is crucial for those of us who love the freedom of the road but crave the comfort of home, regardless of the weather outside.
Having tested over 21 fifth wheels tailored for all seasons, I’ve developed a keen eye for detail and an understanding of what makes a 5th wheel thrive in both the blistering heat of summer and the icy grip of winter.
The right 5th wheel can transform your RV experience from just another trip into a year-round adventure.
Amongst these, The Ice Castle All Seasons Traveler stands out as the best overall due to its exceptional insulation, durable construction, and luxurious floorplan that ensures comfort and durability no matter the season.
This makes it the ideal choice for anyone looking to live full-time in their RV and enjoy every moment.
Based on my experience, the top fifth wheels are:
- The Ice Castle All Seasons Traveler: Best overall for year-round living with top-notch insulation.
- Heartland – Big Country BC 3902 FL: Great for spacious living with an impressive floorplan.
- Keystone – Montana 3231CK: Excellent choice for luxury and comfort in all seasons.
- Forest River – Sandpiper 3330BH: Top pick for families, with the Polar Tech Package for colder climates.
- Jayco – Eagle HT 24RE Fifth Wheel: Ideal for those seeking a lightweight option without compromising on quality.
- Forest River – XLR Thunderbolt 369AMP: Best fifth-wheel toy hauler for the adventurous at heart.
What To Look For In A Four-Season Fifth-Wheel Trailer
There are some key features you want to look for when shopping for a true four-season fifth-wheel trailer.
The following things are what set some of the best apart from other fifth-wheel trailers, that might be high-quality models, but don’t necessarily have what it takes to handle prolonged periods below 32-degrees.
An Enclosed Or Well-Insulated Underbelly
The underbelly of a fifth-wheel trailer tends to hold a lot of plumbing features, storage tanks, and water lines.
If that underbelly isn’t enclosed in some way or reinforced with superior insulation, you can suffer from a severe freeze-up in your water lines.
This could cause ruptured pipes, broken seals, and severe inconveniences at the worst possible time.
Ideally, you want an enclosed underbelly that also has some type of heating system or some way of keeping the water lines warm.
Especially if you are planning to camp in deep cold temperatures below 32-degrees for multiple days at a time.
Superior Insulation & Construction
Preventing or reducing heat loss not only helps prevent uncomfortable drafts in your fifth-wheel RV, but it also helps you make the most out of the thermal energy put out by your furnace.
One of the first things to look for when scanning the specs for a four-season fifth-wheel trailer is superior insulation.
This is usually stated as an “R-Factor” with a number after it. The higher the number, the more well-insulated the RV is.
Though insulation isn’t the only way that four-season RVs help holds the heat in.
New construction techniques like corrugated ceilings and sidewalls, or a double-walled fiberglass shell can also go a long way toward helping a fifth-wheel trailer thrive in below-freezing temperatures.
Thermal Or Double Pane Windows
Windows are one of the main ways that any structure loses heat. Especially in an RV like a fifth-wheel trailer that might be parked in an exposed area.
Heat energy in the inside of the RV can gradually pass through single pane glass via conduction.
Looking for an RV that has “Thermal Glass” or “Double Paned” windows will go a long way toward helping to hold heat energy in.
You should also give a little bump up on a fifth-wheel trailer that has upgraded weather seals on the windows to prevent drafts.
BTU Output Of The Furnace
Ideally, you want to start looking at fifth-wheel trailers that have a furnace with a rating of at least 30,000 BTUs per hour.
This ensures that you have enough heat being produced to properly heat the large interior space of the fifth-wheel trailer.
Though this 30,000 BTU per hour figure is just a good starting point. You don’t have to consider it the be-all-end-all floor for a furnace.
You might be just fine with a 25,000 BTU furnace if the RV also comes with one or more electric fireplaces, high R-factor insulation, or a heat distribution system that optimizes thermal efficiency.
Heat Distribution & Venting
The last thing you want is a furnace in your four-season fifth-wheel trailer that pumps out a ton of heat, but that heat only pools at the ceiling or is confined to specific rooms.
Ideally, you want an RV that has some type of heat distribution system or special venting to ensure that warm air is moving freely and efficiently.
This is a relatively new innovation in RVs, with different manufacturers coming up with different engineering strategies for efficiently distributing heat.
For some, this comes in the form of an innovative floor ventilation system combined with a powerful forced air fan.
For others, it might be a series of small fans built into the upper vents to keep pushing hot air down toward the floor.
6 Best Four-Season Fifth-Wheel Campers
When reviewing the best four-season fifth-wheel trailers we made sure to look for models that stood out with their material build-quality and components.
Then we also made sure to review models that could appeal to niche interests like late fall and winter hunting as well as ice fishing, while still being truly capable fifth-wheel trailers that you can live comfortably in on a Fourth of July Vacation.
The following reviews represent your best place to start shopping for the best four-season fifth-wheel trailers to meet your family’s needs.
1. The Ice Castle All Seasons Traveler
The Ice Castle All Seasons Traveler was designed to appeal to ice fishermen in the northern tier states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Maine, as well as Canadian anglers.
It is a rare fifth-wheel “Ice House” that is meant for times of year and regions where thick ice and solid lake access last long into the year.
At the same time, it only has a dry weight of 9,740-pounds, which is on the light end of the fifth-wheel spectrum in general.
Of course, this also makes it a great option if you want a four-season fifth-wheel trailer that is meant to handle the truly deep cold for several days at a time.
It’s just as capable in the mountains or in a winter desert at night as it is out on a frozen ice sheet.
The spray foam insulation and the copious use of fiberglass, as well as thermal windows, go a long way toward trapping the heat in.
The 30,000 BTU per hour propane furnace distributes heat nicely and there are fans to help make the most out of the air circulation throughout the fifth-wheel trailer.
Though if there is a complaint with the Ice Castle All Seasons Traveler it’s that the fresh and black water storage capacity is relatively small compared to most other fifth-wheel trailers.
This is just a hallmark of most ice-fishing campers in general, as most people don’t do a lot of showering in sub-zero weather.
2. Heartland – Big Country BC 3902 FL
As the name implies the Heartland – Big Country BC 3902 FL was designed with mountain and desert campers in mind, you see this represented in the toasty 42,000 BTU propane furnace for the winter and the brisk 30,000 BTU air conditioner that is capable of handling everything the summer sun can throw at it.
Though this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to things that make the 2022 Heartland – Big Country BC 3902 FL one of the best four-season fifth-wheel trailers.
Your attention should next turn to the nuts and bolts details of material build quality.
This includes a heated and enclosed underbelly that is meant to protect your water storage tanks and water lines in sub-zero temperatures.
It also goes a long way toward keeping your tap water relatively cool in the baking summer heat.
The interior also speaks to families who love to travel year-round. You see this with the washer and dryer prep in the king-size master suite.
There’s also a full master bath in the rear, a half bath at midship, and water storage tanks that are large enough to support the whole family for days of camping off the grid.
It’s also convenient for times when you might want to stay at an RV park in the winter months, but it’s too cold to safely connect to their exterior water and sewage lines.
3. Keystone – Montana 3231CK
This is another well-named four-season fifth-wheel trailer, as the Keystone – Montana 3231CK was truly built for “Big Sky Country.”
You see this with the fact that just about every square inch of it is insulated or engineered in some way for thermal efficiency. This includes things like an insulated floor and roof with a vented attic.
You might also be impressed with the fresh and wastewater storage tanks.
On their own, they are large enough to support a family for days of camping off the grid, while also carrying a volume that slows heat loss and the freeze-ups that end up causing slushy problems for smaller water storage tanks.
They go a step further by completely enclosing the underbelly to further protect the large tanks and water lines.
Then for good measure, they even installed electric tank heaters. The end result is one of the most cold-resistant water systems in the RV industry.
If there is a potential area of complaint with the 2022 Keystone – Montana 3231CK it’s that it only sleeps up to four people.
If you are a travel couple, or you only have one or two children this is a non-factor.
The 35,000 BTU heater will keep everyone warm in the winter and the 30,000 BTU air conditioner will keep everything cool and dry in the summer.
If you do need to sleep more than four people, there are other floor plans of the Keystone Montana that can sleep up to 6 people and one that can sleep up to 8.
4. Forest River – Sandpiper 3330BH (With Polar Tech Package)
The Forest River – Sandpiper 3330BH was designed to cater to large families or families with kids who want to take friends along on vacation.
They take it a step further by offering or simply installing their polar tech winter package on most models.
The end result is a four-season fifth-wheel trailer that can sleep a lot of heads in comfortable conditions.
Just note that while the Polar Tech Package is installed on “Most” Sandpiper models it doesn’t necessarily come as standard on all models.
This package upgrades the furnace to 40,000 BTUs per hour, while also upgrading to thermal windows, installing heaters in the water storage tanks as well as putting R-38e insulation in the roofing and flooring.
On paper the Forest River – Sandpiper 3330BH can sleep up to 10 people. Though 7 to 8 is more realistic.
Especially when you consider that the 15,000 BTU air conditioning is a little under-gunned for sleeping a lot of warm bodies on a hot and humid summer night.
Though some of the thermal windows are robust enough to handle a window AC unit, and the robust insulation throughout, as well as the ceiling fan, help make the most out of what the rooftop AC produces.
5. Jayco – Eagle HT 24RE Fifth Wheel
One of the things that leap off the page about the Jayco – Eagle HT 24RE, is the fact that it comes with a lot of four-season, winter weather-friendly features installed as standard.
Things like the enclosed underbelly and copious insulation are considered standard features. Though the LED fireplace is an optional extra.
The Jayco – Eagle HT 24RE is one of the smaller and lighter four-season fifth-wheel trailers on this list.
It sleeps 6 on paper and up to 4 in the real world. This makes it a better option for a small family or perhaps a traveling couple.
The 15,000 BTU air conditioning system looks a little small on paper, though when you consider that the fifth-wheel is only 29-feet long, and insulated to the nines, I think you’ll find it is more than sufficient to keep you cool in the summer. The 35,000 BTU furnace will certainly keep you toasty warm in the winter.
One of the things you’ll find interesting about the interior is the walk-in pantry that is hiding behind the angled entertainment center.
This is way more storage than you find in even a lot of larger fifth-wheel trailers.
Great for full-timers who love to cook, or for taking the whole family off the grid with more than enough food and snacks to last for days without running to the store to resupply.
6. Forest River – XLR Thunderbolt 369AMP Fifth-Wheel Toy Hauler
The Forest River – XLR Thunderbolt 369AMP is an impressive fifth-wheel toy hauler that has a bevy of winter features installed as standard.
This includes radiant foil insulation to maximize the heat and air conditioning, as well as a fully enclosed underbelly with tank matt heaters.
The Rotoflex heat duct also helps distribute heat easily while keeping the floors warm enough to walk around barefoot in the winter.
The rear cargo bay measures a total of 13-feet long. It has a zero-gravity ramp door that is far easier to operate than manual doors, which can be an issue in the cold.
You get a cargo bay interior that measures up to 13-feet long. When you also consider the 30-gallon auxiliary fuel tank, you are staring at one of the best four-season fifth-wheel toy haulers for bringing your snow machines out on remote back-country roads.
If there is an area of concern with the Forest River – XLR Thunderbolt 369AMP, it’s the 15,000 BTU air conditioner is a little small for a four-season fifth-wheel trailer this huge.
Though the windows are reinforced and can easily accommodate a window AC unit if you want to take this fifth-wheel toy hauler on a hot summer vacation.
The MAXX airpower roof vent in the bathroom that draws out moisture goes a long way toward helping with interior humidity issues in both seasonal extremes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does The Size Of The Propane Tank Matter?
The size of an RV’s propane tank or tank is one of those things that is easy to scroll right past without notice.
Though it becomes a more important thing when it comes to four-season fifth-wheel trailers. This is dues to several factors.
For starters, LP stands for “Liquid Propane.” When the temperature outside starts to dip below 32 degrees and plunged down toward zero degrees Fahrenheit or lower, you will inevitably start to burn through more propane.
This can gradually start to change the pressure in the LP tanks causing the density of the liquid propane to increase.
This can leave you with a propane tank that “Freezes Up” as it starts to run low.
It also tends to do this in the wee hours of the morning when the outside temperature is the lowest.
The larger the propane tank is, the more resilient it is against this sub-zero freeze-up problem.
Compound this with the fact, a lot of the places where you are likely to take your four-season fifth-wheel trailer will likely be up in the mountains or out on the frozen ice away from where you can quickly resupply with more liquid propane.
Do I Need A Four-Season Fifth-Wheel Trailer?
Full-timers who stay in the northern states, ice fishermen and avid hunters who are out to make the most out of public hunting land opportunities happen to be the most popular travelers who prioritize four-season fifth-wheel trailers.
Though they aren’t the only people who should strongly consider a four-season fifth-wheel trailer.
There have been many RV travelers who have stayed in the desert or the mountains during a freak cold snap, only to wake up in the morning with frozen or completely ruptured water lines.
Not to mention tradesmen who stay in the fifth-wheel trailers during the peak of construction season as their second home at a remote job site, who a project run longer than expected into the cold months of late fall.
The bottom line is if you need to stay comfortable and safe in your fifth-wheel trailer and you are likely to run into below-freezing temperatures, then you might want to consider making a modest upgrade to a four-season fifth-wheel trailer.
Fifth-wheel trailers are a major investment, which inspires a lot of people to want to use them deep into the fall and possibly even throughout the winter.
Looking for a model with the right features like an enclosed underbelly, superior insulation, and a robust heater will get you off on the right foot toward finding the best four-season fifth-wheel trailer to meet your family’s needs.
If you have a big family and you want to make the most out of your investment, or you just want to repurpose the family fifth-wheel trailer as a hunting base camp for you and your buddies, then the Forest River – Sandpiper 3330BH with the Polar Tech Package might be the best four-season fifth-wheel trailer for you.
It can sleep a lot of people and has a lot of the features you need to keep a lot of people warm even in the coldest of conditions.
If you need a model that can keep you toasty warm in the depths of winter and briskly cool in the sweltering dog days of summer, then the Keystone – Montana 3231CK might be the best four-season fifth-wheel trailer to meet your needs.
It has a robust heater and air conditioning system to handle what all four seasons can throw at it.
Then it makes the most out of the HVAC capabilities with superior insulation and engineering throughout.