In years past I would recomended 5er's only but I had to go with a TT the last time and now I have my bed for the golf cart and my hensley makes the TT tow as good or better than a 5er. From here on out I will only buy TT's. Good luck and welcome to the family. Will
I personally prefer a FW, but it really comes down to whatever floorplan works best for you since you already have a TV that will pull either. You won't lose your truck bed if you get a completely removable hitch; there are several on the market. Bikes can be carried on the bumper of either if it's strong enough or beefed up. You can carry the kayaks on top of the TV. I have seen a kayak carrier that puts them forward over the roof of the TV and front hood, used when pulling a FW rather than a TT.
2002 Keystone Cougar 286, 8,400lbs loaded, pulled with a 2004 F150 Supercrew, 5.4, 3.73 gears. Retired and enjoying life
On the trips to the lake, I would say a TT would be optimum. You'd have more carrying space for toys, the extra hassle of hitching/unhitching would not be much of an issue, the stability being less than a fiver would not be a big issue, you'd get more bang for the buck.
On the 1 or 2 major trips, that is when a fiver would shine. Much easier to hitch/unhitch. Very stable towing. Although many TT owners swear that with the right hitch, the TT will be nearly as stable as a fiver.
The more we travel, the more I like the relative ease of towing and hitching with the fiver. If I was just towing to a lake or mountains a couple hours away, staying for a while, then returning home, I'd change to a TT.
Usually I'm a big 5er fan, but in your case a TT might be better. It really all depends on how much you want to spend. Yes, a toyhauler would work, but remember everytime you stop for the night how can you sleep anyone in the bay without taking out the toys. That's fine if getting to your destination is just one days drive, but if you are traveling several days it will not work. I think you do need your truck bed free to put all your toys. Another plus is that TT are less expensive then 5ers and there are more on the market (new and used). With two teenagers you will want a bunkhouse model. These are just my opinions, you have to look at your family to decide what fits you best. Good Luck!
I really appreciate all of great advice everyone is providing. This is not going to be an easy decision but we have plenty of time to decide. The next big question would be the actual hitch once we decide on a fifth wheel or TT. I guess one thing at a time. Keep the great advice coming and again I really appreciate your help.
5W rigs usually have a generator or at least a compartment for one. This may not matter if going from full hookup campground to RV park, but if boondocking, it will contribute greatly to the trip.
I've also noticed that there is a price/quality point where travel trailers top at, mainly due to the weight limitations of a receiver hitch. With fifth wheels, you can get some which rival some diesel pushers in amenities provided.
For what you want to do only a TT will work. You can still pull a large trailer that will provide plenty of space. With the truck you can add a cap for lots of storage space for bicycles and other items in the bed of the truck and put a roof rack for the kayaks on the cab and the top of the cap.
With the TT left at the campsite you will have a SUV of sorts to take your family and their bikes and kayaks to where you want to use them and not be 100% dependent upon locations in the immediate vicinity of the campground.
I find 5th-wheels to be huge and something that I would want to use to go to a location and park it for a month and have the maximum amount of interior living space. They are not what I would consider a good RV for traveling and camping along the way. I have not seen any figures but I would expect that with the greater frontal area of a 5th-wheeler that it takes a lot more power and a lot more fuel to pull them down the highway.
If you decide to go with a FW maybe a to hauler would be the answer. Our FW is a tow hauler even though we don't haul any thing more than a couple of bicycles back there. the advantage comes when you need a the room we use it as a place to go when one of us wants to watch a movie (usually me) and the other (my wife) wants to read of go to bed early.
Just my 2cents
Daphne, AL (Mobile Bay)
2010 Montana Mountaneer 347THT
2008 Chevy 3500HD Crew-cab DRW Duramax 6.6L / Southern Comfort Custom
5W rigs usually have a generator or at least a compartment for one.
Toyhaulers are more consistent in having an on-board generator.
Most of the fivers out there do not have a generator as standard equipment, or even a compartment for one. I am pretty sure every fiver has a storage area under the nose, which may fool people into thinking there is a generator, when there isn't.
I prefer fivers over TT - more headroom, more storage room (interior and exterior), tows easier... Not being able to put things in the truck bed has never been an issue. I have always found a place for everything I needed to take either in or on the fiver, or in the truck bed. We have a B&W Companion hitch, and have plenty of room around it. We've even carried a 7.5cf freezer between the hitch and the truck cab to put salmon in, plus a generator, a huge marine cooler, firewood....
Hitch wise, the B&W is definitely the way to go. When you are not using it, it can be easily removed by 1 person and you have your clean bed back. No rails. No heavy lifting...
2012 Dutchmen Voltage Epic 3795
2010 Dodge 3500 DRW MC
2009 GMC 2500 DA CC
2012 Smart-for-two (sometimes hitches a ride in the Voltage!)
2005 Sundowner Sunlite 777