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Best 5th Wheel Hitch for Short Bed Truck [2020 Update]

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REESE Titan 30870 Fifth Wheel Hitch

Best Fifth Wheel Hitch for Short Bed Truck

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The Titan 30870 ties our list with the largest towing capacity at 20000 lb GTW/5000 lb VTW. However, it also surprises with the inclusion of cast metal components at the head, pivot beams, and locking jaw, making it one of the most durable options on the market.

The various cast components not only make this a commercially viable fifth wheel hitch, but they reduce the amount of towing noise as well. The head fully articulates, which makes connecting the RV to the locking jaws that much easier too.

This fifth wheel hitch also features a sidewinder design with 12” of sliding range and universal compatibility, making it ideal for any short bed truck. As a bonus, the Titan 30870 is also easy to use with a locking bar that features a customized grip, removing the need for a separate latch.

Bottom Line: The Titan’s design combines the best of both worlds with exceptional durability and stable maneuverability, making it a worthy winner of the title "Best Fifth Wheel Hitch for a Short Truck Bed".

Best 5th Wheel Hitch for Short Bed Truck Buyers Guide

Whether you haul a small trailer or a large fifth wheel proper, you need to tow it wherever you want to go. However, most consumer trucks do not come with a towing hitch rated to pull such a heavy recreational vehicle.

This is where a traditional fifth wheel hitch would come into play, but even so, not all fifth wheel hitches work with every vehicle. Outside of occasional brand restrictions, most 5th wheel hitches require a truck bed of a minimum length.

That is why we put together a list of the five best fifth wheel hitches for short bed trucks, detailing who each is best for. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide so you understand what to look for when choosing the right 5th wheel hitch for your short bed truck.

These 5th wheel hitch for short bed truck reviews:

  • Break down the hitches into different niche categories
  • Favor weight capacity and compatibility over other aspects
  • Detail what features are most important for your needs
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What Type Of Truck You Are Going To Use The Hitch On?

  • The type of truck you have – Depending on the size and weight of your fifth wheel RV or other types of RV, you need to make sure your truck can tow that much weight. In this instance, it is crucial to consider that the 5th wheel hitch often weighs between 100 to 200 pounds on top of the RV’s weight and to use a truck with a high enough towing capacity.
  • The length of your truck – There are three general sizes of truck beds which are short at 5’8”, standard at 6’5”, and long at 8”. If you have a short bed truck, you need a 5th wheel hitch designed to accommodate it, especially when turning.
  • Does The Truck Bed Have A Liner? – If the truck bed has a liner, make sure that the liner has holes, either where the pucks are or where rails would be mounted. If your truck bed’s liner is part of the factory package, this consideration has likely already been accounted for.
  • However, if you install an aftermarket truck bed liner, you may need to inform the garage or workshop that you intend to use the pucks/mounting holes in the bed, so they do not cover them up.
  • Pucks In The Truck Bed – Pucks are built-in mounting systems used for fifth-wheel hitches or other types of heavy equipment like wenches. A 5th wheel hitch designed to use one brand of truck’s pucks can often not be installed on another brand’s pucks.
  • Truck bed metal rods – Other than pucks, the other type of mounting system used in truck beds is metal rods. This mounting system is often universally compatible or easily switched out but is not quite as stable as a puck system.

Types of 5th Wheel Hitch

  • Gooseneck – This is the basic type of 5th wheel hitch that resembles the standard type of trailer hitch mounted on your truck’s bumper. Most gooseneck hitches are not designed for small bed trucks, though a few of them are.
  • Lockjaw – This type of fifth wheel hitch does not move from its base, but the head might provide a bit of range to accommodate small bed trucks. While these are more common than gooseneck hitches for short bed trucks, they too are not the standard.
  • Sliding Hitch (or Sidewinder) – This type of fifth wheel hitch is the standard type most commonly used for short bed trucks. It usually resembles a lockjaw fifth wheel hitch, except it is mounted onto rails that allow it to move forward or backward along the bed to keep the hitch positioned over the rear axle while towing.
  • Unless the manufacturer designed its fifth wheel hitch to work specifically for a particular brand’s mounting system, this is generally the best type of hitch for trucks with shorter truck beds.

Things to Consider When Buying a fifth wheel for short bed trucks

Weight Capacity

This is one of the more critical factors to consider and is broken down into two different specs: the Gross Total Weight (GTW) and Vertical Tongue Weight (VTW).

The VTW is how much weight the hitch can withstand as the RV’s kingpin presses down on it. The GTW is how much weight the hitch can pull and includes the RV as well as any items inside of it.

Both of these are equally important, though it is worth noting that you are more likely to run into issues with too much GTW more than too much VTW.

Installation

5th wheel truck hitches generally use one of two installation methods: a puck system or mounting rails. Puck systems are almost always exclusive to a particular brand, with each maker using a unique puck system.

Between the two, the puck system is generally the most stable and durable, being built into the bed of the truck and connected to the base of the chassis underneath the bed. The puck system is also often easier to install with few or no options for placement adjustment.

However, mounting rails offer universal compatibility, so the make and model of the truck do not matter. On top of that, even a truck with puck systems can often accommodate mounting rails.

That said, mounting rails also offer more positional versatility, which can make installing the 5th wheel hitch a bit more complicated.

Price

Most fifth wheel hitches are somewhat expensive, but a 5th wheel hitch for your short bed truck are often some of the most costly. This price increase is usually due to the inclusion of a sidewinder system that increases the clearance distance between the truck’s bed and cab.

While some static hitches will work for short bed trucks, you should likely spend the extra money and get a sliding hitch or a sidewinder hitch.

Ease of Use

Hooking up your RV to a 5th wheel hitch can be made easier if the hitch has a fully articulating head. This allows the fifth wheel hitch to pivot in 360-degrees a small amount to account for uneven ground while engaging the RV kingpin.

Outside of engaging or disengaging, some hitches also include unique locking mechanisms that are easier to use as well. These usually involve customized locking bars that provide indicators as to whether the RV is locked or not, with some even including a standby indicator.

Exterior

Trim options or aftermarket additions like steps, wings, and anything else not part of a truck’s standard chassis may not be compatible with some products. While these additions do not usually impact the 5th wheel hitch itself, they may impact the RV’s clearance.

Best Fifth Wheel Hitch for Short Bed Truck: The Results

B and W RVK3300 Companion 5th Wheel Hitch for Ford Puck

Best 5th Wheel Hitch for Ford Short Bed Truck

B and W RVK3300 Companion 5th Wheel for Ford Puck
  • Fits 4 pucks in Ford truck bed, Fully articulating head allows front to back and side to side pivoting.
  • Cam action latching handle for easy release, even when parked on unlevel sites.
  • Polyurethane bushings provide a quiet, rattle-free towing experience.
  • Three vertical adjustments from 16.75″ to 18.75″, 2″ of front to back adjustment with three coupler positions
  • 20,000 lb GTW/5,000 lb VTW – Limited Lifetime Coverage

The B&W RVK3300 fifth wheel hitch for a short bed ford truck will only fit into a Ford’s OEM puck system, but it fits that puck system perfectly. The B&W RVK3300 hitch also sports an enormous towing capacity of 20000 lb GTW/5000 lb VTW.

While the B&W RVK3300 hitch is a bit heavy, it is still one of the lighter hitches we reviewed as just over 150 lbs total broken up into 75 and 78 lb components. However, the B&W RVK3300 hitch still offers a fair bit of positional versatility with a vertical adjustment range of 16 ¾” to 18 and ¾”.

This 5th wheel hitch also offers a bit of versatility in mounting with two coupler positions that provide 2” of clearance front to back. The B&W RVK3300 provides a stable connection with 1” wrap-around single jaw and a fully articulating head.

That said, the B&W RVK3300 hitch will not work on other brands of truck, nor is it a sidewinder fifth wheel hitch. Though, the specialized design means that you do not have to worry as much about whether or not it slides along the truck bed.

  • PROs

    • Has a tow weight of 20000 lb GTW/5000 lb VTW
    • Has 1” wrap-around jaws
    • Has a fully articulating head
    • Does not require mounting rails
  • CONs

    • Is not universally compatible
    • Not a sidewinder hitch – only a manual sliding hitch
Bottom-Line: Though it is not a sidewinder, the B&W RVK3300 is specifically designed to work with Ford brand short bed trucks.

Reese 30047 16K Fifth Wheel Hitch

Best Fifth Wheel Hitch for Your Budget

Sale
Reese 30047 16K Fifth Wheel
  • Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
  • 16,000 lbs. Capacity; 4,000 lbs. pin weight capacity
  • 6″ side-to-side pivot to better accommodate hook-ups on uneven ground and easier towing
  • Adjustment heights from 14 1/2″ to 18″, fore-and-aft and side-to-side pivot
  • Two-jaw locking system with locking jaw handle

Out of all the fifth wheel hitches for short bed trucks we found, the Reese 30047 hitch is by far one of the least expensive. However, the savings in cost do not necessarily mean a drop in performance as this fifth wheel hitch is also universally compatible so long as you have mounting rails.

Even better, the Reese 30047 has a pretty straightforward installation than some of the other hitches that we came across and is the lightest weight fifth wheel hitch on our list.

Still, the Reese 30047 offers a surprisingly stable fifth wheel hitch, given its cost with wide-stance one-piece legs that neither buckle nor give. This fifth wheel hitch also provides a solid vertical range of 13 ½” to 17” with a horizontal range of 6”.

One potential issue with the Reese 30047 is that it is not a sidewinder fifth wheel hitch, nor was it specifically designed to work with a given brand’s mounting system. To account for this, the Reese 30047 features a fully articulating head that offers a 4 to 5-degree pivot.

  • PROs

    • Has a fully articulating head
    • Is universally compatible
    • Has a 4 to 5-degree pivot
    • Has wide-stance one-piece legs
  • CONs

    • Only has a tow weight of 16000 lb GTW/4000 lb VTW
    • Not a sidewinder – only a sliding hitch
Bottom-Line: The Reese 30047 is significantly cheaper than most other options and offers plenty of stability and manoeuvrability.

REESE Titan 30870 Fifth Wheel Hitch

Best Fifth Wheel Hitch – Most Robust Design

Reese Titan 30870 Fifth Wheel 20000 lb Load Capacity with Round Tube Slider
  • 20,000 lbs. capacity / 5,000 lbs. pin and weight capacity; Vertical height adjustment from 14″ to 18″; Includes Round Tube Slider
  • Customized grip includes universal control instructions -New control handle eliminates separate latch and high visibility for system lock and load
  • Cast Head for improved head funneling for king pin to latch; Cast double jaw mechanism, heavier for longer wear, improved tolerances, eliminating chucking in jaw system
  • Pin mounting holes better align with current rail kits, reducing looseness; Cast Pivot Beam features a quadruple vibration isolator system for vertical and longitudinal vibration dampening and improved ride
  • SIDEWINDER COMPATIBLE -Premium choice for short bed trucks

Reese makes another appearance on our list, but this time the Titan 30870 provides its value in durability. While the Titan 30870 provides a great set of specs and robust design, it is the inclusion of cast metal components that impresses us.

Everything from the head to the locking jaw mechanism to the pivot beams is made from cast metal, which reduces the chance of those components failing. Even better, the Titan 30870 ties our list with the largest towing weight at 20000 lb GTW/5000 lb VTW.

That said, using higher-end components costs a bit more than some of the other options that we reviewed. On top of that, cast metal components are also heavier in general and make the Titan 30870 one of the heaviest hitches we encountered.

Still, the Titan 30870 features a sidewinder design that allows it to slide up to 12” to accommodate short bed trucks. While this fifth wheel hitch does not come with mounting rails, it is still universally compatible.

  • PROs

    • Has a tow weight of 20000 lb GTW/5000 lb VTW
    • Is a sidewinder hitch
    • Is a more durable fifth wheel hitch
    • Is easy to use
  • CONs

    • Is a more expensive fifth wheel hitch
    • Is a heavy fifth wheel hitch
Bottom-Line: With so many different components made from cast metal, the Reese Titan 30870 can take more punishment than most.

CURT 16541 A20 5th Wheel Sliding Hitch for Short Bed Trucks

Strongest Fifth Wheel Hitch for Short Bed Trucks

CURT 16541 A20 5th Wheel Slider Hitch for Short Bed Trucks, 20,000 lbs
  • SELF-RESETTING. This A-series 5th wheel hitch features a unique, ergonomic handle and extra-wide head to make coupling your 5th wheel trailer easier than ever. After uncoupling, the handle self-resets to the ready-to-couple position
  • FULL ARTICULATION. This 5th wheel hitch provides controlled towing of your 5th wheel camper with its patented head technology. The head is built on a cast yoke with poly-torsion inserts that reduce shock loads, chucking and noise at the coupling point
  • COUPLING INDICATOR. Built into this 5th wheel hitch is a 3-position indicator that shows the coupling status. It conveniently shows if the 5th wheel hitch is coupled, uncoupled or ready to tow
  • TESTED STRENGTH. This 5th wheel hitch is tested and rated for 20,000 lbs. gross trailer weight and 5,000 lbs. vertical load (limited to lowest-rated towing component). It is tested according to SAE J2638 specifications
  • VERSATILE FIT. This 5th wheel slider hitch comes with a roller to allow for 12 inches of additional turning clearance with short-bed trucks. It mounts onto any industry-standard 5th wheel hitch rails (rails and brackets sold separately)

Tied for the largest towing capacity with a durable, yet maneuverable head makes the CURT 16541 A20 one of the most reliable options available at 20000 lb GTW/5000 lb VTW. However, the CURT A20 does not just offer an excellent towing capacity but a solid build too.

While not as sturdy as some we reviewed, the CURT A20 has a cast yoke head for additional strength. Still, the cast yoke head fully articulates to suppress road shock and reduce the noise from towing.

On the other hand, this is one of the heaviest hitches that we reviewed, which can make it a bit more challenging to install. While that is bad enough, the CURT A20 is already noted for being a bit more challenging to install without taking into account its total weight.

Thankfully, this fifth wheel hitch is at least a sidewinder model and universally compatible, so you do not have to worry about your truck’s make or model. On top of that, the CURT A20 is the only model that we reviewed with a color-coded 3-point indicator system making it easier to use.

  • PROs

    • Has a tow weight of 20000 lb GTW/5000 lb VTW
    • Is a sidewinder hitch
    • Has an articulating torsion head
    • Has a cast yoke head
  • CONs

    • Is a heavy fifth wheel hitch
    • Not the easiest to install
Bottom-Line: The CURT A20 covers all of the bases with an excellent towing capacity combined with a robust and durable design.

PullRite Pulliam Enterprises, 4100 Superglide 16K 5Th Hitch for Short Bed Trucks

Best Sidewinder Fifth Wheel Hitch for Short Bed Trucks

PullRite 4100 16K SuperGlide 5th Wheel Hitch
  • 16K Weight Capacity
  • SuperGlide moves up to 14″ while making a turn – 50% farther than manually adjusted “slider” designs
  • Automatic operation
  • The 16K SuperGlide offers all the performance of the proven SuperGlide hitch line

The PullRite Pulliam Enterprises 4100 Superglide tops our list with the longest range for its sidewinder design at 14”. This means that even if your truck’s bed is a bit shorter than even the traditional short bed length, you should not have any issues.

The 4100 Superglide is also universally compatible, using mounting bars, so your truck’s make and model does not matter. Even better, it comes with a fully articulating dual pivot head that can twist and turn further than any of the other models we found.

While this maneuverability is excellent, it does mean that the 4100 Superglides does not offer quite as good of towing capacity. On top of that, you have to be extra particular about the position of the head when trying to engage or disengage the locking latch.

Still, the 4100 Superglide allows you to turn 90-degrees without slowing down or worrying about the RV’s inertia.

  • PROs

    • Is a sidewinder hitch
    • Has a 14” sliding range
    • Has a fully articulating dual pivot head
    • Is universally compatible
  • CONs

    • Only has a tow weight of 16000 lb GTW/4000 lb VTW
    • More finicky to engage
Bottom-Line: If you have a short bed truck that is even shorter than the traditional length, the PullRite Pulliam 4100 Superglide’s 14” sidewinder range is perfect.

Last update on 2020-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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