Home » Tires & Towing » Best Fifth Wheel Hitch for Short Bed Truck Buyers Guide [2021 Update]

Best Fifth Wheel Hitch for Short Bed Truck Buyers Guide [2021 Update]

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Editors Choice

REESE Titan 30870 Fifth Wheel Hitch

Reese Titan 30870 Fifth Wheel 20000 lb Load Capacity with Round Tube Slider

The Titan 30870 hitch tops our list as the best fifth wheel hitch for short bed truck vehicles due to its robust design and large towing capacity.

This hitch ties our list with the largest towing capacity at 20,000 lb GTW / 5,000 lb VTW. This fifth wheel hitch also features a sidewinder design with 12” of sliding range and has universal compatibility, making it ideal for any short bed truck. 

With all components including the head, pivot beams, and locking jaw, made from cast iron it is one of the most durable and robust options on the market. 

It has a fully articulated head, making connecting the RV to the locking jaws that much easier. And as a bonus, a locking bar featuring a customized grip removes the need for a separate latch and makes the Titan 30870 hitch even easier to use.

Bottom Line: The Titan’s hitch design combines the best of both worlds with exceptional durability and stable maneuverability, making it our top hitch recommendation for short bed truck owners.

Best Fifth Wheel Hitches for Short Bed Trucks

Whether you tow a small camper or a large fifth-wheel trailer, your tow vehicle needs to haul it wherever you want to go. However, most consumer trucks don’t come with a towing hitch that is rated to pull heavier recreational vehicles.

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 fifth wheel hitches require a truck bed of a minimum length which can make it harder when shopping for a short bed pickup truck or vehicle.

That is why we have put together a list of the five best fifth wheel hitches for short bed trucks, detailing their advantages and disadvantages as well as who each is most suited 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.

Looking for the Best 5th Wheel Hitch for Short Bed Trucks?

  • What features of a short bed truck hitch are most important for you
  • Reviews of 5 of the best fifth wheel hitches for short bed truck vehicles
  • Our prize winner for the overall best 5th wheel hitch for short bed truck

Things to Consider When Buying a Fifth Wheel for Short Bed Trucks

Types of 5th Wheel Hitch

Gooseneck

This is the basic type that resembles the standard 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 is a fixed position hitch that doesn’t move from its base, however, the head may provide some range to be able to accommodate small bed trucks. While these are more common than using a gooseneck hitch for a short bed truck, these fixed fifth wheel hitches are also not the standard.

Sliding (or Sidewinder)

This is the standard type of fifth wheel hitch most commonly used for short bed trucks. It usually resembles a lockjaw 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.

Type Of Truck

Depending on the size and weight of your fifth-wheel trailer or RV, you need to make sure your truck frame can tow that much weight. 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 towing vehicle with a high enough towing capacity.

The length of your truck’s frame is also critical. There are three general sizes; short at 5’8”, standard at 6’5”, and long bed trucks at 8”. If you have a short bed truck, you need a 5th wheel hitch designed to accommodate it, especially when maneuvering around tight turns.

Mounting systems

If the truck bed has a liner make sure it has holes in it, 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 been accounted for already.

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 don’t cover them up.

Pucks in the truck bed are built-in mounting systems used for fifth-wheel hitches or other types of heavy equipment like winches. A 5th wheel hitch designed to use one brand of truck’s pucks can often not be installed on another brand’s pucks.

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. 

Installation

5th wheel truck hitches generally use one of two installation methods: a puck system or rails for mounting. 

Between the two, the puck system is generally more stable and durable. It is built into the bed of the truck and connected to the base of the chassis underneath. It is also often easier to install with few or no options for placement adjustment. However, puck systems are almost always exclusive to a particular brand, with each manufacturer using its own unique system.

Mounting rails on the other hand offer universal compatibility, so the make and model of the truck don’t matter. Even a truck with puck systems can often accommodate rails. Mounting rails also offer more positional versatility, but this can make installing the 5th wheel hitch a little more complicated.

Weight Capacity

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

The VTW is how much weight the hitch can withstand as the RV’s king pin 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 rather than too much VTW.

Price

Most fifth-wheel hitches are somewhat expensive, but a 5th wheel hitch for a 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 cab and bed.

While some static hitches will work for short bed trucks, you are likely to have to spend extra for sidewinder or sliding hitches.

Ease of Use

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

Outside of engaging or disengaging, some hitches also include unique locking mechanisms that make them 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 hitch itself, they may impact the RV’s clearance.

Best Fifth Wheel Hitch for Short Bed Truck Results

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

Best for Ford

B and W RVK3300 Companion 5th Wheel for Ford Puck

The B&W RVK3300 companion hitch for short bed trucks will only fit into Ford’s OEM hitch system, but if you have a Ford we would recommend this hitch for you. This hitch also sports an enormous maximum towing capacity of 20,000 lb GTW / 5,000 lb VTW.

This 5th wheel hitch offers some versatility in its mounting options with three coupler positions that provide 2” of clearance front to back. It also has a fair amount of positional versatility with a vertical adjustment range of 16 ¾” to 18 and ¾”.

While the B&W RVK3300 is fairly heavy, it is still one of the lightest fifth wheel hitches we reviewed. It weighs 150 lbs in total but can be separated into two 75 lb components. It also provides a stable connection with a 1” wrap-around single jaw, a fully articulating hitch head, and a cam action latching handle.

The main drawback of this model is that it isn’t a sidewinder hitch, and as mentioned it won’t work with any other brands of truck either. Though, if you do have a Ford the specialized design means you don’t have to worry as much about whether or not it slides along the truck bed.

  • PROs

    • Has a tow weight of 20,000 lb GTW / 5,000 lb VTW
    • Has 1” wrap-around jaws
    • Fully articulating head
    • Doesn’t require mounting rails
  • CONs

    • 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 and does a great job.

Reese 30047 16K Fifth Wheel Hitch

Best Budget

Reese 30047 16K Fifth Wheel

Out of all the fifth wheel hitches for short bed trucks we found, the Reese 30047 is by far one of the least expensive. However, this decrease in cost doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in performance.

Despite the lower price tag, the Reese 30047 hitch offers a surprisingly stable setup with wide-stance one-piece legs that neither buckle nor give. With a dual jaw system, this fifth wheel RV hitch also provides a solid vertical range of 14 ½” to 18” and a horizontal range of 6”.

Even better, the Reese 30047 has a pretty straightforward installation as compared to some other hitches on this list and is also the lightest. This fifth wheel hitch is also universally compatible so long as you have rails for mounting it.

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

  • PROs

    • Fully articulating head
    • Universally compatible hitch
    • Has wide-stance one-piece legs
  • CONs

    • Only has a tow weight of 16,000 lb GTW / 4,000 lb VTW
    • Not a sidewinder – only a sliding model

Bottom-Line: The Reese 30047 is significantly cheaper than most other fifth-wheel hitches and offers plenty of stability and maneuverability.

REESE Titan 30870 Fifth Wheel Hitch

Editors Choice

Reese Titan 30870 Fifth Wheel 20000 lb Load Capacity with Round Tube Slider

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 the most.

Everything from the head to the locking jaw mechanism to the pivot beams is made from cast metal, reducing the chance of those components failing. Even better, the Titan 30870 ties our list for the largest towing weight capacity at 20,000 lb GTW / 5,000 lb VTW.

This fifth wheel hitch features a sidewinder design that allows it to slide up to 12” to accommodate short bed trucks. While it doesn’t come with rails for mounting, it is still universally compatible.

Although the cast iron parts are one of the greatest attributes of this fifth wheel hitch it also means it is heavier, making installation a little harder, and also costs more.

  • PROs

    • Has a tow weight of 20,000 lb GTW / 5,000 lb VTW
    • Is a sidewinder hitch
    • More durable
    • Easy to use
  • CONs

    • More expensive
    • Is heavy

Bottom-Line: With so many components made from cast metal, this robust Reese Titan 30870 hitch can take more punishment than most, winning it our best fifth wheel hitch title for short bed trucks.

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

Strongest

CURT 16541 A20 5th Wheel Slider Hitch for Short Bed Trucks, 20,000 lbs

Tied for the largest maximum towing capacity at 20,000 lb GTW / 5,000 lb VTW the CURT A20 doesn’t just offer an excellent vehicle towing weight but has a solid build too. CURT utilize corrosion-resistant steel coated with a carbide powder finish to protect the hitch against rusting and wear.

It also has a durable, yet maneuverable cast yoke head that makes this hitch one of the most reliable options around, with the head fully articulating to suppress road shock and reduce noise from towing.

This fifth wheel hitch is a sidewinder model with a swift and smooth operation and is universally compatible, so you don’t have to worry about your truck’s make or model. On top of that, the CURT A20 is the only hitch we reviewed with a color-coded 3-point indicator system and also has a coupling indicator that can be seen from the truck cab.

At just under 200 lb this is one of the heaviest hitches we reviewed, which can make it more challenging to install. On top of that, the CURT A20 is noted for being more challenging to install even without taking into account its total weight.

  • PROs

    • Has a tow weight of 20,000 lb GTW / 5,000 lb VTW
    • Is a sidewinder hitch
    • Has an articulating torsion head
    • Has a cast yoke head
  • CONs

    • Is heavy
    • Not the easiest to install

Bottom-Line: The CURT A20 fifth wheel hitch covers all bases with an excellent maximum towing capacity combined with a robust and durable design.

PullRite 4100 16K Superglide 5th Wheel Hitch

Best Sidewinder

PullRite 4100 16K SuperGlide 5th Wheel Hitch

This automatic slide hitch is a sidewinder design and has the longest range at 14” of all the models we reviewed. This means that even if your truck’s bed is shorter than the traditional short bed length, you shouldn’t have any issues.

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

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

While this maneuverability is excellent, it does mean that the 4100 Superglide doesn’t offer quite as much maximum 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.

  • PROs

    • Is a sidewinder auto sliding hitch
    • Has a 14” sliding range
    • Fully articulating dual pivot head
    • Universally compatible hitch
  • CONs

    • Only has a tow weight of 16,000 lb GTW / 4,000 lb VTW
    • More finicky to engage hitch

Bottom-Line: This auto slider hitches sidewinder design and 14” range is ideal if your truck is shorter than even the traditional short bed truck length.

Last update on 2021-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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