Fifth Wheelin'
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rear Kitchen "Scramble" on Fifth Wheels?

One RVer described the problem as, 'Like flipping pancakes with your dishes.' Others have had similar complaints. What is it? It's a reported problem where the kitchen (galley) is located in the rear of a fifth wheel trailer.

The theory is with the kitchen cabinets located aft of the trailer axles, a 'whol lot of shakin' goin' on' for anything not "nailed down" in the rear of the rig. Hence, dishes, cooking utensils, and other lightweight objects in the cabinets are "tossed" from the bouncing motion of the rig.

We've always been "rear living room" fiver folks, and have never had problems with broken dishes. Yeah, we've had a couple of trips through "refrigerator upchuck hell," when we've failed to secure the refrigerator door before hitting a washboard road. Making scrambled eggs with fruit, soda, and a gallon of milk on your galley floor isn't a recommended procedure. Still, we have plenty of cabinets in the living room of our rig. At one time we had a small "walkman" type CD-player mounted on the wall above the living room floor and have found it hanging by its wiring, so maybe there is something to this.

This could be a major concern for newby fifth wheel folks, so we turn to the collective wisdom of our readers. What are your experiences with rear kitchen fifth wheels?
Photos: Fifth Wheel: melvinprice Humpty: brookenovak both on flickr.com

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29 Comments:

  • Although we have a center kitchen, I made the mistake of storing extra dishes I didn't care for in a rear cupboard. When we arrived at our next destination, problem solved! I tossed all the broken plates out!

    By Blogger Bob & Ann De, at 9:23 AM  

  • We have a 34 foot fifth wheel with a rear kitchen. Yes it has caused us to think outside the box with the dishes problem. We line our cupboards with the non slip rubber type cloth that is now sold all over the place. We also put a piece between each of the plates. All our containers have lock down tops. We pack the cupboards tightly. We also drive slowly on rough roads. This seems to be a solution for the rear kitchen blues.

    By Blogger travelling man, at 5:07 PM  

  • With our 32 foot fifth wheel, we have found almost everything on the back wall of the camper on the floor at one time or the other. Stove racks, kitchen drawers, pans, and everything in the cabinets have all found it more comfortable to ride on the floor than in their place. It seems to happen most often when the camper is loaded heavy. We figure this is the price you pay to have a rear kitchen, which we wouldn't trade for a different floor plan.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:29 AM  

  • Keeping the cabinets packed tightly has always been my solution.I would move items from the top to the bottom. Put plastic items between breakables to keep them from banging into each other. Hubby used to cut plywood into 4 inch high boards to slide in the front of the cabinets It kept things from falling out when you opened them. We've even used heavy cardboard for this.

    By Blogger Lynncarol, at 2:45 AM  

  • It is a curious thing to me that anyone would travel in a small space with limited storage and consume more fuel with a heavier load (thereby increasing air pollution, whether you believe in global warming or not!) by taking an extra set of dishes along on a trip, especially dishes one doesn't like in the first place. Hmmmmmmmm. Surely there are more responsible and more convenient ways to dispose of unwanted household items. :) How about donating to a charitable thrift shop?

    By Anonymous Curious, at 3:47 AM  

  • We have a Outback rear kitchen 5th wheel and have been lucky. We have lost a total of one coffee cup to breakage. I have seen very little shifting in the rear cabinets.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:04 AM  

  • We had an entry level fiver with rear kitchen. Broke everything possible during the first four or five trips out with it. Installed shocks, but they didn't help. Now have a mid-level unit with rear kitchen and Mor/ryde suspension and hitchpin and no problems whatsoever. Also, current unit has 15,500 gvwr versus less than 10,000 on the previous unit.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:19 AM  

  • We've had a rear kitchen fifth wheel for 3 1/2 years and over 20,000 miles of towing. We've never experienced any problems with keeping dishes or other items where they belong. We do have non-slip mats in our cabinets and some after market dividers and shelves. We do take care to make sure cabinet and refrigerator doors are latched. The mess caused by a not quite latched refrigerator door taught us a lesson you only need to learn once. I have to imagine a center refrigerator would have ended up with. the same messy result

    By Anonymous BRS 50, at 7:17 AM  

  • We have a rear kitchen 5th wheel and we love it. My wife puts foam filled pillows in the dish cabinets and puts plastic locks on the doors. We haven't lost anything by doing this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:12 AM  

  • Have had two rear kitchens, both would experience some of the problems mentioned by others, however we found the best solution was to buy a 5W with shocks installed, and one that would appear at least to have a balance to the design as to weight, and the very best thing was to install a "Trail-Air" King Pin hitch assembly. With a large Firestone Airbag for vertical dampening and one or two shock absorbers (depends on model, to aid in controlling pin slap. Driving down an interstate it's a pleasure to see the truck moving up and down and the trailer riding as if on rails ! At less than a thousand bucks, easy to retrofit your standard hitch, it's a bargain. Not to have to listen to the "better" half complain.

    By Blogger BOOTS, at 8:12 AM  

  • While most of our travel is on paved highways, we have gone off road on occassion and have never experienced a broken dish..I think the shocks on the 5er make all the difference.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:57 AM  

  • We had a rear wheel 29 footer for 4years and we loved the layout.
    However, I did have a fridge (over the axles - great) and a mid-unit pantry. Dishes and glasses (we prefer the real thing to paper) I packed in cardboard boxes which went under the bed. When we arrived at a site where we staying for more than a couple of days, I would unpack the boxes. Only took 5 minutes and never broke a thing. The empty dish cupboards I would use for transporting solid items that would be out later, like the toaster & coffeemaker, and some melamine mugs & paper dishes for use on route.
    We fitted one rear cupboard with a wine rack and carried a dozen bottles there with never a problem.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:49 AM  

  • We have owned our 31 ft. fifth wheel with rear kitchen for six years. Only once did the dishes leap out of the cupboard. Since then, we always stuff the two throw pillows on top of the plates and cups and make sure the cupboards and pantry are 'full' to prevent problems with shifting. Haven't had a single other thing break since!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:01 AM  

  • We are full timers in a 35' 2001 Newmar Mountainaire 5th wheel weighing in at over 16K with a L shaped (or as we say, "horseshoe") rear kitchen. We have NEVER had a problem in 7 years and over 15k mies with anything in the cabinets being disturbed. We do have non skid stuff under the plates, but take no other precautions other than taking it easy over bumps. This is especially interesting since the trailer has a standard leaf spring suspension with shocks and only two axles with 4 G rated, 14ply tires!
    In my opinion, lighter trailers may "bounce" more and alot of people don't understand what taking it easy over bumps mean.
    But hey, what do I know?

    By Anonymous two wanderers, at 10:54 AM  

  • We had a 25 foot Shadow Cruiser with rear kitchen and yes, we had some of our stuff get bounced around. We use plastic dishes and glasses (still do in the coach, today) so there was no breakage. Also, we had a Mor-ride rubber suspension on our fiver and this helped mitigate the problem.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:09 PM  

  • We have a 32 foot Jayco with a rear kitchen and in over 7 years and 30,000 miles have only had one mishap when one of the cupboards opened and some bowls slid onto the floor. We now use Velco straps between the handles which has solved the problem. Like some others have said, we use the rubber matting and try to place plastic glasses in between the real glass ones and sometimes have placed a small pillow in there as well. My wife wouldn't trade our rear kitchen unit for anything. Loves having lots of cupboards which are not aways availble with the mid kitchen units. The Kerr's

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:50 PM  

  • We have a 37' with rear kitchen that we have towed over 10,000 miles with minimal breakage. We use 95% Corian dish ware and a few glass bowls. None of the Corian has broken but a couple of $0.99 WalMart glass bowls have bitten the dust. They were stacked to high. Now we stack two high with rubber between and no losses so far. We have never had a cabinet door open on us, yet.

    By Blogger Don, at 1:08 PM  

  • We had a rear kitchen with our previous 5er. Didn't have much of a problem with the rear kitchen. But did put things between the plates and etc. Used the soft shelf liner. And pieces of that between the dishes.
    Only lost 1 plate and a couple of bowls and 2 small plates on one trip. Hit a big bump.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:46 PM  

  • We have a 28 ft 5er and never lost a thing to breakage while traveling,nothing moved in the fridge. Driven on washboard roads and rough black top and all we use are non-slip mats in the cupboards, I'd say that is a lot cheaper than a fancy hitch that isn't necessary. Its basically driving style, not the road. Been driving semis since 1964.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:14 PM  

  • We have a rear kitchen in our 07 28ft Wildcat. I've had items on the doors, packed tight with extra can coozies, bounce out and end up on the top shelf of the main compartment! But I would't trade it...we have more counterspace than the million dolor coaches out there! Just wish the fridge was accessible with the slide in! Oh well, know better next time!
    Larry & Dora

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:11 PM  

  • We had a 1997 Nomad with a rear kitchen. I had to use baby locks on the cabinet doors to keep things in the cabinets. Anything that wasn't nailed down would end up on the floor. Since we purchased a 2003 Everest with a rear kitchen I haven't had a minutes problem. I even plugged in a clock and left it sitting on the counter, it's never moved even on the bumbiest roads.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:46 PM  

  • We have a 30 ft. fifth wheel with factory installed shocks and air-bag suspension on the 3/4 ton Dodge with regular box(not the short box) We line our cupboards with the non-slip rubber cloth and put coffee filters between breakable plates. We makes sure our fridge door is secured and drive according to road conditions. We have not had any problem with breakage or items on the floor. We wouldn't trade the rear-kitchen floor plan on our trailer for any other we had before.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:33 PM  

  • We had two Jayco Designer 5th wheels and both had rear kitchens. The first one rode so nice that there was never a problem. The second one rode awful so we spent the money and had the full MorRyde independent suspension put on it and the difference was like night and day. If we ever got another 5th wheel our first stop would be the MorRyde factory for their suspension upgrade.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:54 AM  

  • I take the Bladder out of wine boxes and rinse and blow them up as needed for padding in my cabinet with my glass wine and drink glasses. The bladder can also be used to stuff into the medicine cabinet in the bathroom area. No More asprins in the floor.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:37 PM  

  • We have had no issues with the rear kitchen in our '05 HR Savoy. Prior to taking possession we had shocks installed to help the ride since I knew the ride would be hard on the stuff in the refrigerator, cabinets and pantry. I also don't get in any real hurry when traveling back roads or bumpy roads. Since the refrigerator is also on the back, none of my favorite beverages have been shaken up upon arrival at our destination.

    By Anonymous Weekender4now, at 3:21 PM  

  • We have a Carriage Cameo 33' long 5th wheel and have a rear kitchen island. The first trip out we had a broken coffee cup and then wrapped all dishes with a thin foam material and no more problems in the last 4 years. Cabinets in the rear and over the wheel have had a problem with the cheapy plastic clip at the rear of the runners and I fixed all of those the way they should have been done from the start and again no new problems. Let's admit it, the roads out there are very rough, especially in California.

    By Anonymous Curt and Sharon, at 7:29 AM  

  • We had a rear kitchen 5th wheel for over 13 years.It was a 40' Teton.In all those years we had only one dish break.I always had non skid material in between each plate,dish etc.We loved our rear kitchen.We now have a mid kitchen & still put non skid material between all our plates,bowls etc.We have been full timing for 15 years so kind of know what we're doing.Most of the time anyway.Ha!Ha!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:08 PM  

  • We are looking to buy our first fifth wheel (we had a camper before) and are really wondering about the kitchen in the back or the parlor in the back we we looking at the floor plans and liked the kichen in the back 28rkbs-m5 dutchman Denali please tell me the pros and cons of the kitchen in the back and the parlor in the back

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:45 AM  

  • I don't come by here often anymore since I had to give up my 5er, but what worked well for me was to wrap the plates between bath towels. With practice, you can get 4-5 plates with a single towel. Funny I managed to break a plastic plate once, but never one of the glass ones... Everything else I just packed tight. Empty boxes makes good spacers, too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:18 PM  

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