Our most recent rig was a 2015 Fox Mountain 335BHS fifth wheel. It was 36 feet long and was built by Northwood Manufacturing in Oregon. Since we stopped full-timing the Fox has been sold to new owners who also love Northwood and boondocking. As part of the deal, the new owner has to send us pictures of the Fox in new environments and around the holidays (kidding).
Our first rig – a class A motorhome – was a 2006 Damon Intruder named “Trudy”. We transitioned rigs on the road in March 2018.
We had narrowed down the list of RVs that fit our needs pretty significantly after looking for months before going full-time in summer 2017, purchasing Trudy, and then looking for months again in early 2018 after deciding that Trudy wasn’t the right fit. Read more about our search and transition process here.
Reasons we chose the Fox Mountain:
- Size and layout
- This model was the best compromise between size, layout, and livability that we could find.
- It was about as short as you can get for a fifth wheel with a bunkroom. It was a little longer than we initially wanted, but I guess that’s part of the compromise.
- Not an ultra-light / lite / half-ton / whatever model fifth wheel. This baby’s GVWR is 13,500. We wanted it to be heavy duty since we were full-timing.
- Friendly to tall people – the slides are tall enough for us to stand up in and the shower walls almost extend to the ceiling (this is actually pretty rare).
- Northwood built
- Northwood seems to make the best non-luxury oriented RVs that we’ve seen.
- Fox Mountain is essentially a lighter, less-equipped, less-insulated Arctic Fox. Had we found an AF that had a layout we liked, we would have opted for that instead!
- True 4-season capability with insulated tanks and heavily insulated structure.
- Ready for boondocking
- Northwood builds their RVs on high-strength off-road chassis built in-house. This will come in handy on USFS roads.
- It had larger holding tanks than most short fifth wheels (60g fresh, 70g gray, 35g black).
- This RV already had a 180w solar panel on top and capacity to add a couple more without any wiring/controller modifications. It also had two 6v Interstate Extreme batteries.
We also added a few things (mostly for boondocking):
- Victron BMV-712 battery monitor
- Samlex 300w pure sine inverter
- 12v wiring upgrade – a proper bus bar for the positive side, a 150A circuit breaker/master disconnect for the whole system, and 40A circuit breakers for the solar controller and inverter circuits.
- Progressive Industries EMS to protect the Fox’s electronics when on shore power
- More 12v USB outlets in the bedroom, bunk room, and living room
- LED light bulbs for commonly-used lights
- 4 new Samson heavy-duty tires (G load rating with steel belts in the sidewalls)
- Hansgrohe pull-down stainless steel kitchen faucet
- A new mattress (from the Mattress Factory in Denver) with a new foam topper
The Tow Vehicle
We towed the Fox with a 2017 Ram 3500 4×4 Big Horn Crew Cab.
We had to purchase a truck rather quickly when we committed to the Fox and this truck was the last leftover 2017 on the lot at a local (Phoenix, AZ) Dodge dealership. Fortunately it also had every towing-related option on it besides dual rear wheels! White is not our preferred color… but it being the last 2017 on the lot meant they were willing to negotiate on price a bit more than usual.
Here are some of the features of the Ram that made us purchase it:
- Plenty of room for a car seat in the back seat and lots of stuff in the bed
- High output 6.7L Cummins turbo-diesel engine with 900 lb-ft of torque
- Optional heavy-duty Aisin 6-speed transmission
- Long bed – more towing capacity and no need for sliding fifth-wheel hitch
- Fifth-wheel towing prep with in-bed wiring and puck system
- Dual-mode exhaust brake, tow/haul mode, and a cargo camera
The Ram has a 16,860 lb towing capacity and 4,330 lb payload capacity. It’s a little overkill for an RV with a 13,500 lb GVWR – but that’s what we were looking for. We won’t be close to exceeding any weight capacities anytime soon with this setup.
In order to facilitate towing the Fox, we installed a B&W Companion fifth wheel hitch that utilizes the Ram puck system. The whole hitch comes out without tools and gives full bed access (as long as you can lift the 150+ lb hitch out of the bed).
We also added a rubber bed mat to keep things cushioned and in place (I love these things!) and a Retrax Pro MX retractable bed cover to allow us to store things in the bed without worrying about theft or damage.