RV Slide out – Fifth Wheel Pictorial Guide

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RV Slide out

The RV Slide out is one of the most interesting and most innovative ideas that the RV industry has had for a long time. As near as I can tell, slideouts are maybe a 10-20 year old idea. But what the RV slide outs do for the RV is amazing. There are both positives and negatives, but I can’t talk as my Open Range 399BHS has FIVE SLIDEOUTS so I drank the Koolaid all the way!

A quick textual definition of a slide out is in order. A slide out is a room that when the RV is stationery, literally “slides out” of the inside of the RV to put that extra space of the slide out room outside of the original space of the RV. Thats probably clear as mud. You can think of it as the opposite though. Imagine an RV with an extra box shaped room jutting out of the side of it and then you needed to move the RV – well you have to stay around 8 feet wide so you have “smash” ( an extreme word – sorry ) the spare room INTO the RV so you can move it.

For a really great set of videos that talk about RV slide outs click on the link.

When the slideouts are un-extended, they use up space in the RV. Not a big deal in a towable, but for motorhomes with slideouts, it is a big concern because most people want to be able to move about freely – or mostly freely – inside the motorhome while its moving.

Just to think about the value of the slideouts a little bit more. If you had an RV that was 40 feet long and 8 feet wide, the maximum square footage would be around 320 square feet. By adding slideouts you can get up to the industry agreed upon maximum of 400 square feet. I live in an RV full time, so let me tell you – 80 extra square feet is HUGE!.

RV slide outs have plusses and negatives and I’ll list a few here :

  • Pros
    • Added square footage – major
    • Layout flexibility – the fifth wheel master bedroom slide out is a great idea.
  • Cons
    • Complexity – one more thing to break
    • Nooks and Crannies galore – bugs / wind / weather / seals / gaskets
    • Adds “lever arm” so weight in the slide outs ( think kids ) will bounce the unit more than you think.
    • Most slide outs are not that pretty ( extended or not ) except maybe a Prevost.
    • Added weight – Assume about 1000 pounds per slideout

I don’t think you REALLY need a picture to locate the slide out but in case you’ve never gone RV shopping you might like to see this PLUS I don’t think I can do a pictorial guide and NOT have the picture!

rv slide out in extended position

rv slide out in extended position



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