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Hitching Flexibility: Exploring Bumper Pull to Gooseneck Conversions

When hitting the open road with your travel trailer in tow, your hitch type can significantly impact your towing experience. The gooseneck hitch has gained popularity among RVers due to its unique advantages, including improved maneuverability and ease of use over a fifth-wheel hitch. But what if you already have a bumper pull trailer? Can you pull off a conversion of your bumper pull hitch to a gooseneck hitch with an adapter?

We’ll dive deep into the world of hitching flexibility and explore the pros and cons of installing a gooseneck-to-bumper pull adapter. Let’s begin. 

What is a Gooseneck Hitch?

A gooseneck hitch is a trailer hitch that mounts in the bed of a pickup truck. Similar to fifth-wheel hitches, it connects directly to the rear axle, providing a stable connection between the truck and trailer. However, unlike a fifth-wheel hitch, gooseneck hitches use a ball and coupler connection rather than a jaws and kingpin connection. They typically take up less space in the bed of a truck than a fifth-wheel hitch. 

In contrast to a conventional bumper pull hitch, the gooseneck hitch provides a more direct connection between the truck and the trailer. This design offers several benefits that make it a desirable option for towing larger trailers. 

truck with gooseneck hitch pulling a livestock trailer
You can tow more than livestock trailers with a gooseneck hitch!

Can You Pull a Camper with a Gooseneck Hitch?

It’s possible to tow a camper with a gooseneck hitch but a conversion is needed. They work by replacing a fifth-wheel pinbox or bolting onto your trailer’s tongue and latching onto its ball hitch for a sturdy connection and then reaching up and over to connect to your truck’s gooseneck hitch.  If you’re interested in towing your fifth wheel with a gooseneck hitch, you’ll need to ensure the hitch can hold the weight capacity, and then install an adapter that allows you to tow your fifth wheel with a gooseneck hitch. In fact, that is how we tow our fifth wheel and is our preferred method.

RV gooseneck conversion
We converted our fifth wheel to a gooseneck long ago and it has worked great ever since.

Luckily, BP Conversions, LLC and Folkman Inc has made this switch possible and easy with their bumper pull converters. They work by bolting onto your trailer’s tongue and latching onto its ball hitch for a sturdy connection and then reaching up and over to connect to your truck’s gooseneck hitch. 

Folkman Inc gooseneck hitch converter
Transitioning from a bumper pull to a gooseneck hitch is easy with a converter kit, but you first need to make sure your travel trailer is compatible. Source: Folkmaninc.com

Suggested Reading: Learn more about the differences between fifth wheel and gooseneck hitches.

How to Convert Your Bumper Pull Hitch to a Gooseneck Hitch

First, it’s crucial to ensure your travel trailer is compatible with a Conversions bumper pull converter kit. It’s designed to fit a 50-degree tow bar or a tongue. If your trailer differs from this standard, you may still use the bumper pull converter. However, you’ll have to custom-fit it to your trailer’s tongue. You’ll also need to ensure the bumper pull converter can safely tow your trailer weight, as the BP converter’s total weight is 350 lbs and the gooseneck coupler is rated at 20,000 lbs. Folkmans Is rated at 10,000

Lastly, BP Conversions requires an evaluation of your A-frame to ensure the extra weight doesn’t compromise your frame’s integrity. Once you’ve determined that the bumper pull converter is compatible and safe to use with your trailer, installing it is relatively straightforward. Mount the brackets onto the tongue and pin it. Then, push up to lock the ball into place on the receiver hitch. After this, you’ll be ready to connect your trailer’s wire harness to the converter. Finally, latch the bumper pull converter to the gooseneck hitch in your truck, and you’ll be good to go. For a video tutorial and more information, please visit BP Conversions’ home page

BP conversion hitch for gooseneck
The BP conversion hitch basically turns a bumper pull into a gooseneck

The Benefits of Pulling a Travel Trailer with a Gooseneck Hitch

Converting to a gooseneck hitch offers multiple advantages that can enhance your overall towing experience. Let’s look at why you might consider switching to a gooseneck hitch. 

Better Weight Distribution

Like a fifth-wheel hitch, the positioning of the gooseneck hitch in the truck bed significantly improves weight distribution. By connecting directly to the rear axle, it distributes more weight to the front wheels. This allows you to haul more weight than bumper pull hitches, so you can tow a larger trailer and hold more cargo. 

Easier Maneuverability  

Because the pivot point of a gooseneck hitch is closer to the truck’s axle, gooseneck hitches allow for sharper turns and more precise maneuvering. It can also be helpful when backing up, as you’ll have more control over which direction your trailer turns. However, if you’re used to bumper pull hitches, it may take some time to get used to maneuvering with a gooseneck hitch. Once you get the hang of your gooseneck hitch, however, you’ll realize how much easier towing can be with this hitch type. 

Increased Stability 

Have you ever seen those terrifying videos of travel trailers swaying violently while going down the highway? That’s not something you’ll have to worry about with a gooseneck hitch. The direct connection between the truck and the trailer leads to increased stability on the road; meaning little to no trailer sway and an overall smoother ride. This alone is a reason to make the switch to a gooseneck hitch. 

Alan's Day - Shop Walk - Gooseneck Adapter Hitch "Convert your Bumper Pull to a Gooseneck"

The Disadvantages of Pulling a Travel Trailer with a Gooseneck Hitch

While there are numerous benefits to using a gooseneck hitch, it’s essential to consider the potential downsides before making the switch. Let’s look at the disadvantages of a bumper pull to gooseneck hitch conversion. 

You’ll Have a Long, Awkward Hitch 

One look at the bumper pull to gooseneck adapter and it’s clear it’s not the most minimal contraption. It sticks out from your trailer bumper and stretches over your truck in an awkward sweeping motion. Luckily, when you hook it to your truck it only adds 36 inches to your overall length. Nevertheless, when disconnected from the truck, it adds 8 feet to your trailer length. While this might not be a big deal for some RVers, it’s something to consider before making the switch. 

You’ll Lose Truck Bed Space

Unlike a bumper pull hitch, which leaves the truck bed mostly open, a gooseneck hitch occupies valuable space in the bed. Therefore, if you regularly rely on your truck bed space to haul things like bikes, ATVs, or other gear, you might decide to keep the bumper pull hitch. With any RV setup, there’s always a give and take, and ultimately, it’s all about what’s most crucial to you. Would you rather reap the benefits of a stable gooseneck hitch or keep your truck bed storage? The choice is yours. 

You’ll Always Need a Pick-Up Truck 

You can only use gooseneck hitches with pickup trucks due to their design. If you switch to a gooseneck setup, you’ll always need access to a compatible truck for towing. However, BP Conversions’ bumper pull to gooseneck hitch conversion adapter does not have to be a permanent switch, as there’s no welding. If you decide to utilize your bumper pull hitch again, simply unbolt and disconnect the converter from your trailer. Nevertheless, this is something to consider if you want to easily change towing vehicles from a pickup truck to an SUV or van. 

Pro Tip: Learn tips and practical steps in our beginner’s guide for RV towing.

Gooseneck Vs Bumper Pull: which hitch is better for you?

Is Converting Your Gooseneck Hitch to a Bumper Pull Worth It? 

Ultimately, the decision to convert your bumper pull hitch to a gooseneck hitch boils down to your towing needs and preferences. If you frequently tow heavy loads, prioritize stability, and value maneuverability, a gooseneck hitch could be a fantastic investment. However, if you frequently use your truck bed for other purposes or want the flexibility to tow with different vehicle types, sticking with a bumper pull hitch might be the better choice.

Nevertheless, a bumper pull to gooseneck conversion opens up new possibilities for travel trailer enthusiasts seeking enhanced towing performance. The conversion process might require some effort and consideration of the benefits and drawbacks. However, it’s a decision that can significantly impact your travel experience. Before making the switch, we recommend carefully evaluating your towing needs, preferences, and the compatibility of your trailer to ensure a seamless transition.

Would you consider making the switch from a bumper pull hitch to a gooseneck hitch? Let us know in the comments below. 

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Dennis

Sunday 8th of October 2023

The biggest thing for us would be the extra 8 feet in trailer length. Storage spaces and campsites have to be considered before making a change like adding a gooseneck adapter, even though our truck is setup with gooseneck we haven't used it. Yet.

David Bybee

Thursday 5th of October 2023

I wouldn’t want to give up the space I have in my truck bed. I’ve never pulled a fifth wheel, but I’ve been told, by folks who have pulled both, my Hensley has my trailer pulling a similar to a fifth wheel. It would be very interesting to have a comparison between a fifth wheel (such as this conversion) and a Hensley or Pro Pride.

Darlene Schenck

Wednesday 4th of October 2023

Being a previous horse owner and hauling horses... the gooseneck option is great for reasons mentioned.... But now that I own a small camper , I wouldn't want to lose my truck bed with cap storage space .... They're my home and storage for extra off season clothes and other extras.