How to Choose an RV: Travel Trailers, 5th Wheels and Toy Haulers

After going over all the motorhome options, your head is probably spinning – so many choices! But we are not done yet. We are now onto the second installment of the How to Choose An RV series – the travel trailers, 5th wheels and toy haulers.

Although these three are very similar they do have major differences that might suit you better, depending on what your looking for. We will go through again all the pros and cons to ensure you make the right decision for you!

We will start this one off with the travel trailer…

 

Travel Trailer

The first up is the travel trailer. These are the ones that you see hitched to the back of the pick-up truck, SUV or sometimes even the smart car (now that is a sight to see).

Pros

      • As one of the most cost-effective options of all the trailers and motorhomes, you can keep more in the bank and have more available for your travels.
      • You can hitch and unhitch anytime you choose allowing you to set up shop and then take off in your vehicle.
      • Comes in a variety of sizes to meet your needs.
      • If you do have an issue with your vehicle (i.e. breakdowns, maintenance (oil changes, etc.)) there is no need to find a specialty mechanic to work on it as your rig comes off.
      • The extra insurance costs for the travel trailer are minimal when compared to a motorhome.
      • Depending on your city, province or country – no additional licensing is needed to just hitch up and go.
      • You do not necessarily need a pick-up truck to tow a travel trailer. You can use a van, a SUV or a car so long as the model of vehicle allows for the weight of the trailer.
      • These are much lighter than 5th wheels or toy haulers so therefore you don’t require such of a beast of a vehicle. Also – if you do happen to have a beast of a pick-up – these will put a lot less strain on it.

 

Cons

      • These have one of the lowest headrooms of the travel trailers and motorhomes. They are still more than enough to feel like your at home, but not so much that you feel like you are surrounded in space.
      • Learning to tow a trailer as well as reverse these into a parking spot can be quite the learning curve.
      • You will have to purchase hitches, sway bars, receivers, brake controllers – all the goodies that you require to be able to tow a trailer.
      • Travel trailers have the most tendency to tip while driving or sway in the wind – either one of these can be quite scary and if you do tip the trailer – it will do quite a lot of damage.
      • Compared to both motorhomes, 5th wheels and toy haulers – these have very minimal storage space.
      • Everything is on one level so if you want some separation from the rest of the family – you won’t get much of that here.

 

5th Wheel

A 5th wheel is a type of travel trailer as it attaches to another vehicle to be towed; however, it attaches to the bed of your pick-up truck instead of to a hitch near your bumper.

Pros

      • Due to the way that a 5th wheel attaches to your truck, it has the highest headroom of all the trailers.
      • You have a separated area (the part that sits over your pick-up truck bed) to have some semblance of escape from your family or significant other.
      • You have stairs – so you can still get in a bit of exercise if need be.
      • A lot less painful on the wallet than purchasing a motorhome.
      • Much easier to tow than a travel trailer and much better turning radius.
      • Less likely to tip over with the wind.
      • Lots and lots of storage – so your gnomes can come along for the ride or you can use this “garage” space as a bunkhouse for the in-laws.
      • They have laundry shoots – so cool!!!

 

Cons

      • These beasts are heavy – so you will most likely not get away with a 1/2 ton pick up truck (although there are some models out there – just not that well made ones).
      • A lot higher than a travel trailer so you better watch out for bridge heights! Or you might create a convertible 5th wheel!
      • More expensive than a travel trailer so will hurt the wallet a bit more but not nearly as much as a full out motorhome.
      • There is a lot of  storage so you are less likely to really declutter as much as you should!
      • If you really can’t part with your stuff you should take into account that you lose the storage space in the back of the pick-up truck.
      • You have stairs – this might not be a good thing!!

Toy Hauler

Toy Haulers always have the coolest – manly – names! Things like Vortex, Venom, Seismic, etc. You should be able to tell its a Toy Hauler before even entering one due to this.

Pros

      • Your trailer has a wicked name – that is at the top of my pros list!
      • These can either come in a trailer style or a 5th wheel style.
      • They haul Toys! What is better than carrying around  your motorcycle, atvs, etc.
      • No need to add additional racks or trailers to your trailer for said toys.
      • If you get the 5th wheel version – you get the headroom.
      • If you are out with your toys – the area becomes an epic party room with TVs, extra beds and storage.

Cons

      • These can get pricey.
      • Due to the added weight of your toys – you will need one monster of a truck to haul one of these.
      • The other areas of the toy hauler are usually not that spacious.
      • If you are into a more “family” style then the style of these probably will not suit you as most are black and stainless steel designs on the inside to suit the more manly crowd that these are marketed to.
      • These are very heavy so you should be sure of your driving skills prior to taking off with one of these!

Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the rest of our three-part series! Coming up in the How to Choose an RV series is pros and cons of skoolies (bus conversions) and tiny homes! If you missed the first part of our series – you can check it out here