When you’re considering buying a recreation vehicle of some sort, you might consider a toy hauler or a 5th wheel. These are two similar, yet also very different pull-behind RV options. If you’re not interested in a motorhome, these might be two options you want to look into.
Both toy haulers and 5th wheels require a vehicle to tow them down the road. They will hitch either to the bumper or in the bed of a truck or another type of vehicle. Let’s look a bit closer at both of these options to figure out which one is best for you.
What is a Toy Hauler?
According to NADAGuides.com, “a toy hauler is a type of RV or camping trailer that has a design meant to haul toys.” Toys, in this case, don’t mean something your child plays with, however. It’s referring to things adults play with, such as golf carts, snowmobiles, dirt bikes, four-wheelers, motorcycles, and quads.
When you own a toy hauler, you can move your toys easily from one place to another. However, a toy hauler goes even further than just giving you a place to store your toys during transit. With a toy hauler, you also get a living space.
They come in a variety of sizes from very large to just large enough for your toys and a place to sleep. With a toy hauler RV, you can haul your toys, and use it as your home when camping or traveling.
Typically, when you get a toy hauler, you will get a main living area, a small kitchen, a bathroom with a shower, and a large garage area for your toys. Of course, the size of everything depends on the size of the toy hauler you choose.
It’s possible to get a 5th wheel toy hauler or a toy hauler that is a bumper pull. There are even motorhome toy haulers you can consider. The toy hauler you choose, depends on what you need it for.
Types of Toy Haulers
You can choose from four different types of toy haulers including:
- Travel Toy Haulers – This is a combination of a travel trailer and a toy hauler. It will be a bumper pull option and it’s the most affordable of the toy haulers with living space. Often, you will have enough space to carry your toys and camp in your trailer while traveling.
- 5th Wheel Toy Haulers – This type of toy hauler will connect to the bed of your truck with what is called a jaw hitch. It will be more stable to drive compared to a travel toy hauler and often offers more storage space. If you plan to take longer trips with your toys, this might be the right option for you.
- Motorcoach Toy Haulers – If you’re looking for luxury and convenience, a motorcoach toy hauler is the right choice for you. This type of toy hauler will allow you to tow a vehicle behind you and offers the most luxurious living space. You will pay for this luxury, however, as the best toy haulers can go up to as much as $200K.
- Cargo Trailer Toy Haulers – If you only want to haul your toys and you don’t need any living space, this is the option for you. You might have some extra storage space, but you won’t have a living area or a sleeping area. This type of toy hauler is only for moving your toys, not actually taking them, camping, and having fun while traveling.
Any of these types of toy haulers will allow you to move your fun toys with you.
What is a 5th Wheel?
According to RVShare.com, a 5th wheel is “a fifth-wheel travel trailer is a large trailer that requires a fifth wheel hitch to tow. Fifth wheels are heavy, and thus require a full-size, one-ton truck to tow them — and their unique hitch requires the coupling to be in the bed of the truck.”
With this type of RV, you will need a large truck to pull it. Compared to other options, you will get a living space that is much more like a small home or condo. Since a 5th wheel hitches into the bed of a truck, it will have steps to get up into the space that goes above the truck bed. Often, this is the sleeping area.
Along with a step-up, 5th wheels often have higher ceilings. Both of these features can make it feel more like a home than other options, such as a travel trailer or even a motorhome.
This type of pull-behind RV can be found in many different sizes. They can get very large and very luxurious, but they can also be affordable and much smaller. Many 5th wheels offer lots of storage and unique features that might fit your needs just right.
If you’re planning to spend a longer amount of time on the road, a 5th wheel is a good choice, especially if you already own a truck. Snowbirds that travel from the north to southern states in the winter often own 5th wheel RVs. They can spend a few months enjoying the warmer weather in a high end 5th wheel without having to own a second home.
Toy Hauler vs. 5th Wheel: The Main Differences
The main difference between a toy hauler and a 5th wheel is seen inside the unit. With a new toy hauler, you will have a large garage space that often transforms into a living space with couches and maybe a TV. A 5th wheel won’t have a garage space. It’s not set up to haul any of your larger toys.
Toy haulers and 5th wheels can sleep a ton of people, depending on the size you choose. However, a 5th wheel is often set up to be more comfortable to live in than a toy hauler. With a toy hauler, it’s not just about living or camping in it. It’s also about getting your golf cart, ATV, small smart car, motorcycle, dirt bikes, or other toys to the campground to enjoy at nearby attractions.
When it comes to customizing a toy hauler or a 5th wheel, both offer good options. However, if you don’t plan to haul any toys, with a toy hauler, you have a large, almost empty room, you can customize to fit your needs. This can be very beneficial if you need to put in a bunk room, an office, or something else.
Another difference you will notice between toy haulers and 5th wheels is the weight. Toy haulers tend to be heavier, especially once you add your toys and things. They will require a larger truck to pull them compared to a 5th wheel. Both will require a larger truck than a travel trailer, but toy haulers tend to require an even larger truck.
Toy Hauler vs. 5th Wheel: Which is Right For You?
Choosing between a toy hauler and a 5th wheel isn’t always easy. Looking at some of the benefits of both can help you get the right options for you.
Benefits of a Toy Hauler
- Provides a large and wide-open garage that can be used to transport an ATV, kayak, motorcycle, or other toys.
- The large garage can be customized into the type of space you need when traveling or living in it full-time.
- The garage area of a toy hauler is ruggedized, which means it will have an oil and water-resistant floor, along with protective wall panels, and tie-down fasteners.
- Some rear ramp doors for toy haulers can be used as a patio deck.
- Can often sleep quite a few people, especially when the toys are removed.
- Toy haulers are found in multiple types to fit your specific needs.
Benefits of a 5th Wheel
- Offers a living space that feels more like a house or condo than other RV options.
- Provides a large variety of floor plans to choose from.
- Tows much easier than a travel trailer and offers a safer option on the road.
- Offers a great option for full-time RV living or for longer trips.
- Separates the living space and the engine, which offers benefits compared to a motorhome.
- Provides a larger option compared to other RV choices.
There are many benefits of toy haulers and 5th wheels. You can get a 5th wheel toy hauler if you want some of the benefits of both. However, one may fit your needs better than the other.
It’s not an easy decision to make. There are many things to consider from the truck you already own or plan to buy to the space you need. If you plan to travel with toys, you might want a toy hauler. However, you might also want this type of RV simply because you want a large space to customize for your needs.
Both toy haulers and 5th wheels can provide plenty of benefits. If you’re considering traveling the US in an RV or just taking a few trips every year, one of the options might work great for you. Take your time to consider the weight, capacity, cost, living areas, and your specific needs and wants before you make your final decision.