If you’re in the market for a towable, you might be feeling overwhelmed with the amount of options out there. From cozy couples’ campers to luxury 5th wheels with all the bells and whistles, there are just about as many kinds of trailers as there are travelers.
What Exactly is a 5th Wheel?
A 5th wheel is a towable RV that sits above the bed of your truck. It’s hitched with what is a called a “5th wheel coupling” (hence the name), making a vertical connection instead of a traditional horizontal connection found with many travel trailers. This particular kind of towable, however, can only be towed by a pickup truck that has been outfitted with a special hitch coupling.
Why People Love 5th Wheels
When it comes to travel trailers, it doesn’t really get any better, or in some cases, more luxurious, than a 5th wheel. These models optimize every inch of space, offering buyers more overhead storage and usually extra seating.
Besides better layouts and more storage and seating, 5th wheels have other benefits over traditional travel trailers. They are terrific when it comes to maneuverability on the road. Owners typically never have to worry about jackknifing, for instance.
Another big bonus? Backing up into that perfect camping spot is a cinch. And, since the 5th wheel is usually taller, your entire family can stand up straight while inside. Combine this with the fact that it’s easy to hitch back up to your truck whenever you’re ready to get back on the open road, and you can see why so many couples and families are opting to purchase a 5th wheel.
Keep in mind that with these bonuses come some things you should be aware of. For starters, 5th wheels are generally heavier than your average travel trailer and are therefore harder to tow and harder on the ol’ gas mileage. If you’re only using your 5th wheel for yearly vacations, that may not be a problem. But if you’re thinking about living in your trailer full-time, it may not fit your budget.
These models are typically more expensive (you get more – but you pay for it), and they tend to come with more sliding and moving parts, requiring more maintenance.
The bottom line is, if you are a family that likes to camp a few times a year, require more room and storage, want extra (fancier) bells and whistles, and want to be able to unhitch your truck and use it while on vacation, a 5th wheel might be just the right RV option for you.
Okay then, so what’s a toy hauler?
Think of a toy hauler as a travel trailer that also acts as a garage. In one sense, they are like a traditional 5th wheel, in that they connect and tow in the same way.
The difference is, the back wall opens completely, turning into a ramp, so you can load and store your toys (AKA motorcycles, four-wheeler, bicycles, golf cart, etc.)
The cool thing about toy haulers is they also offer extra living space for kids and pets to run around. You can also use that backend ramp as a kind of makeshift porch and sit outside on nice days.
Now you may be thinking that only people with, well, toys rent or own toy haulers, but that’s not the case. Because they have extra room in the back and an overall open floor plan, many people without toys prefer them.
Things to note: toy haulers, as you can imagine, are pretty large, which means they don’t do too well off the beaten path. But if you plan on staying on well-marked roads and staying in dedicated campgrounds, they are an excellent option.
As far as gas mileage, you’re looking at about the same cost as with most other 5th wheels.
So, which option is right for you: regular 5th wheel or toy hauler? Well, that all depends on whether or not you want to travel with toys, or if you require additional open space for your family.
If you’re still not sure, we recommend you rent both types of trailer to see what works best for your family and lifestyle.