By Russ and Tiña De Maris
What’s the lure of a towable, non-motorized unit, over a motorhome? One less engine to maintain is a big draw. Finances figure in, non-motorized units generally cost less for equivalent living space. For some, arriving at camp and disconnecting or dismounting the RV from your truck, the RV stays at camp while the motor unit can run around on its own. Not only is there less rig to maneuver on the road, but also when someone wants to stay at camp and others want to run about, everyone can be satisfied.
In this post we’ll cover two popular towables, travel trailers and toy haulers. In our next installment will talk about others.
Some older ones may recall a time when a travel trailer might be called “A-frame trailers”(for the shape of the hitch frame up front), or “bumper pull trailers” (for how they attached to the tow rig). No matter what you call them, travel trailers come in a wide range of sizes, layouts, and of course, price ranges. Ranging from 12 to 35 feet, you can expect new prices to run from $8,000 to nearly $100,000.
Living features inside a travel trailer are from Spartan to super-deluxe, though almost all have bathrooms and showers. Cooking isn’t usually a problem, as most come with a galley, although the smaller the trailer, the more tight you’ll find cooking space. Sleeping accommodations are comfy; some are even set up “bunkhouse” style, with bunk beds especially favored by the younger ones. Need more space? Some units come equipped with one or more slideouts that add floor space.
What you’ll need to pull a travel trailer is often directly related to size and weight. Smaller travel trailers can run along comfortably behind the family SUV, car or small pickup truck. Of course, you’ll need to have a proper towing hitch on whatever vehicle you use. More about that later. Many manufacturers are aiming for lighter trailers by using composite materials, making a wider range of trailers towable with six-cylinder vehicles.
While the industry prefers to term this special kind of travel trailer as a “sport utility RV” or SURV, we’ll have to bow to the people: toy haulers they are. With living accommodations like conventional travel trailers, toy haulers put a wall up at the end of the living quarters and reserve the rear end of the trailer for carrying ATVs, motorcycles, sand rails and the like. It’s like having a mobile garage. The rear wall drops down to allow you to roll your toys in and out of the RV. We’ve seen folks who have turned their toy hauler into a “shop” for their business, working on the road in the garage area of their rig.
Toy haulers range anywhere from 19 to 39 feet, and prices start at just near $10,000 and top out above $170,000, depending on size and amenities. Those amenities can include slideouts. If you don’t mind sleeping in the “garage,” some units will sleep up to eight.
By taking the garage along with you, expect that you’ll have a trade off here and there. Toy haulers generally aren’t as plush and spacious in the living quarters as their conventional travel trailer cousins, but they’re a good pick for those who want to take their stuff with them.