Last Updated on October 30, 2023 by Christina
Excitement is coursing through the RV industry as manufacturers begin to introduce new models of travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers for 2024. As the industry evolves, RV manufacturers are stepping up their game to stay competitive. That includes everything from minor tweaks and enhancements to existing models to brand-new offerings that push boundaries and redefine standards within the RV industry.
More families than ever are heading out to create their own Great American Road Trip and, for many, it starts with the perfect RV. One of the benefits of traveling with a trailer rather than a motorhome is that when you set up camp, you can unhook the RV and leave it set up while you use the vehicle to explore the area. When you travel by motorhome, you either need to drive your whole RV for sightseeing days or tow a separate vehicle behind it.
Table of Contents
- What is a travel trailer?
- What is a fifth wheel?
- What is a toy hauler?
- How big are travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers?
- Are these RVs easy to tow?
- How much do travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers cost?
- What’s the best RV for me?
- Best travel trailers of 2024
- Best fifth wheels of 2024
- Best toy haulers of 2024
- Is a travel trailer, fifth wheel or toy hauler worth it?
What is a travel trailer?
Unlike motorized RVs that have an engine and can be driven on their own, travel trailers are pulled behind another vehicle. Travel trailers come in all sizes, including everything from tiny jelly bean-shaped models with a small kitchen in the rear to a full blown house-on-wheels, with multiple slide-outs and residential-sized appliances. Their length can vary, starting at 12 feet long and going up to 35 feet long or more. Weight also varies with the size, from as low as 1,200 pounds up to nearly 10,000 pounds.
Sometimes called a bumper-pull (when they first became popular in the early 1950s, they were attached to the bumper of the tow car), the modern travel trailer employs a hitch secured to the frame of your tow vehicle. This truck or SUV will include specialized hardware to make towing safe and easy. Travel trailers are relatively easy to set up once you arrive at your destination. You can unhitch it, leave it and still have a vehicle to explore.
What is a fifth wheel?
Fifth wheels are split-level RVs that must be towed by a truck with a special hitch. Typically, a fifth wheel will have a living space or bunk area on the lower level and a private bedroom that hangs over the truck bed. Fifth wheel RVs are available in all sorts of styles and sizes. The smallest fifth wheels have less than six feet of headroom and are just large enough to squeeze in a wet bath. The largest fifth wheels weigh tens of thousands of pounds and must be towed with a semi-truck cab.
Fifth wheel travel trailers are great because they offer both the flexibility of a towable vehicle, as well as the comfort and luxury of super-sized RVs. If you plan to spend more time on the road, then you will want to make sure you have enough space for long comfortable trips, as well as some amenities for those rainy days. Even if you’re only a weekend warrior, a fifth wheel gives you plenty of extra leg room to feel comfortable anywhere the road may lead. If you have children, a fifth wheel can also give you a little bit of extra privacy.
What is a toy hauler?
Toy haulers are RVs that have dedicated storage space for large recreational toys. Fifth wheels and travel trailers are the most common types of RV toy haulers on the market, but there are a couple motorhome options available. Toy hauler motorhomes are usually Class A or Class C RVs with built-in garages.
Regardless of the RV class, a toy hauler RV features a living area and a garage space that allows you to load and unload your toys. Typically, these RVs are set up like a traditional fifth wheel or travel trailer, but the back is open and ready to welcome large items like a four-wheeler, motorcycles, kayaks and whatever other outdoor equipment you might want. The rear wall of the trailer opens up and folds down into a ramp for easy loading. The cargo space usually comes with D-rings to strap in your gear, along with furniture that is attached to the walls and folds up to increase storage space.
Toy haulers come in all shapes and sizes. Some have small living areas with large cargo space, while others have huge living areas and a smaller cargo capacity. These types of RVs are heavier than others.
When it comes to choosing between travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers, the differences are minimal. Instead of thinking of it as fifth wheels being better or travel trailers being better, it’s more about fit and which kind of RV best suits how you want to travel.
How big are travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers?
Travel trailers come in a wide range of sizes and styles. That said, most travel trailers typically range anywhere from 12 feet to 35 feet long. A simple, 12-foot travel trailer allows enough comfortable space for one or two people (most likely a couple). Meanwhile, a 35-foot trailer can allow enough space for up to 10 people to sleep comfortably.
Travel trailers vary in weight from 1,200 to almost 9,000 pounds. The various lengths and builds available allow for a diverse weight range. Smaller travel trailers have an average maximum weight of about 3,500 pounds. Some larger travel trailers can reach more than 10,000 pounds when fully loaded.
Fifth wheel RVs often stretch anywhere from 30 to 45 feet in length. Many families opt for fifth wheels because they’re usually some of the largest travel trailers. Fifth wheels can vary widely in weight, with the smallest starting at around 2,400 pounds and going up to 24,000 pounds. It’s critical to have a heavy-duty truck — and a fifth wheel hitch — to tow them.
Toy haulers can vary in size; it all depends on how much storage and space you need. The standard width of a toy hauler is between 7.5 to 8 feet wide and around 13 feet tall, in order to stay within federal and various state guidelines for travel vehicles. The biggest difference with toy haulers is the length of the vehicle. There are small models that sit at less than 15 feet long and large models that can be over 48 feet long. The majority of toy haulers sit in a medium range at around 30 to 40 feet.
Toy haulers are built on a sturdier frame and are therefore much heavier than other RVs on the market. Toy hauler weight ranges from 3,600 to 11,400 pounds when empty. These are RVs designed to carry heavy cargo. On average, they can carry upwards of 10,000 pounds of cargo.
Are these RVs easy to tow?
From Gen Zers to Boomers, RVing of any type offers freedom and a sense of self-sufficiency. However, towing an RV can bring some unexpected stress and safety concerns, especially for first-timers. Trailers add weight and that added weight changes the handling dynamics and braking of the tow vehicle. That’s why you need to make sure your RV and tow vehicle are properly matched.
The towing capacity of a vehicle is how much weight it can tow. The towing capacity is determined mainly by the type of axles the truck has and their ratings. Usually, towing capacity applies to SUVs and trucks, since most sedans or smaller cars don’t have large towing capabilities. Keeping your RV’s weight in mind is integral as well. If your RV weighs too much for your tow vehicle, it increases the stopping distance and likelihood of damage to your tow vehicle or RV.
There are two important weight-related factors when it comes to RV trailers: GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and tongue weight (TW). GVWR is the safe maximum weight of the RV when it’s loaded for camping with water, fuel, supplies and cargo. The TW is how much downforce the loaded RV places on the towing hitch. Both numbers are displayed on the metal Federal Certification/VIN ID tag located on the front left side of an RV. You can also find the specifications listed on the trailer manufacturer’s website.
Those two numbers set the basis for choosing the vehicle best suited for towing an RV. Tongue weight of RV trailers, sometimes referred to as “hitch weight,” will be typically between 10 and 15-percent of the RV’s GVWR. RV trailer weights can vary widely by brand, type and size. That’s why it’s important to narrow down these numbers to the specific RV you plan to tow and then make sure those weights match your vehicle’s towing limitations. You can also find your vehicle’s towing capacity on General RV’s towing guide.
How much do travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers cost?
A travel trailer is the least expensive way to enjoy a recreational vehicle or RV lifestyle. Travel trailers are significantly cheaper than motorhomes for the fact they have no engine and must be towed. Travel trailer prices can range from $10,000 to $200,000 for a travel trailer. On average, most new travel trailers cost between $20,000 and $50,000. The size of the travel trailer is the first factor — the bigger you go, the more you will pay.
A fifth wheel typically costs more than a travel trailer, as it provides a bit more amenities and a better driving experience. It’s a better option if someone wants to try full-time RVing. Fifth wheel prices tend to vary depending on the make, year and amenities that come included.
A toy hauler typically sits on the more expensive side because it is built on a sturdier frame and often provides more amenities. Luxury models are worth the investment if you plan to live in your toy hauler full-time.
Another factor to consider is storing your RV when it’s not in use. If you do not have the space to store your RV on your property, you’ll likely need to rent space from a storage facility. On average, it costs between $50 to $200 per month to store an RV, with the actual cost influenced by various factors. The average cost to store an RV indoors is roughly $135 a month, according to Sparefoot, a self-storage marketplace. Naturally, the size of an RV can greatly influence the cost to store it.
Financial options for purchasing an RV
A number of financial options are available when it comes to purchasing your RV. While some may pay in cash, most will finance their purchase over the course of several months. Monthly payments can be reduced by providing a large down payment at purchase. This could also help secure a lower interest rate, leading to even more savings in the long-term. Many RV dealers and banks offer great financing options.
Creating an RV budget will help you stay within your financial boundaries and help narrow your RV search. Be sure to also include parts or accessory upgrades, regular preventative maintenance and RV insurance in your budget. You will also need to account for storage costs if you are unable to store your RV on your property when not in use. RVing is growing in popularity at an exponential rate because it can be enjoyed on nearly any budget. Read about some ways to save money while RVing and stretch your dollars, so you can enjoy more adventures.
What’s the best RV for me?
Next to your home, an RV is most likely the second-most expensive item you’ll ever purchase. It is essential to determine the best RV to suit your needs, aesthetics and dimensions on the outside and inside. Make sure the floor plan is suitable for your requirements. There should also be enough room to fit the things you’re looking for. Make a list of those things you’d like to take and make sure you have enough space. If you’re looking for an RV that’s spacious enough for the entire family, you’ll definitely want to check out the best toy haulers General RV has to offer.
Before You Buy: Best RVs of 2024 at General RV
Best Travel Trailers of 2024
Adventure begins with the Little Buggy from Modern Buggy RV. The Little Buggy RK is the perfect choice for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a light-weight, affordable and easy-to-use option for their overland adventure. With its compact size and low weight, it can be towed by a large number of vehicles, making it a versatile choice for any road trip. The RK features a fully-functional kitchen, solar power, a queen-size mattress and real birch wood cabinetry. It can comfortably accommodate up to four people with the addition of the rooftop tent option, making it an ideal choice for a small family or group of friends. The best part about this RV is its simplicity, which makes it easy to set up camp and maintain, allowing you to focus on enjoying your outdoor adventure.
The Forest River Salem 169RSK travel trailer is perfect for couples who want to explore the great outdoors together! A rear private bedroom with a queen bed slide allows for more interior space, and includes a dresser with wardrobes on either side. Plus, the split-style bathroom will come in handy when one person wants to freshen up in the shower while another uses the private toilet and sink. You can prepare your best home cooked meals with the two-burner cooktop, then enjoy it at the front U-shaped dinette which can also transform into a queen bed for extra sleeping space. Enjoy making breakfast each morning at the outdoor kitchen under a 15′ power awning which creates a little more outdoor living space.
Start out on your boundless journey in one a Winnebago Micro Minnie travel trailer! Towing is made simple with the 7′ width to keep your Micro Minnie in your rear-view mirror. Despite their compact sizes, the Mirco Minnie does not lack in features. Two twin beds up front convert into a king-size bed. The booth dinette slide also converts into extra sleeping space. The spacious galley includes a sink, refrigerator, two-burner cooktop and even a convection microwave oven. Each Micro Minnie also comes with flexible exterior storage to make packing quick and easy, a 200-watt solar panel for off-grid camping, and Dexter TORFLEX torsion stub axles for smooth towing!
Enjoy years and years of memories with any Forest River Wildwood travel trailers! Two slide outs provide you with more space to relax, as well as a front kitchen with ample counter space. The middle bedroom includes a king bed, a desk with TV prep above where you can work away from home if needed, and even a closet with washer and dryer prep. This RV also includes a spacious full rear bath with its own exterior entry door, a walk-in shower, a linen closet for clean towels and recessed storage for necessities. You will find a plethora of amenities and features throughout the 2024 Forest River Wildwood.
Choose luxury, value and towability over all others when you take home a Grand Design Reflection travel trailer! The chef of the group will love the gourmet kitchen including the 16 cu. ft. refrigerator, the center island when preparing and serving meals and the hutch with overhead cabinets to display and store dishes and such. This area also includes two slide outs for more floor space and furniture to relax including theatre seating with cupholders, a booth dinette and a rear tri-fold sofa that offers sleeping space for two. Get cleaned up in the full bathroom, and retire to your front bedroom with a slide out queen bed, a front full-wall wardrobe with washer/dryer prep, a dresser and an additional wardrobe with drawers.
When you choose a Residence destination trailer by Keystone RV, you can live like a local wherever you decide to roam. You will love the ample cabinet space to store your belongings, along with upgraded appliances, spacious baths and higher ceilings! Additional interior comforts include designer upholstered window valances, solid hardwood cabinetry, bedside reading lights, and a shower with surround and a glass door. Since there is a heated and enclosed underbelly, you can plan to camp year around, and the Dexter E-Z Lube axles will make towing easier than ever. You will also find a 12″ powder coated I-beam frame and a fully walkable crowned roof for durability, and you can choose between aluminum or laminated sidewalls.
Best Fifth Wheels of 2024
With any Arcadia Select fifth wheel by Keystone, you will enjoy easy towability and at-home comforts at an affordable price. Lightweight for a fifth wheel, the 21SRK is designed to be pulled by a majority of half-ton trucks. This rear kitchen fifth wheel includes ample counter space to prep meals and feed your family. A tri-fold sleeper sofa slide provides added space and a TV right across the sofa makes for easy viewing. You can dine at the booth dinette or head outdoors to sit under the 17′ electric awning. The full bath lets you clean up each day, and you’ll feel right at home having your own private bedroom up front with a queen bed. You’ll get great camp-friendly features such as a tankless on-demand water heater, heated and enclosed underbelly and Road Armor suspension.
Move to a new level of luxury with Jayco’s Eagle fifth wheel. With any Eagle fifth wheel or travel trailer by Jayco, you will appreciate durable construction materials, like the Magnum Truss Roof and the Stronghold VBL laminated walls. More luxurious touches include a 24” GE stove, a dual 15K whisper quiet A/C, legless free standing dinette with pivoting and extension function for a desk, and the JayPort system with 22” griddle, deep sink and hot/cold water connections. The Eagle fifth wheels and travel trailers are designed to make you feel at home with solid hardwood slide fascia, residential vinyl flooring, bathroom tile backsplash and plenty of storage for all your belongings.
You won’t want to camp any other way once you step inside the Alliance Paradigm fifth wheel! The chef will enjoy all of the space in the rear kitchen with ample counter space, a 19 cu. ft. 12-volt residential refrigerator, and a pantry for snacks. The middle living area includes dual sleeper sofas and a dual recliner loveseat across from the 50″ Smart TV and fireplace. The half bathroom is nearby for quick bathroom breaks too. You will feel right at home in the primary suite with a king bed slide, a flip-top dresser with a Smart TV above, and a seat with storage, plus access to the front full bathroom. The Paradigm fifth wheels by Alliance RV are functional, high-quality, and luxurious for an unforgettable camping experience.
Best Toy Haulers of 2024
The Momentum MAV toy hauler travel trailers by Grand Design are designed to provide exactly what you need. The spacious garage provides tons of cargo space, with no wheel wells to get in the way. Motion sensor lights and USB outlets will make your life easier, and you will be comfortable in all seasons with the 35K BTU furnace plus 15K BTU ducted air conditioning. Relax on the rollover sofa with a table, and the top bed will be perfect for your guests to sleep on. The front queen Murphy bed includes drawers to store clothes, plus overhead storage for personal belongings. This model also includes a patio with a pull down screen to let fresh air in without letting the bugs in!
Introducing the Brinkley Model G, developed & tested by RVers to create a toy hauler without compromise. The first fifth wheel toy hauler from Brinkley is the culmination of decades of experience, countless hours of research and development, and feedback from customers and fellow RVers.
With one virtual prototype and three physical prototypes, the Model G has been put through its paces, traveling thousands of miles and undergoing dozens of tests. The result is a high-quality RV that is both luxurious and functional, and perfect for any adventure. The 2024 Brinkley Model G line is a true luxury fifth-wheel toy hauler. The G line is packed with intelligently designed features, an automotive exterior and a true residential interior that’s unmatched.
Is a travel trailer, fifth wheel or toy hauler worth it?
If you already own a truck capable of towing a heavy load, a travel trailer, fifth wheel or toy hauler could be an affordable entry into RV ownership. Another advantage of towable RVs is that you only have one vehicle engine to maintain, compared to a Class A or Class C motorhome with a tow car.
Owning an RV can lead to significant savings compared to the costs of a typical vacation with flights, rental cars, accommodations and meals. However, RVs also come with long-term maintenance costs, storage fees and other expenses to consider.
Finally, choosing the right RV comes down to meeting all of your needs, including price points. General RV’s experts can answer all your questions and provide recommendations based on your unique needs. Visit your local General RV dealer to explore our huge selection of travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers for yourself. We have thousands of RVs in stock including all the best brands from top manufacturers. After you’ve found the perfect RV, we’ll provide a personalized orientation to get you on the road with confidence.