7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs (2023)

Some novice and veteran RVers use towable RVs for weekend and full-time adventures. Many who use them absolutely love them. But being the most popular doesn’t make them perfect or the best choice for everyone. Today, we want to share with you seven reasons we think you might want to avoid a towable RV. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

  • What Is a Towable RV?
  • Types of Towable RVs
    • Fifth Wheel
    • Travel Trailers
    • Toy Haulers
    • Other Towable RVs
  • 7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs
    • 1. Need an Expensive Tow Vehicle for Larger Towable RVs
    • 2. Towing Gas Mileage Can Be Insanely Bad
    • 3. No Access to Trailer While Traveling
    • 4. Notoriously Poor Construction on Certain Brands and Models
    • 5. Very Little Storage on Smaller Towable RVs
    • 6. Difficult to Hitch/Tow/Set Up When Solo
    • 7. Learning Curve of Towing and Backing Up
  • Towable RVs Aren’t for Everyone

What Is a Towable RV?

A towable is an RV trailer that is not motorized. Rather, it requires a separate tow vehicle, usually a truck or SUV, to pull the RV via a hitch. On the other hand, a drivable RV, often referred to as a motorhome, has an internal engine. Meaning, you can drive the RV itself without a tow vehicle.

Types of Towable RVs

Before we get to the reasons you should avoid towable RVs, let’s take a look at the various RV trailer types.

Fifth Wheel

Fifth wheel RVs are a popular choice. These are generally larger RVs that can reach 44+ feet in length. They utilize a hitch in a pickup truck’s bed, which creates a more stable towing experience. Fifth wheels provide a generous amount of storage space in outside compartments and plenty of room inside.

Newer fifth wheels also come equipped with auto-level functionality, which makes setting up a breeze. After getting as level as possible, just unhitch and press a button, and the trailer will begin to level itself. Getting at least somewhat level helps keep the leveling system from lifting your wheels off the ground.

7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs (1)

These units are often trendy amongst those choosing to travel full time but also used for recreational camping. However, because fifth wheels hitch to a truck’s bed, many fifth wheel owners miss the bed space for storage.

Travel Trailers

Plenty of large and small travel trailers are great for different camping styles. If you want to travel full time or make memories in a local campground on the weekends, there’s a travel trailer for you.

Travel trailers connect to your tow vehicle via a ball hitch and receiver system. The travel trailer’s size and weight will greatly determine what size vehicle will be required to efficiently and safely tow it. The correct hitch and truck for towing a travel trailer will minimize sway and prevent unsafe towing conditions. You’ll find travel trailers as small as 13 feet and as long as 40 feet.

7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs (2)

Toy Haulers

You might have a dirt bike, golf cart, or other large toys you want to bring with you. Toy haulers are similar to a fifth wheel but have large doors on the back to store toys of various sizes. The garage portion of these RVs can be a multi-purpose space that allows users to customize the space.

Toy haulers are built on heavier frames to help them haul loads in the garage space. Due to the heavier structure and the weight of items in the garage, you’ll need a larger truck to tow these.

(Video) 5 REASONS TO NOT BUY AN RV OR TRAVEL TRAILER - Why we sold our Jayco JayFlight SLX 174BH Baja

7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs (3)

Many toy haulers will require a dually truck for effective and safe towing. The largest of toy haulers can reach an impressive 48.5 feet in length!

Other Towable RVs

Not everyone that owns an RV requires a large amount of space. Some RVers only want a shelter and place to sleep. Pop-up campers, hybrids, and teardrop trailers are a few options for campers not requiring much square footage or amenities. Because each of these RVs is often lighter, they might not need a large tow vehicle.

Pop-up campers are compact campers that collapse into themselves for travel but expand vertically and horizontally when set up at the campsite. These provide the bare necessities for individuals or small families seeking adventure on the weekends. You may not have a bathroom or shower, but many campgrounds offer these facilities.

7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs (4)

Hybrid campers are a mixture of travel trailers and pop-up campers. They often look like a standard travel trailer with rigid sides but have canvas pop-outs on one or more ends for extra sleeping space. This provides optimal use of the main living space without taking up room for beds.

Teardrops are among the smallest RVs you’ll see in a campground. They’re designed for one or two campers maximum and often require an outdoor kitchen for cooking and meal prep. There are even certain models intended for rugged terrain that enable campers to take their trailer to remote locations.

Latest Towable RV Articles:

  • Are Lance Travel Trailers Good Campers? A Prospective Buyer’s Guide
  • 7 Best Bumper Pull Toy Hauler Travel Trailers Out There
  • (Video) PITFALLS to AVOID before You Purchase an RV (2023)

    6 Best Rear Kitchen Travel Trailers You Have to See

7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs

While many people love their towable RVs because they provide a comfortable home on wheels, we’ve got seven reasons they might not be for you.

7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs (8)

1. Need an Expensive Tow Vehicle for Larger Towable RVs

It’s easy to buy a towable RV that’s too big for your tow vehicle. It’s a common mistake that many RVers make, which often requires an expensive truck upgrade to safely and legally tow. Many RVers think their tow vehicle is more capable than it is and are severely disappointed to discover it’s not after signing on the dotted line.

Depending on the size and where you plan to use your trailer, you could easily spend $50,000-$70,000+ on a truck equipped to tow your trailer. No one wants to sign more financing paperwork shortly after buying a towable RV.

2. Towing Gas Mileage Can Be Insanely Bad

Depending on the size of your tow vehicle, you might already have lower miles per gallon. Hook up a few thousand pounds of additional weight to your tow vehicle, and you’ll see the MPGs drop considerably. It’s not uncommon for larger diesel trucks to average 8-10 miles per gallon when towing larger rigs and gas counterparts to average 7-9 miles per gallon.

7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs (9)

The costs of towing your towable RV to the campsite can quickly add up, especially if you regularly camp far away. You’ll discover there are some hidden expenses in RVing, and fuel expenses are one of them.

3. No Access to Trailer While Traveling

Your towable RV may be large enough to store all of your possessions, but you won’t have access to them while traveling. You’ll have to park your rig, go outside, and then into the RV to make use of all the fancy amenities your towable RV offers. It’s much more convenient to have access to your bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom without ever having to geet out of the vehicle.

4. Notoriously Poor Construction on Certain Brands and Models

A few brands are exceptions to the rule, but many towable RV brands and models are poorly constructed. Many RV manufacturers use the cheapest possible components and materials but put a premium price on the finished product.

You don’t have to peruse reviews or Facebook groups for long to discover that there are few happy campers when it comes to their towable RV’s initial construction. Even brand new rigs can face issues that need repair.

The Truth About Owning A Travel Trailer

(Video) 5 Reasons to Avoid 5th Wheel RV Trailers

5. Very Little Storage on Smaller Towable RVs

Smaller towable RVs like pop-ups or teardrop campers have very little storage space. You may get lucky with these models and have a small front storage compartment or get even luckier if it’s a pass-through storage compartment. Most of these units barely have enough storage space outside for a weekend’s worth of supplies.

Inside storage space is also at a premium with smaller rigs. We’re not just talking about clothing items but also essentials like food and cooking supplies. Figuring out how to store the gear you’ll need often requires both trials by error and luck.

6. Difficult to Hitch/Tow/Set Up When Solo

There are several unique steps for hitching, towing, and setting up towable RVs. While a solo camper can do these things on their own, it’s not ideal. Having multiple sets of hands and eyes during each of these steps ensures a smoother process.

7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs (10)

We highly recommend having a partner to help during the hitching and setting up process. Lining up your truck to the small ball can be difficult and frustrating when solo.

Many trucks have cameras to assist, but it’s much easier with a partner. Being able to divvy up responsibilities during setup makes camping much more enjoyable. Forgetting steps during this process can ruin a weekend of adventuring.

7. Learning Curve of Towing and Backing Up

Towing and backing up a towable RV doesn’t feel natural. Everything you’ve learned about driving and backing up goes out the window when you hook a trailer to your vehicle. Your instincts tell you to turn in one direction, but the RV will turn in the opposite. It might feel like you can only learn to back up an RV through trial and error.

Towing an RV requires being aware of many potential hazards. How your trailer responds when turning, whether sharp or not, is entirely different from piloting a drivable RV. For some people, the fear of towing or backing up pushes them to select a drivable RV.

Tip: Check out How To Tow An RV: The Beginner’s Guide if a towable RV still sounds right for you!

7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs (11)

Towable RVs Aren’t for Everyone

Don’t get us wrong; we love towable RVs and think they’re great for adventuring and traveling the country. But we know they’re not for everyone, and we want you to be aware of the most significant downsides.Overall, we hope our list helps you consider the whole world of towable RVs before making a big purchase.

(Video) 7 Reasons You DON'T NEED SOLAR for Your RV!

Do you have a reason to avoid towable RVs that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.

Become A Mortons On The Move Insider

Join 10,000+ other adventurers to receive educating, entertaining, and inspiring articles about RV Travel Destinations, RV Gear, and Off-Grid Living to jump-start your adventures today!

Read More from the Mortons:

(Video) THIS is How to Avoid RV Junk Fees & Scam Tactics!!

  • How to Determine the Best RV to Live in Full-Time
  • What You Need to Know About Travel Trailers


7 Reasons to Avoid Towable RVs? ›

Ultimately, if you don't plan on journeying across the United States year-round, then a towable RV will be a good fit for you. You could use a towable to explore the country, but a motorized will be a better option for this type of lifestyle (I will explain this in more detail later).

Is a drivable or towable RV better? ›

Ultimately, if you don't plan on journeying across the United States year-round, then a towable RV will be a good fit for you. You could use a towable to explore the country, but a motorized will be a better option for this type of lifestyle (I will explain this in more detail later).

What should you not consider when buying an RV? ›

10 Things To Avoid When RV Shopping
  • Buying the Wrong Size. When it comes to RVs, bigger is not always better. ...
  • Ruling Out Used RVs. ...
  • Not Doing Enough Research. ...
  • Not Considering the Towing Vehicle. ...
  • Not Considering The Height. ...
  • Not Asking Enough Questions. ...
  • Getting The Wrong Insurance. ...
  • Rushing Your Purchase.
Mar 1, 2022

Can you be in a towable RV while driving? ›

Because of their lack of safety features, riding in a travel trailer or fifth wheel is strongly discouraged. Unless your trailer is equipped with proper seat belts and safety features, carrying passengers back there can, and should, be avoided.

What are the pros and cons of having an RV? ›

Pros like freedom, traveling with the comforts of home, flexible schedule, priceless experiences, and cheaper lifestyle. (The last of which is only sometimes true.) The cons on those lists always include limited space, RV maintenance, travel stress, and climate control / unpredictable weather.

How long do towable RVs last? ›

At a minimum, your travel trailer needs to be able to last for 10 years. You might be able to prolong its longevity and add about two to five years by taking good care of it. However, some travel trailers can last up to 30 years with proper usage.

What is the best speed to tow an RV? ›

Drive no faster than your tow vehicle's economical sweet spot. (From what I've read, sweet spots typically are in the range of 55-65 MPH.) According to Roger Marble (a.k.a. tireman9 on RV forums), it's best to tow no more than 60 MPH when using ST tires and some manufacturers recommend not towing faster than 60 MPH.

What does Dave Ramsey say about buying an RV? ›

Dave Ramsey thinks living in an RV full-time is a fun idea, but he doesn't necessarily think it's the best financial decision. Ramsey believes living in a trailer or motorhome works financially if it's a temporary move, especially if you pay cash for a used RV and have saved plenty of money.

Does age of an RV matter? ›

If an RV is over 10 years old, you might find yourself running into issues staying at certain upscale RV parks. You could find yourself running into the “10 Year Rule”. Though it may not be accurate all the time this rule is based on the assumption that an RV over 10 years old might be too weathered or worn.

Is it financially smart to live in an RV? ›

If you are staying in campgrounds for a longer time period or utilizing campground discount clubs, your costs will be less. It is possible to live comfortably in an RV spending $2,000 to $3,500 per month. This is especially attainable if you take advantage of boondocking and limit the amount of money you spend on fuel.

Can you sleep in RV bed while driving? ›

Is it Legal for Passengers to Sleep in a Motorhome RV While Driving? Passenger safety is key while riding in a motorhome. While taking a nap isn't prohibited, it is illegal and unsafe to occupy an RV bed while the vehicle is moving. An injury or worse could happen if the vehicle were to be in an accident.

Why are 5th wheels better than travel trailers? ›

Besides the ceiling height, fifth wheels tend to be longer and wider than travel trailers. They offer the most bang for your buck. Fifth wheels tend to have more room because of slides on opposing sides that make the space bigger. The master bedroom space also tends to be larger because of a slide.

Can you run AC in fifth wheel while towing? ›

You'll only be able to run your RV's air conditioner while driving if it's equipped with a built-in generator and that generator is running.

Why are people quitting Rving? ›

There are many RV'ers who will not be willing to adapt to these changes. RV Living requires a ton of work. Things like maintenance, repairs, and planning all take work and effort. There are many who will be ready to say all of this isn't worth it and it's time to hang up the keys to the RV and quit.

Is a motorhome tax deductible? ›

If you purchased an RV in 2022, good news: you (probably) qualify for a deduction. In all but five states (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon), you'll have to pay sales tax on the purchase of a new RV. Because you've already paid that tax, you can deduct it from your 2022 taxes.

How long does an RV last? ›

Owners who regularly use their RV or motorhome may expect a lifespan of around 200,000 miles. That being said, you could increase your RV or motorhome's lifespan up to 300,000 miles, on average, as long as the driving conditions are not unduly arduous and you maintain it in good condition.

Is it easier to drive an RV or pull a travel trailer? ›

Ease of Driving

Fifth wheels are typically more easily maneuvered and tend not to sway, whereas travel trailers can be prone to sway at high speeds and/or on windy days. Sway bars make a big difference, but this is still something to be considered when choosing your rig.

Is it cheaper to pull a camper or drive an RV? ›

Travel Fuel Economy

An RV tends to drink fuel fast. It has a large body and requires a large energy output to keep it going. Fuel economy hovers around 10 miles per gallon. Pulling a trailer is considered more economical.

Is it easier to drive a motorhome or pull a trailer? ›

Manoeuvrability is important to people choosing between an RV and a travel trailer. It affects how easily they can park the vehicle and where they can drive it. RVs, especially large A class motorhomes, are pretty cumbersome, need a lot of space to manoeuvre, and are not as easy to turn as a travel trailer.

What type of RV is easiest to drive? ›

Generally, a class B RV is the easiest to drive if you're new to RVing. Most aren't much longer than a pickup truck and can easily maneuver into parking spaces and gas stations. If you're looking for the easiest transition into RV driving, choose a class B camper.


1. 5 Most Common Faults on Used RVs!!
(Josh the RV Nerd at Bish's RV)
2. The Wingman offers some blunt RV buying advice. His first suggestion? Stay away from these guys!
(Wingman Wisdom)
3. 5 Reasons to Avoid Class B RVs
(Drivin' and Vibin')
4. How a Slide-out Lock can protect your RV's slide-out under frame!
(Your RV Specialists )
5. Do NOT TOW Before You Watch This!!
(Custom Offsets)
6. DON'T Tow an RV With This - Half Ton RV Towing (BRUTALLY HONEST)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Patricia Veum II

Last Updated: 03/07/2023

Views: 6033

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Patricia Veum II

Birthday: 1994-12-16

Address: 2064 Little Summit, Goldieton, MS 97651-0862

Phone: +6873952696715

Job: Principal Officer

Hobby: Rafting, Cabaret, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Inline skating, Magic, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Patricia Veum II, I am a vast, combative, smiling, famous, inexpensive, zealous, sparkling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.