Top 5 Trucks for Towing a Toy Hauler

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A truck towing a travel trailer.

If you want to purchase a toy hauler soon, you’ll likely need to buy a truck to tow it. Most people don’t own heavy-duty vehicles for daily use. But to safely haul these heavier travel trailers and fifth wheels, you must invest in a truck with ample towing capabilities.

Let’s look at the five best trucks for towing based on trailer weight so you can make an informed decision!

What Is Towing Capacity?

Towing capacity is the maximum amount of weight your vehicle can pull. Whether it’s a motorhome towing a small car or a heavy-duty truck towing a toy hauler, towing capacity is the motorhome or truck’s limit.

Manufacturers assign this critical number to each vehicle based on certain features like engine, transmission, brakes, wheelbase, and axle ratio. If you overload the towing vehicle and exceed the towing capacity, you risk damaging the vehicle’s central components and losing control, potentially leading to an accident.

A truck towing a travel trailer.

What Is GVWR?

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is another important number when towing an RV. This acronym refers to the maximum weight the RV can safely transport. This is in contrast to the dry or unloaded weight, which is the shipping weight of an empty RV.

Once you load down your trailer with all of its cargo — toys, clothes, camping gear, dishes, etc. — the total weight shouldn’t exceed the GVWR.

The GVWR should always be less than the towing capacity to maintain safe travel. For example, if a travel trailer has a GVWR of 8,000 pounds, you should stay below this amount after loading up everything inside the trailer.

But if your SUV has a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds, you shouldn’t tow with this vehicle. You’ll need a towing vehicle with a higher towing capacity capable of safely transporting a trailer weighing up to 8,000 pounds.

Why Does Towing Capacity Matter?

Towing capacity and GVWR matter a lot. These two figures are critical for safe travel. If you exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle, you risk damaging components created to handle a certain amount of weight. This could lead to expensive repairs.

You also risk losing control on a travel day. The slightest gust of wind could send your RV reeling because the weight is too much for your vehicle to handle. You won’t have the power to pull your trailer up inclines through mountain passes.

And you’ll have trouble stopping because your brake system isn’t designed to stop an overloaded trailer beyond your vehicle’s towing capacity. All of these situations can lead to dire consequences.

How Much Do Toy Haulers Weigh?

Just like any class of RVs, toy haulers have a wide range of sizes and weights. You’ll find the travel trailer toy hauler Grand Design Momentum 22MAV measuring 26 feet 6 inches long and weighing 10,950 pounds with a hitch weight of 915 pounds.

Then you’ll find the 44-foot fifth-wheel toy hauler Keystone Fuzion 415 weighing 19,000 pounds with a hitch weight of 3,155 pounds.

Two additional measurements here are important: hitch weight and payload capacity. The hitch weight is the weight sitting on the back of your tow vehicle. The payload capacity is the weight your vehicle can safely have on it.

This is why you’ll only see heavy-duty trucks towing most fifth-wheel toy haulers. Although a Ford F-150 might have the towing capacity to handle 10,000 pounds, it might not have the payload capacity to handle 2,500 pounds sitting in the truck bed.

The same is true for travel trailers. You’ll want to ensure your towing vehicle can safely transport the weight sitting on the bumper.

Best Trucks for Towing a Toy Hauler

If you want the best truck to tow your toy hauler, consider the options below based on the trailer’s weight. But make sure to remember the importance of the 80/20 rule for towing.

Just because your truck is rated to tow 20,000 pounds, we don’t suggest you actually tow 20,000 pounds. It’s safest to tow only up to 80% of your overall towing capacity.

This reduces the risk of potentially exceeding this number and leaves some room for human error should the towing capacity have been inflated. It also ensures you’re not adding strain to your truck by remaining below its towing capacity.

Pro Tip: Buying a Toy Hauler? Here’s what you need to know.

Best Truck for Towing 14,000 to18,000 pounds: Ford F-250 Super Duty

The maximum towing capacity of the Ford F-250 Super Duty is 22,000 pounds. Following the 80/20 rule for towing, that’s 17,600 pounds. But you’ll need the 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel V8 or High Output 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel V8 to achieve this level of towing.

The gas engines won’t provide the towing capacity needed. The Ford F-250 XL model starts at $43,970, which offers the basic trim package.

A Ford F-250 Super Duty truck parked at a campsite by an RV.

Best Truck for Towing 18,000-25,000 pounds: Ford F-350 Super Duty

If you need more capability, the maximum towing capacity of the Ford F-350 Super Duty is 32,000 pounds. This gives you about 25,600 pounds to stay within the 80% guideline. Like the F-250, you’ll want a diesel engine to have that capability. The Ford F-350 XL model starts at $45,015.

Best Truck for Towing 25,000-30,000 pounds: RAM 3500 Heavy Duty

The RAM 3500 Heavy Duty has 7,680 pounds of payload capacity when equipped with the 6.4L HEMI V8 engine, which means it can handle almost any fifth-wheel toy hauler sitting in the truck bed. It has a maximum towing capacity of 37,090 pounds when equipped with the High-Output 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel I6 engine.

You can decide if you need the additional payload or increased towing capacity for your particular toy hauler. The RAM 3500 Tradesman starts at $48,155.

Best Truck for Towing 30,000-35,000 pounds: Ford F-450 Super Duty

Once you reach weights of 30,000 pounds or more, you’ll have to fork out money for the big-time trucks. The Ford F-450 Super Duty is the best option for towing a toy hauler of this size because its maximum towing capacity is 40,000 pounds.

But it will cost you over $58,000 for just the basic XL trim. You’ll need the Ford F-450 4×2 equipped with the 6.7L High Output Power Stroke Turbo Diesel engine for the highest towing capacity.

A man riding a horse next to a Ford F-450 Super Duty truck towing a horse trailer.

Best Truck for Towing 35,000+ pounds: Semi-Truck

Finally, if you choose a toy hauler with a GVWR of over 35,000 pounds, your safest bet is to buy a semi-truck. Depending on the model, the towing capacity of these beasts starts at 45,000 pounds and goes to 80,000 pounds or more.

Since semi-trucks are made for long journeys, they’re designed for comfort. So, you’re mistaken if you think you’ll be getting a rougher ride than the other models. You might actually enjoy it more! Plus, you can haul any toy hauler you can find and don’t have to worry at all about overloading your tow vehicle.

Keep in Mind: Have you heard the negative stereotype that truck drivers dislike all RVers? That couldn’t be farther from the truth, but here are 5 Reasons Truckers might have been with RVers.

Tow Your Toy Hauler With Confidence

Toy haulers come in all sizes. But they’re built to carry outdoor gear and heavier loads. So, the GVWR will be higher than other standard travel trailers and fifth wheels. Therefore, you’ll likely need a heavier-duty truck to tow them.

Always make sure your truck’s towing capacity is over the GVWR of your toy hauler. You want your trailer and your tow vehicle to handle transit safely.

Be safe this camping season, and haul your toy hauler with confidence!

What truck do you use to tow your toy hauler? 

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