Wednesday, March 29, 2023


Do motorhome owners really need a “toad”?

Many full-time RVers hit the road with a travel trailer or fifth wheel. At day’s end they unhitch and have an “around town” vehicle ready for use. But for fulltimers who live in a motorhome, the decision has to be faced: Do we need a “toad” car to get around, or can we do without a car?

Some immediately ask: Why would anyone want to do without a toad car? There are some advantages of being “toadless.” If you’re full-timing on a tight budget, the extra cost of car insurance, gas and maintenance can make a big difference. Costs aside, taking a tow vehicle with you means additional complications: Can you tow “four wheels down,” or do you need to put your car on a dolly, or invest in a specialized driveline disconnect system?

If you see yourself leaning toward going toadless but are concerned with getting around, what alternatives are there? Many RVers have found a motorcycle or motor scooter is just the ticket. If light enough, an inexpensive platform plugged into the motorhome’s hitch receiver can accommodate a two-wheeler.

If age and health aren’t issues, others find bicycling – even walking – can be both practical and health-promoting at the same time. If you camp close to public transportation, “doing the bus” can be an inexpensive alternative to car ownership. If you don’t need a toad often, there’s always the car rental option. Call Enterprise – they’ll possibly pick you up, even at the national park campground.

This RVer brings along a car plus bicycles.

Your particular RV lifestyle can have a lot to do with the answer to the question: “To toad, or not to toad.” RVers who say they get along well without a toad vehicle are generally those who are on the road a lot, not spending much time in any one place. They find they can pick up groceries and do the laundry “between stops.” RVers who tend to spend days or weeks at a time in one spot are the ones who most often note the need for a toad car.

Some say not having a toad isn’t a problem for them, even when sitting put in one place for a while. They report they can often catch a ride with another RVer in the campground. But here’s the “beware” side of that idea: Other RVers say that while they’re happy to help a fellow RVer out, after a while it can become a real strain, and “needful” RVers can develop a reputation of being a kind of “Freeloading Franklin.”

OTHER DRAWBACKS of not having a toad include limiting sightseeing. One RVer mentioned watching a couple in the campground take their motorhome out every day to visit attractions. By the end of the third day of sightseeing – and the associated disconnect, drive out, drive back, reconnect – the couple was noticeably cranky. We love “spoke and wheel” sightseeing: We find a camp we like, then use that as the center of our attraction visiting wheel, driving out along the various directional “spokes” to take in the sights. For us, not having an “around town” vehicle would severely crimp our lifestyle.

Not having a toad car can also create hassles for those who have schedules to keep. Maintaining the full-time lifestyle may mean keeping a “real” job where times and places are dictated. Health issues where seeing the doctor is important could also dictate the need for a toad.

Like a lot of things in the RV life, it’s a matter of weighing all the factors and coming to the decision that’s right for you.

##RVT901 ##FT25



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7 months ago

Hence the popularity of 5th wheels and large trailer trailers. The convenience and utility are hard to beat and, if you are prudent in your selection, the interior comforts can be want-for- nothing.

Bob p
7 months ago

We were parked next to a couple from CO in a motorhome on a MB Sprinter chassis when we were in South TX 3 years ago. Every morning he went out and unhooked everything and off they’d go doing their thing, late that evening he’d reverse everything and hook up. After a couple of weeks I had the opportunity to talk with him and the conversation got around to our RVs and I asked him about his style of site seeing. He said it was a hassle but they had just bought the motorhome a week before they left, he thought he could easily hook his pickup or his wife’s Subaru to tow but found neither could be towed flat down and his wife’s car wasn’t couldn’t be put on a dolly so they just decided to “wing it” on this trip. However he said a toad will be in the future as he was getting very tired of his situation. He also said he was not happy with MB’s policy on service when he had to drive all the way to Houston to have a technician look to see if the right sized fuse was in place.

John M
7 months ago

If I am going somewhere that someone always provides the side ride, then we go toadless. We like to take a lot of the back roads instead of the interstate. that’s when I like to have a toad in case of a break down, we won’t be stranded out in no man’s land.

7 months ago

For fulltimers I think a toad us a must.

For downsizing fulltimers a class B may be the answer. I don’t get the disconnecting argument. I don’t hook up dump or water until the tank needs emptying or filling (as the case may be). So thats like once a week or close to it. The only connection, really, is shore power.

We toad, but have no shame in going 5o banks, stores, laundramats with the whole rig if we are just passing through or arriving or leaving an area. Just this week we supermarketed, visited the Neil Armstrong museum and the Airstream factory with the RV & the toad still attached.

7 months ago

Toad makes the trip more enjoyable. Using the spoke and wheel type of touring is better than being stuck in the RV park. We can tour the RV park on foot.

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