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Old 12-05-2019, 06:14 PM   #1
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Debating Toad vs car trailer vs renting a car:

As the title states I'm debating converting my wife's 2014 Explorer for Toad, or using my 18ft Rollback trailer (add 4ft for the tongue) and tow her Explorer vs renting a car at the locations we visit.

Have 3 little kids (5, 6, and 8), and safety is a priority as well.

New to RV-ing, bought our first unit just a few months ago and have been very busy getting it 'straightened out' for family vacation use. It's a 39ft diesel pusher with a 10K tow capacity. Trailer is 1850lbs, Explorer is 4500lbs.

Trips currently planned: Yosemite (staying out side of the park for just a few days)
Grand Teton national park, planning on staying at least a week.
Grand canon for at least a few days.
Misc 1-2 nighter's within 4hrs of home.
Longer trips not on the books right now.

I'm thinking the 1-2 nighters we don't need a car, but at the same time if we need something from the store, or want to hit a vaca destination 5-10 miles down the road.....

Would love to hear the experience on this site.
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:33 PM   #2
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i do both
i have a 2016 expedition 4x4 that is four down towable and a 2012 edge that is also four down.


we have a 18 foot plus 6 for the tongue 1800LB empty steel trailer
it has duel 5200lb axles and a 12.5k lb bulldog coupler


as a convert to four down...the edge is the way to go.

although i like towing the trailer, sometimes and its rare it is an issue parking it at cg's



do what ever makes YOU happy
if your wifes car is 4 down towable, do it
if not well trailer may be your option vice a different car
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:43 PM   #3
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I have done all three of your suggestions over the past year. We bought our RV in July 2018, and did not have a toad. We rented cars on three occasions and it worked out OK. On one occasion we got to our destination late and couldn't pick up our rental. That was a PITA, but we had friends nearby that took us to the rental facility the next day.

I have a 16' car hauler we used one time. It towed great behind the motorhome and we knew the campground had a place for us to store it for the week. I would not have attempted the trailer at an unknown park.

We bought a 2020 Wrangler and I've been setting it up as a toad. We took it on a 1000 mile trip recently and it towed very well. Hooking up is a breeze and there is nothing to store when we get there. We took a 5500 mile cross country trip this summer and I wish we had had a toad then.
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:50 PM   #4
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It usually depends on your wants and needs. However before we decided we observed as we traveled and noted that 4-down was the preferred method of having a vehicle when stopped.

If one were to guess it's probably 85% or more tow 4 down. I'd guess trailered is next then tow dolly. In addition we usually passed those towing the leased preferred methods. It's not that we drive fast but they just seem to drive slower. We usually drive between 62 and 65.
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:51 PM   #5
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I'm a four down tow guy. It is by far the easiest way to motorhome and see the world. You can take the kids back to that place you passed that had ice cream/dinosaurs/swimming pool, you get the idea. I can give you another good reason to have a vehicle that is easy to disconnect and use. Little Johnny has a fever and doesn't feel good. Not 911 sick, but needs to be seen. Have you tried to get a rental car at 0200? Or are you going to pack up the entire rig, and drive it to the hospital?

Take a look at the motorhomes you see on the road. I'll bet 75% have a four down tow behind them. Just bite the bullet, and go the four down route.
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:05 PM   #6
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We rented for our first week-long trip, and it worked out fine. But we drove to our destination, rented the car, made like tourists, returned the car, came home. We were at the same location for a week, though.

Our more normal trip is to stay two nights at one site. We'll travel one day, make like tourists one day, repeat. Renting and returning a car is a pain the the rear when traveling like that.

I'd say try renting for one or two trips. If that doesn't work for you you've ruled one one option.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:26 PM   #7
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Wife's car is 4 down capable, no problem.
Just having a hard time stomaching the expense to get it ready. Brake system, lights, etc. Total kits are a few grand correct?
Been tempted to just have her follow us in the RV. LOL

The Texas Roll back trailer I have is a freakin' breeze to load/unload (5min or less), but it's long and adding that length to the RV makes it more difficult to find spots to camp/park. Of course we save tire life on the Explorer in exchange for tire live on the trailer.
Trailer has brakes on 4 wheels and is brand spankin' new.....
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaunAED View Post
Wife's car is 4 down capable, no problem.
Just having a hard time stomaching the expense to get it ready. Brake system, lights, etc. Total kits are a few grand correct?
Been tempted to just have her follow us in the RV. LOL

The Texas Roll back trailer I have is a freakin' breeze to load/unload (5min or less), but it's long and adding that length to the RV makes it more difficult to find spots to camp/park. Of course we save tire life on the Explorer in exchange for tire live on the trailer.
Trailer has brakes on 4 wheels and is brand spankin' new.....
All options obviously have advantages and disadvantages. You can try renting and trailering without buying anything else. Give 'em a try. If neither satisfies your needs, you know what to do
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:02 AM   #9
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It will cost you nothing to use the trailer for a while and see if you like that experience. Your coach has more than enough power and hitch rating.

Couple of additional pros and cons to add to the ones pointed out by other posters.

Some CG will insist that you park the trailer in a separate lot. Be prepared for that inconvenience.

You will not be limited to just a one vehicle. You can take anything in your personal fleet. Future vehicles do not have to be selected based on ability to be towed four down.

Four down is easier to hook up than the straps and chains on the trailer. Often, you have to connect the toad away from your campsite because of room. It is a little thing, but once you have started your rig and begun moving it, the stop in the front lot to hook up the toad turns into something that you want to do in the least amount of time because you are psychologically 'on the road' and eager to get going.

Turn radius with the trailer will be more than towing four down. Not an issue until you go to a smaller campsite.

I used to use a dolly, but crawling around in the rain hooking up chains and straps was not too much fun. I was in New England for Thanksgiving and ended up getting caught in the snow. Hooking up my four down toad required bending, but not kneeling or crawling in the snow.

Since I already own the dolly, and it costs nothing to feed it, I have it available just in case I want to tow a different vehicle. You will have that same option with your trailer if you decide to go the four down route.

Good luck with your choices. You are already road ready, so take your time before you invest in the plates, brakes, and tow bars.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:19 AM   #10
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I had this same question and elected to get a 4 down vehicle. I have never had to wonder what to do with the trailer. This single factor makes me glad I went the 4 down route.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaunAED View Post
Wife's car is 4 down capable, no problem.
Just having a hard time stomaching the expense to get it ready. Brake system, lights, etc. Total kits are a few grand correct?
Been tempted to just have her follow us in the RV. LOL.....
For us the reason to have a MH/DP is so that we can all ride together. If you have the money splurge for the flat tow setup. If not, save and use the trailer or rent.
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:49 AM   #12
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We have done Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon in our 28 ft motorhome without a TOAD, though we are in the process of setting up my wife's car for TOAD duty.


Given these locations, and the lack of other destinations in the foreseeable future, I would probably opt to rent a car for Grand Tetons, and wait to set up a TOAD until later.


I would say Grand Tetons is moderately accessible by motorhome only (the commercial tour buses hog the RV parking, blocking sites for each other, etc.), though that might be a stretch when talking about a 39 ft coach. A quick google search using random dates for early next summer shows mid size rental cars are available for under $300 per week in Jackson, WY just a few miles from Grand Tetons.


For the Grand Canyon you don't need a car, in fact a car will help you very little for most of the Grand Canyon, as they have a comprehensive shuttle bus system that runs about every 15 minutes that covers the majority of the popular sites. One of the bus lines picks up at the only full hookup campground in the park (Trailer Village) which has a limited number of 50 ft sites. Another bus line runs seasonally March - Sept to the overflow parking by the main entry gate, as well as nearby town of Tusayan where "Campers Village" commercial RV park is located. These buses provide transporation to most of the popular sites in the grand canyon national park, excluding the east end desert view watch tower (which is about 25 miles east of the main visitor center, and has ample RV parking), and a handful of scenic overlooks at the east end of the park, many of which have acceptable levels of RV parking.
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:22 AM   #13
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Done it all

Quote:
Originally Posted by powerboatr View Post
i do both
i have a 2016 expedition 4x4 that is four down towable and a 2012 edge that is also four down.


we have a 18 foot plus 6 for the tongue 1800LB empty steel trailer
it has duel 5200lb axles and a 12.5k lb bulldog coupler


as a convert to four down...the edge is the way to go.

although i like towing the trailer, sometimes and its rare it is an issue parking it at cg's



do what ever makes YOU happy
if your wifes car is 4 down towable, do it
if not well trailer may be your option vice a different car
Done it all - trailer, dolly and 4 down. We ended up with a blue ox tow bar and Jeep.
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:28 PM   #14
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Getting 4 down equipment installed the 16th of this month. Used the trailer method last 3 years. No problems if pull through sites were available. Trailer a bet more hassle if no pull through or pull through to short for RV, unloaded vehicle and trailer. Expect 4 down to be easier than load/unload of trailer.
That said, no modification required to autos that are hauled on a trailer.
In our case I think the entire rigs rode a bit smoother and handled a bit better with the trailer option. Trailer pulled very nicely and brakes worked well.
Maneuvering should be a bit easier 4 down. Distance from rear single drive axle on the motor home to the ball hitch in back made backing up with the trailer very difficult. To the point where I avoided backing with trailer completely. No problem backing same trailer with my pickup. I have quite a bit of experience backing trailers but when hitched behind the motor home it was to much for me. I don't expect to be backing 4 down either so maybe a moot point.
I have other uses for the trailer. It won't be going away. I may also need to tow vehicles not prepped for 4 down towing.
If the vehicle you trailer can also tow the same trailer you are pretty well assured you can work out something at most parks for trailer storing.

Best of luck and safe travels!
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