June 06, 2018

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Camp Wild Ride is all about Camping and Riding, or as we say "OHV Camping". When we talk about the "Camping" part of OHV Camping, we have to make one assumption; you have an "Off-Highway-Vehicle" (or OHV) you will be hauling from your home to your campsite.

What are your Camping Options with OHV Toys? For the most part, you have five camping options for camping AND getting your OHV (Motorcycle, ATV or UTV) from your home to the campsite. 1. Tent Camping. 2. Truck Camping. 3. Motorhome Camping. 4. Travel Trailer Camping. 5. And Toy Hauler Camping. The method you choose will greatly depend on where you want to camp and the number of OHV toys you want to take.

Let us look at several options when it comes to camping in an OHV environment.

Tent Camping

Bill's Tent at Texas Creek CO

This is by far the easiest and cheapest option as far as your living accommodations go. It also gives you a greater number of options to get your Off-road toy to the campsite.

You will find that most people start out Tent camping and work their way up to more expensive camping options. This is how I started back in grade school and I did not get a camper will I was nearly 50.

Let us take a closer look at the pros and cons:

The Good:

Cost – The price of a new tent is very cheap compared to the RV Campers and Motorhomes.

Vehicle flexibility – If you have a friend haul your toy, then you can use whatever vehicle you want, even a small car. If you have a single motorcycle, then a simple Bumper or Hitch carrier is all you need. If you have an ATV or several toys, then you may need a truck to haul them in, or load them all onto a trailer and tow it. (Or a combination of some or all the above).

Vehicle Use – Another great advantage is you now have a vehicle you can use to run to town in should you need to get more supplies (like beer or gas)

Campsite Location – Because you do not have an RV or Motorhome, you have greater options of where you want to camp. If you have a 4x4 and your Toys are in the truck, you can get to very remote campsites.

The Bad:

Mostly convenience. For example, you may not have as comfortable bed as a RV or Motorhome. Moreover, should you need to use the restroom during the night; it might require you to get fully dressed to make the journey to the privy. Some tents are short in height, limiting headroom; and most tents do not hold heat in very well.

The Ugly:

Tents are soft-sided and can easily be torn or damaged. I had a friend that put his dog inside his tent while we went for a ride. When we returned there was a big hole in the side of the tent when his dog decided he did not want to say inside anymore.


Truck Camper

Truck Camper

With a truck camper, the camper is located in the bed of your truck. This offers a little more of the comforts as compared to a tent, but start to introduce some limitations.

I have several friends that have truck campers and they just love them.

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of a truck camper?

The Good:

Cost – The price of a new or used truck camper is not that bad compared to other RVs and Campers. Of course, you can always pay the big bucks and get the deluxe model with a slide out (or 2) but they require nearly a semi to carry it. However, for us normal folks, it is much cheaper than the larger RVs and Motorhomes.

Campsite Location – Because the camper is IN your truck, you have less ground-clearance issues than over RVs have. You still have to pay attention to the height of you camper and watch out for low branches and trees. However, if you have a 4x4 truck you have a lot more options for campsite locations than most RV trailers and motorhomes. Do not forget about your trailer for your toys; your truck may make it but your trailer may not have the ground clearance.

Number of Toys – You already have a truck to carry your camper, so you probably have no worries pulling a trailer of almost any size. You should have no problem with your three ATV’s and two motorcycles!

The Bad:

Vehicle Use – Because your camper is part of your truck, if you need to run to town, you are taking your home (camper) with you. If you are settled in and leveled, this may be big inconvenience.

Vehicle flexibility – Not so much. Either a 2x4 or a 4x4 is your only options. The bigger your truck camper is - the lager of a truck you will need to haul it. Also, you are almost forced to have a trailer to carry your toys. However, I have seen a simple front bumper carrier for a single motorcycle.

The Ugly:

The Size – Yes, you have soft bed to sleep in. Yes, you have a kitchen and a table. And yes, you have a bathroom (maybe). But the space inside can get rather cramped. Especially when you have two or three people trying to move around. For a single person it might be perfect, but for a family or several friends it can start to get small in a hurry.


Motorhome (All Classes)

Class C Motorhome

Motorhomes are traveling homes, with most, if not all, the amenities of a home (cooking, sleeping, bathroom, etc.). Sounds great, right? So what would be some of the disadvantages of using a motorhome?

The Good:

Convenience. As we said, you can have all the luxuries you find in your home. (I have even seen motorhomes with a washer and dryer). Every motorhome will have a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. As the motorhome gets larger, then these areas get bigger. For example, instead of just a stand-up shower, the larger motorhomes may have a full Jacuzzi tub. You can have one large TV or three. You can really get wild with the layouts and this is why you see so many motorhomes out there.

Number of Toys – Most motorhomes have plenty of horsepower, so you should have no worries pulling a trailer of almost any size. Make sure to check your motorhomes manual on just how much you are allowed to pull. I rarely see a bumper carrier but have seen a hitch carrier on the back for a single motorcycle.

The Bad:

Cost – Although it is possible to find a used motorhome for cheap, that is not the norm. Plan to spend a min about $30,000 for a smaller motorhome. The large and fancy Class A motorhome can go for over $100,000 (Ouch).

Vehicle Use – This is the same as the truck camper. If your motorhome is your only street-legal vehicle, you will have to teardown camp in order to run into town (is that beer really worth it!?).

The Ugly:

Campsite Location – This is where the Cons really come in. Most motorhomes are low to the ground, meaning you have stay on good roads and camping areas. Some locations have tight bends and curves that may be a limiting factor (especially for the longer motorhomes.) I have been called a little crazy for taking my motorhome to some of our off-the-beaten-path locations, but at a price. I had to replace two levelers and my steps.


Travel Trailer and 5th Wheel Camper

Tow behind camper

With this option, you are hauling your home, so you will have to find a way to also carry your OHV. So before you hitch your ATV trailer to your Travel Trail, and hitch you Travel Trailer to you vehicle, keep these things in mind.

The Good:

Convenience. Just like with a motorhome, you can have all the luxuries you find in your home. (Sometimes even more room since you do not have an engine area). Travel trailers can be very small, like a teardrop size - to very long, like a 44-foot 5th Wheel. The longer they are - the nicer and roomier it is on the inside.

Vehicle Use – Once you get your Travel trailer all settled in, you are free to disconnect your tow vehicle and do as you wish. This is probably the greatest advantage of owning a travel trailer - the convenience of a run-around vehicle.

The Bad:

Campsite Location – You usually have a little better choices with a Travel Trailer than you do with a motorhome. Since the trailer is connected to the tow vehicle, it has a bend, meaning it can handle tighter turns. Once the trailer is in the campsite, the two vehicles can be detached leaving a much smaller footprint (not an option with motorhomes). You can also get travel trailer with higher ground clearances to match the tow vehicle, so you can take the trailer anywhere you take your vehicle - if you dare.

The Ugly:

Number of Toys – This is the drawback of a travel trailer. How do you get your toys to the campsite? If you have a truck and NOT a 5th Wheel trailer, you can haul some in the bed of your truck. My friend puts his Side-by-Side in his truck and pulls his camper with ease. This works well with one or two motorcycles. If your travel trailer IS a 5th Wheel trailer, then this option will no work, as the 5th Wheel connection takes up all the truck bed space.

But what if you have several toys, what are your options? First, find a friend with a truck and have them pull your toys. (We do this a lot). Second, use a separate vehicle to tow the toys (We do this a lot too, I haul the camper with my SUV and my wife drives her SUV to pull the ATV/motorcycle trailer). Third, in some states it is allowable to pull a trailer behind your Travel Trailer. This is usually not recommended because it is almost impossible to back up and towing such a long load can get tricky, especially at higher speeds on the freeway. But if you do not have a friend or a separate vehicle this may be your only option.


Toy Hauler

Toy Hauler Trailer

A Toy Hauler is a camper with a place to haul your OHV or OHV's, like a garage. This is the ultimate way to camp with your toys. However, there are some drawback.

The Good:

Convenience. Same as with the travel Trailers, with one exception – room for the garage. You still can have all the luxuries you find in your home. Most of the time the cargo area (place for the OHV toys) is also used as a living area. My folks have a large 5th Wheel toy hauler that has a table and bunk bed that comes down after they unload their Side-by-side. We played many games of cards on that table!

Number of Toys – This is where the toy hauler shines. You actually have a camper that is designed to ALSO carry your OHV toys. Some toy haulers are small and allow only a motorcycle or two, others have a very large garage area that allows for a Side-by-side AND a motorcycle or two. My daughter has a smaller toy hauler that holds two motorcycles (how we crammed three motorcycle AND a small ATV in there I’ll never know)

Vehicle Use – This is the same as the Travel trailer, once you get your toy hauler all settled in, you are free to disconnect your tow vehicle and do as you wish.

The Bad:

Campsite Location – Same as with the travel trailer (since a Toy hauler is a travel trailer). Still long, but easier to maneuver around tighter corners and smaller footprint than a motorhome. However, you need a little room directly behind your toy hauler to get your toys in and out.

The Ugly:

Large Number of Toys – The garage areas for the Toy haulers are limited, even in the big boys. If you have two Side-by-sides or several ATV’s and motorcycles, then having a toy hauler is no different from a plain travel trailer. You will need to find another way to get all you toys out to the campsite.

What are your Camping Options with OHV Toys

Final Thoughts

Since the theme behind Camp Wild Ride is coming together to camp and ride, we recommend you camp with others (friends and family). When we go out, we have some with Motorhomes, some with Travel Trailers and 5th Wheel Campers, and some doing the tent thing. With this variety of camping situations, we can share the vehicles to make a run into town without having to teardown anything. We even buddy-up on the toy hauling (meaning I haul not only my toys, but my friends’ toys as well since I have room on my trailer).


Related Questions

What is the max length for a camper with or without a trailer? Each state regulates the laws for towing. In Colorado, the law states the total length cannot exceed 75 feet. The camper (or two vehicle) cannot exceed 45 feet and the trailer being towed cannot exceed 45 feet.

Are there laws regulating triple towing? Yes, each state will have rules on 1.) if towing two trailers behind a tow vehicle (triple towing) is allowed. 2.) If allowed are there special requirements such as only behind a 5th Wheel trailer or having a special endorsement on your drivers lic. Check your local state laws for details.

Donald Clever USMC

Donald Clever
Camp Wild Ride ®