Best Trucks for Towing Toy Haulers (With August 2020 Deals)

They say that the person who dies with the most toys wins, and that implies you’ll need to own a vehicle that can help you haul those toys. Whether your passion is motorcycles, kayaks, surfboards, mountain bikes, or side-by-sides, having a trailer that makes it easy to transport them has spawned an interesting off-shoot of the travel trailer — the toy hauler. 

Toy haulers are spacious RVs that feature a garage-like area with a rear-door ramp that enables their owners to easily load and transport off-road vehicles, motorcycles, and other sizable outdoor gear. Or, perhaps you’re simply hauling your toys on a flatbed trailer of some kind.

Either way, it is important to consider the weight of the gear you plan to take with you in addition to the weight of the trailer itself, but with a toy hauler that becomes doubly important. Why? Side-by-sides and motorcycles are heavy cargo, and with a toy hauler, it is very likely that the gear you tote will weigh almost as much as the toy hauler itself does. So, when you consider which toy hauler will be best for your needs, think of two things — how big a toy hauler you'll need to transport your stuff and what vehicle you will need to tow what could be a massive load.

If your favored outdoor pastimes involve relatively lightweight items like mountain bikes, kayaks, or standup paddleboards, you will probably be satisfied with a relatively compact toy hauler that could easily be towed by a properly equipped midsize SUV. On the other hand, if you're looking to bring several motorcycles or off-road vehicles, you will undoubtedly need both a big hauler and a bigger vehicle to tow it. Some examples of the types of toy haulers we are referring to are the Stryker 3116 from Cruiser RV and the Dutchmen Triton 3311, both 36-foot trailers purpose-built to carry a lot of stuff.

To help you choose the appropriate tow vehicle for your needs, we've put together a list of the best SUVs and trucks for towing toy haulers of various lengths and capacities. As we already mentioned, we've paid particular attention to the fact that if you buy a toy hauler you're planning to take a lot of stuff with you. Your tow vehicle has to be up to that. 

At the same time, you will use your designated tow vehicle most often when your toy hauler is parked in your driveway, a storage yard, or behind your barn, and you want it to be well-suited to daily-driving situations, too. With that in mind, we have filled our list with vehicles that are great all-around in addition to being great at towing.

Experience has also told us that vehicle manufacturer tow ratings typically represent the maximum weight you can tow with a given vehicle equipped with the manufacturer's recommended towing equipment. When choosing a vehicle to tow your gear of choice we suggest you purchase an SUV or truck with a max tow rating well over the weight of the toys and toy hauler you plan to tow. 

Midsize SUV: 2020 Dodge Durango

The Dodge Durango is a bit of an outlier among midsize SUVs, many of which are crossovers, because it does an excellent job towing light to medium loads. 

2020 Dodge Durango SRT Towing a Toy

With three rows of seating, the mid-range Durango R/T has a robust 7,400-pound rating, which drops slightly to 7,200 pounds in 4-wheel-drive versions. The performance-oriented Durango SRT 392 model isn't just the Dodge Challenger of SUVs with its 6.4-liter V-8, but it is also rated to tow up to 8,700 pounds. For the 2021 model year, Dodge has announced the addition of a Tow N Go option that endows the R/T with the same 8,700-pound rating as the SRT.

As you consider your tow vehicle choice, you should know that tongue weight, typically around 10% of the trailer's total weight, counts against the vehicle payload. Since an all-wheel-drive Durango R/T has a 1,300-pound payload rating, if you are towing a 3,000-pound toy hauler filled with another 1,000 pounds of gear, you can carry only 900 pounds of people and luggage inside your truck. 

Nevertheless, both the Durango R/T and Durango SRT should have no trouble towing lightweight toy haulers like the VRV XTR 614, Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro Travel Trailer Line G16, and InTech Flyer XLT + Explorer Lightweight. 

One drawback of this Dodge is an older chassis it produces somewhat poorer crash-test ratings than several more recently introduced SUVs. For example, it has a Marginal rating (second-lowest) in the small-overlap front offset crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). If you want a midsize SUV that can both tow and offer a better all-around safety ratings picture, the Nissan Pathfinder, which has a 6,000-pound maximum rating, is a good choice. 

Current incentives on the 2020 Dodge Durango include 0% financing for up to 72 months with the exception of the hot rod SRT. You can also get up to $4,750 off the sticker price in the form of cash rebates. Similar purchase incentives are likely to continue through August into the Labor Day weekend.

Large SUV: 2020 Ford Expedition

The 2020 Ford Expedition is offered in two lengths — the standard Expedition and the longer-wheelbase Expedition MAX. Both offer excellent towing capacity, a comfortable ride, and plenty of interior space for your gear, and the Expedition's 8-passenger seating capacity is equally good for road trips and carpool duty. 

2020 Ford Expedition XLT Towing Trailer

Every Expedition is equipped with a twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that has the power and torque to outhaul V-8-equipped competitors. When fitted with the Heavy Duty Trailer Towing package, rear-drive Expeditions are rated to tow 9,300 pounds, and the rating drops 100 pounds with 4WD. This is enough to tow a wide variety of toy haulers including the 33-foot Forest River XLR Hyper Lite and the 30-foot Grand Design Momentum G-Class.

The 2020 Expedition features an array of safety and driver aids, including a blind-spot warning system that covers the length of the trailer when the tow package is fitted. For those who need help with the fine art of backing up with a trailer, Pro Trailer Backup Assist technology is there to help.

Ford is offering incentives toward the purchase of a 2020 Expedition. Summertime deals include 0% financing for up to 72 months and as much as $3,250 in cash-back rebates, and these offers are likely to continue through Labor Day.

Midsize Truck: 2020 Ford Ranger

The midsize 2020 Ford Ranger is an exceptionally versatile tow vehicle. No matter what configuration of Ranger you choose, its maximum rating is a beefy 7,500 pounds, and that is good enough to tow a wide variety of lightweight and middleweight toy haulers. 

2020 Ford Ranger Towing a Toy

Every Ranger is equipped with a turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder, an engine that features a flatter torque curve than the V-6 engines in many competitive midsize trucks. While a Jeep Gladiator Sport and both the Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon with the optional (and pricey) diesel engine are rated to tow more than a Ranger, we think the Ranger will appeal to the needs of a wider variety of consumers.

Among the Ranger's features that will make towing toy haulers easier are a blind-spot warning system with customizable trailer coverage, trailer sway control, and a full list of electronic driver assistance aids. The Ranger's crash-test ratings are generally good, though in the small-overlap front crash test the IIHS rated it only Acceptable for front-passenger safety. Recent J.D. Power customer satisfaction studies have given the midsize Ford pickup high honors.

On a national basis, Ford is currently offering 0.9% financing for 60 months on the Ranger, and as much as $2,000 in cash-back rebates. Expected these deals to run through Labor Day.

Large Light Duty Truck: 2020 Ford F-150

Among the varied field of full-size light-duty pickup trucks, the Ford F-150 typically has the highest tow ratings model-per-model. As an example, an F-150 SuperCrew with the 5.5-foot standard bed can tow 12,700 pounds in rear-drive and 4-wheel-drive form. 

2020 Ford F-150 SuperCab Blue Towing Toys

With the aluminum-bodied F-150, the models with the highest tow ratings are equipped with the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6. Similar models fitted with the 3.0-liter diesel V-6 and 5.0-liter gasoline V-8 are certified to tow 11,100 pounds and 10,900 pounds, respectively. The robust towing capacity of all three enables the F-150 to tow big toy haulers like the 37-foot Forest River XLR and the 36-foot Cruiser Stryker 3116.

In an effort to add versatility to their truck offerings, Ford offers a number of towing-specific features. Among them are an integrated trailer brake controller, trailer sway control, blind-spot warning system with trailer coverage, extendable side mirrors, and Pro Trailer Backup Assist. In crash testing results, the Ford earned Good ratings from the IIHS. 

With an all-new 2021 F-150 looming just over the horizon, Ford is offering 0% financing for up to 72 months and up to $4,500 cash-back on virtually all 2020 F-150 models. These deals are likely to continue through Labor Day.

Large Heavy Duty Truck: 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty

The designers and engineers who work on heavy-duty pickup trucks are ever-aware that the vehicles are frequently used for towing large loads. If you plan to pull along a massive toy hauler with its garage filled with an off-roader or multiple motorcycles, you will find a heavy-duty pickup is your best choice. 

2020 Ford F-450 Towing Long Trailer

A gasoline-fueled heavy-duty pickup will certainly do the job, but many veterans of the towing wars prefer diesel-powered heavy-duties. Among the Ford F-Series Super Duty pickups, a family-friendly F-250 crew cab with the 6.7-liter diesel V-8 in standard-bed configuration is rated to tow up to 20,000 pounds. Moving up the ladder, an F-350 with dual rear wheels pushes that rating to 21,200 pounds, and an F-450 "dually" can tow up to 24,200 pounds. If you're planning to pull a big toy hauler like a Dutchmen Triton 3311 or a Keystone RV Carbon 358, these are your vehicles of choice.

To help you manage your tow, Ford's Pro Trailer Backup Assist system is available on its heavy-duty pickups. Other driver aids include blind-spot warning with trailer coverage, an integrated trailer brake controller, and extendable mirrors. 

Ford Super Duties got a reworking for the 2020 model year, and the trucks are selling well, so incentives right now are limited. You can get up to $1,500 in cash on specific trims, or finance for 60 months at 3.9% APR. These deals might change in August because Ford pickup truck inventory is tight.