Why I RV with ATVs

With the Talbots

A fifth wheel toy hauler RV parked next to a side by side.

The Talbots are no strangers to RV travel, but now that they have an empty nest, they've decided to take it to the next level. Jason Talbot always dreamed of having ATVs or side-by-sides for him and his wife Suzanne to ride, but he knew he’d need a major RV upgrade to make it happen. Now they use their Keystone Carbon Toy Hauler to travel across their home state of Idaho, find new trails to run in their ATV and re-connect with each other.

A fifth wheel toy hauler RV driving down a scenic road.

Why did you decide to buy an RV?

So about 15 years ago, we were tent camping and it rained the whole weekend. It rained on us the entire time. Everything that we had was completely soaked, we were totally soaked. And I told Suzanne, "If you ever want to go camping again, we need to buy an RV."

A couple climbs down rocks towards their side by side.

How did you choose your toy hauler?

We were in the market to buy some ATVs and I liked the idea of carrying my own fuel and everything else. Toy haulers are built with bigger frames, and I wanted that rigidity and the girth. I also wanted a garage separate from the living area.

We don’t have the biggest toy hauler, but it’s 35 ½ feet. Once you get where you're going in a toy hauler, you set up and have lots of room. We can keep all of our riding gear in it, and when we camp, we have storage for our own pots and pans, our own towels and linens, etc. It makes it easy to get up and go because all we have to pack are clothes and some food. That’s really nice.

A fifth wheel toy hauler parked next to a side by side.

What advice would you give someone buying their first toy hauler?

When it comes to buying a toy hauler, your instinct may be to “buy the biggest rig.” But remember, don’t buy bigger than what you need. Be sure to measure the width of the garage, the length of the garage, and bring a tape measure to the dealership when you go to look. That way you can also make sure your ATV, side-by-side or whatever you’ll be bringing will fit when the door is closed. 

Make sure the trailer has the weight capacity capable of handling the toys you’re putting in, plus all your belongings. Toy haulers hold about 100 gallons of water, and another 30 gallons of propane, batteries, etc., so make sure you factor in the weight of your gear. And make sure you have a truck that can haul all that weight, too. It can start to get expensive if you have to add in a new truck to tow more weight than you planned for.

A side by side driving down a scenic trail.

Where do you like to take your side by side? What are your favorite places?

We have so many local options near where we live in Idaho. Bear Lake is just over the mountain, and we're within five hours of Paiute Trail, Moab, Salmon, Idaho, the St. Anthony Dunes, Island Park, and West Yellowstone. I can also jump in the machine from the garage and ride out to the mountains right from my house.

I like being able to get deep in the wilderness and high up in the mountains. Some of our rides are a hundred miles in a day. We can get farther into the wild in one ride than you could hike in a week.

A couple holds hands walking down a scenic trail.

What’s the best part of RVing with a side-by-side?

We make a lot of friends at campgrounds, it’s a real conversation piece. Sometimes there are people who come over to our trailer and check out our machines and ask, "Well what kind is this? What brand is this? Where do you ride? Why is it so small? Why don't you get a bigger one?" And we explain to them that we have this size of a machine so that we can ride on everything. There are trails that are only 50 inches wide and, in our opinion, those are the best trails because they’re so small. They don’t get torn up by bigger toys, so you get to see more of the natural beauty the world has to offer.  There’s nothing better than the two of us in the middle of nowhere together, and RVing with the side-by-side has definitely brought us closer as a couple.

The Talbots travel in a Keystone Carbon Toy Hauler. Read more about their story here.