What Is An RV TOAD? [Everything You Need To Know]

If you’re new to RVing you may have come across the term RV TOAD and thought great another bit of RV terminology that I have no idea about. What is an RV TOAD?

An RV TOAD is a car that can be towed behind an RV. They are particularly useful for long term RVers who want the benefits of an RV but the ease of getting around in a car once camping. RV TOADs are great for running errands and sightseeing in once you have parked your RV up.

If you are new to this term we will go into more detail about it in this article so you will know everything there is to know about RV TOADs.

What Does RV TOAD Stand For?

The RV TOAD acronym stands for “Towable On All Drives” and is intended to replace Towable Only On A Dry Surface. However the meaning of this has been changed over the years and now RV TOAD means “towed vehicle”.

When someone mentions RV TOAD or Dinghy they are referring to a small vehicle that is being towed behind a larger RV. Toad and dinghy can be used interchangeably.

What Is An RV Toad?

An RV Toad is the slang term for a smaller vehicle that is being towed behind your RV, they can also be called a dinghy. You would use your RV Toad to go for shorter trips as they are easier to drive and explore in than your big motorhome.

Having a car or SUV on hand to go to the shops, local attractions and even in case of emergencies makes life so much easier than having to pack up your motorhome everytime you need to venture out of the campsite.

How Do You Tow A Toad?

There are a few things that you will need to know and do before you can safely tow a vehicle behind your RV.

How Much Weight Can Your RV Tow?

There are lots of important considerations when knowing how to tow a toad behind your RV, one of the most important things that you will need to know is how much weight can your RV tow?

You should be able to find this out from the manufacturer or as a rule of thumb a class A motorhome can tow up to 15,000 lbs a class C 10,000 lbs and a class B 5,000 lbs. However, always confirm this with the manufacturer first.

Once you know how much your RV can safely tow then you will need to make sure that your toad is within the weight limit, make sure that you consider all the cargo etc in the calculations.

Best Toad For Your RV

You will need to decide what you will want from your toad, do you want an off road vehicle or a small city car? Will you be using it at home when not RVing? Determine what car will best suit your lifestyle before you start looking at anything else.

It’s important to research this thoroughly, especially if you are going to buy a new car for a toad as it could be a costly mistake if it doesn’t suit your needs or can not be towed by your RV.

The best cars for RV toads are front wheel drive manual transmissions or compact four wheel drives. We will go into more detail about the best cars for toads later.

Flat Towing

Your RV toad will be towed by using the flat towing method, this is also called “four down towing” or “dinghy towing”. The vehicle you choose for your toad will need to be able to be towed in this way.

Flat towing is where the towed vehicle has all four wheel on the road and can be pulled along behind the RV. 

A tow bar will need to be installed to safely attach your vehicle to the motorhome. You can opt for either an RV mounted or a car mounted tow bar. 

The car will need a base plate on the front to give the tow bar somewhere to attach to. Depending on the vehicle the base plate could be on the bumper, or a specific place underneath or you may have to design a plate to be added.

Don’t forget to wire up the brakes and lights as you would when towing anything else, and the safety cables just in case.

Towed Vehicle Brake System

You will need to install a towed vehicle brake system, without it you will be relying on your RV brakes to stop everything. This will put immense strain on your motorhome’s brakes and more than double your braking distance.

To protect your brakes and keep you and everyone on the road safe you must install a towed vehicle brake system. It’s also law in most states to have this installed. 

If you want more information about brake controller systems I have written an in depth article about it, reviewing the best ones.

You must also wire the lights of your toad so they show the indicator and brake lights, this is also a requirement by law and cannot be skipped.

What Vehicles Can Be Used As A Toad?

Only specific vehicles can be used as toads, not all cars can be towed behind a motorhome. The vehicle you choose will need to be able to be flat towed behind the RV, this means that all four wheels are on the ground whilst towing. The car must have a transmission disconnect and a steering lock override to be flat towed.

One of the most popular toads is the Jeep Wrangler, it’s a 4×4 and great off roader, it’s also compact and can be flat towed. Compact cars can also be a good option, just make sure that you can flat tow the car before you make any purchases.

Tow Dolly

If you have a car that can’t be flat towed then a tow dolly is a two wheel trailer that will elevate your car’s front wheels off the ground. It can be a great solution to tow your car, but remember the set up can get a bit frustrating and is long winded.

Car Trailer

An alternative to the tow dolly is to use a car trailer, they will be able to handle more weight than the tow dolly. However using a car trailer is even more time consuming than a dolly when unloading and loading. If you can select a car that can be flat towed it will save a lot of hassle in the long run.


You will want to consider the price of any potential towing vehicle, luckily you don’t have to buy a brand new car as there are plenty of options out there. Just factor in that ideally you want a car that can be flat towed so you don’t have to spend extra on a tow dolly or car trailer.

What Is An RV Toad? – Final Thoughts

Having an RV Toad is a great benefit when RVing, especially if you have a big rig. Having a towable vehicle means that once you are set up at your camping site you can jump in the car to run around town or go sightseeing. 

This makes life much easier when you don’t have to pack up your motorhome every time you need to travel somewhere. 

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