Thrills and Frills
Highly Customizable Mid-Profile Toy Hauler, KZ Sportsmen Sportster 265TH Lives Large and Plays Hard
When searching for a toy hauler, buyers are often faced with a tough decision: Do I want a full-featured trailer that just so happens to hold motorcycles, or do I want a stout garage-on-wheels that will hold my toys without worry, but is merely a minor improvement over tent camping in terms of comfort and livability? This decision is no doubt driven by that individual’s level of “adventure,” as off-the-beaten-path types are often more prone to leaning toward function rather than form, while the “occasional weekend warrior” may prefer additional amenities and electronic comforts. Enter the KZ Sportsmen Sportster, a line of trailers aimed at off-road enthusiasts and available in four fifth-wheel and three travel-trailer configurations. As we learned after spending some time in the mid-profile 265TH fiver, buyers need not decide between highly livable and highly functional — it may just be possible to have the best of both worlds.
The KZ’s dual-purpose functionality begins with the construction techniques on the Sportster. The fiver (and its namesakes across the model line) is built to be lightweight and easy to tow, utilizing wood rafters, plywood decking, aluminum-laminated side and front walls, a fiberglass exterior and a one-piece seamless Superflex rubber roof. All of which adds up to a fifth-wheel that can be towed by many half-ton pickups (properly equipped, of course). The Dexter Nev-R-Adjust electric brakes help make towing easier, while a streamlined front end keeps things looking good while on the road.
As with any toy hauler, the garage/cargo area is the main attraction with the Sportsmen, attention that is especially warranted due to the available options resulting in a number of completely different configurations.
The 9-foot 6-inch cargo area in the 265TH comes standard with eight tie-down rings, a 72-inch rollover jiffy couch (think jackknife) and a freestanding folding table. From there, buyers can opt for the 2nd Flip Jiffy option (pictured; $652), or a single power bed ($1,440) or dual power beds ($2,250). You can also add a pull-down rear screen door ($660) for a bit of separation and a swivel rocking chair ($580; not available with the 2nd Flip Jiffy option) for additional seating.
The galley is located amidships and features a three-burner stove, oven, microwave and dual-basin sink streetside, while the roomy 8-cubic-foot refrigerator ($255) is located curbside, a configuration that worked out nicely during our review. My initial concerns that the kitchen area would be too cramped were quickly allayed after a bit of strategic planning and communication with the other campsite “chefs.” We would have appreciated a bit more cabinet space, but that’s a gripe we seem to have with most trailers, even those that are 10 feet longer and twice as expensive.
The bathroom is a bit tight, granted, but again, features all the comforts of a larger trailer. The toilet was set at an angle that maximizes the space, and the built-in medicine cabinet with an integrated mirror offers ample space for toiletries and the like. The RV-tub/shower combo is always a hit with the little ones (and the grateful parents who appreciate a little more space to bathe the kiddos).
A trip up a couple of steps (and past the roomy linen closet) to the master bedroom reveals still more practical floor planning, with dual mirrored wardrobes, a couple of overhead cabinets and a comfortable pillowtop mattress ($220). An integrated fabric headboard is the only bit of pomp in the room; it’s for recharging after a day on the dunes, not for hanging out, after all.
There are a number of options available on the Sportsmen fifth-wheels for the adventurous RVer, including a prewire for a second air conditioner and 50-amp service ($415), a ladder ($145), an LED lighted power awning ($325) and an outside grill ($270).
The 265TH features a surprising amount of livability in a relatively small package. After my initial walkthrough, I was surprised when the tape measure reached a figure south of 30 feet for overall length; this is likely due to the smart footprint and open-air feeling of the cargo area, in addition to the fact that KZ has wisely chosen to include the essentials and little more. This feat becomes even more impressive when you realize the 265TH doesn’t have any slideouts. And, given the ability to customize the layout to precisely what you’re looking for, the Sportsmen Sportster is a great choice for an adventurous RVing family.