What do you get when you combine a garage with an RV? A toy hauler!
Not my best joke, but hopefully you get the point already.
In this article we’re going to talk about toy haulers. From the good, the bad, and the down-right dirty (wink wink).
My goal with this article is to help you understand what a toy hauler is, the benefits, and also the disadvantages.
With that being said, here’s the TL;DR…
What Is A Toy Hauler RV?
Put simply – a toy hauler is a type of RV which has a dedicated garage to carry various “toys” and other equipment when you’re traveling.
Toy haulers can come in one of three RV types:
- Toy Hauler Motorhome
- Toy Hauler Fifth Wheel
- Toy Hauler Travel Trailer
When I say “toys” I mean:
- Dirt Bikes
- ATVs (or other four wheelers)
- Golf Carts
- Snow Mobiles
Basically, if it needs to be towed with you to your destination, and can fit within a garage-like space, then toy haulers are a perfect option for you.
The tell-tale sign of a toy hauler is the garage space (which is always in the back of the RV) will have a fold down ramp to off-load your items.
Now that you know the TL;DR, let’s get into the details of each!
Toy Hauler Motorhomes – The Rare RV Type
Toy hauler motorhomes are fairly rare to find. That’s because there’s really only one manufacturer who produces them now (Thor). Because of this there are limited floor plan options for you to choose from.
They come in two primary types:
- Class A
- Super Class C
If you check out our article on the different motorhome types, you’ll know that a class A is going to be your “bus” motorhome with a powerful diesel (although sometimes gas) engine. The super class C is going to be your f550 truck with a giant box put on top of the chassis.
These motorhome types share basically everything with their brother and sister RV types, except for the garage space in the back dedicated to the toys you’re bringing.
With that in mind, let’s move onto the next toy hauler type…
Fifth Wheel Toy Haulers
This is where you start to find the widest variety of options, and you’ll have the greatest chance of finding the right toy hauler for you.
A fifth wheel is a special type of hookup to your truck which uses the truck bed instead of the bumper to pull the trailer. There’s a significant advantage to this because it allows you to pull more weight with your tow vehicle.
Personally, if you’re looking for the best toy hauler, look no further than the fifth wheel option.
This RV type provides you with so much extra space compared to the other options. You’ll get a full bedroom, large kitchen area, and the garage space in back (which is typically the largest garage space available).
Construction wise – you can expect a much more sturdy RV. The garage will be reinforced to hold the extra weight, will typically have an oil-resistant coating on the floor, and will have a wall separating the living space and garage space.
With a fifth wheel toy hauler you’ll also find so many additional options for use with the ramp. For example, the ramp can become a patio deck where you and the family can hangout and enjoy the night above the ground.
Let’s also say you don’t want to carry your outdoor toys with you, or your kids require you to utilize the space more, well you can use the garage area to create a completely separate bedroom for your family (or guests!).
I’ve seen some creative RV renovations where they turned the garage in to bunk beds, a separate bedroom, heck even a full office.
Travel Trailer Toy Haulers (Bumper Pull)
The last toy hauler RV option is the bumper pull travel trailer.
These RVs are going to weigh less than their fifth wheel counterparts. And will still provide you with all the necessary specs to have a legendary time outdoors.
This RV type will often have the widest variety of size options available to you. They’ll range from rather small travel trailers (think 20’ish feet) to very large trailers (35 feet plus).
Often these trailers are called sport utility trailers and the primary purpose is to haul your toys for you with a little extra living space left over to sleep in.
They’re going to be built like every other bumper pull trailer, except for the ramp and garage, but there’s often no clear separating wall with these travel trailers. This means the garage will blend into the living space.
That’s the problem with choosing to purchase a bumper pull travel trailer…
Almost every floor plan blends the garage storage space with your living quarters. Something most people don’t acknowledge with a toy hauler that doesn’t have a full separating wall is the vapor smell you’ll experience after using the toys and bringing them back into the garage.
This can range from being annoying to potentially harmful.
Hence the reason why I would advise you to consider a fifth wheel if you’re going to get a toy hauler.
Considering the extra space, the separating wall, and how much weight you’re going to be pulling, it’s an easy decision.
Toy Hauler Quick Facts
Typically between 25-45 feet in length. The smaller options will be toy hauler motorhomes (think superclass Cs) or bumper pull travel trailers. The larger options will be fifth wheel toy haulers.
Between 8,000 – 26,000 pounds. Again this is a wide variety because of the different toy hauler options and styles.
Between 4-6 people at most.
Often zero slide outs, but a good chunk features between 1-3 slide outs.
Benefits Of Toy Haulers
Probably goes without saying, but toy haulers are designed with one thing in mind, store and transport your fun toys for the best camping experience. The primary features of a toy hauler is revolved around bringing your ATV, motorcycles, dirt bikes, bicycles, kayaks, or whatever else you fancy for a down and dirty good time. You can even convert the garage area into a patio deck, an additional living area after you unload the toys, or even an extra storage space if you’re so inclined. With this RV type, there are endless possibilities.
Manufacturers know that a toy hauler RV is going to need a little extra durability to withstand the wear and tear of hauling extra vehicles. And, unlike other RV types, toy haulers have the specifications to handle more weight due to the reinforced axels, flooring, and overall construction of the RV. They’re built unload large equipment many times throughout the lifespan of the RV.
Creative Floor Plan Options
There’s something unique about toy haulers that distinguish them compared to other RV options available on the market. While they present themselves as a bit of a blank space due to the nature of these RVs having a garage, this actually presents a real upside to be considered. Remember how I said endless possibilities? Well, toy haulers offer exactly this benefit. You can choose an RV with a floor plan dedicated to hauling your ATV or motorcycle one year, and then you could easily renovate or re-model your floor plan to include a beautiful home office the next year. Want to go full time with your family? Easily accomplished with a toy hauler. The garage area offers you almost a blank slate to be creative with your floor plan.
Disadvantages Of Toy Haulers
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with a toy hauler. In fact, there are some down-right downers you need to think about before deciding to purchase one.
Yes, you can get a small toy hauler if you’re looking to carry small toys. Here’s the deal though, nobody really gets a small toy hauler because the garage just doesn’t provide enough room to properly carry the items you need. That means you’re either opting for a toy hauler motorhome (if you can find one for a decent price) or you’re going with a fifth wheel. If you go with a fifth wheel, you’re carrying a ton of weight on that chassis and you better expect of lot of length. This is the nature of the beast. If you’re going to carry ATVs to a location, you need the proper features and specs to make it worthwhile.
How much weight do you think an F150 can tow? I’ll tell you, it’s 8,000 pounds. That’s if you like living dangerous and want to never go up and down mountains. How much does the average toy hauler weight (fully loaded down)? Between 8,000 – 26,000 pounds. This means you will have to purchase a tow vehicle that can haul your loaded down toy hauler. Your best bet is a nice diesel engine with a ton of torque. Trust me, you don’t want to be staring down a mountain with your brakes on fire because you’re overloaded on weight. Not fun.
Unfortunately keeping ATVs, motorcycles, and other gas powered engines can cause the vapors to circulate within the toy hauler. Most fifth wheel toy haulers offer a fully separated wall between the garage and the amenities within the living area, but this is still a concern that people bring up. It really doesn’t matter the model you choose either, the very nature of the toy hauler is to store those toys. Even the “vapor wall” as they’re called can be hit or miss from my experience.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, meaning you like to go four-wheeling across the open dunes, then getting a toy hauler RV is going to be a good match for you. They’re spacious, provide a lot of options for future use, and can often be resold for a fair market price if you decide to get rid of it. They offer decent amenities along with a pretty cool patio deck option for those looking to enjoy camping, without touching the ground. They have a good deal of length, but if you’re comfortable with this then you’ll probably find the toy hauler being right up your alley.
If you are interested in learning more about other RV Types, check out our other articles:
- The Ultimate Guide To RV Types & RV Classes
- Everything You Would Want To Know About A Class A RV
- Everything You Would Want To Know About A Class B RV
- Everything You Would Want To Know About A Class C RV
- Everything You Need To Know About Fifth Wheel Trailers
- Everything You Need To Know About Travel Trailers
- Everything You Need To Know About Teardrop Trailers
- Everything You Need To Know About Hybrid Travel Trailers
- Everything You Need To Know About Pop Up Campers