toy hauler
THE OWNER OF THIS TOY HAULER IS A COUPLE WITH TWO KIDS. THEY PREFERRED A TOY HAULER INSTEAD OF A CLASS C RV BECAUSE THEY HAVE ONE MOTORCYCLE AND TWO DIRT BIKES.

Toy Hauler

Toy haulers are a part of an RV, it can be a toy hauler in a fifth wheel, in a travel trailer, or a toy hauler as part of a class A RV.

At the most basic level, they are travel trailer RVs, with a ramp door and a big opening, usually at the rear. Despite the name, a toy hauler is not normally used to carry toys, but other objects, even large objects, such as a motorcycle. Conversely, they can carry nothing at all and the extra space in the generous floorplan of a toy hauler can be used for recreational purposes and to include more furniture and amenities.

Toy haulers usually contain living quarters including a bedroom, kitchen area and a bathroom, with their rears serving as a storage area, also commonly referred to as the ‘garage.’ They offer a lot of the same conveniences as other RVs. They come in nearly every size, from small 23 feet campers, to 39 feet, containing all the comforts of a home.

toy hauler
THE OWNER OF THIS TOY HAULER IS A COUPLE WITH TWO KIDS. THEY PREFERRED A TOY HAULER INSTEAD OF A CLASS C RV BECAUSE THEY HAVE ONE MOTORCYCLE AND TWO DIRT BIKES.

A toy hauler is without doubt a great asset to have for recreational travel. They provide all the amenities required in a motorhome, as we just said. The storage area can be used to carry a host of different objects and equipment, including dune buggies, jet skis and ATVs (all-terrain vehicles). They can be used for various outdoor ventures, such as camping trips, allowing users to travel and yet retain the luxuries offered by a motorhome. Sports enthusiasts can use the storage area to keep their sporting equipment when they go to explore the outdoors with likeminded people. Toy haulers help you combine the thrill of the outdoors with the comfort of home. You can spend some time enjoying yourself in the outdoors, then return to your toy hauler and relax with the air conditioner and watch satellite television.

Toy Hauler Pros and Cons

Toy Hauler Pros 

  • Easy storage: Storage in a toy hauler is made easier by the fold down ramps at their rear ends. The ramps allow all of your equipment to easily be taken within the unit and stored safely. Some toy haulers also come with motorized ramps, making heavy equipment easy to lift and store. The ramps, whether electronic or manual, make the loading and unloading of equipment easy and efficient.

 

  • Versatility of use: A toy hauler can serve a wide range of diverse functions. It can be used as an emergency living space in case something goes wrong in your home and you need to remain in your Rv using the toy hauler area. With a generator you can easily equip your toy hauler with a microwave, refrigeration and oven. Some toy haulers also come with showers and bathtubs. The storage area can also be used as a workspace, art studio or playroom, depending on your needs and desires. Conversely, it can be used to store your ‘toys’ by simply being loaded up. If you want to travel with your toys, make sure they are securely tied in place to avoid damage. The extra space can just as easily be used for sleeping as it can be used for storage. Toy haulers also come with lofts, washer dryers and bathrooms, depending on your floorplan. They provide you with a space that can cater to all of your needs. You can use them to relax or take your projects on the road or convert your RV into a multi-use unit.

Toy Hauler Cons 

  • Analysis of the towing capacity: One of the disadvantages I see in a toy hauler is that you are required to study the towing capacity of your towing vehicle as the units that you introduce in the toy hauler space can occupy a huge part of the available space. You will need some kind of heavy duty vehicle to carry this weight.

 

  • Price: As you require a heavy duty vehicle to carry the additional weight of a toy hauler full of heavy objects, you will have to pay the extra cost of this heavy duty vehicle which in principle, cost much more than a normal vehicle. Likewise, you have the cost of the toy hauler RV itself, generally more expensive than other recreational vehicles, such as class B and class C RVs. These are also more expensive than travel trailers. The cost of a large toy hauler can be compared to the cost of a class A motorhome or some fifth wheelers.

Top things to know and ask before buying a toy hauler

So you see that buying a toy hauler may get pretty complicated, the more you learn about them more you would get confused with the information available, and options at hand. Decision making in buying a toy hauler would not be quick, and it does not have to be quick. So once you have decided to buy one better start preparing your list, to your wishlist, your features list, and so on. Here are the most critical questions to ask yourself and to the seller about toy hauler that would help you to reach the conclusion.

1. Should I buy a toy hauler travel trailer or toy hauler fifth wheel?

This is the first question one must start with, both are similar, but there are some significant differences between them. In short, toy hauler fifth wheel is more massive and easy to maneuver but comes at a much higher cost. While toy hauler travel trailers are much more compact, and they do not have separate space for living and carrying equipment, but they are lighter on the pocket.
Another significant difference between the two is the presence of  the “jaw hitch” in the fifth wheel, which is attached to the bed of the trailer. It makes the fifth wheel hauler more stable, easy to manipulate by a single user, and it also allows for more space on the fifth wheel.
Thus if you are looking for something economical that you are planning to use for short trips at the weekend, now and then, then perhaps travel trailer would do for you. But if your plans are grandeur, and you plan to go on a long haul, and spend maybe days together outside your home, then the fifth wheel has to be your choice. The fifth wheel would have water supply and independent electric supply and many other amenities. The fifth wheel is created with much more abundant storage space and would have a higher roof.

2. What is the tow weight?

Whether you already have a truck or tow vehicle or not, it is one of the most critical things to know about any toy hauler. Because if you have a vehicle, then you have to ensure that the tow weight of the toy hauler is within the safe and recommended limits, as you may not like to buy something that cannot be towed efficiently or safely with your current vehicle. And if you are still planning to buy the tow vehicle, you still need to know the tow weight, as the cost of the truck would depend on it. Surely, in most cases, you would decide that based on your needs and buying capacity.

3. Maintenance history in case of buying a used toy hauler.

This applies actually for any recreational vehicle and not only on the case of buying a used toy hauler. Better check the log carefully about all the previous maintenance performed on the toy hauler. Inspect the seals, roofs, windows, tires, and rest of the things thoroughly. If you are planning to buy a new one, you still need to know about the maintenance needs and costs involved, after all, you would not like unpleasant surprises after few months. Mostly maintenance costs would depend on the features and size of the toy hauler. I always recommend to buy the RV at a dealer and not with a private seller to enjoy a typical one year warranty.

4. For what season is a toy hauler? 

Actually this depends if the toy hauler is winterized or not. Some of the toy haulers are for all the seasons, others are specially made for winter needs, while some are made for summer or hot areas. So make sure that the toy hauler is specially made for your needs, it is made according to the season in your area or wherever you plan to use it.

5. Weight and cost.

An important consideration when you purchase a toy hauler revolves around the amount of weight your vehicle will have to carry, especially with a full storage area. The toy hauler’s weight along with the weight of your toys will require a heavy-duty vehicle to carry it. This adds to the cost, as you will not only be paying for the toy hauler, which are expensive enough, starting at around $15,000, but also a vehicle suitable to managing the weight. You will probably need a diesel pickup for decent mileage.

6. Floorplan and setup

Storage in toy haulers requires an extensive setup, such as putting down the beds, putting up the tables and so on. This makes them cumbersome to deal with. Toy haulers are usually taller than travel trailers, as their beds are stored right underneath the ceiling. Their height or tallness also means you have to be extra-careful when driving them. You may also struggle to find parking spaces for them and they can be a handful in windy conditions.

Analyze your needs carefully. Finally, it all depends on how you plan to use the toy hauler, whether you have lots of equipment to carry or not. In some cases, a person may not intend to carry any equipment or devices at all, and space has to be better utilized for family needs, like a space for kids and so on. Some people would require more sleeping space. Thus, in the end, everything would be dictated by your needs and budget.

You will need to conduct a fair amount of research before settling on the toy hauler you want to purchase. First of all, make sure that the dealer you are using has a solid history, a sizeable inventory and excellent system of technical support. They should be able to offer prompt and efficient help in case of malfunction.

Ensure that your toy hauler brand has established a good reputation. Buying a toy hauler is a huge investment to start off with, and you want a toy hauler that lasts in the long-term. Picking a well-established brand guarantees a purchase of high quality.

Know in advance what kind of items you will be using your toy hauler to store. Check for a toy hauler with a correspondingly suitable towing capacity, weight limits, and floor plan for your passengers.

The weather can heavily influence your needs. You will need to know what weather you will be using your toy hauler for, and whether your choice caters to all your needs.

Make sure you thoroughly investigate your toy hauler prior to purchase. Check for rusted areas and worn out parts, loose bolts as well as technical imperfections in general. You do not want to pay a heavy amount first purchasing your toy hauler and then carrying out expensive repairs.

Interior Features To Look For In The Perfect Toy Hauler

Though this topic largely will depend on your available budget, new toy haulers are more luxurious as the designs have improved over the years and so have the needs. There are specific interior features that can really be useful; they may help to feel yourself at home away from home. There is no limit to the luxury, but having some of them is great.

The dining place: Newer ones may provide tables that are more flexible or foldable, thus giving you more space when not using it.

Office space:  Lets us accept it, that nowadays it is not possible to remain entirely out of touch with your job or office. In the age of internet and connectivity, we often require carrying some tasks with the computer. Having dedicated office space may be needed for some of us, of course, lots would depend on the nature of your profession. I need office space with a large table, but this depends on your own requirements.

The larger the window, the better: Larger windows provide a better view of the outside, thus, look for not only broader windows in living spaces, but also consider a toy hauler with skylights.

T.V. mount: Nowadays televisions are slim and not expensive, therefore, it is not a surprise that everyone would like to have a beautiful T.V. set installed in a toy hauler.

Appliances: Sure you cannot have all the appliances, but some of them can indeed be good, so why not think about thing like microwave, it is something that can do lots of things and can make your life easier while traveling. For some people the kitchen is important, so they will use the ample floorplan in a toy hauler to install a kitchen.

Shelving: When you travel over a long distance, you may have many things to store, from food products to other items of daily use, repair kit, cleaning kit, jars, canned goods, other essential items.

Flooring: Carpets do look beautiful in an RV, as I have noticed, but they are not easy to clean. Thus better chose vinyl or linoleum floorings as they are easy to clean too. Remember that there would be lots of spillages.

Bathroom and water supply: well that is an important thing, but surely it would depend on the type of toy hauler or luxury vehicle, but even some budget variants may not have many options here.

Conclusions: Do You Need a Toy Hauler?

Toy haulers are used for transporting the toys, but not the toys for kids to play. They are used to move the toys men love to play with like a dirt bike, an ATV, a water bike or ski jet, and so on.

Moreover, as the trucks used as towing vehicles and other transportation equipment have improved, so have the toy haulers. Nowadays, toy haulers are made keeping much broader functionality in mind. Thus they are not merely to carry some of your favorite equipment and tools, but they may even have some living space, toilet, and other amenities.

Thus in recent year toy haulers have become more common with those who love an active lifestyle, like adventure sports, and prefer to spend their weekends outside and actively. Toy haulers are no more just about carrying the equipment, but they may fulfill many needs of camping at the weekend.

Toy haulers started their journey as car haulers, and they were merely metal trailers and nothing more, and thus all they could do is just carry the equipment or other bulky items. But the need for extra functionality was felt as the competition grew, since more and more people started to prefer spending their weekend with families, outside the home. Thus these haulers were required not just to carry “toys,” but to fulfill other needs too.

As the time passed, those who manufactured toy haulers, started to think of more innovative features and luxuries. Suddenly, there were toy haulers with bathrooms and sleeping areas. Some of the larger variants even added the kitchen and other facilities required during camping.

Thus, toy haulers of today are better known as sports utility vehicles, that would carry much more than your equipment or other smaller vehicles. However, the needs of every family differ from another, so no surprise that these toy haulers now come with almost endless options. Today the kind of amenities that one can get depends on the needs and depth of the pocket. Thus one can decide about the size, floor plan and area, and the facilities required.

Unlike car haulers, these toy haulers do not come cheap, and cost would vary, with a basic toy hauler starting from something like $15,000, while upper limit depends on what the person would like to see in an RV of this type. Most companies selling them would provide a wide variety of options and accessories. Thus one can decide the number of shelves required, and whether one would like to have it fitted with television or not. Some of the toy haulers may be even fitted with fuel stations, for long journeys. We already mentioned how flexible and versatile the floorplan of a toy hauler can be.

Thus buying modern toy haulers is not a straightforward task, it is a significant investment and comes in unlimited designs. Therefore choosing a toy hauler is almost as complicated as choosing a flat or house, and there is a need for lots of research before going for one.

Considering that toy haulers are quite complex, they would often require post sales services, be it in the form of repairs or modifications. It is quite probable that one would need some adjustments after the use. After a certain period, a person may feel that the toy hauler would be better with some extras. Hence when buying the RV, one must remember that it is in no way a one-time deal. Therefore there is a need to know more about the company that is selling it, its reputation with clients. It means that seller should have established history, rich inventory, technically trained staff and support system. The company must be able to solve all your issues and provide the support promptly.

In the days when most people use to buy car haulers, there were few options and not much complexities involved in choosing the right thing. But nowadays toy haulers must be purchased after intensive market research; it should be given the similar kind of importance as to selecting a car or a truck. Thus make sure that toy hauler is of a brand that is known for quality. Yes, nowadays brand name counts, so we have companies such as Coleman or Forest River, as it speaks lots about the product in the same way as brands say a lot about cars and trucks.

Initially, toy haulers did not focus on luxury. They were no more than metal trailers well-suited to carry heavy items. They were usually employed by people who wanted a weekend out camping.

Over time, however, toy haulers acquired a new audience: families. As families started using toy haulers to go on their excursions, toy haulers evolved to cater to the families’ needs. After that, they were no longer useful only for hauling heavy equipment, but incorporated new features into their setup, features designed to create a more luxurious environment, features like sleeping areas, bathrooms, walk-in closets, and other amenities like kitchens, amenities which had hitherto been limited to full-sized RVs.

So before you start your search and research on toy haulers, you ought to decide on few things. You must be pretty sure about the kind of equipment you would be hauling, as nowadays, these toys come in various sizes and shapes. Based on that only you can decide the size or capacity required, as every toy hauler has weight limits. You may also require determining the floorplan that is suitable for your needs.

Your choice of toy hauler would be affected by the weather conditions in the regions, and the time of year you would be using it. Do you need it for winter sports, or for summer camping? What are your toys, snowmobile, skies, or dirt bike? The requirement of heating or instead you would need cooler one.

If you are buying second hand or used one, you may need to inspect it carefully; there is need to check for rust, breakage, loose bolts, and so on. Inspect carefully, to see whether it has been ever repaired after an accident or not. When buying a used one, it is a good idea to consult someone with experience and sufficient technical knowledge, because if you are buying for the first time, it may be difficult for you to check everything, so we have this article for you to check everything before deciding to purchase.

Thus choosing a toy hauler is little more complicated than many think. But spending some time in research and search would undoubtedly help. Therefore, plan judiciously before you buy.

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Alexander Beliavski
I am Alex, an RV designer and RV developer. I create bill of materials for RV manufacturers for travel trailers and fifth wheels. I have also worked as an RV designer, As a consultant, I create customization trees for RV manufacturers who want to offer a solution to prospective customers to design their custom RV with variant configuration. I sell in Indiana trailer hitches, hitch balls, goosenecks and weight distribution systems and I provide advice to customers who want to know which is their towing capacity, which hitch ball should they utilize and how to deploy a weight distribution system. I do my best to explain all these processes and their installation, here in RV Favorites.