A dozen versatile travel trailers and fifth-wheels with convertible back rooms for transporting gear, running a business, pursuing a hobby or just stretching out
A decade ago most toy haulers looked like the RV industry’s version of a man cave, replete with stripped-down styling, plenty of interior neon lighting and exterior graphics that mimicked race-car design. Fast-forward to the present, and toy haulers offer all the luxury and comfort available in traditional travel trailers and fifth-wheels along with the added convenience and flexibility of a garage. Many still have over-the-top graphics in keeping with current RV cosmetic trends, but the interiors have been significantly refined.
Changes in toy-hauler layouts and design have a lot to do with the recent surge in sales. However, the growth in popularity is also a result of increasing product awareness among RV consumers. Toy haulers are available at almost all towable dealerships, and they can be found in campgrounds across the continent, not just in the West where they got their start with ATV and off-road enthusiasts.
Bottom line? Toy haulers are having a moment. What started 30 years ago as a niche product available from a handful of RV manufacturers is now mainstream, snapping up more and more of the market share, particularly on the towable side.
What’s a Toy Hauler?
So, what is a toy hauler, anyway? A toy hauler is an RV with a large hinged door that typically opens in the rear for access to a designated garagelike space, offering a ramp for loading and unloading gear. Apart from that unifying feature, toy haulers come in a wide variety of sizes and layouts with plenty of options in both travel-trailer and fifth-wheel models. The dozen 2018 floorplans on the following pages demonstrate that variety, showcasing everything from an ultralight 24-foot one-room trailer to a pair of 44-foot triple-axle fifth-wheels with three slideouts.
Who’s Buying Toy Haulers?
Traditionally, buyers were folks with motorized “toys” such as ATVs, motorcycles, golf carts and dirt bikes. The market has expanded in the past few years as shoppers embraced the versatility of having a “garage” on the road. Our family recently moved from a bunkhouse travel trailer to a toy hauler to transport our bikes, kayaks, surfboards, paddleboards and other outdoor gear more easily.
Many RVers are attracted to the garage space that allows them to comfortably enjoy hobbies at the campground. Woodworkers and quilters outfit workshops in their toy haulers, and other creative uses include personal offices, art studios and dog-grooming quarters. We have also seen RVers embrace the toy hauler for commercial use, storing goods for festival pop-up shops or tools for mobile RV servicing. Bottom line? If you are looking for a flexible space to tailor to your individual needs, a toy hauler might be worth checking out.
How to Shop for a Toy Hauler
If you are in the market for a towable toy hauler, first narrow the search by choosing between a fifth-wheel and a travel trailer. While fifth-wheels may offer a more stable platform for towing heavier toys, conventional travel trailers allow full use of the truck bed and come in lighter weights, and the smaller models can more easily navigate out-of-the-way places.
The next important step is getting the length, width and height specs for what you plan on storing in the garage. Sizes vary, and you want to be absolutely confident that the toy hauler will adequately store the requisite cargo. Don’t assume a bigger rig means more garage space. A quick look at the models in this roundup will demonstrate that the opposite is often the case.
You will also want to decide whether you prefer a garage that is separate from the main quarters. Living and sleeping in the space used to transport a motorized vehicle is an unappealing notion for some folks. Others want a small, lightweight toy hauler, so a one-room travel trailer is the best option.
There are some options more commonly available on toy haulers that you may want to consider when shopping. Would you like an onboard generator or solar prep for boondocking out in the dunes with your ATV? Do you need a fueling station to gas up before taking off on your dirt bikes? These features will be appealing to many buyers with motorized toys, but if you are transporting a golf cart to a full-hookup campground or running a business in the back of your toy hauler, you can probably pass on those extras.
Something else to note when shopping is that the hitch/pin weight for toy haulers is typically higher than for other travel trailers and fifth-wheels. Toy haulers are engineered to account for the additional weight of motorized vehicles in the garage. You will need to pay careful attention to the numbers, making sure that the tow vehicle can handle both the gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr) and the hitch/pin weight.
Lastly, note the difference between the unloaded vehicle weight (uvw) and the gvwr. You will want to make sure there is plenty of weight capacity to safely transport your toys and gear.
A few years ago, someone at an RV show said to us, “You wouldn’t buy a house without a garage, so why would you buy an RV without one?” For RVers with motorized toys to haul, the question makes sense, but at the time, we thought we didn’t want the compromises inherent with a garage model. Now, as we travel all over the country in our personal toy hauler, easily carrying all the gear we need for a family of five, we wonder how we ever got along without it.
Dutchmen Voltage Epic
With sleeping accommodations for eight, the nearly 44-foot 3970 is a residential triple-slide fifth-wheel that offers distinct living and kitchen areas but forgoes a traditional dining space in favor of a large refrigerator and pantry, and plenty of seating. Luxurious touches include heat and massage functions in the couches, quartz countertops, and a sound bar and subwoofer in the entertainment center. The bathroom is next to the king-bed master suite and boasts a stylish vessel sink and large tub. A single touch-screen panel allows owners to control all automated systems from one place, including the generator, water pump, water heater and lighting, as well as to monitor battery condition and fueling-station levels. Standard dual fuel tanks (30 and 40 gallons) will be popular among buyers looking to park their motorized toys in the 11-foot-long garage.
574-537-0600 | www.dutchmen.com/voltage
Forest River Vengeance
At just over 43 feet, the 422V12-6 fifth-wheel has three slideouts and more traditional styling flourishes than many of its counterparts, including wooden blinds, a wood-paneled refrigerator and fluted-glass fronts on the kitchen cabinets. The master bedroom contains a king-size bed with wardrobe space along both sides, plus a mirrored wardrobe running the length of the wall. There is a place for a television but no dedicated entertainment center. The dual-entry master bathroom is complete with a skylight and a curved-glass shower door. An additional full bathroom is located toward the rear. Occupants pass through the bathroom to gain access to the 12½-foot-long garage, which is outfitted with an electric bed and a sofa-bunk combination. The garage can also be accessed through the ramp door, which converts to a patio as an option. Power awnings extend along the entry-door side, but the kitchen slide takes up some of the outdoor living space. Standard are 100-gallon black-, gray- and freshwater tanks.
574-389-4600 | www.forestriverinc.com/vengeance
Grand Design Momentum
The 431⁄3-foot 399TH fifth-wheel combines the livability of a residential interior with the utility of a 13-foot-long garage. The front entry opens to a freestanding dinette, theater seating, an entertainment center with a fireplace, and a fully appointed kitchen with stainless-steel appliances in a slideout and a central island. If desired, an optional full-slide sofa replaces the dinette and theater seats. Stairs lead up to the bathroom and master bedroom where a wardrobe slideout and queen-size bed are standard, and a king bed is optional. An additional half bath is located in the garage area, which comes fairly stripped down in the standard model but can be dressed up with options such as a HappiJac electric bunk system, a ramp-door patio setup, a three-season garage wall and patio lounge chairs. An additional fold-down side patio with a TV is standard.
Heartland Road Warrior
The highly stylized interior of the 44-foot RW426 fifth-wheel will attract buyers with posh tastes. Unusual design choices are everywhere, such as the bean-shaped kitchen island and orb pendant lights above it, and the carved-tree art framing the loft bed. The master suite contains a king-size bed in a slideout with an opposing window, TV and storage space. The dual-entry master bath features a large tub. In the living space, a single sofa with reclining seats for five and a pair of removable pedestal tables are housed in a slideout on the door side. The 13-foot-plus garage is outfitted with a half-bath and electric queen bed, plus an optional sofa bed. The garage also has a TV, overhead cabinets, and a handy storage box in the floor offering space for tethers and tools. The ramp doubles as a patio and comes with rear steps.
877-262-8032 | www.heartlandrvs.com/brands/luxuryth/road-warrior
The 38-foot T32H brings a traditional fifth-wheel toy-hauler floorplan into a travel trailer. The floorplan sleeps six and offers three distinct rooms, one of which is a garage with a 12½-foot-deep cargo space, a HappiJac queen bed and convertible sofas, TV prep and overhead cabinet space. The side patio is another unusual feature for a travel-trailer toy hauler. The master bedroom boasts a king-size bed with two wardrobes and overhead cabinet storage. The kitchen has stainless-steel appliances and ample counter space, while the high ceilings bring a residential feel to the living area. Goodyear tires are standard, and available options include a rear party deck, a 5.5-kilowatt generator, a heated and enclosed underbelly, and an electric auto-leveling system.
800-283-8267 | www.jayco.com/products/toy-haulers/2018-octane
At 43½ feet, the 426TS packs a ton of residential fifth-wheel finishes along with toy-hauler functionality. The door-side kitchen includes a large stainless-steel refrigerator and a
convection-microwave oven, a range with a glass cover and an island sink with a pullout faucet. The dual-entry master bathroom has his-and-her sinks and a large shower with a molded seat and skylight. Housed in a slideout, the standard king-size bed faces a fully appointed entertainment center with cable and satellite prep. A loft bed provides additional sleeping space or storage. The garage has ducted heating and air conditioning, electric beds with dual flip-down sofas, a pull-down screen for the ramp door and a hinged entrance with shading that opens out onto the patio deck. Two electric awnings (15 and 16 feet) provide ample exterior shading on the door side. A backup camera and hydraulic auto leveling make setup easier.
866-425-4369 | www.keystonerv.com/raptor
In the 300THR travel trailer, owners enjoy a front master suite that is separated from the living area and kitchen by a pass-through bathroom. The bedroom has a walk-around queen bed with wardrobe space on both sides. A linen closet in the bathroom provides additional storage. The kitchen has a double sink, a microwave with a turntable and a range with a three-burner cooktop. The living area offers a nice option for two recliners opposite the entertainment center, in addition to double convertible couches in the garage. The full-width cargo area in the 33-foot-plus trailer is nearly 14 feet long, and a narrower 6-foot-wide cargo space extends 15 feet 11 inches. On the exterior of the trailer, owners will appreciate the 18-foot power awning, front power jacks and a standard black-tank flush.
The 2612 travel trailer measures just under 32 feet long and has no slides yet still provides a 12-foot-plus garage and sleeping accommodations for seven or eight. The separate master bedroom has a queen-size bed, two wardrobes and a USB charging station. The L-shaped kitchen has a nice amount of counter space along with a double sink, stainless-steel appliances and a built-in spice rack. The rear living area contains two swivel chairs and a jackknife sofa, plus the dual HappiJac system, which includes a dedicated queen bed and two sofas that convert into additional beds. A removable carpet kit for the garage area is standard, as are a 100-gallon freshwater tank and a 40-gallon fuel tank for motorized toys. Buyers have the option to include a generator, solar panel, central vacuum system and a ramp patio.
661-941-9250 | www.lancecamper.com/toy-haulers/2612
Livin’ Lite QuickSilver
With its QuickSilver lineup, Livin’ Lite offers an option for folks who want a toy hauler but have a tow vehicle with limited capacity. These ultralight travel trailers have heavy-gauge aluminum frames, aluminum-sheet side walls and aluminum interior cabinetry. The 7x20HJ is just over 24 feet long and has a front kitchen and bathroom, a 60-inch fold-up sofa bed in the middle and a 60-by-75-inch bed in the rear. A freestanding dinette table can be folded for storage or extra living space. A pull-down rear screen over the garage-door area, solar prep and an outside shower are nice standard features. A two-year limited warranty and six color choices for the exterior paint job are standard. An option that will attract many buyers and expand the living space into the outdoors is the ramp-door patio package with railings and cables.
866-472-5460 | www.livinlite.com/products/quicksilver-toy-haulers
Northwood Desert Fox
The 21SW packs a lot of functionality into a fairly small space. This 25-foot travel trailer has one multifunctional room and a bathroom at the front of the rig. The garage offers nearly 11 feet of cargo space from the ramp door to the kitchen counter, or nearly 15 feet along the door side of the trailer. The standard cable kit turns the ramp into a patio. The garage transforms into either a living space with sofas and a table, or a bedroom with an electric bunk and optional second bunk. Cabinets along both sides and a wardrobe in the bathroom provide ample storage space. The trailer is built for year-round adventure with an aluminum frame and off-road chassis. It comes with an onboard fuel station and air compressor. A 20-watt solar panel is also standard, but buyers can upgrade to an optional 60- or 100-watt panel.
800-766-6274 | www.northwoodmfg.com/toy-haulers/desert-fox
RV Factory Weekend Warrior
The RV Factory is all about customization, from interior finishes to exterior paint jobs, so this is a great option for those who want to choose upholstery, countertops and cabinets. The layout of the 44-foot 4250W fifth-wheel offers distinct living room and kitchen areas, with the kitchen counter placed back to back with a wrap-around sofa. Owners will particularly appreciate the direct sight lines toward the entertainment center and fireplace. The master suite has a king bed in a slideout, creating loads of space and storage. There is a full bathroom near the master bedroom and an additional half bath in the garage, along with a loft sleeping area. A heated and enclosed undercarriage, 40-gallon fuel station and automatic leveling system are standard. Stackable washer-dryer prep is also included.
The 35-plus-foot 29KS combines a traditional travel-trailer layout with an ample 16-foot-long garage. Two exterior doors offer separate entry to the main living area and the master bedroom. This allows for easy use of the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom even when the garage is fully loaded with gear. The L-shaped kitchen is in a slideout, offering a nice amount of counter space and a large double sink with a sprayer faucet. The bathroom can be accessed from the bedroom and main living area. A 100-gallon freshwater tank, 40-gallon fuel station, pull-down ramp screen, patio kit and solar prep are standard. Buyers have the choice of five exterior fiberglass colors, and can choose a black or white front cap. Upgrade options include a generator and an additional 20-gallon fuel tank dedicated to the generator.