What Is a Toy Hauler RV?
Definition of a Toy Hauler
A toy hauler is a recreational vehicle (RV) with both conventional living quarters and an open garage with a ramp large enough to accommodate ATVs, motorbikes, or other “toys.”
The distinguishing features of a toy hauler are:
- The large door in the back which opens down to create a ramp
- Dedicated garage area or fold-away furniture in the main living compartment
- Often a third axle to support the heavy toys
Technically, a toy hauler is usually a sub-type of RV. The following RVs may be offered with a toy hauler configuration:
- Travel trailers
- 5th wheels
- Class A RVs
The most common type of toy hauler is a 5th wheel RV, since these usually have the most cargo carrying capacity.
Unlike motorhome RVs, you tow a toy hauler using a tow vehicle. You don’t drive one. And no, you don’t generally need a special license to tow one!
Toy Hauler Specifications
5th Wheel RV Specifications – Dimensions
- Lengths range from 21 to 52 feet, with 28 to 44 feet being the most common.
- Width ranges from 8 ft (standard) to 8.5 ft (wide-body).
- Height varies from 9.5 to 13.5 feet, with most ranging between 10.5 and 12.5 feet (A/C included).
Travel Trailer RV Specifications – Dimensions
- Lengths range from 12 to 41 feet, with 22 to 36 feet being the most common.
- Width ranges from 6 ft 8 inches (narrow) to 8.5 ft (wide-body). Between 7 and 8 feet is most common.
- Height varies from 9 to 13.5 feet, with most ranging between 10 and 12.5 feet (A/C included).
Driving an RV for the first time? Check out our guide to what you need to know about length, width, height, and weight!
Most toy haulers can fit 4-10 sleepers (4-8 standard). That doesn’t mean there’s room for everyone to sit down at once, though!
The sleeping capacity of a toy hauler is usually calculated with the garage empty (and any available beds deployed).
Toy Hauler Categories
Toy haulers are split into two subsets:
- Travel trailer toy haulers
- 5th wheel toy haulers
Generally, travel trailer toy haulers are the cheaper of the two. Payload capacity and overall height is limited, restricting the size of your toy to a small ATV or motorcycle.
If you have a larger vehicle such as a Razor dune buggy or quad golf cart, you’ll likely need a 5th wheel toy hauler. These typically have taller garages and more cargo capacity, so they can accommodate the extra weight.
Toy Hauler Description
Everyone wants a toy hauler. They’re big, bold and brash, with names like Valor, Fuel, Torque, and Fury. They’re a perfect blend of rough n’ tough play and glamping luxury.
The defining feature of a toy hauler is the garage, usually accessed via a drop-down ramp rear door. Some garages are only big enough to accommodate a street bike; others can swallow up two dune buggies!
When the garage is not in use, you can usually lower a bunk bed or pull down a sofa or raise a pedestal table or something of the sort.
Toy haulers aren’t the cheapest RVs. They must be strong enough to carry at least several thousand pounds. But most of that extra cash goes to reinforcing the structure and making the most of the storage space – money well spent!
Toy Hauler RV Chassis & Fuel Economy
Many RV manufacturers, like New Horizons, design or fabricate their own RV chassis frames. Others turn to big-box frame builders like:
But like most RVs, the RV manufacturer doesn’t usually build the appliances or major parts within the camper (Winnebago and Airstream are major exceptions). The manufacturer typically sources the major components and constructs their own floorplan and layout. So think of the RV manufacturer more as the final assembler.
Fuel economy of your tow vehicle is primarily affected by the frontal area and relative weight of the travel trailer. So a heavy, tall and wide travel trailer will have a greater impact on your gas mileage than a lightweight, short and narrow camper.
Typically, larger and more powerful vehicles, such as diesel three-quarter-ton trucks, see a much smaller decrease in fuel efficiency compared to gas-powered passenger vehicles.
- Average Tow Vehicle Fuel Economy (gas): 8-12 mpg
- Average Tow Vehicle Fuel Economy (diesel): 12-20 mpg
Who Might Want a Toy Hauler RV?
Obviously, if you’re a hardcore 4×4 adventurer who doesn’t travel anywhere without an ATV, you’re in the market for a toy hauler.
But there are other uses for a toy hauler as well!
Senior citizens are discovering the ease and joy of traveling around the campground in a golf cart. No more trudging 15 minutes to and from the bathroom – just hop in the golf cart and go! And what better way to transport the cart than a toy hauler?
Or, if you’re the head of a large household, where do you plan to stow all the bikes? Or kayaks? Or skis or poles? Four kids’ worth of camping and sports gear sure adds up quickly!
A toy hauler makes carrying all that cargo a breeze. The large open area lends itself well to many storage purposes.
For that matter, what if you wanted a custom office nook? Most trailers don’t offer office space. Or if office space exists, it’s right next to the kitchen or living room. You’ll never get any peace!
Why not outfit your toy hauler with a custom office in the back??
As you can see, toy haulers can be used for many customizations and activities.
Toy Hauler Pros and Cons
- Easy to haul ATVs, golf carts, dirt bikes, skis, snowboards, and all other adventure gear!
- Lots of headroom, sometimes wide-body.
- Spacious, open floor plans suitable for full-time RVers and snowbirds.
- When designed as a fifth wheel, it provides more interior space per length foot than motor homes because it does not contain driving and engine compartments.
- Tow vehicle doubles as local transportation.
- Heavy! Due to heavy-duty construction.
- Large trailers require large tow vehicles!
- Park carefully to access your gear from the rear.
- Extra height reduces fuel efficiency.
- Driving and living compartments are separate. Living area inaccessible while moving.
- Generally cannot tow vehicle behind trailer.
- Larger models can be difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.
- On tall models, top clearance can be a problem under low branches and structures.
Most models require large storage area when not in use.
Key Features in a Toy Hauler
Make sure your garage has enough space for your stuff!
- Standard golf carts are about 48-54 inches wide and 90-102 inches long.
- Medium-sized motorcycles are about 30 inches wide (at the handlebars) and 72-80 inches long.
- Flatwater kayaks are about 10-11 feet long; whitewater kayaks can be 5-8 feet.
- Surfboards are commonly 7 – 10 feet.
- Skis, even powder skis, are rarely longer than 6-7 feet.
Many toy haulers have a ramp that folds down into a deck, with collapsible side rails (and even attachable screen rooms!) This can double the amount of interior space available and are highly recommended.
Sleeping and Seating
- What size of bed (twin, full, queen, short queen, king) do I need?
- Am I going to sleep in the same bed as my partner, or will we need dual twin beds?
- Can we scoot to the end of a bed, or do we need to roll off the side?
- How much visual or acoustic privacy do we need? Will a curtain suffice, or a solid wall and a door?
- Do we need a TV in our bedroom?
- Do we need an adjacent master bath?
- Do we need a full-size bed for kids or guests, or will a murphy, sofa or bunk bed do the trick?
- Where will we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner? Do we need a breakfast nook in addition to the main living area?
- Do we need a separate table for office space?
- How many people need to be able to watch TV or eat a meal at once?
How Much Cargo Carrying Capacity?
Never assume a toy hauler has enough payload capacity to carry your favorite toys AND general camping gear. Find out the GVWR and Cargo Carrying Capacity! Know how much your toys weigh, and find out if there’s room for all.
For reference, assume each person in your family will contribute 150-250 pounds, plus extra for toys, freshwater and other camping gear.
So don’t buy a toy hauler just based on the floorplan. Pay attention to the GVWR and Cargo Carrying Capacity first. If the trailer doesn’t offer at least 2,500 pounds of CCC, carefully consider your decision (3,500 or higher is better!)
For larger toy haulers, look for a triple-axle configuration. Don’t get an oversized double-axle trailer trying to max out its GVWR.
Toy Hauler Sub-Types
The toy hauler has one sub-type:
1. Mini Toy Hauler
A mini toy hauler is somewhere between a cargo trailer and an RV. Some of these mini toy haulers are hardly bigger than the ATVs or motorcycles they’re supposed to be carrying!
Mini toy haulers typically don’t have dedicated living spaces. You can either bring along your ATV or sleep (but not both at the same time).
These can be a great solution if you’re limited to a small tow vehicle with limited towing capacity. Once you arrive at camp, simply roll out your toy and fold down a bed or any interior furniture.
Toy Hauler Major Manufacturers
There are about 21 major toy hauler motorhome RV manufacturers in North America.
Some of the biggest names include:
- Outdoors RV
For a full list of manufacturers, check out our comprehensive RV manufacturer’s list!
There are also dozens of custom coachbuilders who will design you a bespoke toy hauler, complete with a gantry crane bed, bedliner-covered garage, mirrors on the ceiling, or whatever else your heart desires. They are not shown on our lists.
We’ve spotlighted a few brands below. These brands are either known for their popularity, quality, or innovation.
Heartland RV is an RV manufacturer based in the state of Indiana and has been in operation since 2004. The company is owned by Thor Industries.
Heartland is a mainstream RV manufacturer based in Indiana who builds many familiar Big Box brands of travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers.
They build A LOT of toy haulers! Their lineup includes Cyclone, Road Warrior, Torque, Fuel, Gravity, Lithium and Pioneer. You can find any size, shape, style or price point.
K-Z is an RV manufacturer based in the state of Indiana and has been in operation since 1972. The company is owned by Thor Industries.
KZ is a mainstream RV manufacturer based in Indiana who builds many familiar Big Box brands of travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers. KZ targets adventurous families. Their lineup of toy haulers includes Sportsmen, Sportster and Venom, available as both bumper-pull and 5th wheel towables.
Alliance RV is an RV manufacturer based in the state of Indiana and has been in operation since 2019. The company is owned by private ownership or family.
Founded by an ensemble cast of industry veterans and dedicated to building a better RV, Alliance RV builds luxury fifth-wheels and toy haulers.
Genesis Supreme RV
Genesis Supreme RV is an RV manufacturer based in the state of California and has been in operation since 2012. The company is owned by private ownership or family.
A regional manufacturer of multiple RV brands, Genesis Supreme builds high-quality toy haulers, fifth wheels and bumper-pull travel trailers for the American and Canadian West. Their lineup of toy haulers includes Blaze’N, Rage’N, Sandsport, and Overnighter.
Toy Hauler RV FAQs
Yes! They’re great for boondocking thanks to their heavy-duty construction and propensity for adventure.
The one downside is that the heavy weight and big size can be difficult to navigate. They’re not the greatest for true primitive camping or boondocking, which usually involves tight spaces and high-clearance roads. Plus, RVs are heavy, heavy, usually with double (or even triple) axles! They don’t work well on soft roads.
Plus, appliances on an RV are power-hungry. You’ll need a hefty generator to run your RV for 48-72 hours off-grid with full use of appliances. Many 5th wheels come with a powerful generator in the basement, but again, do you really want to listen to VROOOOM while camping under the stars?
But with sufficient clearance, travel trailers can access out-of-the-way locations. Just remember to bring a spare tire when primitive camping!
And most have enough room for spare batteries or a generator.
Travel trailers are also good for base camping, since you don’t need to tow a second vehicle. Just use your tow vehicle as a daily driver.
If you’re piloting a Class A toy hauler, the same rules of a regular Class A motorhome would apply.
No. Generally, you cannot “triple-tow” with a toy hauler. Even states that allow triple-towing generally do not allow it with a camper trailer because of maximum motorcade length and weight restrictions.
However, you can just use your tow vehicle as your daily driver!
Except for the smallest campers, most toy haulers must be towed with a three-quarter-ton pickup or flatbed truck or larger. Full-profile (13.5 feet tall) 5th wheels over 14,000 loaded weight may require a medium-duty truck.
To help you answer this question, please took a look at these resources: