A toy hauler is a towable RV combining living space with a mobile garage. Toy haulers put the best of all worlds in one place: an RV; flat-screen TV(s); and, of course, a garage for the other things that gear-heads love — motorcycles, quads, side-by-sides and anything else that is noisy and/or gets dirty.
There was a time when those were a toy hauler’s sole attributes, but today, these do-everything trailers can range from a garage with a mattress to a no-compromise 40-foot fifth-wheel with a dedicated garage, a roomy living space and a luxuriously appointed master bedroom/bath area. However, the most important considerations are still what you plan to haul and where you plan to go, as these will have the greatest influence on your purchase decision. And for big hauling capacity, the latest towing vehicles are better than ever.
Cargo configuration can be grouped into two basic categories: garage type and open box. Garage types are great if you want to keep your toys isolated from the living area, and have a dedicated space to lock up your bikes or quads at night — but square footage can be limited, especially in smaller trailers. If you want to maximize space for a side-by-side, a few quads or a bunch of motorcycles, an open-box configuration is the way to go, but the toys may have to stay outside at bedtime, and that gaping cargo door is an open invitation for flies, mosquitos, moths and other flying annoyances to hang out in your living room. You’ll have to get yourself a screen.
Both types typically offer a ton of sleeping space, a rear bed that comes down from the ceiling, and furniture that can be folded up against the walls or removed altogether. In any case, a toy hauler can be a big investment, so consider your future needs when purchasing: How many friends will want to go when they find out I’ve got this bad boy? Will I have kids that will want to ride, too? What about my spouse? You get the idea.
How and where you plan to use the trailer is also important. If you’re in Southern California, you’ll likely be playing out in the desert, in which case you’ll want self-sufficiency: a generator to keep the A/C blowing cold, solar panels to keep the batteries topped off and large holding-tank capacities are practically paramount. If you’ll be in cooler climes and/or anticipate being plugged in at state or private campgrounds, for example, some of these features may not be that big of a deal.
Perhaps more so than in other trailers, it’s important to look at the options list, because toy haulers often offer unique features that can make your trips more convenient and fun. A dedicated fuel station is a great feature that can eliminate the need to bring fuel jugs with you on every trip, for example. Larger units may have washer/dryer prep, and many models offer a kit that turns the rear cargo door into a functioning patio space/observation deck. Party on!