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Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler: What Are the Pros & Cons?

Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler: What Are the Pros & Cons?

There are lots of reasons why people love their fifth wheels. But a fifth-wheel toy hauler takes these spacious rigs to a whole different level. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at what a fifth-wheel toy hauler is, why some campers love these big rigs and the pros and cons of owning one.

What Is a Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler?

In our recent post “What Is a Fifth Wheel and Why Are They So Popular?“, we discussed why so many people love fifth wheels. But a fifth wheel toy hauler combines the features of a fifth wheel with those of a toy hauler.

Fifth wheels are distinguished by the cap that sits over the bed of the truck that tows it. The most popular feature of fifth wheels, in general, is the spacious interior they provide. 5th wheel floor plans allow for more than one level of living space and slide-outs that enhance the living space even more.

Toy haulers are also very spacious RVs. They can be motorhomes, travel trailers, or fifth wheels, but either way, they add one significant feature to the rig: a garage.

Toy haulers were originally designed as a way for travelers to carry things like ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, jet skis, kayaks, motorcycles, and other recreational gear. The large rear ramp door offers easy access to the often large storage space.

However, as they’ve become more popular over the years, the garage areas of toy haulers have found new uses, including as a bedroom for guests or teens, as a studio area for artists or crafters, or even as a traveling office.

A fifth wheel toy hauler offers a combination of the huge living space of a fifth wheel and the useful additional garage space of a toy hauler.

The floor plan of a fifth wheel toy hauler is shown

This floor plan of a Grand Design Momentum M-Class fifth wheel toy hauler illustrates the amount of space available in these big rigs and the usefulness of the “garage” space, in this case an 18′ area. (Photo source: Grand Design)

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler?

Fifth wheel toy haulers can accommodate many people and a lot of gear, but there are other advantages to these big rigs. As tends to be the case, they also have their share of drawbacks. So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of fifth wheel toy haulers.

What Are the Advantages?

As you would imagine from the description alone, there are a number of benefits to traveling in a fifth wheel toy hauler:

Large Enclosed Storage Area

All fifth wheel toy haulers have a large, enclosed garage/storage area for bringing along “toys” such as bikes, motorcycles, ATVs/OHVs, and pretty much anything you can think of that’ll fit. These areas have rugged floors (that are often both water and oil-resistant), tie-downs, and protective wall panels.

Comfort + Gear

Fifth wheel toy haulers provide comfortable RV-level living while also allowing you to bring along your gear.

For example, if your RV was a standard motorhome, you’d need to either tow a trailer to haul that much gear or triple tow. But, triple towing isn’t always feasible or legal everywhere (for more information on the legalities and more, see our post on triple towing).

Luxury + Toys

Many fifth wheel toy hauler RVs offer luxurious living space and the ability to carry any number of additional recreational gear in the garage. This arrangement provides the perfect combination for some travelers, despite the fact that the luxurious living area may be smaller due to the space used by the garage.

The interior living space of a fifth wheel toy hauler

The interior of some high-end fifth wheel toy haulers are well-appointed, offering some travelers the perfect combination of luxury and the ability to carry their “toys”. (Photo source: Grand Design RV)

Customization

With a toy hauler, you’ve got a garage space that can be customized for use in any way that suits your needs. It doesn’t have to be a garage, nor does it even have to live up to its name and haul toys. The “garage” space could be converted into a large office, a gym, or even a space for a business you run on the road!

Ramp/Patio/Deck

Aside from providing easy and convenient access to the garage space, the rear ramp can often be used as a raised patio or deck, providing additional (outdoor) living space!

Extra Bedroom

The toy hauler’s garage can be converted into additional living/sleeping space when the “toys” are removed and can give guests or teenagers their own private space when traveling with you.

In fact, some manufacturers include fold-up sleeping options in the garage or beds that lower from the ceiling with the touch of a button. Many even have televisions and/or full entertainment centers.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler?

There are also a few drawbacks to be aware of where fifth wheel toy haulers are concerned, though most people who buy a toy hauler are aware of these compromises and choose them based on their priorities of having the “garage” space available.

Garage

Although the garage is clearly a benefit, it can also be a disadvantage because it eats into the available living space, sometimes making it less comfortable than a traditional fifth wheel of comparable length.

Weight

When you carry “toys” and other recreational gear, you must be particularly mindful of the total weight, to ensure the “toys” you add don’t push you over the RV’s or your towing vehicle’s weight ratings. Especially since toy haulers are generally heavier rigs to begin with, thanks to the heavy-duty construction and various garage features for carrying heavy gear.

So, you’ll likely need a substantial truck to haul some of these rigs.

Our RAM 2500 pickup truck towing a smaller travel trailer

A fifth wheel toy hauler requires a pretty substantial truck as its tow vehicle. But some (like the Grand Design Momentum M-Class shown in a previous section) weigh 20,000 pounds or more. This RAM 2500 wouldn’t be able to haul it. You’d need a dually to tow a rig of that weight.

Weight Distribution

Too much weight in the rig’s rear (where the garage is located) could reduce tongue/hitch weight, which, when combined with the large side profile (catching wind) and overall length, increases the potential for dangerous trailer sway while towing. (For more info on how this works, see our post on trailer sway control.)

Are Fifth-Wheel Toy Haulers More Expensive?

Toy haulers tend to be more expensive due to the heavy-duty construction of the garage area and the additional features needed to haul “toys” and heavy gear. Some very high-end toy hauler fifth wheels are huge rigs that offer luxurious furnishings throughout, including residential-size appliances. High-end rigs may also have substantial solar systems or generators and massive holding tanks (water weighs 8+ pounds per gallon) for long-term boondocking.

All of these factors do tend to increase the cost, making it so you can find fifth wheel toy haulers priced anywhere from around $60,000 to $300,000.

Would You Opt for a 5th Wheel Toy Hauler?

Of course, the type of RV we decide to buy depends on our traveling and camping priorities. If you’re someone who’d love to have a fifth wheel toy hauler, drop us a comment below and let us know. We’d like to know what you like about this RV setup.

Are you the owner of a fifth wheel toy hauler? What do you love about it? Are there any disappointments? Fill us in on the pros (or cons) that helped you make your decision.

Thinking about a toy hauler but aren’t sure it’s right for you? Maybe hearing someone else’s thoughts will help you in your process. See what Melissa & Jesse of Adventure Endeavor have to say about why they chose a fifth-wheel toy hauler:

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Tim

Saturday 15th of April 2023

Bought a Grand Design 351M toy hauler in 2021 to go full time. Love it. We have all the "toys" we need. My wife also uses the extra room as a Yoga studio to teach while on the road. We tell people we have a 3 room mobile apartment. 👍

Mike

Saturday 15th of April 2023

Love the floor plan of out Grand Design Momentum 376TH. But we got a lemon.☹️

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 18th of April 2023

Oh no, Mike. So sorry to hear that... and hope GD steps up and does something to help out!

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