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Toy Hauler RVs: The Pros & Cons of This Popular Layout

Toy Hauler RVs: The Pros & Cons of This Popular Layout

Toy haulers are a popular choice for many RVers for lots of good reasons. They offer a unique combination of flexible living space and large cargo-carrying capacity, often referred to as a “garage.”

But just like any type of RV, there are pluses and minuses to consider when deciding whether they’re the right choice for you. So, in this post, we’re exploring the pros and cons of toy hauler RVs.

What Is a Toy Hauler?

Like all RVs, toy haulers are a type of home on wheels. But they’re different because they include garage space for hauling recreational “toys” in addition to the rig’s living space.

They’re a great solution for RVers who want to bring along ATVs, motorcycles, kayaks, bicycles, paddleboards, or other outdoor gear to enjoy while traveling and camping.

Toy hauler campers offer many benefits, making them the perfect solution for RVers who love playing outdoors. For others, the disadvantages of this type of RV could outweigh the advantages, making a different solution a better option.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of toy hauler RVs.

An ATV being loaded into an RV toy garage

Toy hauler garage access is typically via a fold-down ramp, Whether you’re into ATVs, motorcycles, kayaking, or any similar outdoor activity, this is a great way to bring all the fun along on your camping trips. (Photo credit: New Horizons RV)

What Are the Advantages of Toy Hauler RVs?

A toy hauler may be a good choice for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy ATVing, motorcycling, kayaking, fishing, or other outdoor activities that require small vehicles or other types of large gear. Its unique benefits are perfect for many RVers.

Cargo Space

The primary advantage of a toy hauler RV is the ample garage/cargo space it provides. The typical garage area at the rear of the rig can be used to store all sorts of recreational equipment. Some can even carry a small car!

An ATV enthusiast crossing a stream

Toy haulers allow adventurers to bring along large “toys” and recreational gear to enjoy during their travels.

A large cargo space can allow you to bring along your favorite toys without the need for an additional trailer.


While toy haulers are primarily designed for RVers who enjoy outdoor activities such as off-roading, watersports, or cycling, their large cargo space can also serve as a multi-purpose area for other things. It can double as additional living or sleeping quarters, a mobile office/workspace, or as a crafting, sewing, or other artist’s space. It can also be used as a large storage area to serve a particular traveler’s unique needs.

There’s also variety in the type of RV that can be designed as a toy hauler. There are fifth wheel toy haulers, toy hauler motorhomes, and even toy hauler travel trailers.

Looking into an open RV toy garage.

Looking into the toy garage on this RV gives you an idea of how versatile these rigs can be. In this configuration, there’s plenty of open space for toys of all sorts, with a rugged, easy-to-clean floor surface. Seating, sleeping, and eating areas can be folded down from the walls as needed. (Photo source: Forest River)

Large Living Space

Many toy haulers, especially large high-end models, offer really comfortable living spaces. These rigs often feature large interiors with spacious living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and sleeping areas. Some models include slide-outs to further expand the living space.

Security & Protection For Your Gear

If you’re planning to bring recreational gear along on your RV trip, especially expensive and/or easy-to-steal gear, having it out of sight is a great benefit. If you normally tow your Harley-Davidson on a flatbed trailer, it will be a lot more secure hidden inside a toy hauler.

Besides the benefit of keeping valuable gear out of sight of potential thieves, it will also be protected from the elements if it’s inside your rig. And if you’ve ever towed something in the rain or snow, you’ll really appreciate getting to your destination with your gear as clean as when you left home.

Keeping your gear inside your RV will hide it from potential thieves, and keep it clean.

One of the biggest benefits of a toy hauler is keeping your valuable gear secure and out of sight, making it a far less likely target for potential thieves. It will also arrive at your destination as clean as when you left home.

Options for Customization

Toy haulers come in various sizes, configurations, and floorplans, allowing you to choose one that suits your specific needs and preferences. Some models are fairly compact and mainly designed for weekend getaways, while others offer luxurious interiors for extended travel.

There are layouts to fit many different lifestyles and budgets, and manufacturers offer a variety of customization options. This allows buyers to personalize their RVs with the features and amenities they prefer.

RV garage bunk beds all set up for sleeping.

These large bunk beds lower down from the ceiling, allowing for plenty of extra sleeping space when you’re set up in camp with the toys outside. Convertible garage space makes these rigs amazingly versatile. (Photo source: Keystone RV)

Robust Construction

Some toy hauler RVs are built specifically to withstand rugged terrain and adventurous outings like off-road motorcycle or ATV riding. These models feature robust construction and off-road capabilities, as well as other amenities that make them ideal for campers who enjoy exploring more rugged and/or remote destinations.

What Are the Disadvantages of Toy Hauler RVs?

Like any other type of RV, a toy hauler isn’t right for everyone. A few disadvantages can make toy haulers a less-than-ideal choice for some RVers.

Living Space Can Be Compromised

Despite the large cargo space, some models or floorplans offer a disadvantage in terms of living space. Because the garage area can occupy a large portion of the rig, some smaller toy haulers sacrifice living space. This is an acceptable trade-off for some RVers but could mean that the living space feels cramped on extended trips or when traveling with several people.

Cost Of a Toy Hauler vs. Typical RV Floorplans

These rigs can sometimes be more expensive than conventional trailers or motorhomes due to the additional features and amenities related to the garage. Of course, pricing is also based on other factors, including desirability. That makes some rigs more expensive just because of what they’re able to do, or how much demand there is for them.

The need for a heavy-duty vehicle that’s capable of hauling extra weight can also add to the overall cost. ATVs, motorcycles, and other large gear can weigh a lot. The upgraded suspension and related components that may be needed to handle that weight often cost more.

Weight Considerations

One of the main reasons people might want a toy hauler can also be one of the biggest concerns related to owning one. Having all that open cargo space in the back means that you can load up a lot of heavy stuff — or overload it with a lot of too-heavy stuff.

An RV parked lakeside with lots of recreational gear

The ability to carry large, heavy gear requires paying extra attention to weight ratings and capacities. Some recreational gear, like bicycles or kayaks, probably don’t weigh enough to cause concern. Check and properly maintain all of your vehicle weights anyway! GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating), GCWR (gross combined weight rating), tongue weight, and all other limits must be followed to stay safe.

The location of most toy hauler garages at the rear of the rig can also be a cause for concern. Putting heavy stuff, like an ATV/OHV at the back of a travel trailer or fifth wheel means that you could be reducing your tongue weight. This can increase the likelihood and severity of trailer sway. If you read our post on trailer sway control), you know that’s something to avoid at all costs.

For travel trailers, even with the toy garage loaded, between 10% and 15% of the trailer’s GVWR should be applied to the trailer tongue. It should also go without saying that it’s critically important that your towing vehicle’s payload and towing capacities can handle the total weight of the RV. But it’s so important, we said it anyway.

Fuel Efficiency

Some toy hauler RVs can be large and heavy, and heavier rigs tend to have lower fuel efficiency compared to smaller RVs. So higher fuel costs can be a disadvantage. The weight of the gear carried in the garage area can further impact fuel economy.

Of course, other floorplan types can weigh as much or more than a comparably sized toy hauler. Just be sure to factor in the weight of any rig you’re considering, and the impact that weight may have on fuel economy.

Gear Storage and Stability

While toy haulers can provide ample cargo space for recreational equipment, storing items in the garage area can sometimes pose challenges, depending on the design of the rig and what you’re carrying. Securing all types of cargo is key for preventing damage while in transit.

Toy haulers typically have tie-downs, and some even have tracks on the floor for securing gear. But depending on what you’re transporting in the garage, you’ll need to be certain that all items are secure. The heavier and/or larger something is, the more important it is to be properly secured for travel. You sure don’t want your motorcycles falling over or your ATV rolling around back there.

Traveling/Parking/Camping Limitations

The sheer size and length of some toy haulers mean that you may find yourself somewhat limited in terms of where you can park during your travels. Not all campgrounds and RV parks will be able to accommodate the largest rigs.

Of course, we know about this issue firsthand, since we spent the past 2 decades full-timing in a 43′ diesel pusher towing a car. Large vehicle limitations are hardly exclusive to toy haulers, but something to think about if you’re considering one.

Canoers in a beautiful body of water surrounded by mountains

Carrying recreational gear, like a canoe, is great for enjoying the outdoors wherever you camp. However, some large toy haulers can present limitations in terms of where you can travel and camp.

Also, RVers who travel to or through cities may find it more challenging to navigate city streets in a large rig. This can be a concern for RVers with any big rig, including large toy hauler travel trailers and fifth wheels.

This is why your travel plans and style are such an important factor in your choice of any RV. Toy haulers are ideal for some outdoor enthusiasts who want to bring along heavy-duty recreational gear when they travel in an RV.

Many RVers find toy haulers attractive because of their expansive cargo space, versatility, and customization options. But it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of any RV purchase carefully to figure out if a toy hauler RV might be the right choice for you.

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Ed Fogle

Monday 29th of April 2024

I’ve always wondered how operators compensate for variations in tongue weight with the cargo area loaded versus empty, especially in travel trailer toy haulers.

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