In its most basic sense, the Toy Hauler is a Travel Trailer RV with a large opening and ramp door, typically in the rear.
It could also be described as a cross between a cargo or open-box trailer, and a travel trailer. For the most part, the front of a Toy Hauler is made up of the living quarters - the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen area - while the rear is designated the "cargo" area or storage area for your toys.
Originally, the first Toy Haulers evolved as a Travel Trailer with a ramp door in the rear of the trailer. Over time, Toy Haulers have separated themselves even more by offering many of the same conveniences as other RVs, but targeting a more “off-highway” group of consumers.
Self-Contained – Campers who prefer to take their toys away from paved roads typically do not have the luxury of “full hookups”, and must therefore pack in all the water necessary for their entire vacation. As such, Toy Haulers should have larger freshwater tanks on-board. Built-in generators are also popular in order to provide power for air conditioners, microwaves, and other appliances.
Wider and Taller dimensions – Since the Toy Hauler is also a Cargo Trailer, a large amount of open space is a must have. Toy haulers typically push the maximum width allowed on most public roads at 8’ 6”, and ceilings of 8’ or taller are very common. Many people who don’t even own toys will prefer the open feeling of a toy hauler to a “closed-in” travel trailer.
Collapsible Furniture – Rear beds, couches, and tables in the rear of the toy hauler will either fold up against the wall, or disappear into the ceiling in order to create more cargo space for the toys. Larger units may have double bunk beds in the rear on an electrical-powered chain-driven track system which pushes both beds into an elevated ceiling.
Durability – Since the cargo typically found in a toy hauler is meant for off-road, the toy hauler should also be built to handle bumpy roads, washes, and remote camping. Lots of ground clearance is also a big plus to keep from bottoming out and scraping the ground. Cabinets should be built more durable to withstand the bumps, and the chassis and axles need to be rated higher to handle the potential several thousand pounds of cargo it could be carrying.
The toys people haul inside their Toy Haulers can vary depending on hobbies, regions, or even tow vehicle. The most common seems to be ATVs, with “side-by-sides” such as the Yamaha Rhino and Polaris Ranger gaining immense popularity. Other toys may include street bikes, small boats or jet-skis, race cars, and Jeeps. Toy Haulers are also gaining popularity rapidly with the street-bike crowd, and can now be seen at popular bike runs as Laughlin, Daytona, and Sturgis. However, many people will go with a Toy Hauler simply because they enjoy the more open feeling inside.
Weight is a key issue with Toy Haulers, considering the gear inside this particular type of RV can exceed several thousand pounds. As such, owners must take into consideration not only the dry weight of the trailer itself, but how many toys they can take along with them in order to tow the trailer safely. Several toy haulers in more recent years are built small and light enough to tow with even the smallest pickup or SUV while still safely carrying several toys inside.
Toy Haulers, like Travel Trailers, come in a variety of lengths starting around 12’ in box length to 40’ fifth-wheel models. Smaller toy haulers, typically those with a box length below 21’ are laid out very simply – a bathroom and kitchen in the front, and sleeping quarters in the rear. Larger units may have full private bedrooms up front, and even a cargo area in the rear completely separate from living quarters.