The Ultimate Toy Hauler Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know
Written by Carolyn Jackson
Table of Contents
The great thing about RV life is that is can appeal to such a huge variety of needs and desires. The toy hauler RV is a prime example of how versatile RVs can be. A toy hauler is essentially a travel trailer or fifth wheel, but with the addition of a garage in the back of the RV to haul all your toys and vehicles. Toy haulers are fantastic for bringing along a jet ski, motorcycle (or four), an ATV, UTV or whatever else you can manage to fit in the back of one of these rigs.
Not sure if a toy hauler is what you are looking for? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Buying an RV, and then we break it down by each RV type in our Guide to Buying a Motorhome and Guide to Buying a Travel Trailer and Guide to Buying a Fifth Wheel. This guide is specifically on toy hauler RVs, their benefits and all the information you would want to know before getting behind the wheel.
What is a Toy Hauler?
A toy hauler is a type of RV that can be towed as a fifth wheel or as a travel trailer, depending on the manufacturer and brand. The feature unique to a toy hauler is the open garage space in the back of the rig. The back of the RV opens into a ramp for easy loading, unloading, and access to your toys.
What are the Benefits of a Toy Hauler?
One of the most persuasive reasons to get a toy hauler is the easy loading and unloading and protection of the vehicles you store in the garage area. Another huge plus is that once you are parked and have unloaded the garage, that space can be used in various ways. It can become a dining space during the day and sleeping space at night. In some models, the back ramp can become a back patio, which is perfect for entertaining. This kind of open space in an RV is rare and often attracts people that may not even have toys to haul.
Toy haulers are one of the larger RVs on the market. This is appealing because more space! But, it does make it more challenging to tow and maneuver in certain spaces. If you are considering a toy hauler, look into where you would take it and make sure that space can accommodate a larger RV. You also need a capable truck to tow a toy hauler. It is essential to determine if your tow vehicle can pull the toy hauler fully loaded before you take off on your adventure.
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Who Would Own a Toy Hauler?
A toy hauler is fantastic for many different types of people, but they are specially built to suit a more select group of people, including:
Amber Shae, an RV dealer in Texas makes a great point about another creative use for a toy hauler: “Toy Haulers are also the ideal option for RVers with pets, as the back and/or side patios usually have side rails and can help contain animals while allowing them to be in a separated outdoor area. I’ve even had several customers convert the garage into a horse trailer type of setup for their stock show and rodeo animals!”
How is a Toy Hauler Different From a Fifth Wheel RV?
There are multiple types of towable RVs. A toy hauler is a very specific subset of towable RV; it is most similar to a fifth wheel, but also shares characteristics with a travel trailer and a pop-up camper. Let’s talk about some of the more notable differences:
- Length: 35-45 feet
- Width: 8 to 10 feet
- Height: 10-13 feet
- Weight: 5k – 16k
- Price: $90,000
- Length: 30 to 40 feet
- Width: 8 to 10 feet
- Height: 9 to 12 feet
- Weight: 8k to 12k
- Price: $75,000
- Length: 8 to 40 feet
- Width: 7 feet
- Height: 8 to 10 feet
- Weight: 3k-7k
- Price: $29,000
When you look at the side by side comparisons, a toy hauler is bigger, taller, and more expensive than the other types of towable RVs. Toy haulers offer you something other towables do not, which is space. They excel at capacity and at providing the maximum amount of space and cargo available within the RV market.
One of our most trusted RV dealers, Amber Shae makes sure her Toy Hauler customers always “measure the length, width, and height of their ‘toys’ to make sure they choose a floorplan with ample garage space for everything.”
Pro Tip: When selecting a toy hauler, be sure to consider the weight of the toys you are considering bringing along for the trip. You need to be positive that the wet weight of the RV does not exceed the max towing capacity of your tow vehicle or the weight limit of the RV itself.
How Much Does a Toy Hauler Cost?
On average, a new toy hauler can typically cost anywhere between $20,000 and $200,000 depending on the size, weight, floorplan, materials, features, and amenities. Based on data from GoRollick, the average price of a toy hauler is $88,000.
If you’re wondering about how much it costs to own an RV, we breakdown the costs in our total cost of RV ownership article. Of course, you can get a used toy hauler for much cheaper. Like cars and any other vehicle, RVs start depreciating as soon as they’re driven off the dealer’s lot, so a toy hauler that’s a few years old could be about 20% – 30% less than its original purchase price.
Learn about new vs. used toy haulers here where we break down the pros and cons of buying new vs. used RVs.
Toy Hauler Manufacturers: Where Do I Start?
As far as toy haulers compare to other types of RVs, there is less selection from manufacturers. But the brands that are made are all high quality.
- Forest River makes simple, durable and easy-to-use toy haulers with fiberglass walls and luxurious features. Forest River, Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers of quality RVs that offers a variety of models and floorplans.
- Winnebago manufacturers two top-selling toy haulers: the Spyder and the Scorpion, the Spyder being the more practical of the two.
- Keystone RV offers high-quality, durable and spacious toy haulers. The Keystone Fuzion is one of the highest quality toy haulers on the market with all the bells and whistles and 8 different floor plans to choose from.
- Jayco offers a variety of toy haulers that are spacious, easy to tow and easy to set up. Jayco’s Octane has won awards for its forward-thinking design and durability.
- Thor offers both Class A and Class C toy haulers as opposed to the more traditional travel trailer or fifth wheel style. They are known for their Outlaw which features an innovative patio deck (on select models), which folds down to reveal an intuitive entertaining space.
- Grand Design is one of the fastest growing RV manufacturers currently on the market. They offer a highly reviewed toy hauler, the Momentum, which comes in both a fifth wheel and travel trailer style.
- DRV specialized in full-time living RVs and makes the Full House toy hauler, one of the most luxurious toy haulers in the industry.
These are just a few of the top toy hauler manufacturers out there. Crossroads, Heartland, and Dutchmen are some others to look into as well. Now that we’ve covered what a toy hauler is, why you would want one and who makes the best of the best, let’s talk about some of their other features.
Buying a Toy Hauler: New Vs. Used
Toy haulers are one of the more expensive towable RVs, mostly due to their size. To fit an ATV, UTV or Jetski in the back of an RV, there simply needs to be more space.
As we mentioned earlier, toy haulers cost on average about $88,000. While still less expensive than their motorhome cousins, this is still a large amount of money. One way to cut down on the cost is to invest in a used toy hauler.
Regardless of purchasing new or used, the price of your toy hauler will still depend on the following aspects:
- Time of year
- Where you purchase from
- Who you purchase from
Amber Shae, an RV dealer in Texas notes that: “One of the most popular Toy Hauler features for people who plan to have guests over is a second half or full bathroom located in the garage. There is usually no carpet in the garage area so this option makes quick bathroom breaks much easier and cleaner; especially for kids!”
A used toy hauler will vary in price based on the same factory as a new toy hauler, however, there are some additional items to consider if you are looking at buying used:
- The seller – the more motivated the seller is to offload their vehicle, the more wiggle room you have for price negotiations
- The condition – if a used toy hauler has water or roof damage, the price will dramatically decrease whereas if the vehicle is still in pristine condition, it could sell close to the original MSRP.
- The time of year – people usually do their traveling in the warm summer months, meaning they are more likely to sell once they have finished their planned trips in the fall. Use this as a negotiation tool and to search a wider array of inventory.
Pros and Cons of New Vs. Used Toy Haulers
New Toy Haulers
Pros: New toy haulers are in perfect condition and come with a limited warranty. You may also be offered better financing and better deals if you are buying new.
Cons: They start depreciating the second you pull them off the lot and they come at a higher purchase price.
Used Toy Haulers
Pros: Used toy haulers will come at a cheaper purchase price and they may even come with newer upgrades from previous owners.
Cons: You can run into some hidden problems with any used vehicles and they may require more maintenance due to the previous ownership and age of the vehicle.
What Should I Look for if I Am Interested in a Used Toy Hauler?
Make sure that the previous owners kept up on maintenance and servicing, as you want to make sure you are making a purchase that is towable and worth the money. This includes checking the tires, water, battery, and overall condition of the vehicle.
What are Reliable/Safe Sites to Purchase a Used Toy Hauler On?
GoRollick works with hundreds of Certified Dealers across the country who are committed to providing you an upfront, transparent price and a great price. You can start your search here. In addition, you can visit your local dealer lots for used inventory. You can also research a used toy hauler on the following sites:
- NadaGuides provides a tool to estimate prices
- ChanginGears describes determining a fair market price and provides a checklist for inspecting a new or used RV
- Craigslist, which connects with you private sellers. If you decide to purchase from a private seller, we recommend meeting the seller in a public place.
Want more info? We break it all down here in our RV Buying Guide: Buying a New RV vs. Buying a Used RV.
Ready to search inventory? Check out GoRollick’s nationwide network of used inventory.
Use our guide How to Take Advantage of Powersport and RV Manufacturer Incentives on Your Next Vehicle Purchase to get the most bang for your buck. When you’re ready to buy, check out our list of the latest available incentives.
MPG for Toy Haulers
Fuel mileage depends on a number of factors:
- Towing weights, wet and dry
- How fast you drive
- The terrain
- Fuel type
- Mother nature and those dreaded headwinds
- How you maintain your vehicle
- And perhaps most importantly, the type of tow vehicle you are using
Although it is challenging to estimate MPG for a toy hauler because of the variation in size, weight, length, and tow vehicle, a good average would be somewhere in the 9-12MPG range.
Pro Tip: For a 20,000 mile cross-country road trip, you can expect to spend about $5,000 to $10,000 on gas. The typical RV family drives less than 5,000 miles a year with their RV, so sometimes fuel consumption is not a major budget consideration.
Gas Vs. Diesel: Depending on which you use as your tow vehicle, your gas prices can vary. Diesel is preferred by long distance travelers because it is much more fuel efficient and has a greater energy value than regular gasoline, but it has a higher upfront cost.
Use gasbuddy.com to help you find the cheapest gas prices near you.
Financing a Toy Hauler RV
Toy haulers are one of the more expensive travel trailer RVs because of their size. Most people will need to take out a loan in order to purchase one. If you do take out a loan, you want to make sure you get the best possible loan rate, so that you owe as little interest as possible. Searching for good loan rates and negotiating pricing can be daunting. Luckily, we have a Definitive Guide to RV Loans that goes over everything you need to know about how to finance an RV.
Concerned about your credit and how your score might affect your ability to finance or purchase a toy hauler? Educate yourself on how to use the tools in your shed to still get the best rate possible with our Guide to Bad Credit Loans.
How to Buy a Toy Hauler RV
Now that you have a better idea of what a toy hauler is and the benefits of owning one of these rigs, you probably have a good idea of which vehicle you want to look into. If you are feeling ready to search inventory, start with GoRollick’s nationwide network of new and used inventory.
GoRollick works with the best dealers in the country who are dedicated to price transparency and a great buying experience. With GoRollick you can get an upfront price and a special offer on your next toy hauler, plus savings on after-purchase products. Then when you’re ready, you can shop at one of our Certified Dealers.
What About the ‘Toy’ in Toy Hauler: Let’s Talk Best ATVs, UTVs and Jet Skis to Haul
A toy hauler wouldn’t be very exciting if you didn’t have anything to haul in that pristine garage, which pulls double duty as a loading ramp. From ATVs to dirt bikes, you can bring some pretty cool stuff along for your adventure. Let’s take a look at the top performing models in each segment to get your creative juices flowing…
Top ATVs 2019
- Polaris Sportsman 450
- Honda TRX 420
- Polaris Sportsman 570 EFI
- Honda TRX 500
- Polaris Sportsman 570 EPS
Top UTVs 2019
- Polaris RZR XP 1000
- Polaris RZR 4 XP 1000
- Polaris Ranger XP 900
- Polaris Ranger 4 XP 900
- Kawasaki Mule PRO FXT
Top Motorcycles 2019
- Yamaha YZF-R6
- Suzuki GSX-R750
- Honda CBR60RR
- Kawasaki Ninja 650
- KTM 390 DUKE
Top Jet Skis 2019
- Yamaha Waverunner EX
- Yamaha Waverunner EX Sport
- Yamaha Waverunner EX Deluxe
- Sea-Doo Spark 2-up Rotax 900 ACE
- Sea-Doo GTI SE 130
Know what you need out of an RV, and then narrow down your search using that criterion. Take a look at your camping habits and destinations. Consider what toys you want to bring and how many people need to comfortably fit when deciding which vehicle is right for you.
Thinking of investing in a new toy to haul on your summer adventure? Finding the right deals to make your investment worthwhile can be tough. Luckily, we have some tips to help you get started. Check out How to Take Advantage of Powersport and RV Manufacturer Incentives on Your Next Vehicle Purchase and Best Motorcycle, ATV and UTV Deals and Incentives so you can make the most of your purchase.
Post-Purchase Considerations for a Toy Hauler
Once you purchase a toy hauler, the fun really starts! Trips, tailgates, parties, and memories that will last a lifetime. Your toy hauler is an awesome piece of machinery, but it needs some love and care to make sure it lasts as long as possible for you and your family.
Toy Hauler Storage
Summer is definitely a more popular time for families to get out and use their RVs, which makes winter a more common time to store your vehicle. Over the winter, many places will experience extremely cold temperatures, harsh winds, and wet conditions. To ensure your RV makes it to the summer in the best possible condition, be sure to invest in storing your vehicle properly while you are not using it.
There are a few options for toy hauler storage:
- Covers: An RV cover can cost $50-$300 or more, depending on size, materials, and fit. If you are using a cover you can store your travel trailer in your driveway, garage, or backyard (depending on HOA restrictions).
- Renting garage space: Renting an RV storage space can cost $20-$100 a month outdoors and around $45-$450 a month indoors. If your toy hauler can fit in your garage, you won’t have to worry about renting a space!
Check out our RV Storage Checklist: How to Store Your RV for the Winter for further guidance on toy hauler and RV storage.
Where Can I Park My Toy Hauler?
If you are a full-time RVer and want to find a place where you can park your toy hauler vehicle for an extended time, your best bet is to call the place you want to be and speak with their customer service representative to see if they will allow you to stay longer. Although some parks don’t advertise extended stay options on their website, most would be happy to have a filled spot, especially in the slower travel months.
The best option is to find a place that will allow you to pay a monthly rate instead of a daily one. Usually, this would cost a few hundred dollars, which will likely include basic hookups like electricity, water, and possibly even sewer, cable, and WiFi.
If you are just passing through and need a place to stay overnight, there are some surprising options for you to consider parking on the road. Truck stops, casinos, Walmarts, and even schools are often willing to let large RVs park in their lots overnight with permission. If you park in one of these locations, be sure to follow all instructions on where to park as well as any other rules that are in place. When you leave, make sure to leave it in better condition than you found it.
The most common RV parking scenario would be setting up camp for a few nights or weeks at a campsite in an RV park or national park. We laid out the Top 10 Best RV Parks in America for you so you can make your cross-country trip as enjoyable and Instagrammable as possible.
Full-Time Toy Hauler Living
Full-time living in a toy hauler is not as common as it might be for a travel trailer or a traditional fifth wheel trailer. This is because you lose a lot of living space with the garage. Although toy haulers are often even bigger than fifth wheels or travel trailers, they lack the open space and privacy that comes with their brother RVs. This is not to say you cannot live full-time out of a toy hauler, but that if you are considering it, be sure to know what you need out of a full-time RV residence before you invest in a toy hauler.
Some features you should look for:
- Wifi Booster
- Outside grill or speakers
- Solar prep
- Spare tire carrier
- LED lights
- Storage space
- Roof Vents
- Windows in the garage area
- Easy conversion of garage area to living space
- Convenient outdoor living space
What Do I Need to Know if I Am Interested in Full-Time Toy Hauler living?
If you’re looking to get into full-time RV living, we have a great Beginner’s Guide to Full-Time RV Living: 8 Ultimate Tips for Life on the Road that is chock-full of all the information you need.
Tips for Full-Time Toy Hauler Living:
- Layout matters, not size!
- Look for slide outs to offer more living space
- Buy a generator
- Buy a battery charger
- Get solar panels
- Be mindful of the restroom
- Use little water
- Buy 6-gallon water tanks to fill for backup
- Keep it organized
- Keep things you need on the road in the car
- Get a portable garage for protection
Worried about the long hours you might spend in the RV getting from place to place? Check out our Top 10 RV Games to Play with your Family to get some ideas on how to pass the time.
What are Other Costs Associated with Toy Hauler RVs?
The most significant cost of owning a toy hauler other than the initial purchase price of the rig will be the tow vehicle and hitch. If you need to purchase a tow vehicle that could run you an additional $30,000 to $80,000.
Other than those two initial costs, there are some costs you will have to be mindful of if you own an RV:
- RV Parks and Campsites
- Off-Season Storage
Additional costs that are associated with a toy hauler would be utility and power sources such as propane, batteries, generators, and inverters.
Learn more about the Total Cost of Owning an RV here.
Finding the right deals to make your investment worthwhile can be tough. Luckily, we have some tips to help you get started. Check out How to Take Advantage of Powersport and RV Manufacturer Incentives on Your Next Vehicle Purchase and Best Motorcycle, ATV and UTV Deals and Incentives so you can make the most of your purchase.
Toy haulers are awesome machines built to travel far and in style. They offer the convenience of bringing along your favorite ATVs, UTVs dirt bikes, motorcycles or jet skis without having to worry about towing them or storing them. The garage space is also a great, open area that can be converted into useful living space when not in use. If you like to travel to adventurous places and want to hit the smaller trails, sand dunes or open waters, a toy hauler could be the best option for you.
Not convinced on Toy Haulers? Learn all about Travel Trailers, Fifth Wheels, and Motorhomes, too. When you’re ready to add some toys, check out our 10 best motorcycles and 5 best ATVs.