Toy Hauler Campers

Toy hauler

Toy Haulers, also commonly called Sport Utility Trailers, are an increasingly popular type of towable trailer designed for people who want to take their "toys" with them while they camp or attend an event such as a motocross race; snowmobile competition; or the special weekends and weeklong gatherings for people who like to ride dirt bikes, four-wheelers, snowmobiles, etc.

A toy hauler has a large cargo area, usually in the back of the trailer that can tow and store "toys" such as four-wheelers, snowmobiles, any type of bike, jet-skis, dune buggies, go-karts, canoes, etc.  

toy hauler ramp

The built in ramp is usually as wide as the trailer itself so it is easy to load and unload. One of the biggest benefits of a toy hauler trailer that people appreciate is the security it provides for their four-wheelers, etc. because in today's world, it is not uncommon for people to steal those types of things if they are left unattended or out in an open area. Another big benefit is they eliminate the need to tow a separate trailer for their bikes, etc.

Other than the cargo area, toy haulers are pretty much like any other travel trailer or fifth wheel except the living area will be smaller. They also usually come with (or have the option of adding on) at least one generator, a fuel tank and a larger than normal water tank.

Some people who own toy haulers put furniture in the cargo area when they are going camping somewhere and are not taking any “toys” with them. The cargo area then becomes a spacious living room. I know a few people who do this, because although most toy hauler manufacturers take into consideration that a user will not always have something in the cargo area and therefore provide fold down beds and seating, my friends prefer seating that is more home-like so some of their family room furniture gets loaded in their toy haulers when the toys stay home.

How popular have toy hauler trailers become? During my own unofficial research I found over 50 models of toy hauler trailers available, not counting the motorized and popup toy haulers.

What's the difference between a toy hauler travel trailer, a popup model, and a motorized model?

Toy Hauler Travel Trailer

This is the most commonly found toy hauler and the most popular. There are two types: a toy hauler travel trailer and a toy hauler fifth wheel travel trailer.  

toy hauler travel trailer

toy hauler 5th wheel

Travel Trailer Style Toy Hauler

5th Wheel Style Toy Hauler

From the outside they look nearly identical to a regular towable travel trailer or a regular 5th wheel travel trailer, with the exception of a ramp (almost always on the back) for loading and unloading the "toys." Another clue to whether or not a towable travel trailer or a 5th wheel is conventional or is a toy hauler is the paint job it has. Toy haulers often have distinctive paint trim details that may look like flames or racing stripes. On the inside they look like normal travel trailers or fifth wheels too, although some have special themed interiors that make them look like a racing fan's dream world.

Motorized Toy Hauler  

motorized toy hauler

Other than the cargo area in a motorized toy hauler, there are not a lot of differences between a motorized toy hauler and any other similar sized motorized camper. One thing to consider is whether or not you want a separate vehicle to use. Many people prefer a towable toy hauler because the towing vehicle they have is often a truck and that truck has a bed that is usually big enough to haul at least one of the pieces of equipment they have brought with them. For example, there may be a need to haul a canoe to the river because accommodations near the river were not available.

Toy Hauler Popup  

fleetwood scorpion popup toy hauler

This option is best for people who don't have a lot of large "toys" to haul, people on a limited budget, or those who have a towing vehicle with limited capacity. The area for hauling the "toys" is usually not protected from the weather but is either an exterior flatbed extension of the popup that is on the front or rear of the camper, or uses the reinforced top of the camper as the hauling area for equipment such as a four wheeler.  

Standard and Optional Items Available

Although items that are standard in toy haulers versus items that are optional, or even available at all vary widely by model and manufacturer so shop around to find the best fit of standard items, optional items, and cost for you.

Here's a list of some of the amenities you can find in toy haulers (standard or optional):

Interior

   Exterior

Toy Hauler Pros

What are some of the best benefits to owning a toy hauler?

Any Downsides to Owning a Toy Hauler?

Nearly everything has some negatives, although they are many times outweighed by the positives. What negatives do I think you need to consider before purchasing a toy hauler?

Cost

Costs of toy haulers vary widely depending on the type (popup, travel trailer, fifth wheel, motorized) chosen, the size, the options picked, and whether or not a new or used unit is purchased.

Generally speaking, a toy hauler purchase is going to be a significant one. If you are not sure if it is the right thing for you, consider renting one for a trip first.

Some of the lower end toy haulers can be purchased new for less than $20,000. A large fully decked out model can cost significantly more, often upwards of $40,000 after all the fees and taxes are calculated.

The best times to buy new campers are typically early in the year when many dealers are promoting their wares as at camping and RV shows and have show specials and closeout prices on last year's models, or late in the year when dealers are looking to reduce inventory.

I've found the best time to purchase a used camper is at the end of the season, especially in climates where winters are cold and snowy. People who haven't used their camper that year or have only used it a few times and want to sell it are more often amenable to negotiating because they don't want to have to worry about winter storage, especially if they are paying a monthly fee for that storage.

How to Decide

One of the best ways to help decide on what type of camper or motor home to purchase, whether it be a toy hauler or any other type, is to attend a camping show. Not only do you get to see a large variety of campers/motor homes/travel trailers/toy haulers, you get to talk to dealers and owners about them. One little known fact about most camping shows is that the extra personnel nearly every dealer needs to hire are their customers who are the owners of the campers and RV's they sell.

In the end though, there's no doubt that most toy hauler owners are very happy with their purchase. When they take off on a trip with their toy hauler, they are looking forward to a fun time with whatever "toys" they are bringing with them. And not many things ease tension and stress better than a ride on the water with a jet-ski, or a romp on the trail with a four-wheeler, or an exhilarating snowmobiling excursion though the winter wilderness.

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