EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article by Mark Quasius was published in the May 2021 issue of Family RVing, the monthly magazine by FMCA. It is reprinted here with permission.
The toy hauler segment of the RV market has become quite popular, with new models being introduced regularly. Toy hauler models can be found in a wide range of RVs, including fifth-wheels, travel trailers, and both Type A and Type C motorhomes.
Toy haulers originally were designed for RVers to have a place to sleep while transporting their favorite motorized vehicles — ATVs, motorcycles, golf carts, and other fun-to-drive “toys.” But buyers quickly found the garage area provided a great deal of flexibility and potential for other uses as well. In fact, one manufacturer, Alliance RV, refers to their toy haulers as multi-purpose vehicles, which is an apt description.
Toy haulers offer a number of benefits that fit the needs of a wide range of potential buyers. For the traditional owner who truly wants to haul motorized toys, they make it possible to transport these vehicles inside the RV without the need for a dedicated trailer. With toy hauler motorhomes in particular, the motorhome’s hitch is free to tow another trailer or to flat tow a full-sized vehicle. Toy haulers keep a motorcycle, golf cart, or ATV out of the weather, where it stays cleaner and more secure than if it were loaded onto an open trailer.
Many toy haulers are equipped with a small refueling station that incorporates a dedicated fuel tank and pump for adding fuel to ATVs or motorcycles. Most have a rack system built into the floor that allows the owner to attach cargo-holding accessories that provide a safe and easy way to secure items during transit.
Even folks without motorized vehicles to transport may find value in a toy hauler. Some appreciate having a larger cargo storage space than is possible in a traditional RV. It can be used for sporting gear such as bicycles and kayaks. Or maybe you are a vendor who attends flea markets, fairs, and trade shows and you need to carry a display and some inventory. Another popular use is as a dedicated hobby or sewing room. Workshop space and tool storage easily can be accommodated in a toy hauler garage.
In some cases, cargo isn’t a concern, but people are. People who work from their RV can convert the open bay to a dedicated office space, rather than limiting themselves to the kitchen table. Large families can take advantage of the additional space by converting the garage into a bedroom or a sitting area. Some come equipped with comfortable sofa beds that fold out from the sidewalls, or power sofa beds that lower from the ceiling to provide plenty of room for sitting or sleeping. Families who home school their children can convert the space into a dedicated classroom. A rear screen can be installed so that when the ramp is down, occupants can enjoy a view of the outside and some fresh air.
One of the latest trends is to offer a patio setting by lowering the rear cargo ramp to a horizontal deck position. Railings and steps can be placed around the deck’s perimeter, and an overhead power awning can extend to provide shade. In some cases, the entire deck can be screened in. This makes a great place to entertain or just kick back, read a book, or watch the view of the lake from your reclining lawn chair.
The uses and needs are endless, as are the many floor plans and choices available. Following is a brief overview of a few of the toy haulers on the market today.
Thor Motor Coach Outlaw
Thor Motor Coach offers its Outlaw series of toy haulers in Type A and Type C motorhomes. Its Type A models — the 38KB and 38MB — are 39 feet 9 inches long. They feature 8-foot-by-10-foot-2-inch garage areas with large patio decks and three-season patio doors off the back. Both are built on a Ford F-53 chassis with a 7.3-liter Triton V-8 gasoline engine. They are priced within $700 of each other, starting at $235,425. The main difference in the garage areas is that the 38KB features a built-in patented Sky Bunk, whereas the 38MB has a drop-down queen-size bed.
Thor Motor Coach’s Type C Outlaw toy hauler motorhome, the 29J, has an 8-foot-by-8-foot garage with a patio deck off the back. It is built on a Ford E-Series cutaway chassis with a 7.3-liter gasoline Triton V-8 engine. The Type C Outlaw begins at $136,125.
Thor Motor Coach
Newmar Canyon Star 3927
Newmar’s Canyon Star 3927 is the lone toy hauler option in the company’s line of Type A motorhomes. Built on a Freightliner MC chassis and powered by a 340-horsepower Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engine, the Canyon Star 3927 is the only Type A toy hauler on the market with a front-engine diesel. The motorhome is just shy of 40 feet long, with the back 10 feet being an open garage area that can be customized to individual needs. With a spacious and upscale interior, the Canyon Star 3927 is the ultimate Type A toy hauler. The price varies depending on options but starts at $238,434.
Alliance RV Valor
Alliance RV’s Valor line of fifth-wheel toy haulers offers four floor plans, each designed for unique lifestyles. Garages vary between 11 feet and 15 feet in length, making it easy to pick a floor plan with the right balance between living area and garage space. Valor garages are fully insulated and include a dedicated air-conditioner and a ducted heat source. An on-board air compressor can be used in the garage as well as outside. The Valor is packed with features that enhance boondocking livability, and it is equally at home when camping off the grid as when parked in full-service RV parks. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the Valor series begins at $96,300.
The Seismic is Jayco’s premium line of fifth-wheel toy haulers. The five Seismic floor plans all offer a bath and a half or two full baths, as well as an EZ Lift tailgate with a party deck option. Garage sizes and configurations — as well as living area layouts — vary significantly, offering a multitude of options. Ranging between 41 feet 10 inches and 45 feet 7 inches in length and weighing from 15,415 to 16,025 pounds, this high-end fifth-wheel is a premium RV that requires premium towing power. The manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing on the Seismic line ranges from $111,031 to $125,854 depending on the floor plan and optional equipment.
Jayco Jay Flight Octane
Jayco’s Octane series of toy haulers consists of three floor plans in the lightweight Jay Flight travel trailer line, covering the opposite end of the spectrum from the high-end Seismic. The Jay Flight Octane models grow from 26 feet 6 inches, to 29 feet, to 32 feet 3 inches in length and weigh between 4,700 and 7,090 pounds. Jayco designers expanded the garage area in each by providing room for cargo to extend down the wide aisle of the living area, which is useful for kayaks and other long, narrow items. For those looking for a more affordable option, the Jay Flight Octane series begins with a base manufacturer’s retail price of $38,138.
Grand Design Momentum
Grand Design offers a plethora of toy hauler options. They range from the Momentum G-Class travel trailers, with seven floor plans, to the high-end Momentum fifth-wheels, offered in three floor plans. Other options include Momentum G-Class fifth-wheels (five floor plans) and Momentum M-Class fifth wheels (five floor plans) — lighter-weight alternatives to the Momentum.
Even at the lower price point, Momentum G-Class travel trailers are luxurious, with all incorporating at least one slideout for extra space, and five that have two slideouts. The floor plans range from 26 feet 11 inches to 35 feet 11 inches in length, with gross vehicle weight ratings from 10,000 pounds to 12,000 pounds. Base prices for the G-Class travel trailers range from $50,000 to $70,000.
Grand Design RV
KZ offers six lines of travel trailer and fifth-wheel toy haulers. Its top-of-the-line Venom series of full-featured, 101-inch-wide fifth-wheels has seemingly everything. Each of the four floor plans includes three slideouts. Garage lengths vary from 11 feet to nearly 14 feet. The triple-axle Venom fifth-wheels range from 42 feet 8 inches to 43 feet 7 inches in length, and weigh between 14,450 and almost 15,000 pounds. Suggested retail prices for units in the Venom series range from $100,307 to $102,611.