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Weekend warriors and full-timers alike are flocking to toy hauler campers more than ever. Happy Campers are wanting to bring their outdoor toys out to play for the weekend or in their home on wheels’ garage.
No toys? No worries. Folks are also finding creative ways to utilize the garage space more than ever with home offices, converted bedrooms and playrooms for the kids, man caves – the options are practically endless.
Toy hauler travel trailers aren’t new, but they used to mean towing a heavy pull-behind trailer. Today, you can find lightweight toy haulers shorter than 20 feet, and weighing less than 4,000 pounds! These small size campers are gaining in popularity due to the ease of being able to go to more remote locations and their lower price tag.
With so many new options out there, how do you know which small toy haulers are the best? Well, keep scrolling and we’ll tell ya.
What is a Toy Hauler?
Let’s start from the beginning for a moment. What is a toy hauler camper?
A toy hauler is a bumper-pull or fifth-wheel style trailer that has a large ramp door opening that acts as a ramp to load “toys” in the garage area or main living area of the trailer. The trailer has recessed D-ring tie-down points on the floor that you then safely secure your toy while it rolls on down the road.
What “Toys” Are We Talking About?
We’re not talking about your kids’ tricycles and dollhouses. We’re talking about those grown-up toys of ours.
Depending on the cargo capacity of the trailer, you’ll see toy haulers being packed with golf carts, UTVs/Side by Sides, dirt bikes, motorcycles, e-bikes, and more.
Why Should I Buy a Small Toy Hauler?
There are three main reasons people decide to purchase a small toy hauler.
Cost. Length. Weight.
Let’s take a look at each of these areas.
Let’s talk about the cost. The smaller the trailer, the smaller the price point tends to be. A 40-foot toy hauler is going to have a couple of extra digits on the sticker price compared to a 17-footer, even when being purchased as used.
Chances are, if you have a toy hauler camper, you’ve got toys with you. You’re going to want to do one of two things. Drive miles down a dirt road to get away from it all, or camp in a campground that’s most likely in a national or state park. Many of those campgrounds have rig length restrictions that wouldn’t be met by those big ol’ 30+ foot larger toy haulers. Or you probably wouldn’t want to be hauling a 10,000+ pound trailer down miles of washboard road to that secret off-roading spot.
The lighter the trailer, the smaller towing capability your tow vehicle needs to have. Big trailers = big tow vehicles. Small trailers = more options. In fact, many of the newer and smaller toy haulers can be pulled by smaller vehicles such as standard SUVs, small trucks, and even some minivans!
Shopping for a Toy Hauler
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for your travel trailer toy hauler.
Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC)
Always know the cargo-carrying capacity of the trailer you purchase. This includes your fresh water, fuel, gear, etc. The last thing you’re going to want to do is overload your trailer and put its structural integrity at risk!
Match Your Toy Hauler to Your Tow Vehicle
Pick a trailer your tow vehicle can tow with ease. We always want plenty of space, but at what cost? Don’t get into a situation where you wish you had more power and less weight to carry.
Toy Hauler vs Traditional Travel Trailer
If you’re in the market for a bumper-pull trailer, you’ll want to know the pros and cons of going with a toy hauler travel trailer vs a typical travel trailer.
Pros of a Toy Hauler Trailer
Here are a few benefits toy hauler travel trailers have over more traditional travel trailers.
1. BUILT-IN GARAGE. No truck bed? No problem. Having a toy hauler trailer means even if you don’t have a truck with a bed, you can still bring your favorite toys camping.
2. BUILT-IN FUEL TANK. Another cool feature a toy hauler can offer is that some brands have built-in features like an added fuel tank and fuel pump. No need to bring fuel cans!
3. PATIO. Besides the obvious pro of being able to bring your toys with you for the weekend or along on your full-time RV lifestyle, there are other benefits to having a toy hauler style home on wheels. Many brands now offer a ramp door that can lay flat in addition to being a ramp for your toys. This option creates a back patio, which is a great way to increase your outdoor living space in a tiny trailer. There are even some aftermarket options out there that can convert that patio to an inside outdoor space with a patio enclosure kit.
Cons of Toy Hauler Trailer
But like all camper trailer options, a toy hauler has its drawbacks. Here are some of the cons of small toy haulers compared with travel trailers under 30 feet.
1. LESS LIVING SPACE. The biggest drawback is that a toy hauler usually has fewer living space amenities such as a permanent dining table, full kitchen, couch, or even a bed. Many toy hauler brands offer a flip-out sofa or convertible sofa bed that folds up to make enough room for the toys.
2. COMFORT. We all know that when it comes to comfortability, RV beds are most often lacking. But somehow toy hauler beds and couches are even less comfortable. Think futon couch, cheap and uncomfortable.
3. QUALITY. Yes, RV craftsmanship has gone dramatically downhill over recent years. But we tend to see cheaper materials used in toy haulers to keep the overall dry weight of the rig as light as possible. Cheaper material means faster wear and tear on your RV.
4. AMENITIES. Toy haulers also tend to have less cabinet storage space, and “luxury” amenities as compared to traditional camper trailers. The D-ring hooks on the floor are less aesthetically pleasing, so most campers buy a throw rug to make it feel a bit more homey.
READ NEXT: For a complete comparison of these two towable RVs, check out Toy Hauler vs Travel Trailer: 5 Differences That Matter.
Best Small Toy Hauler Campers
Here’s our list of the best small toy haulers on the market in 2023.
1. Forest River EVO
The Forest River EVO series offers several toy hauler floor plan models. The EVO series offers toy haulers as small as 17 feet, and a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,910. The largest model is 25 feet and has a GVWR of over 8,000 pounds.
Forest River EVO tends to be a lower to mid-quality line, which means it could be a more budget-friendly option.
2. Forest River Wolf Pup
The Cherokee Wolf Pup series has the 18RJB model that weighs a bit more than their EVO option but has more features, such as a dinette area, a queen-sized bed with an overhead bunk for additional sleeping space, and an outside entertainment area with speakers.
3. Forest River Wildwood
The Forest River Wildwood series offers small to midsize toy hauler options that offer features like walk-on roofs and thicker floors for higher cargo capacity.
The Forest River Wildwood FSX 265RK is about 30 feet, including its tongue, and weighs just over 5,700 pounds.
4. Dune Sport Firestorm
Maybe you want a more customizable approach? Check out the Dune Sport Firestorm, one of the smallest toy haulers on the market. They start as small as 10 feet, yes, 10 feet. The dry weight is estimated to start as low as 2,066 pounds.
Smaller trailers mean smaller budgets. These customizable trailers start as low as $17,000.
5. Rockwood Geo Pro
The Rockwood Geo Pro G19FBTH is a lightweight toy hauler option with a full-size bed that offers better living amenities, such as a larger dry bath, and an oven in the dining area.
A great toy hauler option for solo travelers.
6. inTech Flyer
Another cool option for those wanting to go really tiny is the inTech Flyer series. Now when we say cool, we mean cool! These compact size trailers were built for adventure. They’re definitely not meant for long-term living, but they make for an awesome weekend warrior option.
Features of this micro toy hauler include a roof rack, a fully welded cage frame, and a power awning in both the inTech Flyer Discover and Explore models.
7. Forest River No Boundaries NB10.6
The Forest River No Boundaries (NoBo) series is becoming one of the most popular small toy hauler brands out there. Their 10 series weighs under 2,500 lbs! But with the loss of weight comes the loss of interior features. The NB10.6 model has no bathroom or kitchen area, just a fold-down bed, and some storage areas.
Again, another great option for the weekend adventurer.
8. ATC Game Changer
ATC is a brand that’s known for its high-quality and lighter weight aluminum options for car hauler trailers. However, they have recently branched out into the toy hauler world. They’re giving us hope that quality-made small toy haulers aren’t a thing of the past.
The ATC Game Changer 2015 model starts at an exterior length of 26 feet and a GVWR of 11,440 lbs. They also have a lightweight model starting at around 16 feet with a GVWR of 3,850 lbs.
Is a Small Toy Hauler for You?
So, are you convinced yet? You’re going to be wishing you had one of these popular toy-toting travel trailers when you see someone roll out a motorcycle in the Black Hills of South Dakota or sit on a patio watching the sun set over the Florida Keys.
A toy hauler is a great camper option, but a small toy hauler is an even better choice!
Want more tips on how to choose an RV?
Check out our guide to preparing for full-time RV living, including the pros and cons of the RV lifestyle, gear guides, and more.
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