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Robin DeanJun 19, 2017 (Updated Jan 17, 2021)2 CommentsShare

Toy Haulers: A Nomad Rider’s Sanctuary

Note: If you simply want to tow your motorcycle(s) behind a vehicle, see this post.

Whether you’re cashing in those hard-earned vacation days, booked for a multi-afternoon track event or gathering fellow riders for the rally, fifth wheel toy haulers can provide the best in mobile accommodation. Making distant motorcycle routes more accessible, even a small toy hauler offers utilitarian shelter and optional creature comforts for post-ride down time. Sold in a variety of sizes and floor plans, riders need only explore which layout/amenities fit their purpose.

In this post, we look to the array of basic through luxury fifth wheel toy haulers in all of their “form versus function” glory. Ordered from smallest (four-walled base camps) to largest (fully furnished, with multiple pop-outs), whichever fifth wheel housing you require will likely fall somewhere in between. For the sake of this being a motorcycling website, our suggestive results insist that each have an integrated garage/workspace for wrenching.

Newer engineering feats coupled with compact technological advancements have brought more attractive features to the entire toy hauler collective. To our benefit, this also means less weight. With such modern developments in mind, the used market is a completely different animal. If the prospective purchase is many years old, it’s safety standards may be suspect. Still, “there are no problems, only solutions” and that cost-effective used purchase might be a candidate for upgrades.

Micro Toy Haulers

Pricing: $5000 – $15,000
Pros: ultra lightweight, opportunity for creative thinking
Cons: limited capacity/comfort, bike(s) parked outside

The beauty of the micro toy hauler comes from it’s simplicity. What you see is pretty much what you get. They do what they’re designed to do, with some room for modification though whatever motorcycle you’re hauling will have to be unloaded for the duration of your stay.

Perfect for the weekend excursion, whatever amenities these don’t provide can be made up for either on location or through select motorcycle camping products. That isn’t to say that these are empty shells, though. The above pictured A-Frame Pop Up (T12RBTH) boasts an exposed front-side bay that’s wide enough for two small bikes or one diagonally positioned super bike.

Should you feel up to it, a possible DIY crossover involves an enclosed trailer from Diamond Cargo. With what ingenuity you can muster, there’s likely a way to devise two “Murphy bed” fold downs (one for bedding and the other a sort of kitchenette). Let’s leave the bathrooms to the destination. ;)

Small Toy Haulers

Pricing: $10,000 – $20,000
Pros: complete amenities, lightweight, easy transport
Cons: limited capacity/comfort, bike(s) parked outside

Next, we’ll lengthen our stay a little bit. For the solo rider’s extended trip or duo’s weekender, the small toy hauler equates to basically anything between fifteen and twenty-five feet. While there might be some workspace/rear-bedding overlap when traveling in twos, again the bikes can be stashed securely outside. Traveling alone or as a couple? No harm bringing them in for the night.

Essentially a rolling studio, this scale of travel trailer often incorporates a combination toilet/sink/shower closet that’s good enough for rock ‘n’ roll. Reinforced ramp access to the garage opens the door for awning and patio possibilities opposite the workspace. Our kitchen options are also kicked up a notch, bringing a small sink, oven, fridge and freezer into the mix.

Because they’re comparatively lighter, small toy haulers employ just enough functionality to stay within “hitch-and-go” quick-use. We can brush our teeth, take a shower, get some rest, make morning breakfast and hit the twisties knowing that a roof waits for our return. Leading manufacturers continue to perfect the short duration escape without abandoning convenience.

Medium Toy Haulers

Pricing: $15,000 – $35,000
Pros: complete amenities, entry-level luxury, independent workspace
Cons: more skill to maneuver, more towing capacity required

For winter-dodging “southern-escape” artists, a more permanent mode of transport takes priority. Single-season nomads, riders who ditch ice biking for a more bird-like migration, embody this demographic. With them in mind, we look to the medium toy hauler for it’s versatility.

At twenty-five to thirty-five feet long, the available floor plans grow in number exponentially. Front versus rear garage/workspace position can be decided on a per-model basis, allowing pre-purchase considerations for in-travel balance and stability. More weight to the front of any fifth wheel toy hauler means less erratic behavior while in transit.

So, while your current go-to route might include the deep sweepers between Dinosaur and Burley, the first sign of cooler temps might point you south of Austin. Wherever you setup shop, these allow for a dinette, full kitchen, pop-out expansion, indoor/outdoor lounge space, queen bed and independent shower plus an office or extended bedding if you keep your motorcycle(s) outside.

Large Toy Haulers

Pricing: $20,000 – $50,000
Pros: complete amenities, mid-level luxury, independent workspace
Cons: more skill to maneuver, more towing capacity required

Welcome to the bigger leagues. The garage/workspace is completely dedicated. Maybe a fully framed patio hangs to the side. Dual entryways point directly to a queen bedroom or a divided gangway, separating a full couch, island kitchen and two bathrooms. Here, you’ve got it all.

This is a true lifestyler’s investment, marked by either the lack of any remaining mortgage payments or the adventurous insight to have never bought in the first place. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal and there are so many places to see. Why not visit them all without ever leaving home?

Wanderers far and wide can see enough legendary riding in one year to make weekend warriors weep thanks to thirty-five (or more) feet of expandable living quarters that are ready to be parked just about anywhere. Corner Ohio’s ”Windy Nine” before conquering Brown County, Indiana. Then heed the Missouri Ozarks call en route to Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. Feeling the chill? Head south and continue living the high life via 500+ square feet of nomadic riding tenure.

Deluxe/Luxury Toy Haulers

Pricing: $15,000 – $150,000
Pros: galvanized reliability with full-on luxury living (sometimes military grade)
Cons: more money spent, more intricate maintenance

For each of the five fifth wheel toy hauler sizes mentioned above, there are inventively top-shelf “super versions” that implement all kinds of high end ingredients. Echoing the ingenuity of Tiny House Nation’s Zach Griffen on a mass-production level, smart-home inspired elements work in song to simplify daily activities. At the boundary of their respective price point, the warranties better compliment the tech. 8-)

In the micro category, Micro-Lite makes the Vymeron, a tricked out, octagon shaped pod. Their listed features include all aluminum construction, flat-four wiring, LED lighting, reversible vent fan, radial tires and alloy wheels. What makes it so posh are the optional installs such as e-brakes, fresh water system, propane kitchen ensemble and a complete second room made from canvas.

What qualifies as “small” has a big impact on comforts. LivinLite delivers in the 6×15 market, introducing an external flip-out bed (sheltered in canvas) and weighing only 2700 lbs dry. Their fold-up sofa is more comfortable than most and the complete kitchen/bath compress a small enough footprint that tool storage isn’t a factor.

Now onto the middle ground. With a total “box length” of 34 feet, the Highlander travel trailer comes fully packed. It’s TBD garage dimensions don’t reflect the dual purpose loading ramp/patio system and drop down “HappiJac” bed lift with pass-thru (2nd) dinette. Sliding glass doors connect to the dual-popout island kitchen followed by a full bathroom (48″x30″ shower) and storage-friendly queen bedroom. This model also offers a frontside, fully exposed vehicle storage option.

On a large scale, it’s tough to decide between Heartland, Grand Design, Full House, Venom and Raptor branding. Each raise the bar year after year, introducing new-and-improved luxury features that are unique to their company. Consider the following …

Heartland’s CY 3600 opens the floor plan with three popouts, a 12.5′ garage, two bathrooms and ladder/loft storage that doubles as an eagle’s nest.

Grand Design’s Momentum 395M caters to those with a preference for more modern decor, employing soapstone where possible and dividing open space in 360 perspective fashion.

With DRV’s LX410, smarthome electronics meet a sort of countryside B&B flavor including a captain’s lounger, study desk and 2nd bathroom (garage).

Three axles waiting, KZ-RV’s Venom V3911TK holds a top shelf slot by way of a queen bedroom with ample storage, residential shower and four-person dinette.

Keystone RV offers countless versions of the Raptor, each with a unique set of smart, convertible and modern design elements to best suit buyer preferences.

Motorcycle Toy Hauler Summary

If you’ve researched any of the fifth wheel toy haulers above and have the bankroll to take the plunge, now you know that the real problem is deciding which diving board to leap from! Our exploration of the various toy haulers on the market isn’t intended to confuse potential buyers so much as clear a path for self exploration. Listing (in detail) the personal reasons for buying a trailer helps to make the better option more obvious.

Track day space saver? Micro manages. Weekend warrior? Small is plenty. Annual getaway? Medium has you covered. Livin’ the life? Large and in charge. Livin’ the high life? Luxury awaits.

All-in-all, owning or even leasing a moto-centric travel trailer has an expanse of benefits. Hauling your beloved sport tourer to the start of that 150+ mile jaunt you’ve only read about should prove reason enough. With that, we wish you well in your endeavor and hope you’ll take to some of the finest riding roads the world has to offer!

What Motorcycle RV And Travel Trailer Toy Haulers Have You Used?

Beyond simply riding, there are many great mobile motorcycle solutions on the market. Which do you rent or own? What do you like about it and why? Your input is invited. Post an article!

This is the end!
Robin Dean

About Robin Dean

Motorcycle advocate, enthusiast and traveler. Founder, The Riding Obsession (2014). MSF RiderCoach credentials: BRCu, BRC2u, MSRCu, ARCu, 3WBRCu ~ Spotify Playlist

Comments

Paul Dunkle says:

Are there any I can drive and still haul my full-size (large) motorcycle in the back?

Robin Dean says:

@Paul: Please excuse my (slight) edits to your comment to fit this website’s niche demographic. I changed “Harley” to “full-size/large” for the sake of. That stated …

If by “drive” you mean a motorhome, I’ve not explored the topic in detail yet.

I can however confirm that I’ve seen every class of motorhome offer an integrated garage/hauler option. They usually take up the lounge/work area with drop-down seating for use after the motorcycle is removed.

… but if you’re asking about a towed hauler of any kind (non-motor) for large motorcycles, it all comes down to weight capacity and intended purpose. The short of it is yes, they do exist.

Let’s say you’re wanting to travel the united states with your (heavy) bike in it’s hauler. For this, I’d personally recommend a 5th-wheel toy hauler for it’s stability. They connect to a long bed pickup in the bed itself, often offering larger wheels which can handle longer distances with less maintenance.

For weekend getaways or long-term parking of the hauler, maybe there’s less harm in going with a standard pull-behind toy hauler like any of those mentioned above. While their wheels might be smaller (repack the bearings more often), they serve their intended purpose quite well.

Ask yourself … “how much total weight will my hauler be hauling?”, including the weight of both your bike and belongings. Then, visit a dealership with your needs fully loaded. See what they have to offer while also considering if any changes need to be made your purchase requirements. It’s better to be over-equipped than at the limit.

I hope that helps and good luck!

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