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TheLongWayHome

Toyhauler Garage Use/Usage

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 A newbie RVer here, and we are doing reserach on an RV (5th wheel) and tow vehicle (HDT). Plan on going Full-Time next Spring. The RV will be a built (NH, Spacecraft, ?). One of the issues we have gone back and forth on is having a toyhauler versus a "regular" RV. We really do want that flexible "second" room for hobbies (HAM radio, electronics, RV "projects"), visitor bedroom (HappiJac Bed), working out when cold, hanging out when hot, a general "messy" workspace, and the storage of toys (bicycles, potentially a SxS, etc.). Garage would be 10' (preferred), 11' or worst case 12' 6". So this either results in a very long RV or you compromise living/kitchen spaces to keep the length to a "regular" size RV.  Regular size 5th wheel: 40', Toyhauler 5th wheel 45'. 

So, to you FT toyhauler users out there:-

  1. USE: What do you use your toyhauler garage for? Multiple uses? Flexible room or just a "dirty" garage? Wish I had less garage? Wish I had more space (FT RVer never say that :o)?
  2. USAGE: What kind of usage do you get out of the garage space? Use it all the time, seldom, can't do without it, wish we had a bigger living room? How long have you been using your toyhauler? If you have big toys (motor bikes, SxS, small car, etc.) you store in the garage, do you generally remove those big toys when you camp for a few days or a week?  Or does it become a hassle and you just use it as garage storage?

 

 

 

All insight and experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Gerry

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I have a 40' toy hauler, 12' garage.  I put a smart car in it, easy to unload when we arrive.  Wife and I really like the patio.  There are always trade offs, like smaller living area.

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We are on our second TH camper.  We use the garage as a garage to haul vehicles.  When parked the garage become an additional room for getting out of the elements.  

 

The first was a travel trailer, 29' with a 11' garage.  It worked okay for us. (R-Wagon 291)

Positives:

  • Light
  • Maneuverable
  • Easy to park anywhere
  • Golf cart or Motorcycle(s) fit in garage

Negatives:

  • The living space was very limited
  • Our side by side would not fit (height) 
  • The garage was the only interior living space, so the vehicle had to go out to use the living space.

 

 

New 5th wheel TH is much better in most regards.  39' length with a 11' garage. (Keystone Carbon 364).  It has a queen size bed and two convertible couches in the garage so it can sleep at least four people, too.  We chose to not get the patio option because of the loss of space in the garage when closed up.  I may make my own patio support cables and forgo the railings, but haven't decided yet.

Positives:

  • 5th wheel is much easier to tow
  • I got to justify my HDT
  • Can-Am Defender, Golf Cart or BOTH motorcycles all fit
  • Usable sized bathroom for normal sized humans
  • Separate master bedroom
  • Lots of living space separate from the garage

Negatives:

  • It's big
  • It's heavy
  • 3-place recliner instead of dinette and smaller couch - this was a compromise 
Edited by Av8r3400

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25 minutes ago, dennisvr said:

I have a 40' toy hauler, 12' garage.  I put a smart car in it, easy to unload when we arrive.  Wife and I really like the patio.  There are always trade offs, like smaller living area.

Thanks Dennis,

Do you need all the 12' to be able to get access? Do the tie-downs have to be close to the wheels or further away OK?. What type of door do you have to get access to the living room? A number of people have a swing in (to the garage) door and you need the extra space in the garage to be able to get access to the Smart.  The SxS we are looking at has the same bumper to bumper (~106") as the Smart. We were thinking of asking for a sliding glass patio door to help with the access issues. Thanks for your guidance.

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4 minutes ago, Av8r3400 said:

We are on our second TH camper.  We use the garage as a garage to haul vehicles.  When parked the garage become an additional room for getting out of the elements.  

 

The first was a travel trailer, 29' with a 11' garage.  It worked okay for us. (R-Wagon 291)

Positives:

  • Light
  • Maneuverable
  • Easy to park anywhere
  • Golf cart or Motorcycle(s) fit in garage

Negatives:

  • The living space was very limited
  • Our side by side would not fit (height) 
  • The garage was the only interior living space, so the vehicle had to go out to use the living space.

 

 

New 5th wheel TH is much better in most regards.  39' length with a 11' garage. (Keystone Carbon 364).  It has a queen size bed and two convertible couches in the garage so it can sleep at least four people, too.  We chose to not get the patio option because of the loss of space in the garage when closed up.  I may make my own patio support cables and forgo the railings, but haven't decided yet.

Positives:

  • 5th wheel is much easier to tow
  • I got to justify my HDT
  • Can-Am Defender, Golf Cart or BOTH motorcycles all fit
  • Usable sized bathroom for normal sized humans
  • Separate master bedroom
  • Lots of living space separate from the garage

Negatives:

  • It's big
  • It's heavy
  • 3-place recliner instead of dinette and smaller couch - this was a compromise 

 

Thanks for the great details and the pro/cons. Seems like 11' is the sweet spot. Another person that has a 10' advised 11'. But he had an open into the garage door. I believe he could not use the door to the living room when he loaded his CanAm Meverick. I believe that is 119" bumper to bumper. The RxR S 900 is only 106" (same as a Smart car).   I'm trying to see if I can get away with 10' and make stuff fit. Everything is a compromise. But when it comes to full-time it's your home, so still want it to be livable and not claustrophobic! I'm hoping the 10' with a glass "patio" door to the living room will make the access easier. 

And also need to consider height! Heard of people having to air down to get in!! It's just that one spot at the apex of the climb.

Yes, it is all going to be long and heavy. Therefore I NEED an HDT!!!!!!:D

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The number of times you move/amount of time you spend in one place MAY determine your level of happiness with a garage.

Had a 2014 Heartland Cyclone 4000 (44' long, ~12' garage) for 2 years.  Hated it.  One year we were stationary for over 3 months and the other year we moved often.  Never found a way to make the garage comfortable living space in either scenario.  Garage was used to carry a motorcycle, bicycles, and kayaks.  When stationary, garage was mostly a big dog kennel when we were out sight seeing.  The Cyclone'e overall usable living space was small and not very comfortable.  No regrets getting rid of it and doubtful I would get another TH.  My wife loved the patio.  To me, it was nice, but I don't miss it.

But, you are not going the cookie-cutter route.  You might have the opportunity to somewhat customize your TH.  If you want the garage to be livable, it needs to be insulated like the rest of the coach.  I suggest the garage also gets it's own ducted air conditioner and a few electrical outlets installed along the walls just like in the rest of the coach.  I'd skip the Happijack and just have an inflatable mattress available for visitors.  Happijack takes up space regardless of position, adds weight and it costs money.  Didn't have much use for the on-board fuel station either.  Just more weight and mounting a front wheel chock for the bike was a pain.  

Whatever you do, be thoughtful.  You're spending a lot of money and finding someone to buy it if it doesn't work for your family could be tough.  Good luck.

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12 hours ago, TheLongWayHome said:

Thanks Dennis,

Do you need all the 12' to be able to get access? Do the tie-downs have to be close to the wheels or further away OK?. What type of door do you have to get access to the living room? A number of people have a swing in (to the garage) door and you need the extra space in the garage to be able to get access to the Smart.  The SxS we are looking at has the same bumper to bumper (~106") as the Smart. We were thinking of asking for a sliding glass patio door to help with the access issues. Thanks for your guidance.

I like having the 12 feet, gives me more room to get around the car.  I have a Fuzion 405 and it has two swing doors, one from kitchen and the other thru 1/2 bathroom.  Only problem I have entering when car is tied down is the tie down strap gets in the way of the door to open fully.  My nephew has a 11' garage with a sliding glass and loads a Polaris General and says he only has about 3" to spare.  Mine didn't come with the patio option so I added cables to use the door for a patio (works great).

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Way home.....

This sounds crazy but heck we are crazy so...

We have a fairly small 30 ft tt no slide two room Dune toy hauler that at first glance is too small however for two folks and one HORSE it works very well.

We have a custom 3 ft wide removable horse module that Dolly-the-paint-horse rides sidewise in the last 3 ft of the garage with a fiberglass floor pan.....in a few minutes we remove the horse module and no one knows that a horse had ever been in the living room.....

My point is that properly configured one very large room may be a better option than a garage with a solid wall between the "living" space.....why not make it all living space when the toys are removed?

Some racers have huge awning that cover the car($) and when the car is under the awning they have a huge room for living.....

Go to the race track and you will see a whole different world of RV'$......

Drive on.......(Big room.....live-LaRgE)

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Great advice and experiences, thanks.

Definitely would go the route of the same insulation level on the walls, ceiling and garage door - 2+" of closed-cell sandwiched insulated foam press-rolled, as the rest of the RV. Also separate A/C unit and ducting.  Like the idea of an inflatable bed - already have one!

At a minimum, will try to keep away from swinging doors - always seem to get hung up on something!  My DW likes the sliding glass patio door idea as it let's in light and then open makes the living room much bigger. Plus if someone comes, she can close the door, pull the curtain and hide me in the garage. :o

Quote

We have a custom 3 ft wide removable horse module that Dolly-the-paint-horse rides sidewise in the last 3 ft of the garage with a fiberglass floor pan.....in a few minutes we remove the horse module and no one knows that a horse had ever been in the living room.....

Dollytrolly,

That has to be the most unique RV setup I'm heard of. Any pictures you can share? You don't seem to be on http://hhrvresource.com/node/6

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17 hours ago, TheLongWayHome said:

Do the tie-downs have to be close to the wheels or further away OK?.

You can offset tiedowns to the side without an issue. This is commonly done. They do not have to be "inline" with the wheel. Having access to properly tie down the cargo is incredibly important. If you don't have good access then you will be inclined to take shortcuts....leading to bad things....   IMO.

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So we don't have a toy hauler, but I did TONS of research on them as I needed a separate space for my office and for all the other flexibility reasons you mentioned.  If you are building a NH or SpaceCraft, you will have cart blanche to set up the floor plan however you like it, but IMHO, the DRV JX450 (floorplan below) was the only way to go.  It was a standard 5th wheel layout with a garage, where all the others were big compromises in the main living area.  The trade-off was that it was only a 10' garage, but that was big enough for us.

Good luck on your quest, and I'll be very interested to see what you end up doing, especially if it's a SpaceCraft or NH.

2016-DRV-Full-House-JX450.gif

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11 minutes ago, Shawn Patterson said:

So we don't have a toy hauler, but I did TONS of research on them as I needed a separate space for my office and for all the other flexibility reasons you mentioned.  If you are building a NH or SpaceCraft, you will have cart blanche to set up the floor plan however you like it, but IMHO, the DRV JX450 (floorplan below) was the only way to go.  It was a standard 5th wheel layout with a garage, where all the others were big compromises in the main living area.  The trade-off was that it was only a 10' garage, but that was big enough for us.

Good luck on your quest, and I'll be very interested to see what you end up doing, especially if it's a SpaceCraft or NH.

2016-DRV-Full-House-JX450.gif

Shawn,

We are thinking very alike!!! We have looked at a lot of TH as shows and online. We had looked at a DRV JX450 online and found a dealer with two only 600 miles away!!  Unfortunately, I had to have shoulder surgery and by the time we got back to looking they were gone. Nothing available like it in the left half of the country. We did go to the dealer two weeks ago and looked at a different model (LX410), but my DW did not like it - 12' garage and ate up too much of the living room. Also did not like some of the fit and finish. Have some concern about Thor involvement now and some Lippert components.

For a true full-timer RV we believe that the only production 5th wheel TH that is suitable is DRV. After that you have to go custom. My definition of FT requirements is very large (have a 140+ item list :rolleyes:) but it all comes down to a few critical items, robustness for regular travel for lots of miles, environmental comfort (insulation, heating/cooling, etc.) and CCC (3,000# is absolute min and with toys it's 4,500-5,000#). Many of the production built TH are for the weekend campers who go play in the desert or woods. When it gets cold they go home and generally don't travel very far often. :o

Now we are looking at a very similar layout (to the JX450), from either NH, SpaceCraft. Still 45' which is a bit scary - towing and finding locations. I'm out West and people tell me the sites are there but you got to do a little more recon.  Plus there are lots of BLM areas where you can boondock, if setup for it.

Obviously, have not locked down on a plan or layout, but the one above is very close - bathroom/bedroom might change a bit. Thanks for your feedback. I continue to soak up the forum collective wisdom.

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The JX450 is a great floorplan. In general, DRV has very good designs. The details are there, and some very good use of space. The infrastructure is lacking in some regards, but "can" be fixed. And that is true of almost all RVs, not just DRV. 

Personally, I don't find 45' to be that difficult to deal with. But it DOES depend on your lifestyle...and everyone is different. I do find running around in our 28' motorhome (shorter than our truck) to be a "different world" than the bigger rig.....would not want to live in it permanently, though.  Everything has it's place - you just have to figure out the compromises that work for your particular situation "at the moment"....because it WILL change over time.....

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Howdy All,

We have a 45 foot long trailer with an 18 foot long garage, I like my toys and WON'T travel without them.  As its just me, the dog and sometimes my wife the smaller living area is not a problem in fact I like it that way much easier to keep clean.  My total lenght is 68 feet, in three years of dragging this trailer it really hasn't been a problem other then not being able to stay in many of the older National and State camp grounds that were built back when a station wagon and a very small trailer was a big RV.

Dave

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Thanks Dave. Nice looking rig. Will come look you up at the HDT Rally. Still in the newbie - no RV, Truck yet, stage. I'll told there will be lots of people there with thoughts on, and no shortage of ideas on, how to spend my money!

Gerry

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4 minutes ago, TheLongWayHome said:

Thanks Dave. Nice looking rig. Will come look you up at the HDT Rally. Still in the newbie - no RV, Truck yet, stage. I'll told there will be lots of people there with thoughts on, and no shortage of ideas on, how to spend my money!

Gerry

Howdy Gerry,

Attending the National HDT Rally will be the best use of time and money you can think of if your still in the looking-planning stage of this endeavor.  The only thing better then spending your own money is helping others spend theirs. ;)

Dave

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Its a very personal preference kind of decision, depends on your priorities, needs and travel patterns. 

My Toy Hauler was 36 ft with a 10 ft garage, bought specifically to carry my Harley touring bike and Polaris ATV. With both toys in the 10 ft garage, plus tools, riding gear, etc, the garage was full. I didn't use the garage for any other purpose except occasionally keeping my black lab in there temporarily when she got especially muddy. If I wasn't hauling motorsport toys, I'd never have bought a toyhauler. But I was very happy with mine and the garage served its purpose well, keeping my living space free of oil, grease, mud & fumes.

When I was stopped for a week or two, the toys stayed locked in the garage unless I was riding one. I would switch back & forth, a few days out in the boonies on the ATV, then a few days touring the local hiways on the Harley.

I personally think its more difficult than expected to regularly convert a greasy, oily, muddy "vehicle" type garage into a 2nd use "hobby" room.  But that's from a single guy who's preferred cleaning method is hiring a local maid service. 

Best advice I can give is do your best to understand up front, what your primary needs & uses are.  Even if you're planning a custom build, go sit in lots of different RV layouts to see if a garage feels more or less comfortable to you guys.

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2 hours ago, JRP said:

Its a very personal preference kind of decision, depends on your priorities, needs and travel patterns. 

Best advice I can give is do your best to understand up front, what your primary needs & uses are.  Even if you're planning a custom build, go sit in lots of different RV layouts to see if a garage feels more or less comfortable to you guys.

Thanks JRP. Key advice and we are going though an ongoing discuss on true wants vs needs. The initial list was a bit of all possible uses to optimize space usage. But mixing "clean" and "dirty" activities is a big exposure. And then there is the garage flex space versus regular living space and then the overall length approach. We have been in lots of different RV dealer models/design but the big think now is to go see some real use situations at a few rallies. Nothing will be the same as our usage, but it's nice to see other's reality!! 

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I use my garage to store the wife's mobility scooter and my Vespa scooter.  When we are stationary it is a office/ham radio shack /general work area.  Love the space.  best choice I made.  Bought is used 2007 fusion.  Good condition.  made some small mods for comfort and to suite our life stile .  Tow vehicle is a 200 Ford F350 Dually, diesel 7.3 powerstroke motor.  

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12 minutes ago, wf1g said:

I use my garage to store the wife's mobility scooter and my Vespa scooter.  When we are stationary it is a office/ham radio shack /general work area.  Love the space.  best choice I made.  Bought is used 2007 fusion.  Good condition.  made some small mods for comfort and to suite our life stile .  Tow vehicle is a 200 Ford F350 Dually, diesel 7.3 powerstroke motor.  

Thanks Paul. I have somewhat a similar usage ideas in mind office, HAM station, work bench and "toy" storage in mind.

73

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I see this is a little bit older thread, but I'll jump in here.

We have a Rapter 4014LEV with a 14' garage, 41'7" total length. I actually fell in love with the garage and one of the reasons we got it. I figured we could carry more bikes that way and we were leaving with 4 as it was. It turns out getting 4 motorcycles in a 14' garage is pretty tight, so ended up with 3 bikes in the garage, plus 2 bicycles and one of the motorcycles on the back of the truck.  

The deal with my wife was the garage was going to be my office during the week when I work, but I knew that meant probably having to take a couple bikes out to have room to work. Now we have only been on the road since Aug so we are still getting things setup and I definitely need to work on better tie downs for the bikes. Right now it takes way too long to tie them all down. 

In our current location, we have been here for 3 weeks so I was able to unload our main 2up bike and the two dual sports. The 3 of these fit under the nose of the 5th wheel very well that leaves them out of the weather. I leave the 4th bike in the garage with the bicycles and that leaves me plenty of room to work and basically have that as my space. Plus we are able to store stuff up on the beds and couch in the back and keep the garage relatively clear. Our toy hauler doesn't have a deck, otherwise keeping that 4th bike in there might be a pain if we wanted to use it. Actually, I really detest our couch setup in the back. It's a ushaped one before those happy jacks came out. I wish we had the happy jacks that went to the side as that would be so much better and the top bed would be way up there out of the way

Yes because of the 14' garage, our living space is less, but I'm actually okay with the way it's setup and it's just my wife and I. 

I'm already thinking though if we were do change things up, I would get a truck setup to carry 3 bikes in some sort of garage and carry a smart car in the toy hauler. If we still had a 4th bike, it could still fit in the garage with the smart care perhaps or we get down to 3 bikes which is feasible. The smart car would be much easier to unload on quick stops and wouldn't mind keeping it outside and if we don't need the bikes they are out of the way on the truck. 

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