New RVer reader asks: What’s a “toy box”?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Toy hauler

Dear New RVer: We haven’t bought an RV yet, but we keep hearing about something called a “Toy Box.” Just what is a Toy Box, and (since we don’t have kids) do we want one? Sign us, Toy Box Baffled.”

Dear Toy Box Baffled: Welcome to a whole new lifestyle, complete with jargon that would keep an etymologist happy for decades. If you have a “fifth wheel” and “blue boy” down on your vocabulary list already, you’ve made miles of progress.

As to a “toy box,” also known as  a “toy hauler,” forget the kids, at least the ones under the age of 13. A toy box is a recreational vehicle designed with space to haul adult toys. Nah, not the kinds that come in the mail wrapped in plain brown paper – think bigger adult toys, like off-road vehicles or motorcycles. Imagine, if you will, a travel trailer with bedroom, kitchen and bathroom up in the front, and then the last many feet of the rig looking a bit like a plain room, with perhaps a couple of fold-down bunk beds strapped to the wall.

Now walk around to the rear of your imaginary travel trailer and instead of a plain wall, a drop-down door that doubles as a ramp takes up the space. Drop the door down and into that otherwise plain room you can drive up your motorcycle or “sand rail,” and carry them with you on a trip to the sand dunes, RV park, or wherever you want to use those noisy toys.

We’ve found toy boxes to be a real favorite among many of the younger RV set. If you have the chance to drive Interstate 10 through the east end of Southern California, on over toward Phoenix, you’ll see seeming swarms of toy haulers heading home every Sunday afternoon during the cooler months. They’ve probably been out hitting the dunes.

Toy haulers are great for those with adult toys. Some traveling vendors find them great for living in and hauling boxes of goods for sale. We even looked at one once when thinking about building an office in the “toy” area. Still, toy haulers have their drawbacks. In our perhaps limited experience, it seems that to get the space for the toys, sacrifices are made in the living area. We found living features in many spartan at best.

If you need the space for toys, suitcases full of money, or other large, bulky items, a toy box may suit your lifestyle. If you’re thinking of an RV in terms of comfort and livability and don’t need the space, you may be better off looking in a more standard trailer or fifth wheel.