Guest Post: The Top 10 Reasons We Decided to Invest in a Toy Hauler by The Campoholics
Hello Enduro Power Nation! We are Mike and Missy, The Campoholics! We are experienced RVers here to tell you why we ultimately decided to purchase a toy hauler instead of a typical fifth wheel unit.
First, a little about us:
We are both retired from the State of Delaware. Michael retired as a Captain from the Delaware Natural Resources Police after 25 years of service. Michael also retired as a Sergeant First Class in Delaware Army National Guard after 20 years of service to the state and country. Michael held a few jobs, MOS’s in the Guard such as Military Police, Mechanic, Recruiter and finishing as an instructor at the OCS Academy. Melissa did 25 years as an IT specialist with the pupil accounting software for 2 different school districts. She has since been hired as a contractor working a few days a
week as a help desk assistant with the Department of Education. We have been married for 30 years and have 2 children: a daughter (27), son (25) and a granddaughter. Our family still resides in Delaware.
Getting Hooked on the RV Lifestyle
We sold our 3,000 square foot home in 2017 with the thought of downsizing and building a smaller home since we were empty nesters. While renting a smaller home and researching properties, we took a ride to the 2017 Hershey RV show and ended up buying a 27 ft Forest River Salem Travel Trailer. After a few camping trips we were hooked! We were sitting around a campfire in November of 2017, and we thought, why can’t we do this full time? We ended up camping pretty much every weekend in 2017 and again in 2018 and we quickly realized the camper we had was not going to hold up well with respect to our demands from a low-priced travel trailer. We upped our game and bought a Grand Design Reflection 38FT travel trailer. After camping every weekend of the season in 2018 (and we mean every weekend), we made friendships with others in our local area as we routinely visited our local state parks. This is where the handle “The Campoholics” came about - we knew we were intoxicated with camping! At the end of 2018 we knew the full time RV life was top priority.
Making the Leap to Full Time RVers
We altered all our plans and set a target date of April 2021 as our month to hit the road full time as we still had to wait for Missy to retire. But… we soon figured out we couldn’t live full time in a travel trailer. So, the shopping began again for a new rig. We focused on a fifth wheel RV for the ease of maneuverability with regards to backing versus a travel trailer. So the question became, what type of fifth wheel was it going to be? In the meantime, we sold most of our possessions in order to prioritize simplifying life. After being in the military for 20 years, Michael had seen the world but not his own country, so we decided were going to travel the US and put in many road miles, hitting bucket list stops.
Choosing a Toy Hauler over a Fifth Wheel
While shopping and listing the pros and cons of a residential fifth wheel vs a toy hauler, we ultimately decided to go with the toy hauler. Even though toy haulers aren’t for everyone (they will cut down on your general living space given that the square footage comes in the form of an unfinished garage area), we ultimately decided to go with a toy hauler after again attending the Hershey RV show in the Fall of 2019. We ordered our Grand Design Momentum 395M and haven’t looked back!
Top Ten Reasons We Chose a Toy Hauler
There are many reasons why we elected to purchase a toy hauler rather than a typical fifth wheel unit, but here are our top ten:
1. Pets – When we purchased our toy hauler, we had a mid-size dog and we wanted the ability to use the garage as an area for the dog to be in rather than under our feet.
2. Second Bathroom - When shopping for a big RV we loved the second bath option the toy hauler featured. Our Momentum has a half bath feature in the garage.
3. Separate Washer/Dryer Location – We love having an area to have a washer/dryer in the garage rather than taking up space in our bedroom closet as in most RV floor plans.
4. Room for an Extra Vehicle - We bought a Smart Car to maximize mileage and save wear and tear on our tow vehicle (a Ford F450). The garage feature enables us to load the Smart Car and haul it versus driving it. The ramp on our Momentum has a 3,000 pound capacity and the Smart Car weighs just under 1,800 pounds.
5. Storage Flexibility - The many customizable configurations of the additional space of a toy hauler garage makes the possibilities endless.
6. Extra Space During Bad Weather - We have used the garage as a shelter in some big storms in our travels. During very high wind storms, we bring the slides in and hang out in the garage.
7. Added Sleep Space - The garage can be converted into an “apartment” for guests when they spend a few nights with us at the campsite. We have carpet that we roll out onto the garage floor, giving it a homey feel.
8. The Views! - The ramp of a toy hauler becomes a deck. We have spent many evenings watching sunsets on our toy hauler deck. We have 3-season glass doors in the garage and the additional windows create such an open feeling, the space feels big!
9. More Time Off-Grid - The additional water and waste tanks along with (2) 30 gallon gas tanks enable us to go off grid for weeks. Toy haulers are typically equipped with generators, but now with the addition of solar and Enduro Power 300 Ah batteries, we can dramatically cut the use of the Onan generator and save gas.
10. Fast Storage Access - Finally, the toy hauler is a quick space for your outdoor items. If rain is coming, we simply toss items in the garage to prevent them from getting wet.
Overall, we are very happy with our decision to go with a toy hauler. We especially enjoy the flexibility we gain by having the ability to travel with our Smart Car. Our toy hauler suits us in the stage that we are in our full time RV life!