What Options Should I Get on my ATC Toy Hauler?
This is probably the biggest question that prospective buyers ask. Here's a run down on the many options available for ATC toy haulers, and what actual owners have to say about them...
First of All
Many owners choose to add these options after the initial build to keep their initial costs down. However, keep in that ATC charges a much higher price (sometimes 2 to 4 times higher) for these options when sold separately than if purchased at time of initial build.
SO, get the most expensive options added initially. If there are any options that can be purchased elsewhere, like at an RV supply store, or online via Amazon, then get those there.
Happijac Lift Bed
If you have kids, then get the Happijac. If you don't have kids, don't get it. Don't get the Happijac as a "what if" option, where you may or may not have guests visit.If you're concerned about your mother-in-law wanting to camp with you, and she's very picky about not sleeping on the couch, then give her the bed and you sleep on the couch.
Otherwise, it adds more weight to the trailer for something you're not sure if you'll ever need.
However, some couples without kids use the Happijac as a storage loft. They'll throw a bunch of stuff on it, then raise the bed as high as it will go. If you want to do this, then be prepared to bolt some railings to the platform to prevent stuff from falling off.
Fold Up Sleeper Sofa
Probably one of the most popular options that owners get. However, it's really only needed if you "need" the fold-up capability to make room for vehicles.
However, this is an expensive option, and if you don't plan on loading vehicles, and just need space for bicycles, a kayak, or a single motorcycle, then you can save a lot of money buying a simple futon that folds out for sleeping.
Dinette with Sleeper Sofa or Folding Chairs
The Dinette with Sleeper Sofa is only needed if you need the additional sleeping space. Otherwise, it's much less costly to just get the Dinette with Folding Chairs. It ends up working better because you can move the chairs around, or take them outside.
Note that some owners have decided against getting any kind of dinette built-in from ATC, and instead have added a table that runs lengthwise against the wall, instead of protruding perpendicular from the wall. This actually provides more walking room throughout the trailer and gives it a more open look. ATC has actually fabricated some of these dinettes for custom orders. Some owners have fabricated their own tables, or purchased fold-up tables.
Reclining Pedestal Chairs
These are popular because they are very comfortable, and yet stable enough that they don't need to be secured down during transit. They are very pricey, however, and you can find similar chairs at Camping World for less. Get them only if you've already added ATC's sleeper sofa so that it will match fabrics and stitching.
Ducted Air Conditioning
Definitely get at least one AC unit. If you're getting a bedroom model, then definitely get a second AC unit. ATC toy haulers tend to get hot under the sun, and you will kick yourself in the head for not getting it.
If you choose to buy one AC unit from the factory, you can have ATC pre-wire the front bedroom for a second AC unit. However, when it comes time to add the second AC unit, it will not be ducted and not have its own thermostat. It will instead have controls directly on the vent and will only blow directly down on to the bed.
Also, if you buy only one AC unit from the factory, the front bedroom will instead have a vent fan in its place. Thus, when it comes time to add the second AC unit, the vent fan will be removed, leaving the front bedroom with no vent fan. However, if you choose to buy two AC units from the factory, ATC will install a vent fan next to the AC unit so that you have both.
There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus on getting the spray foam or not getting it. What we can tell you is that the aluminum floor gets really cold in the winter. Even if you throw a carpet over it, it will still radiate a fair amount of cold into your trailer.
What's worse, however, is the condensation. These aluminum floors will produce loads of water droplets and turn your carpet into a squishy soak that may eventually create a moldy-mildewy smell depending on what your carpet is made from. The spray foam will help minimize condensation.
If you plan to spend a lot of cold days and nights in your ATC Toy Hauler, it's worth getting the spray foam.
However, it's not that difficult to get thin foam square tiles (shaped like puzzle pieces) and cut them to fit into the trailer. This will provide enough barrier between the floor and the carpet to keep your carpet dry, and less cold. Many owners prefer to do this instead, keeping their trailer-underside clean of spray foam.
Upgraded Wall Insulation
This is definitely a worthwhile option if you plan to spend a lot of time in your toy hauler, like living in it as a full timer, or as a seasonal camper. If you plan to spend most of your camping time outdoors, you could get by fine with air conditioning and heating.
MaxxAir Deluxe Vent and Fan
Definitely get these no matter what. They do a great job of moving air, especially when used to blow hot air out and draw cool air in. Most owners who did not originally get these end up getting these later.
If you want to save money up front, you could forego these fans and just get the standard small fans that come with the trailer. Because MaxxAir Deluxe Vent and Fan is a common product sold in every RV supply store, it's cheaper to buy these later, and either install them yourself or have a shop do it.
MaxxAir Vent Cover
This cover is not needed if you're getting the MaxxAir Deluxe Vent and Fan. It's only used with the standard fan that ATC offers by default.
Even if you choose to get the standard fans, this vent cover is only useful in times where there is severe weather. It allows you to keep the vent open during rain and wind. Because this cover is commonly sold in every RV supply store, and is not that difficult to install yourself, you could forego this initially and get it later, probably for cheaper.
Sink Countertop Insert
This is the slab of Corian that matches your countertop but is made to fit over the sink. Every owner adds this because kitchen counterspace is a premium, and because they want something that matches the rest of the Corian.
However, these are easy to make from plywood. You would just treat it with beeswax, or some other waterproofing substance.
But, if you want it specifically match the rest of the Corian in your trailer, get this at the time you order.
Storage is a big deal if you plan to spend a lot of time in your toy hauler. If you plan to live full time, or live seasonally, in your trailer, you will definitely want as much storage space as possible. Hence, get as much cabinetry as you can.
If you don't, you will soon find yourself storing stuff in tubs on the floor. If you plan to add more cabinetry on a later date, keep in mind that these cabinets are far more expensive after the build. ATC will charge a higher price for separately sold options than if ordered initially.
Microwave Convection Oven
You might be asking why a microwave oven is sold as optional equipment when it's practically a necessity in modern American life. Just about every ATC owner gets the microwave oven. Definitely get it at the time of initial build, because the kitchen cabinetry that ATC designs for the toy hauler is designed specifically for this microwave oven. If you plan to get a different microwave oven instead, ATC will put a cabinet door where the microwave goes, and you might be hard pressed to find a microwave that fits perfectly into this space.
The TV option that ATC offers is not actually a popular item. Many ATC owners opted to get a different television, and usually for less than what ATC charges. The television that ATC offers is a 12 volt TV, and is by no means special to ATC. You could put any 12 volt or 110-120 volt television in the trailer.
ATC will put a backing plate into the wall where the television goes so that you have more mounting options.
Stereo with Interior/Exterior Speakers
This is another item that is not that popular as you might think. Many owners who did get this option don't often use their stereo. If you're an audiophile, then certainly add it with the initial build because adding this later will be much more costly to do.
Airline Track Recessed in Floor
If you plan to secure motorcycles or scooters in your toy hauler, at least requiring the use of ratchet straps, definitely get this at the initial build.
You won't be able to secure them without it because you will need Airline Track to mount the wheel chocks.
If you hope to add Airline Track at a later date, keep in mind that it won't be recessed into the floor. It will be instead bolted on top of the floor.
Vinyl Covering for Ramp Door
Definitely get this at the initial build. If you try to buy it afterwards, it will cost far, far more. This is a unique item to ATC. This covering allows you to drop your ramp door to enjoy greater air flow while keeping gnats and mosquitoes out.
The carpeting that ATC offers has two advantages. One, they have pieces designed to fit around existing cabinetry, wheel wells, bathroom and bedroom. Two, it has a rubber backing that does not dry out and disintegrate, and actually helps guard against condensation.
Otherwise, if you can find carpeting with a durable backing, and don't mind cutting it yourself, then by all means forego this option. But like with other ATC options, it costs a lot more to buy their carpeting after the build.
Stainless Steel Side Trim
Not too many people opt for this, but it does make for a pretty slick looking toy hauler that will make others jealous. You don't see this on any other brand of toy hauler. Because very few ATC owners have this, we don't have a lot of information to offer.
If you plant to take your toy hauler along dirt roads, or even off road, this may be useful. If you don't get this, and you allow the rear of the trailer to scrape against the road, the stainless steel flashing that lines the corners of the rear trailer will catch on the ground and get bent upwards.
The bogey wheels will lift the rear of the trailer up when rubbed against the ground.
This is an option you'd want if you didn't get the trailer lifted.
Two Tone Exterior
This is strictly a personal choice. Very few ATC owners have a two-tone painted trailer if that's any help for you.
Decorative Swoosh Decals
You don't have to get the decorative swooshes. Many opt for no decals, preferring a plain looking trailer. Perhaps has many as 50% of owners don't have swoosh decals.
Electric Tongue Jack
The "Smart Jack" that ATC offers has a rather large profile that will actually hit the tailgate of your pickup truck and prevent it from dropping all the way down.
If you don't get the electric tongue jack, ATC will give you a manual crank jack, which actually is easy to operate and doesn't require a lot of strength as you might think.
But because the "Smart Jack" is a common industry item (made by Lippert Components) you could easily add this after the initial build, and probably save a fair amount of money. However, you will have to drill your own mounting holes.
Roof Storage & Platform
Most owners that got this option discover they never use the storage. As it turns out, they end up storing stuff in the bed of their truck because its far more convenient to store stuff there than it is on the trailer roof. Whatever you put up on the trailer roof has to brought up and brought down with a ladder, which can be perilous to do.
Perhaps the most sensible use of the roof storage is for ballast in trying to offset high tongue weight. Because these trailers have such high cargo capacities, they tend to accumulate weight in front of the wheels, like with residential queen size mattresses, the Onan generator, and banks of lead acid batteries. So, if you can find stuff you rarely use, you can put it on the Roof Storage. But then again, if you rarely use it, why have it?
Not many ATC owners have this, but you should really consider it.
Keep in mind, the 100-gallon water tank is a lot of water, and you will fill that gray tank long before you use up the water tank. So, having an exterior shower is a great way to use cleaning water without filling up your gray tank.
The bumper pull toy haulers offered by ATC all plumb their kitchen sink into the black tank, which of course causes the black tank to fill very rapidly. Hence, having the exterior shower option allows you to wash dishes outside and not use up black tank capacity.
If you plan to spend a lot of time dry camping (which you would normally do with a toy hauler), you'll definitely want this. It's far more expensive to add after the initial build.
Tongue Storage and Tray Cover
If you're not getting the Onan Generator option, then definitely get this. You will want as much storage as possible on this trailer, and the diamond plate tray cover looks great. It's far more expensive to buy this after the initial build.
The backup camera is a very popular item. Certainly, there are a lot of backup cameras you could buy, you don't have to get the one that ATC offers. But, ATC has this wired into the trailer's 12 volt system.
If you're trying to keep your initial costs down, then forego this item because you could find plenty of backup cameras for cheaper, and any RV shop can install it.
Rear Loading Lights
Not a very high demand item unless you plan to load and unload stuff often at night. Most ATC owners don't seem to have any problems loading and unloading at night without them, however.
Flood Lights - High Output
Being able to turn on lights by the front door to see what's making noise outside at night is a pretty popular demand among ATC owners. The standard strip of LED lights that the trailer comes with doesn't illuminate beyond 6 to 8 feet from the door.
These lights, however, will illuminate much more and let you see the grizzly bear coming into your camp.
If your goal is to have electricity while camped (or parked) somewhere without hookups, then solar panels are a compelling purchase.
A single 150 watt solar panel will be just enough to give your battery bank a slow charge, but likely will not keep up with normal 12 volt demand. If you want to still turn on all lights, run fans, run water, and keep your refrigerator running, you will need more. Our recommendation is to get four of these panels for a theoretical total of 600 watts.
However, that much solar power won't do much good without a sufficiently sized battery bank. ATC offers 12 volt batteries. If you're going to get solar panels, get at least two 12 volt batteries to go with them.
ATC will put in additional batteries if your dealer writes it up on the order. ATC offers only 12 volt AGM batteries. Our recommendation for everyone is to get two of these batteries.
A single 12 volt battery is insufficient when you're camped or parked without electrical hookup. The furnace will drain that battery within an hour of use. Moreover, ATC toy hauler are built with an automatic 12 volt shut off switch that cuts off power when the battery reaches 50% capacity. Getting a second 12 volt battery will help you run that furnace for much of the night.
Don't go more than two 12 volt batteries. If you want more, then get four 6 volt batteries instead. They will provide far more power for nearly the same weight. Any RV service center can add these and wire them for you.
Note: Batteries will not power your air conditioner, microwave, nor will it provide power to the 110-120 volt wall outlets. ATC toy haulers use battery power for lights, fans, water pump, and tongue jack. The battery is also used to run the circuit boards on the refrigerator and water heater, and is also needed to run the fan on the furnace and to power the furnace igniter. To run the air conditioner, microwave, and the 110-120 volt wall outlets, you will need to be hooked up to shore power, or have the 5.5 KW Onan Generator.
5.5 KW Onan Generator
Definitely a must have if you plan to dry camp, which is what most toy haulers are used for. The generator will keep your batteries charged, and give you 110-120 volt power for your air conditioning, microwave, and other appliances you might plug into the wall.
But as enticing as this might sound. there are still many who chose not to get it. The Onan generator will add about 500 pounds to your tongue weight. If you're pulling the trailer with a half-ton truck, the Onan generator may be out of your range.
Getting the Onan also adds a 36 gallon fuel tank located right between the two axles. The tank is all steel, and just by itself adds a lot of weight to the trailer.
However, not getting the Onan usually means getting some kind of portable generator, either two 2,000 watt generators that can be connected together, or at least a 3,600 watt generator, just so that you can start up a single air conditioning unit.
Many ATC toy hauler owners love the Onan because ATC adds an on-off switch inside the trailer by the kitchen, allowing you to start it up without having to go outside. This switch also allows wives and children to run the generator without bother "Dad" to go outside and pull the cord on a portable. The Onan offers 5,500 watts, enough to run two air conditioning units and still have power left over for other stuff. Because it's kept under a cover, The Onan is protected from the rain.
However, the Onan is a gasoline hog. It will burn through 3 gallons of gas in the same time a Honda, Champion, or Yamaha portable will burn through 1. The Onan does not automatically slow down or speed up RPMs based on usage, whereas portables will. Onans are also known for fuel sediment build-up when they are not run regularly, or not used with some kind of fuel additive (like Seafoam).
Fuel Fill Station
This becomes more useful when you have off-road toys that can't be driven legally on paved roads. You can use this to refuel your razors and side-by-sides. You can also use it to fill your pickup truck too.
If you don't get the fuel fill station, there will be no way to get gasoline out of its tank aside from running the generator. That won't be a problem as long as you use a fuel stabilizer to keep gasoline stable during the months when the trailer is in storage.
Four Inches of Additional Clearance
Most ATC toy hauler owners get some kind of additional lift. By default, these toy haulers sit low to the ground for the purpose of making it easier to load and unload toys from the ramp.
But because toy haulers are generally used away from the highway, up in the mountains, in the deserts, canyons, etc., they are often towed along bumpy, rocky, and rutted roads, meaning they will drag on the ground. Usually, it's the scissor jacks that drag and get bent out of place.
The four inches of additional clearance is the minimum lift you should get if you plan to use your toy hauler away from pavement.
You can still add a lift kit after the initial build, and it's actually not a difficult job for RV shops to do. There are plenty of companies that make lift kits for Dexter axles (which is what ATC uses). However, if you plan to do this after the build, lifting the trailer will leave four more inches of empty space between the top of the tires and the top of the wheel well.
16 Inch Wheels and 5 Inch Lift
This is the better option than the Four Inches of Additional Clearance. This is better because it gives you more lift, and if you truly want to tow your ATC toy hauler to all of the hard to reach places, you will want as much ground clearance as possible.
The 16 inch wheels actually look nicer too, and gives the toy hauler a more serious appearance.
Three Season Plumbing
This is meant to help keep your water lines and tanks from freezing over. Most owners get this option, but very few actually use it.
Keep in mind the heating elements that keep these lines and tanks warm require about 13.5 volts, and possibly down to as low as 12.6 volts. Hence, to keep these elements running all night long, you will need lots of battery power.
Note that turning the Three Season Plumbing switches on doesn't mean the heating elements start getting warm. They only warm up once they detect a surface temperature of below 40 degrees F.
Owners who make constant use of the Three Season Plumbing generally have some kind of way to keep their batteries charged all night long, usually via shore power, or generator. Without either of those two, a battery bank will not be able to sustain voltage to a series of heating elements all night long.
If you get the Three Season Plumbing, which you probably should if you plan to camp where temperatures fall below freezing, then make sure you have some way to keep your battery voltage up all night long.
Also know that ATC does not add heating elements to every inch of the water line. They allow about 6 to 12 inches of bare pex pipe in between heating pads. Hence, you will want to add insulation to this pipe, or add more heating pads.
Black Exterior Trim
ATC will powder coat the trim and wheels black, if you really like that blacked-out look. It's purely a cosmetic choice. There are actually quite a few owners that get this.
Despite the somewhat laborious effort it takes to put this patio together, it's actually a popular option. Owners love the extra living space they get from it, and is very helpful for families with lots of kids.
If this is something you want, then definitely get it at the time of initial build. This package will cost as much as 4-times more if you try to buy it afterwards, and it's not something you can buy elsewhere.
Yes, ATC can install a second awning on the opposite side of the trailer. Only a few owners have done this. This is to cast more shade over the trailer to help keep it cool inside.