Today’s RV review is of the Heartland Torque T285 toy hauler. Toy haulers are in the front of mind for me once again, as I was recently at a trailer gathering where a friend of mine brought her toy hauler.
This friend has yet to haul any toys in it, but she has used the heck out of the trailer. She really sets a use case that makes a lot of sense to me. While she doesn’t have this toy hauler, hers isn’t tremendously different. So what I saw there really applied to this model.
Essentially, there have been times where she’s been on a road trip and just wanted a quick cat nap. Since her toy hauler’s bed requires that the slide be out to be able to use it, she just lowers the bed on the HappiJac lift in the back and that’s where she sleeps. In fact, on this recent trip where we were all packed in like sardines. She didn’t put out the slide room once, and used that bed in the back.
We’ve also gone Christmas camping where her sister and sister’s husband occupy the main bedroom and she, again, gets to use the bed in the back. That large sleeping surface has come in very handy.
The toy hauler is the place to gather, no matter the weather
But when it’s time to gather, her toy hauler is always the place. When the weather stinks, we’re in there with the trailer buttoned up and the heater running. The “Euro” recliners plus all that seating in the back make for a comfy place to gather.
When the weather is great, we bring those Euro recliners out onto the load ramp when it’s in patio mode and now we’re all there in the back enjoying the pleasant weather.
My point in all this is that toy haulers can be a great choice even if you don’t have toys. And this one is no exception, although it also is quite capable of hauling toys.
With a 102” overall width, this trailer is as wide as trailers can be before you get to put one of those wide load stickers on it and get special permits. Before I started watching what I ate, I almost needed one of those for myself.
There is a legitimate discussion among enthusiasts of toy haulers about whether a fifth wheel or a travel trailer configuration is better. This is as heated as some political discussions. Whatever side of the argument you’re on, this is in a travel trailer configuration.
But it’s also a “real” toy hauler in that it’s a wide body but also has a taller ceiling. In addition to the advantage of hauling taller toys, I’ve found a lot of taller travelers like these simply because there’s more ceiling height in the whole rig. Combine that height with those movable Euro recliners and you have accommodations for even exceptionally tall campers. This was a big reason we sold quite a few of these when I was selling RVs.
Those same taller travelers are likely going to be fans of the king-sized bed in this. There’s also good space around the toilet. The bathroom even has a place to put one’s foot in the shower. I’m told by my wife that those who shave their legs appreciate these kinds of things. Anyone will appreciate the amount of cabinet space in there. You can never have too much.
Heartland also puts a rather long drawer on either side of the bed. This is so much better than the cubbies I’m seeing more and more of. Hooray for drawers! Heck, you could even put your drawers in the drawers.
Not only is the ceiling taller in this, but it’s also vaulted—adding to the spacious feel inside.
16-foot garage in the Torque T285
Of course, hauling toys is in the DNA of this rig and this one sports a 16-foot garage. So there is a good amount of space for almost any of the things toy haulers are designed to accommodate. Those would include side-by-sides or several motorcycles or that sort of thing.
There is over two tons of cargo carrying capacity with this trailer. So you should be able to bring the kind of adventure vehicles that accommodate almost any adventure.
But I’ve also seen toy haulers used more for their patios or better sleeping arrangements than for toys. I’ve also seen people take advantage of the large, flexible space for work-related activities or crafts and hobbies. In fact we interviewed a nifty couple for our podcast who have a toy hauler and roam the country repairing playground equipment.
Boondocking and travel access
One of the areas where I have seen toy haulers used for their intended purpose is in the desert. Groups of owners will gather with their toys and explore with those toys. Toy haulers also have the advantage of often having large holding tanks. This one is no exception, with 98 gallons of fresh water storage along with 60 gallons of gray storage and 30 of black.
You can also outfit this with an Onan 4000 generator if you choose. However, oddly enough, there is no provision for solar. You could always use some portable panels to accomplish solar power, so it’s not a huge deal. But it does seem odd in today’s market that there’s not a solar package.
This trailer only has a propane-electric refrigerator. Those are pretty darned efficient and often the first choice for boondockers.
When the trailer has the slide in in road mode, almost everything is usable except that small stove and oven. But you can get to the fridge, seating and bed along with the bathroom.
Like so many trailers, this one has a mediocre four-inch fan in the bathroom. But what’s really annoying is that there’s a second fan in the bedroom and the switch for it is on the fan shroud.
Remember how I wrote that the ceilings in this are taller? Yeah, you’ll likely be standing on the bed to turn this one on.
There is a lot of seating space in this. In fact, you could have two seating areas. One is on the couch on the road side of the slide facing those Euro recliners. Then the bed in the back converts into two couches. Or it can be a proper dining area with the included folding and free-standing table.
So with all the seating available, why does a $73,000 RV have a small oven like this? Bleh.
Another thing to note is that the generator on many toy haulers, including the optional one in this trailer, is mounted right under the bed. As much as I dislike generators rattling on all night long in other people’s trailers, I can’t imagine trying to sleep on top of one. I suppose this makes a strong case for a good set of batteries.
However, like solar, there doesn’t seem to be an inverter available, either. So the generator may be your only source of juice if you want 120-volt power and aren’t hooked to shore power. Bummer.
This is something I will add here and, if this is the trailer you’re considering, it’s an important feature. I have seen where the cargo hooks that are mounted in the floor are actually attached to the metal chassis, and I’ve seen where they’re just attached to the wooden subfloor. A friend of mine who has a toy hauler and hauls their two Harleys around had one of the bikes literally rip the tie-down right out of the floor. That then caused damage to both the bikes in the back.
These are rated for 2500 pounds. But the forces encountered in the back of a trailer can be significant. In this trailer, they’re welded directly to the frame—so you’re good.
As long as I’m giving praise, I also like that this toy hauler is rather unique in that they use an Azdel substrate in the walls rather than the typical Luan material. So it’s lighter, more sound absorbant and also resistant to water damage.
I like this floor plan and this trailer. A big part of that is the multiple reasons a toy hauler like this can be so accommodating. With a few exceptions, Heartland has done a good job with this trailer. That includes some of the build features such as the tie-downs being welded to the frame.
Considering that being a toy hauler is really the core mission of this, it’s good that they did the best they could to make sure those toys stayed safe.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has an RV podcast with his wife, Peggy.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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