Weekend Warrior founder, toy hauler guru and industry pioneer Mark Warmoth passed away Oct. 24 in Canyon Lake, California at 64 years old.
Known as the architect behind the toy hauler explosion that began in 1988 and continued through the early 2000s, Warmoth frequently was heard saying “just cruising and playing the radio” to those who asked him how things were. He lived his life just like that, said Max Villa, who worked 10 years for Warmoth and his company Weekend Warrior.
Villa, now regional sales manager for Alliance RV, confirmed Warmoth’s passing and noted that he was the most influential man in many lives. Outside of his renowned accomplishments in the evolution of the toy hauler, Villa said Warmoth always was optimistic and smiling.
“He taught us how to think, how to learn and how to get to the next step,” Villa said. “I myself and 25 other people were heavily influenced [by Warmoth] in the direction of our lives.”
The toy hauler concept came to fruition during Warmoth’s weekend trips to the desert, accompanied by his wife and two daughters, Villa said. It was the early 1980s at that time. Warmoth would drive a truck with a trailer for three hours to the family’s destination, while his wife drove a separate truck with a flatbed for toys.
Every family had to do that, Villa said. Eventually, Warmoth began brainstorming how to consolidate the two. As a production manager for Alfa Leisure, a motor home and fifth wheel manufacturer, Warmoth proposed ideas and persuaded the company to manufacture the Alfa Toyhouse – the first toy hauler to hit the RV market.
“He would go away every weekend and come back with new ideas and more tricks to make it work better,” Villa said. “But toy haulers were such a niche.”
Warmoth worked alongside RVIA for 10 years to develop rules and perimeters that would allow the toy hauler to be certified, Villa said. Even when things got frustrating, Warmoth focused on getting to the next step. He eventually went off on his own and founded Weekend Warrior, which became one of the five largest companies in the industry by 2006, Villa said.
“The RV Industry Association mourns the passing of Mark Warmoth,” RVIA said. “Mark was a pioneer in the industry known for his innovative toy haulers. He was a valued RV Industry Association Board member and the industry will miss his entrepreneurial spirit. On behalf of the association and its members, the RV Industry Association extends its heartfelt condolences to Mark’s family and friends.”
“We spent hours, days, weeks and years together,” Villa said. “[Warmoth] changed the direction of my life.”
Warmoth’s influence lives on through every toy hauler on the road today. Villa noted a Facebook comment in a forum regarding Warmoth’s death, one which encouraged everyone who goes off-roading or heads to southern California’s sand dunes to pour a beer out in respect for the man who made it all possible.
Warmoth is survived by his wife and two daughters.