Travel Trailer Towing Capacity

Travel trailer towing is one aspect of owning an RV that requires serious study on your part.

The towing vehicle has been rated for a specific towing capacity, with towing limits.

These limits are a guideline for determining the amount of load you can pull with your vehicle. Never attempt to pull more load than the manufacturer recommends. Check your manual or dealer to determine what that is for your vehicle.

Several factors need to be considered when evaluating your vehicle's rating and capacity.

Key factors include your travel speed, road construction, how far you will travel, trailer sway, elevation of the land and the loading of your cargo.

If you plan to travel with the fresh water holding tank full, be sure to add its filled weight into the total weight.

It adds a lot to the weight and you don't want to exceed the weight capacity.

The All Important Side Mirrors

Towing mirrors need to be extended as far as you can get them to see the sides of the camper in tow. The curbs will need to be visible to the driver for safely maneuvering your tires and wheels.

If your mirrors do not extend out, get some clip on extensions. They are removable and are easy to put on and take off. It is vital to be able to see behind you at all times.

This is not possible without some type of towing mirror. You will also need to see behind you when backing your camper.

It is much easier if you have towing specific mirrors to give you the depth you need for long distance backups.

Don't Forget the Hitch

travel trailer towing

The towing hitch, such as a Reese hitch, is also an important factor to consider. The hitch class determines your load pull. You cannot pull more than your hitch allows.

You need to get a higher class hitch to pull a medium to large camper and a lower class hitch for a smaller camper. Your safety is the most important and depends on your vehicle's ability to pull your travel trailer.

Never pull an overweight camper for the hitch you have installed. You may need to get a higher class hitch or a smaller camper. Your vehicle will not safely pull anything out of it's capabilities.

Read your vehicle manuals and this page for details on trailer hitch installation.

Fifth Wheel Hitches

When tagging along a fifth wheel camper you will need a special set up. These are pulled by a bed mounted hitch.

bed mounted hitch

We recommend consulting a travel trailer dealer to help you determine what kind of hitch you will need for a smooth pull.

All hitches are not made the same, and your travel trailer may need a certain design in order to fit together your truck bed and the camper neck.

A rounded slide bar jaw mechanism is designed for automatic self-latching. One-piece formed legs provide a wider footprint for superior stability.

It will take up a good portion of your truck bed, so you will lose a lot of your storage area for other things, like bicycles, wagons or firewood.

Here is a good video on travel trailer towing: 

If you are towing a dinghy, you will want to get a back up camera for your RV.

It will allow you to keep an eye on your dinghy and the distance between the car behind it and you.

A back up camera will also aid in pulling out from parking areas. You will be able to see if anything is loose or dragging.

Your dinghy will serve as your get-around vehicle, so you will want to make sure it is safe back there.

You can find all the information you need on travel trailer towing by visiting a travel trailer dealership.

You will find just about anything you need for maintenance, as well as information on towing safety.

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