Towing A Trailer Tent- What You Need to Know

Trailer tents are a popular way of camping without having to pack up a standard tent into a bag, they also have the added benefit of being on wheels and able to tow behind your car or truck.

Most vehicles that are fitted with the proper towing bars and equipment are viable for towing trailer tents, the exceptions to this rule are smart cars, smart cars and cars that are small in power and size.

In this article we are going to talk about what vehicles can tow a trailer tent, what you need to know and how to do it safely.

Can You Tow A Trailer Tent?

Yes, you can tow a tent trailer as long as it is within a vehicle’s recommended towing capacity. Most people have doubts about this because tent trailers are usually larger than the vehicles they own.

They do not need to get overwhelmed by the difference in size, but instead, they should focus on towing the trailer the proper way.

Everyone would need some practice before they can perfect the art of hooking up the trailer to the vehicle, towing it carefully, parking, and detaching the tent trailer from the vehicle; this would make them realize the exercise is not as scary as it means.

Tent trailers are lighter than one might imagine, so the chances that a vehicle would be able to tow one are high. However, before getting a new trailer, it would be wise to know the maximum load your truck can pull and go for a tent trailer in that weight range.

Some cars were not built to tow trailers, and they should not be forced to. It is mostly cars of smaller builds and sports cars that fit this category.

Is iI Safe To Tow A Trailer Tent?

Sure, it is safe to tow tent trailers as long as safety guidelines are followed. The fact that a car or truck has a tow hitch does not automatically signify that it is equipped to tow tent trailers. The size of a vehicle should not determine whether a car is safe to tow a tent trailer.

Surprisingly, some large SUVs and trucks that seem capable of handling a trailer’s weight have low towing capacity. Imagine not verifying whether a vehicle meets a tent trailer’s towing capacity and using it to pull anyway (while at full capacity); that would be a recipe for disaster.

Take precautions before towing tent trailers, and the exercise would go on without any problem. Precautions like combing through your vehicle’s official documentation to find its towing capacity and comparing it to your tent trailer’s weight – and all the items inside it. You can have a good idea of this by checking the trailer’s maximum load rating.

Make sure your vehicle’s towing capacity is above that number to be safe. Not doing so puts not only your health at risk, but it might render your insurance policy void because any issue that arises would be presumed to be your fault.

It is also advisable to keep your tent trailer as light as possible when towing it for convenience. If an extra item – like a cloth, gear, accessory, etc. – is not needed, get rid of it because keeping it in the trailer makes it heavier.

For example, instead of carrying gallons of water in your tent trailer on the way to your campsite, why not take empty kegs with you instead and fill them up when you set up camp.

To further ensure safety when towing a tent trailer, take things slowly. There is no use rushing to get to a campsite if it puts your health at risk. Remember that you are pulling a lot of weight behind you, and care needs to be taken.

The added weight will make ordinary things like speeding up, slowing down, and coming to a halt take a longer time. Moving fast on the road might make you lose control of your tent trailer, making it easier for you to be involved in an accident.

It is important to note that you should never slam your feet on the brakes because the tent trailer is too heavy to stop instantly. If you attempt it, you risk skidding off the road and losing control of the vehicle. If you are driving safely and not speeding in the first place, you would not be in a position where you would have to slam the brakes.

For safety reasons, manufacturers have begun installing electric brakes in tent trailers to help them come to a halt more efficiently. There should be no complications when towing tent trailers, and the exercises are considered safe, provided you are not reckless.

What Size Vehicle Can Tow A Trailer Tent?

As stated earlier, the size of a vehicle is not a clear indication of the weight it can pull. The critical metric is the tow rating. There are heavy-duty pickup trucks like the Ram 3500 with a tow rating of 31,200 pounds, which can pull tent trailers that weigh 14,000 pounds when empty.

The weight difference here is to accommodate the weight of the items that would be placed in it when taking it for a camping expenditure.

Here is a table of the best ten vehicles for towing tent trailers.

Vehicle NameTow RatingRecommended Tent Trailer Weight
Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Pickup31,200 pounds14,000 pounds
Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD23,300 pounds10,000 pounds
Ford F-15012,200 pounds7,365 pounds
Ford F-45032,500 pounds27,500 pounds
Hyundai Santa Fe5,000 pounds2,300 pounds
Chevrolet Silverado12,500 pounds7,000 pounds
Nissan Titan XD12,314 pounds6,000 pounds
Jeep Renegade2,000 pounds1,000 pounds
Chrysler Pacifica3,600 pounds2,000 pounds
Volvo S603,500 pounds2,000 pounds

How To Tow A Trailer Tent

The first step to successfully towing a tent trailer is to verify if the vehicle that will be doing the pulling has a greater tow rating than the trailer’s weight. After, you remove all excess items and hook the trailer into the vehicle’s tow hitch.

There should be other safety chains and wiring that would also need connecting. Check if the brake lights and turn signals are working correctly before starting your journey.

A first-timer might find the act of towing a tent trailer much different from driving a regular car, so know that practice makes perfect. It would help to get some practice in an open field or an empty, spacious parking garage before heading out.

The essential things to learn before towing a tent trailer are:

  • Knowing how to make turns

If the tent trailer is wider than the vehicle pulling it, you should be careful not to hit the curb, clip a road sign or cross too far over the middle of the road.

  • The art of speeding up and slowing down

The weight of the tent trailer makes stopping and accelerating your vehicle a little more complicated. Practice patience and learn how to give yourself more time and space for the vehicle attached to the trailer to come to a complete stop.

  • Backing up the tent trailer

This is tricky and requires skill to execute. It is needed to move in and out of campsites. Working with someone on this helps as the person would be able to direct and inform you if you are about to make a mistake.

When backing your tent trailer, keep one hand on the 6 o’clock position of your steering wheel and turn the wheel in the direction that you want to back towards. Get a towing mirror if your tent trailer is wider than your vehicle so you can increase your field of vision and see cars coming behind you.

Before towing a vehicle in the UK, make sure you have a valid driver’s license, especially if the tent trailer weighs more than 1,650 pounds (approx. 750kg). The UK government lets you tow a tent trailer freely provided the combined weight of the vehicle, and the trailer is 7,700 pounds (approx. 3500kg).

What Else Do I Need To Know Before Towing A Trailer Tent

  • Do not feel shy to ask for help

You would need assistance when trying to park and drive out of the parking lot so having a friend assist you would make the process a lot easier than trying it yourself.

  • Make the tent trailer and vehicle are a good match

If you ignore the vehicle’s tow rating, you will overload it, which means overloading the brakes. This might lead to an accident, so it would be best to take precautions.

  • Place heavier loads towards the front of the tent trailer

Doing this would not let the tent trailer sway easily compared to the way it would if the loads were placed at the back of the trailer. Tying the heavy loads down is also a good idea because if they move from side to side while driving, they could sway the trailer.

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