How To Tow a Travel Trailer [Helpful Tips]

Published on June 17th, 2021 by Ray & Tammy Roman
This post was updated on July 21st, 2023

How to tow a travel trailer is a question I often get from fellow RVers. This article will focus on four different scenarios for towing a travel trailer. The initial section will concentrate on what to do if this is your first time towing one.

This is followed by towing smaller travel trailers, larger travel trailers, and towing a travel trailer long distances. Each section will give you some tips for a successful adventure with your travel trailer.

This is very rudimentary information since towing can differ from RV to RV. Many variables are involved when towing an RV, and they differ from one RV to the next.

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Things such as RV weight, how you packed your gear, road conditions, and wind, among others, can affect your towing capabilities. Seek the advice of your dealer for best practice.

Towing a Travel Trailer for the First Time

If you have never done this before, this section is for you. If you follow these tips, you should not have any trouble.

Before you even purchase the travel trailer, you must ensure it is a good fit for the vehicle used in the towing process. If the trailer is too big, it will never work.

Remember when you initially purchased the vehicle if you have always wanted to tow a good-sized travel trailer.

Ask the salesperson how much of a towing capacity the prospective vehicle can handle.

You can also use this handy calculator created by Explore USA.

Enlist the help of a friend, preferably a friend with more experience in doing this. Not only can he or she help with the tricky parts, but it can also be more fun to have a friend along.

Your friend can assist in checking everything on the trailer before setting out on an adventure. Check all tires, the backup system, and the braking system. If possible, do a trial run to check the sway ratio of the trailer when hooked up to the tow vehicle.

Towing Smaller Travel Trailers

This makes a life of adventure more plausible, as smaller campers can successfully be pulled with any larger car or SUV. With a smaller camper, you may need to bring some tents to sleep in instead of being able to do that in the trailer. But towing a smaller travel trailer can be done much more easily than a larger trailer.

One important tip when towing a smaller travel trailer is to load most of the cargo and camping equipment towards the front of the camper. Do keep in mind that balance is critical to the experience. Otherwise, the trailer could tip over at any point during the trip.

The other rather crucial tip is to always drive at a slower pace. This is important no matter the size of the trailer, but even more so with a small camper. You must also drive more carefully with a trailer in tow.

You must always account for that big metal movable object being towed behind you. That means driving extra cautiously for everyone’s safety.

Avoid making sudden stops, starts, and turns. As we said, you must drive carefully when towing a travel trailer behind you. Know the exact factors involved in towing a smaller travel trailer before you set out. Be smart, and you and your friend will have a great time.

Towing a Larger Travel Trailer

This is certainly possible, and many people do it. However, there are some things you ought to know. When you purchase a large travel trailer, say around 30 feet or more long, you must be certain your towing vehicle can handle it.

The larger the trailer, the bigger the towing vehicle will have to be. You have to determine that before you even set out to buy a travel trailer. Otherwise, you will wind up with a gigantic paperweight in your yard that you cannot use.

Examples of vehicles that can handle pulling such weight are large-scale pickup trucks like the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 or the Toyota Tundra. Ford, Nissan, and Dodge also make suitable vehicles to tow large items like huge travel trailers.

Once that part is taken care of and you have your travel trailer, a good tip to keep in mind is to pack light. Even though the trailer is huge, it is still possible for it to tip over during a trip if it is overloaded with weight.

Take only things you need that you cannot buy once you reach your destination. Having a travel trailer instead of a motor coach means disconnecting the towing vehicle and driving to a store nearby for supplies. You do not need to pack all that into the trailer.

Towing a Travel Trailer Long Distances

You will likely have this in mind from the start, going long distances frequently with your travel trailer. It is also something you should investigate before buying the trailer in the first place.

Be certain the one you purchase can handle frequent long trips. Your local dealer can help you pick the perfect trailer for this.

The first tip for you is to pack light. Again, do not haul anything you can buy from a local store when you reach your destination. Even if your trailer is large, the less weight you stuff into it, the better off you will be.

One thing to keep in mind is, that you want to buy a backup camera. Even if you have towing mirrors on the towing vehicle, having a backup camera is best.

The RV backup camera below is an affordable model with great reviews.

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Plan the campground you want to stay in ahead of the trip. A favorite amongst folks includes Wi-Fi and sights nearby where you can partake of the food without discomfort. You will have many more activities to enjoy with a travel trailer that easily disconnects from the towing vehicle.

Traveling long distances with trailers in tow is enjoyable when you do it right. A good tip is to know the route you are taking ahead of time and avoid getting lost along the way. This will avoid unnecessary mileage on the trailer and the towing vehicle. It will also lessen the possibility of sudden stops and turns during the trip.

How To Tow a Travel Trailer Video

I want to watch a good video on how to tow a travel trailer. The video below is one of the best ones I’ve found.

How To Tow A Travel Trailer Wrap-up

Learning how to tow a travel trailer is not too difficult. Anybody can have an enjoyable experience with their travel trailer if they do it properly. We hope that this article will serve as a guide to some top scenarios and help you to have a safe trip.

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