Equipment You’ll Need For Travel Trailer Towing
When towing a travel trailer, there is a variety of equipment know-how that you will need to complete the hook up and ensure you’re hitting the road safely.
How to Calculate Towing Capacity
When calculating towing capacity, you will always need to consult the owner's manual for your vehicle. The towing capacity of many vehicles is also displayed on the driver's side door jamb, making it easy to find. When in doubt, stick to your towing setup's lowest-rated component. The most important weights to be conscious of are the GVWR, GTW, and GCWR. The GCWR should be less than the total of the GVWR and GTW
Towing Capacity Definitions
FAQs for Travel Trailer Towing
GVWR VS Towing Capacity
The maximum weight capacity of a vehicle without a trailer is known as the GVWR. For example, your truck may have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 12,000lbs, meaning the vehicle can weigh up to 12,000lbs and still operate safely. Towing capacity, on the other hand, refers to the vehicle's maximum weight capacity in terms of how much weight it can pull.
What is the average weight of a travel trailer?
The weight of any given trailer will vary depending on what type of trailer it is. This is especially true for travel trailers. Teardrop campers are some of the lightest, with an empty weight ranging from 500 lbs up to 3,200 lbs. A small travel trailer can have an empty weight between 1,200 to 3,900 lbs. Pop-up campers are similar, ranging from 1,400 to 3,000 lbs. A large travel trailer might have an empty weight between 4,500 and 8,700 lbs. A toy hauler style travel trailer can weigh between 5,000 and 16,000 lbs.
What happens if I go over the GVWR?
You can cause severe damage to your vehicle if you exceed the GVWR. You may experience damage to the suspension, frame, wheels, and axels and it can also create a hazard to the driver, passenger, and other drivers on the road.
Can the towing capacity of my vehicle be increased?
There are various pieces of travel trailer towing equipment that can help increase towing capacity. Purchase towing accessories that match your existing tow rating rather than lower rated equipment that will limit towing potential. Just remember, don't exceed the capacity for your towing setup's lowest-rated component.
Weight Distribution Hitches
An essential piece of travel trailer towing, it evenly distributes weight over the axles of the two vehicle and trailer.
SwayPro Weight Distribution Hitch
SwayPro offers premium trailer sway prevention by stopping sway before it starts and works in any weather conditions, even rain or snow. The caster in the hitch head keeps the trailer constantly centered. The underslung style system uses interchangeable arms and rotating latches, making it quick and easy to set up for your vehicle and trailer. Specifications: Tongue weights available: 350, 550, 750, 1000, 1500 & 2000 lbs Gross Towing Weight 20K maximum 2″ receiver or 2-1/2″ (BXW2000) receiver shanks dependent on modelLearn More >>
TrackPro Weight Distribution Hitch
TrackPro gives users premium trailer sway management by evenly distributing weight across both the vehicle and trailer axel while correcting vehicle sag to ensure a safe, smooth, level ride. The caster in the hitch head keeps the trailer centered consistently while driving over bumpy roads, wind, and weather. The underslung style system uses interchangeable arms and rigid L-brackets for additional points of friction for optimal sway management. Specifications: Tongue weights available: 600, 800, 1000 & 1300 lbs Gross towing weight: 13K maximum 2” receiver, 2-1/2” receiver shank availableLearn More >>
2-Point Weight Distribution Hitch
The 2-Point weight distribution hitch offers the best value for towing sway control. It works by distributing weight over a vehicle and trailer axels evenly while round spring bars flex to create a controlled ride. The steel-on-steel friction minimizes trailer sway caused by wind or poor road conditions. Specifications: Tongue weights available: 600 (2 inch ball), 800, and 1200 lbs (2-5/16” ball) Gross towing weight: 12K maximum 2” receiverLearn More >>
Trailer Tow Lights & Wiring
To safely tow your travel trailer, it should be correctly wired to the vehicle. All travel trailers need tail lights, turn signals, reflectors, and brake lights so that others on the road can see you and anticipate when you are stopping or turning. This is required by law, so don't hit the road without them.
In order for your trailer lights to work properly, you will need trailer connector wire to connect the running lights, brake lights, and turn signals. If you happen to have a tow vehicle that is not already equipped with a trailer wiring harness, you can install trailer wiring on your vehicle. Three common trailer wiring options are custom wiring, splice-in wiring, and replacement plugs and sockets.
How Does a Weight Distribution Hitch Work?
A weight distribution hitch works by dispersing the towing vehicle's weight more evenly. It distributes the weight between the car and trailer axels, rather than concentrating it at the point where the trailer and vehicle attach. The trailer hitch and the tow vehicle's rear axels might dive if the tongue weight exceeds the gross trailer weight. As the front of the trailer lowers towards the ground and the front of the tow vehicle rises the vehicle may lose its ability to gain traction and brake correctly, which is quite dangerous. A weight distribution hitch prevents this from happening as well as other issues that occur when weight is not evenly distributed such as trailer sway.
Preventing Trailer Sway
A weight distribution hitch is a piece of travel trailer towing equipment that will help you reach your destination safer and with a smoother ride. It is one of the most effective ways to prevent trailer sway. Trailer sway can be caused by a number of things such as improper weight distribution, an overloaded trailer, strong gusts of wind, poor road conditions, driving too fast, or stopping suddenly, to name a few.
When Is A Weight Distribution Hitch Necessary?
When towing anything 5,000 pounds or more, especially a travel trailer, installing a weight distribution hitch can make a massive difference in your towing experience. A weight distribution hitch will help keep your ride more balanced. Getting the weight distributed evenly in a travel trailer loaded with cargo can be challenging, so having a weight distribution hitch is very helpful here.
Your travel trailer is very valuable, and so are its contents making a hitch lock a critical piece of travel trailer towing equipment. If you're parked overnight, at a rest stop, or any other time your trailer is left alone, a hitch lock can help prevent trailer theft. Be sure to purchase a high-quality hitch lock that is durable and not easily cut or popped open.
A piece of travel trailer towing equipment that increases safety on the road is a hitch immobilizer. A hitch immobilizer can be installed to prevent excessive movement between the ball mount and the receiver hitch, resulting in a smoother, safer ride. Too much movement at this connecting point can cause trailer sway, creating a hazard to yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road.