Are you looking to hit the open road and explore some of the most picturesque camping destinations while bringing a small camper along for the ride? If so, you may be wondering can your trusty SUV tow your small camper.
Rest assured, with proper preparation and knowledge of your vehicle’s specs and tow ratings, many modern SUVs are, in fact, able to safely tow light campers.
Here, we’ll discuss what makes an SUV ready for this type of endeavor, so you can be confident in your ride before hitting the asphalt!
Can You Pull a Small Travel Trailer With an SUV?
Pulling a travel trailer might seem daunting, but it’s relatively easy with the right kind of vehicle.
An SUV is the perfect option for pulling a small travel trailer. They offer plenty of power and towing capacity. Additionally, many SUVs have features like trailer sway control and hitch guidance that help make the experience even smoother.
Many luxury SUVs boast impressive tow ratings, and you don’t have to sacrifice comfort while you drive.
What Is the Average Weight of a Small Camper?
There are campers that can fall into the “small” classification. Teardrop campers, pop-ups, and short travel trailers are all in this category.
They range in weight, but the average for teardrop and pop-up campers is around 2,000 pounds. Small travel trailers are typically a bit heavier, tipping the scale at about 3,000 pounds.
Pro Tip: Turn your SUV into the ultimate camping machine with this SUV Camper Conversion Guide.
Which SUVs Can Pull a Small Camper?
We’ve compiled a list of our top five picks for SUVs that can safely pull a small camper. From budget-friendly options to luxurious rides, there’s something on this list for everyone. So whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a cross-country road trip, one of these vehicles will meet your needs.
About: The Jeep Cherokee can take you wherever you want to go: rugged paths, wet roads, interstates into the city. It doesn’t matter. The available 4×4 systems give you a ride with impressive performance and safety features. The Cherokee offers reasonable towing power with up to 4,500 pounds of capacity.
Towing Capacity: Up to 4,500 pounds
About: With the same build quality and attention to detail that you’d find in an Apple iPhone, Audi Q5 is built to last and impress. Beyond the flash of other SUVs, this luxury vehicle delivers with all trims offering all-wheel drive. You can choose from a powerful 201-hp four-cylinder Quattro or opt for a speedy 261-horsepower four-cylinder or 362-hp hybrid.
The Q5 offers plenty of digital amenities and driver assist features to stay on top of your tech and safety.
Towing Capacity: Up to 4,400 pounds
About: The Dodge Durango is a powerful, roomy SUV with three-row seating. But despite all the digital features and driver-assist safety controls, the Durango also packs a punch under the hood. It’s available in various configurations ranging from a 295-hp V6 engine to a 475-horsepower V8 monster.
In short, the definition of a small camper covers significantly more ground with the Durango towing capacity.
Towing Capacity: Up to 8,700 pounds
About: If the Durango’s towing power widened your eyes, check out the Toyota Sequoia and its nearly 10,000 pounds of towing capability. The Durango’s i-FORCE MAX Twin Turbo V6 Hybrid engine provides a stunning 437 horsepower and 583 pound-foot of torque, so there’ll be no issues towing a small camper with this beast.
It also comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission that provides an excellent shifting feel and helps improve fuel efficiency. If that weren’t enough, the Sequoia is another SUV with three-row seating, plenty of cargo room, and all the technical and safety features you could want.
Towing Capacity: Up to 9,520 pounds
About: The Ford Explorer is an affordable option that can still tow just about any small camper, with its towing capacity reaching upwards of 5,600 pounds. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but the base model comes with a turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower and 310 pound foot of torque.
The engine comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Though the Explorer isn’t as fancy on the digital side of things, it has won the Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is one of the industry’s top safety designations.
Towing Capacity: Up to 5,600 lbs
How Fast Can You Drive While Towing a Small Camper?
While an SUV, especially the more powerful ones, could tow a small camper at a high rate of speed, that’s not the safest thing to do. There are a few reasons for this.
Firstly, most small campers have tires that are only rated to go around 60 to 65 mph. Though you could technically tow at a higher speed on interstates and many U.S. and state highways, it’s not safe to do so, as it increases wear on the tires and could cause a blowout or other damage.
Inclement weather conditions are also less forgiving the faster that you go. Many veteran RVers recommend going about 10 to 20 miles per hour slower when pulling a small camper than you would when you’re not towing anything. This allows time for correcting for unexpected debris, gusts of wind, or other surprise situations.
Controlling your speed is also extremely important when navigating curvy, winding roads or traveling down steep grades.
Pro Tip: We uncovered What’s the Most Reliable SUV to keep you safe on the road.
Is It Hard to Tow a Small Camper?
So when it comes to safety and ease, is it hard to tow a small camper with an SUV? Not at all.
Just make sure you choose the right model for your adventure. Do your research, invest in higher-quality equipment, and take extra caution when towing the camper.
Just remember that stopping power is also important. Do plenty of practice runs on gentle inclines before venturing out for real, and keep in mind that good preparation makes for truly successful trips.
Is it hard to tow a small camper? Not as long as you tow with an appropriate SUV!
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