How Much Can You Tow?


Subbie and Trailer
Subaru with Multi-Purpose Trailer and Roof Top Tent

Safety First

Now that you’re considering in a Tent Topped Camping Trailer, you will need to know how much your vehicle is able to tow. Before we jump into that though, I recommend you begin with a primer on safe towing. The US Department of Transportation – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published a useful brochure on towing safety, view it at, Towing Safety.

Always keep in mind that towing a trailer will alter the handling and performance of your vehicle. It takes more room and time to stop with the added weight of a trailer behind your vehicle.  Never exceed the tow rating for your vehicle or the Gross Vehicle Weight rating of your trailer.  The owner’s manual for your vehicle is the best place to start. They provide list tow ratings and a section on safe towing. If your owner’s manual isn’t available, go to the manufacturers web-site for your vehicle or contact a local dealer.  Take care and make safety your first consideration when towing.

Now you need a hitch

If your vehicle isn’t currently equipped with a hitch, be sure to buy one from an established and reliable source.

If you plan on having it installed, there are a couple of good options available. First, would be the dealer you bought your vehicle from. This option normally is more expensive than the others, but they will have the specific parts for your vehicle.

For items such as plug-in tail light converters, sometimes the dealer is your only option.

Another one is U-Haul. They sell and install hitches for most vehicles, have been in business for years and will be less expensive than most dealers. It’s usually easy to find a U-Haul in most cities.

If you plan on installing it yourself, I’ve had good luck with U-Haul and Hidden Hitch hitches in the past. The Hidden Hitch web-site has a nice feature for DIY’ers, it has a ‘difficulty’ rating and estimated installation time listed for most hitches.

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