Can You Pull A Pop-Up Camper With A Car?Anthony Day
If you want the amenities of a motorhome without actually using one, you should find out if you can pull a pop-up camper with a car.
Pop-up campers are towable recreational vehicles that are generally more compact and adjustable than motorhomes, campers, and caravans. A pop-up camper can be a convenient and affordable way to have a fantastic RV experience.
In general, you can pull a pop-up camper with a car as long as the camper's weight is within your car’s towing weight limits. Weight limits vary, but there is commonly around a 1,000-pound limit for normal coupes and small sedans and a 2,500-pound limit for SUVs and CUVs.
The weight limits can be higher for bigger passenger vehicles like trucks and vans or lower for smaller cars, so be sure to check your vehicle’s specific limits to ensure it can handle the load of a pop-up camper.
We will go over details about pulling a pop-up camper with a car and talk about related items such as tow hitches and accessories that can be helpful when driving with a pop camper.
Can You Pull A Pop-Up Camper With A Car?
Though riding in a large recreational vehicle like a motorhome can be fun and relaxing, the high cost, maintenance requirements, and relatively complex driving might be unappealing for some people.
I personally enjoy being in compact living and transportation spaces like capsule hotels, airplane seats, and small offices.
It’s fascinating how spaces like that can cleverly pack loads of functionality and utility in such limited areas.
I also don’t have to account for as many spaces that need to be furnished and may require various types of upkeep or monitoring.
When I go on long road trips with one or two people, we often like to use a pop-up camper since they are usually easy to set up, store all our belongings, and have ample space for dining, lounging, and sleeping.
Whether it’s in a busy city or an isolated countryside, a pop-up camper gives us constant access to the homelike conveniences we often long for when out on the road.
Owning and using a pop-up camper often involves less paperwork compared to larger recreational vehicles.
Larger recreational vehicles might require owners and operators to obtain permits and other documentation related to owning, storing, and using them that aren’t needed with pop-up campers.
Though it might be intimidating to tow something with your car for the first time, it’s actually not that difficult for a single person to manage everything involved with a pop-up camper.
Your pop-up camper can be even easier to manage if you have other people along for the ride with you.
Pop-up campers are often composed of lightweight materials such as plastic, fiberglass, and canvas.
Attaching pop-campers to a car, even smaller ones, can be relatively easy for people with or without much automotive expertise.
Pop-up campers tend to have simple construction that makes them easy to fold out, set up, collapse, and store away.
For lighter pop-campers, only a basic tow hitch is usually all that is needed.
The tow hitch can often be attached to the bumper of your car with a port built into the bumper by your car’s manufacturer.
You should be able to attach your pop-up camper into the designated hitch port without any extra accessories or modifications to your bumper.
The port for the bumper hitch will commonly have a square shape and be up to a few inches wide.
For more stable towing, you can opt for a weight-distribution hitch that can balance the weight of the towed pop-camper more evenly.
When selecting a pop-up camper to use for your vehicle, you should take note of your trailer’s GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating).
The GVWR for a trailer is the maximum weight the manufacturer certifies it can carry.
The maximum weight includes the weight of a pop-up camper, people on board, and anything else that can add weight to the trailer.
You should also take note of your towing vehicle’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR).
The GCWR is the maximum weight your vehicle can safely tow, according to the manufacturer.
You can typically find information about weight limits on the door jam at the driver’s side of your car.
You might also be able to find your vehicle’s GCWR and related information in the owner’s manual, which is commonly stored in the center console or glove compartment.
If you are unable to locate any information, it is advisable to contact your car manufacturer directly.
Your car manufacturer should also be able to address installation issues and provide you with recommendations for compatible pop-campers.
For the trailer, you can usually find its GVWR on the VIN (vehicle identification number) sticker on the trailer’s frame.
Like your car, you should contact your trailer or pop-up camper manufacturer if you can’t find the information you need.
When noting the weight of the pop-up camper and your vehicle’s towing limit, you should account for extra weight to be safe.
You will likely have other items in the pop-up camper, such as food, supplies, luggage, and appliances.
All the items in a pop-camper, including people, can add up quickly and make the overall weight of the pop-camper much higher than its base weight.
As a general safety rule, the weight you actually tow should be about 20% less than your vehicle’s towing capacity.
Another weight-related factor to be mindful of is tongue weight (or hitch weight), which is the downward weight applied to your trailer hitch.
You can confirm your trailer’s overall tongue weight by standing on a scale and lifting the tip of the trailer.
Be sure that the noted weight is less than the tongue weight capacity of your towing vehicle.
You should also consider the types of roads, terrain, and weather you’re likely to drive in.
If the overall conditions are rough, that might make your attachment with the pop-up camper less secure.
What Else Is Needed To Pull A Pop-Up Camper With A Car?
Aside from having a suitable tow package for your car and pop-camper, you can benefit from adding other items that can enhance your safety while driving.
Due to the low profile of many pop-up campers, drivers should be able to see clearly behind them by turning around or looking in their rearview mirrors.
However, if the pop camper is wide or tall enough to take up any of the rear viewing space, you should consider taking precautions and adding accessories to ensure adequate viewing space.
You can add helpful driving accessories like rearview mirror extensions and supplementary backup cameras.
A rearview mirror extension is an easy way to widen the view of your car’s side mirrors.
These mirror extenders can usually be attached to your existing mirrors with included fasteners in a few easy steps.
If you have any problems installing the extenders, a professional at a car repair shop or someone with solid technical expertise should be able to assist you.
To ensure vehicles behind your pop-camper know when you apply the brakes, you may opt to have remote brakes installed that can be automatically activated in sync with your towing vehicle’s braking system.
To be on the safe side, you should have a mechanic or other relevant professional check over your tow hookup and related items to make sure everything is set up safely and securely.
About THE AUTHOR
Hi, my name is Anthony, and RVs are what I'm passionate about. I bought my first RV when I was 21, and I've been hooked ever since. I'll guide you on how they work, how they can be used in different environments, and how they fit into our everyday lives.Read More About Anthony Day