Can I Haul a Lightweight RV Without a Truck? Yes You Can!

By: Get-Away RV   |   15 Jul 2020
Hauling a lightweight RV without a truck

Many people love the idea of RV camping, especially with so much green space right in our own backyard, but they don’t own (or want to buy) a truck in order to haul a trailer. Owning a pickup truck is not a prerequisite to RV camping, and plenty of tent trailers, pop-up campers and other RVs are manufactured using incredibly durable and lightweight materials. At Get-Away RV, we carry a wide variety of units that can be hauled by most SUVs and crossovers - here’s how to RV in BC without a big pickup truck!

How to Tow Safely With Your Car or SUV

There are a few key terms you’ll need to be familiar with before you can start shopping for a new RV or hit the open road with your trailer in tow:

  • Dry Weight/Shipped Weight. This is the weight of an RV or vehicle as it comes shipped from the manufacturer without any added weight to it. It's easy to find in your owner's manual, or simply ask your sales rep.

  • Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). The combined weight of an RV with all passengers, cargo and liquids inside.

  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The maximum allowed weight of the vehicle or RV, including all passengers and cargo.

  • Cargo Weight. The weight of all accessories, fluids, food, clothing, etc. that you might put into your RV or vehicle.

  • Max Towing Capacity. This is the maximum weight limit that can be safely towed by your specific vehicle. It’s calculated by adding the GVW of your RV with the cargo weight (usually passengers and gear) inside of the tow vehicle.

You’ll also need to install a trailer hitch in order to safely connect your RV to your vehicle for towing purposes. When you’re towing a lighter unit, you don’t need to worry about specific types of hitches that are required to tow units like fifth wheels or toy haulers on the back of a pickup truck. You’ll more than likely be able to have a standard hitch installed for a few hundred dollars at most vehicle service centres. If you need recommendations, reach out to our Service Department for advice!

The Max Towing Capacity is one of the most important figures to keep in mind when you’re trying to decide on which lightweight RV option will work best for you, and can easily be found in the owner’s manual of your vehicle. It is vital that you do not exceed the max towing capacity of your specific vehicle, as it can lead to engine, braking and other major safety concerns. Once you know how much your vehicle can tow, you can easily look for units that fit within those parameters. Not quite sure where to start? Don’t worry - that’s what your Get-Away RV team is here for!

What are my Options for Lightweight Trailers?

We thought you’d never ask! At Get-Away, we’re passionate about making the RV lifestyle easily accessible to folks across BC, and that includes stocking units in a variety of sizes, weights and price points. We carry RVs from brands that are well known for their ultra-durable and lightweight products, including Aliner Ascape, Alto by Safari Condo, Apex, Little Guy, and Helio. Most of the units from these brands have a dry weight of 1500lbs to 3700lbs, making them perfectly suitable to be towed by many crossovers and SUVs.

One thing you’ll notice is that the majority of our lightweight trailers are teardrop-shaped. This design is well known for being aerodynamic (which helps with towing) and incredibly light, while still supplying more than enough versatile space for sleeping quarters, a small kitchen, storage and a cozy place to lounge. You can expect to add anywhere from 120lbs to 500lbs in cargo for food, supplies and fluids in one of these compact trailers.

Which Cars and SUVs are up to the Challenge?

You may be surprised to learn that many popular crossovers, SUVs and small trucks are quite powerful, and able to confidently tow a wide range of lightweight and compact RVs. Vehicles like Toyota Highlander, Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda CRV, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4 can all tow a minimum of 1,500 pounds, and most of these vehicles have a max towing capacity of 3,500 - 5,000 pounds when they’re equipped with certain engine and trim packages.

Let’s take a look at a brief case study to demonstrate how we crunch the numbers: a popular SUV on BC highways, the Toyota RAV4, can be equipped to tow up to 3,500 pounds. A new 2020 Helio 03 Travel Trailer from Get-Away RV has a dry weight of 1,500 pounds, including sleeping quarters for 3, toilet, outdoor shower, kitchenette, water heater and tanks, storage space, full-size screen door and much more - everything you could need to live comfortably on the road! If you add 500 pounds for passengers and supplies inside the RAV4, an additional 400 pounds for fluids, food and supplies onboard the Helio, and 50 pounds for the trailer hitch (all of those figures are incredibly generous), your gross vehicle weight plus your cargo weight is coming in at just shy of 2,500 pounds - well below the max towing capacity of your Toyota RAV4. When you add it all up, it’s easy to see that RVing with a crossover or SUV is well within reach!

lightweight rv helio

Shop Lightweight Trailers at Get-Away RV in Abbotsford!

Our team of experts at Get-Away RV is here to help you find the perfect trailer or camper for your needs. That means finding products that work with what you already have, whether that’s a specific vehicle or budget in mind, and not pushing you into something that won’t work for you. We want to see you explore our gorgeous BC countryside safely and easily. Browse our inventory of lightweight campers and trailers, and don’t hesitate to give us a call to have one of our team members walk you through your options. Happy travels!

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