Pulling a single travel trailer is typically the way that most owners will use their trailer when traveling. However, there are times when pulling just one accessory behind a vehicle is not going to do for the adventure or camping trip that one has in mind. Many travel trailer owners will want to be able to pull other things behind the trailer, such as a boat, a jet ski, or even an ATV. Many people wonder if it is possible to double-tow these items using only one vehicle.
Can you double tow with a travel trailer? Yes, it is possible to double tow with a travel trailer, but it is not often recommended. You will want to make sure the frame of your travel trailer is rated to tow a second trailer. There are weight, length, and safety requirements when double towing trailers that can affect where you can and can’t go.
It is important to do lots of research on the models of all vehicles, travel trailers, and accessories in the double tow before deciding to do this. In many situations, double towing is very possible to do but it is always better to research and test it out before hitting the open road. Also, state laws on double towing can vary from state to state, so if crossing over any state lines during a trip, a travel trailer owner will want to understand the rules and how they may differ from each other between the states being visited.
What is Double Towing?
Double towing is the act of someone pulling more than one accessory behind a vehicle which is usually a truck. In some areas of the country, double towing is referred to as triple towing but is the same thing when considering how many accessories are able to be pulled behind the truck.
In the case of double towing with a travel trailer, this set up would probably include the pulling truck, a travel trailer connected to the truck, and then an additional accessory such as a boat or ATV trailer that is being pulled behind the travel trailer. This is beneficial for many people as it allows them to be able to bring something else for activities on their trips without having to use another vehicle or towing system to get it there.
Factors that will Affect Your Ability to Double Tow
While being able to double tow with your travel trailer may be very beneficial for your next trip, there are a lot of different factors that need to be considered before setting out towards your next destination. It is essential to know all you can about these limiting factors before setting out so that you can be sure that your vehicle can handle it and that double towing is allowed where you are going.
- Pulling Vehicle’s Strength – Some vehicles, especially trucks, are designed to be able to pull more weight than others. If you are choosing to double tow, starting with a vehicle that has the towing capacity to pull both accessories at the same time is the most important starting point. Look at your vehicles Gross Vehicle Weight Raiting (GVWR) to see if you can have the weight of the truck, travel trailer, as well as second accessory trailer. Using a vehicle that can not support pulling the double tow could result in dangerous situations while on the road, as well as possible damage to the vehicle or accessories themselves.
- Length of all Accessories Combined – There are laws put in place that limit the extent of how long a total double tow may be. The range of total length is typically between 65 and 75 feet from the front of the pulling vehicle to the back of the third accessory. This does vary from state to state, so it is important to check out the laws that govern your state or any state that you will be passing through on the way to your destination. To put these lengths in perspective, a F350 is about 22.5′ long with a hitch. If you are towing a 20′ travel trailer which may have a 2′ hitch, you can only tow a boat that is about 17′ long if you include your boat trailer hitch of about 3′ length to stay within the legal limit of 65′ of length.
- State Laws – State laws around double towing vary greatly depending on which region of the United States you find yourself in. Some states allow double towing with very few restrictions, while states on the other end of the spectrum do not allow double towing at all. In many of the legal states, you can only double tow if you have a 5th wheel and not at all if you have a travel trailer. Depending on where you might be trying to go, this could greatly affect your ability to double tow. It might also change your destination to a region that does allow double towing if needed.
- Proper Double Towing Mechanisms – Different towing mechanisms and hitches will be needed to add on another accessory behind the travel trailer, as to allow for the weight being towed. A travel trailer owner will need to make sure that they have consulted their specific model, both for the trailer strength of the frame and tow hitch, and the accessory, in order to determine the best way to connect the two items. If in doubt, consult a professional at a travel trailer shop as to what method would be the best way to double tow what you are hoping to.
- Total Weight of Items being Pulled – The more accessories that are added on to the end of a tow will increase the weight of the entire caravan. This needs to be considered both for driving and pulling situations. The vehicle will need to be able to pull the total weight, as well as to stop the total weight for preventing runaways.
- Driver’s Comfort Level with Pulling the Double Tow – Pulling more than one accessory behind a truck adds a great deal of weight and size to the tow. It is important that the driver of the caravan be comfortable in towing all of the items combined. A double tow will make it more difficult to make turns, back up, and will also increase the time and amount of space needed to break while on the road. If choosing to double tow, try to make some practice drives around your area first to get used to maneuvering the extended tow.
- Type of Accessory Being Pulled – There are different laws surrounding what you are allowed to double tow as well. Most states limit the third accessory to only being a toy, such as a boat, jet ski, or ATV. This will prevent towing two separate travel trailers, which could break both weight and length requirements as well.
It is very important to do all of the research before you embark so that you do not find yourself in any illegal double towing situations or in a dangerous driving scenario that you did not mean to get yourself in.
Dangers of Double Towing with a Travel Trailer
Double towing with a travel trailer brings two dangers to mind:
- By using a trailer hitch on the rear of your travel trailer, you will be adding the tongue weight to the end of your travel trailer and reducing it from the tow vehicle. This can be dangerous as you can amplify sway or cause hazardous breaking situations due to the modified weights.
- If you add a second trailer and do not have a good sway control hitch, you will be amplifying the sway you cause and can get into a dangerous scenario of you run into a trailer sway problem and could possibly cause a wreck with your vehicle and others.
Consequences of Double Towing in an Area Where it is Illegal
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you are found double towing in areas of the country where it is considered illegal or if you find yourself outside of the double towing requirements, it could be quite a nasty headache. If caught, it will likely result in a hefty fine for the travel trailer owner who will also more than likely have to sacrifice their ability to double tow both of the accessories back home. This would require a second vehicle to be obtained in order to get both things that were being towed where they need to go. This is why it is very important to know double towing abilities before setting off
Double towing is a convenient way to take multiple trailers with you on a camping trip. However, there are many things to consider before choosing this method of transportation. There is nothing worse than finding yourself in a situation where you are not able to pull both accessories or even get them back to their home. Make sure to do your research to avoid any mishaps while on the road enjoying your vacation!
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