There are a lot of people who will be hitting the road fairly soon – hitting the road with their travel trailers to find new adventures while RV camping. But as fun as the destination is going to be, make sure you’re prepared for the journey as well. Towing your travel trailer can be challenging and a little intimidating, but with the right approach and a little experience, you’ll be a pro in no time. To help you get started, Krenek RV has provided a list of tips for just this activity. If you need additional guidance, stop by our location in Coloma, Michigan and chat with one of our experienced staff. We serve Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, as well as La Porte, Indiana.
Choosing the Right Tow Vehicle
The first major priority is to make sure you’ve got the right tow vehicle. Travel trailers come with a bumper pull hitch, so they’ll hook up to virtually any kind of vehicle. The big concern is making sure the tow vehicle can handle the extra weight. This revolves around the gross combined weight rating (GCWR), which refers to the weight limit according to the tow vehicle’s manufacturer. This includes the tow vehicle, all towed vehicles (the travel trailer), cargo, and passengers. While the manufacturer sets the GCWR, it’s also the law. Exceeding weight limitations can create a sway risk, damage or pop your tires, and create a serious road hazard. Not only should you take this seriously because it’s safer to do so, but it also helps you avoid hefty fines.
Once you have the right tow vehicle, the next part of managing your unit’s weight is to load the trailer properly. There is a right way to distribute your cargo weight in order to avoid having your RV favor a particular side of the road or upending parts of the trailer that should stay connected to the pavement. The weight should be distributed evenly from side to side, but not so much front to back. For that, you’ll want to follow the 60/40 rule. This means 60% of the total cargo weight is in the front half closer to the hitch and the remaining 40% is in the back half. In fact, most people recommend 10-20% of the overall weight being placed as close to the hitch as possible. This may take a little creative thinking and strategic packing, but it’s an important part of staying safe.
While having a game plan and a good state of mind is helpful, the only way to get better and more confident at towing a travel trailer is practice. And you won’t want to try things out for the first time on the day of the big trip. This practice will need to happen regularly long before then. Find a big, empty parking lot and take the time to relearn some basic driving practices, like reversing, parking, braking, and turning. These will change significantly with a large travel trailer behind you.
You’ll also want to get used to the ways in which highway driving will be different. Find a day or time when traffic is manageable and work on merging and high-speed driving. Just think back on when you were first learning to drive a car. There were certain things you had a practice a few times before you could do them safely and efficiently. This applies to towing as well.
Hopefully this gives you a leg up on learning to travel with your travel trailer. Just remember to stay focused and confident and hopefully you won’t run into too many problems. If you still need the perfect travel trailer to tow around, then stop by Krenek RV in Coloma, Michigan and we’ll give you the full tour of the models we have available. We welcome all current and future RV owners from Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, as well as La Porte, Indiana.