Can I Tow a Pop Up Camper with My Car?

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Camping is becoming more and more interesting among young people around the United States. As a result, more people are becoming interested in purchasing RVs, travel trailers, and campers. However, these large RVs are not for everyone, especially young people. More often than not, young people have not saved up enough money to be able to afford an RV. They are quite expensive and are not the best option for everyone. However, people still want to go on camping trips when they are young, so they need other options. As a result, many people will look to purchase a pop up camper as an alternative option.

A pop up camper is a great option for people that want to go on a camping trip, but they need to work on a budget. It is also a good option for people that are traveling in a small group and are moving around a lot. Since it is so light and small, you can travel quicker than you could if you were riding in a large RV or travel trailer.

One thing you need to consider before you purchase a pop up camper is whether your car can tow it. After all, if you cannot tow the pop up camper, you will not be having any exciting camping trips any time soon. As a result, you will need to make sure that your car is equipped to tow your pop up camper. However, as long as you do your research you should not have any problems and you will be on the road in no time.

How to Determine How Much Your Car Can Tow?

You might be excited to purchase your pop up camper immediately, but you might come to regret it if you make a purchase too hastily. There are a few things you need to do before you purchase your first pop up camper. The most important of these things is that you need to check to make sure that your car can tow a popup camper. To figure that out you need to calculate the towing capacity for your vehicle.

To do this there are a few variables you need to determine. Firstly, you will need to find your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating. This is how much your vehicle can carry with passengers, fuel, and cargo. You also need to gross combined weight rating, gross axle weight rating, curb weight, and tongue weight.

To calculate your vehicles towing capacity you first need to find the curb weight for your vehicle. This is how much your vehicle weighs without anyone in it and it can be found on your VIN sticker. You should then add the weight of your passengers, fuel, and cargo. Then subtract this number from your vehicles gross combined weight rating. You might need to look this up on your VIN if it is not on the door sticker.

The number you get here is the towing capacity for your vehicle. It is then as simple as making sure that your pop up camper weighs less than the number you just calculated.

Finally, you need to make sure that your hitch can handle this weight. However, in most cases that should not be an issue.

How to Determine the Weight of a Pop Up Camper

A pop up camper can very significantly in weight. However, they are typically lighter than most other trailers. The weight of a pop up camper will generally range from 1100 pounds to 3300 pounds, although there can be exceptions.

You should be able to get the information you need from the manufacturer and the dealer. Both should have all the weight measurements that you need before you purchase the camper. It is important that you have all the weight ratings associated with the camper so that you can make sure that your car can tow the camper. Otherwise, you will be purchasing a very expensive decoration for your garage.


To learn all about how much Popup campers weigh check out our article called Average Pop Up Camper Weight – All You Need to Know.

What Are the Best Cars That Can Tow a Pop Up Camper?

As long as you have a car that is strong enough to tow your pop up camper you should be fine. However, there are some vehicles that are better than others. That does not mean that you need to trade in your car for a new one after you purchase a pop up camper. That being said, here are a few of the best cars that can tow a pop up camper.

Subaru Outback

You might not think it when you see it, but this Subaru Outback is actually one of the best options for towing a pop up camper. It has relatively potent pulling power thanks to its standard 2.5 liter, four cylinder engine. This vehicle can tow up to 2700 pounds. However, if you move up to its 3.6 liter V6 engine, you can raise your towing capacity to 3000 pounds.

Additionally, the Outback caters to campers with rugged cues with its standard symmetrical all-wheel drive, standard roof rails with a 150 pound capacity. It also has a 35.5 cubic foot standard cargo area that can expand to 73.3 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded back.

Volvo S60

The Volvo is another great option for those of you that want to purchase a pop up camper. Regardless of the engine you choose with this vehicle it will have a maximum towing capacity of 3500 pounds.

Additionally, the load limit is complimented by a 240 hp and 258 lb.-ft of torque from a standard 4-cylinder, 2.0 engine with both turbocharging and direct injection.

Ford Fusion

The 2015 Ford Fusion is another good option for you if you have the intention of purchasing a pop up camper. With its 2.0 liter, 4 cylinder EcoBoost powerplant beneath its hood, it can tow 2000 pounds. When in all wheel drive, the Fusion can post an EPA line of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway.

Buick Verano

The 2015 Buick Verano can tow up to 1000 pounds with its standard engine. So, it has the lightest towing capacity among the vehicles on this list. However, it is still a solid option because pop up campers are generally pretty light.

Additionally, the vehicle stands out from the other vehicles because it is a rare vehicle with a driver satisfying manual transmission. However, the DIY shifter is only available with he Verano’s up level 250 hp turbo.

Chevrolet Impala

The final vehicle we will be looking at is the Chevrolet Impala. This vehicle combines cutting edge technology with the traditional capabilities that many car customers demand. It has a towing capacity of 1000 pounds, tying with the Buick Verano. There are also two different engines you can choose from when you purchase this vehicle, the 2.5 liter 4 cylinder unit, and the 3.6 liter V6.

Do I Need Trailer Brakes to Tow a Pop Up Camper with My Car?

A lot of trailers are built with trailer brakes to make it easier for you to break when you are on the road or arriving at the campsite. However, there are some that do not come with these brakes. As a result, you need to ask yourself the question, do I need trailer brakes to tow a pop up camper?

Typically, trailer brakes are built with larger trailers because the purpose of these breaks is to help you control larger trailers and prevent accidents. As a result, if you have a smaller trailer like a pop up camper you can get away with not installing trailer brakes.

However, it is still recommended that you have trailer brakes. Although they are not 100 percent necessary, it is better to be safe and install trailer brakes if you can. You never know when you could be in a situation where trailer brakes could save you from a crash. So, while you do not need them, you should consider installing them.

Do I Need Tow Mirrors on My Car to Tow a Pop Up Camper?

Do I Need Tow Mirrors on My Car to Tow a Pop Up Camper?

Tow mirrors are a necessity in most situations, especially with larger trailers. When you are towing a large trailer with your vehicle your vision will be majorly obstructed. As a result, you might not be able to see anything behind you because your car mirrors are completely useless. To fix this problem you can install tow mirrors. These mirrors extend further to the side and are larger so that you can see more.

If you have clear vision while towing your pop up camper, there is no reason for you to install tow mirrors. After all, the entire purpose of tow mirrors is to provide you with vision when your car mirrors are obstructed. So, if they are not obstructed then you do not need them.

Generally, you will be able to determine whether you need tow mirrors or not with one simple test. Compare the width of your car and the width of your pop up camper. If the pop up camper is more than a few inches wider than your car then you should install tow mirrors. When it gets wider than your car it can start to obstruct your vision and that is when things can get dangerous. So, as a rule of thumb, if your camper is wider than your vehicle, make sure you have tow mirrors.


To learn all about the best clip on towing mirrors for towing a popup camper check out our article called Do I Need Towing Mirrors for a Travel Trailer? Even though it’s about travel trailers it applies to popup campers too!

Do I Need Special Insurance to Tow a Pop Up Camper with My Car?

Unfortunately, this question does not have a one size fits all answer. Generally, your car insurance will cover the pop up camper for liability as it is being towed by the car. However, you will need to check with your insurance company to be sure. Most insurance companies will cover the pop up camper as its part of the car even though it is not fully attached.

However, if you already have car insurance, you will need to consult with your insurance provider to see what their policy is. Most insurance providers will cover the pop up camper as we mentioned. However, there are some companies that might not be as willing to cover your pop up camper. If that is the case, then you will need to purchase separate trailer insurance.

Towing Weight Terminology

When you are purchasing your pop up camper and determining the towing weight of your car, you will come across a lot of terminology that might be confusing to you. People who are not familiar with trailers and RVs will not know this terminology immediately. So, we have made a list of all the important terminology and defined them for you.


GVWR stands for gross vehicle weight rating. This is how much weight your vehicle can carry with passengers, fuel, and cargo.


UVW stands for unloaded vehicle weight. It is the weight as manufactured in the factory. It accounts for a full fuel tank weight and equipment fluid weights. This also includes the engine, generate. However, it does not include any cargo, water, propane, or dealer installed accessories.


GCWR stands for gross combined weight rating. This is the maximum total weight of the vehicle when combining everything. So, this includes everything in the gross vehicle rating as well as the weight of your passengers, trailer, and cargo.


GAWR stands for gross axle weight rating. This is how much weight can be placed over each axle. It is incredibly important to know this as a trailer owner.

Tongue/ Hitch Weight

This is how much weight the hitch of your vehicle can handle. It is also important to know this so that you do not overload your vehicle.

Hit the Road Towing Your Popup Camper with Your Car!

After reading, we hope you have all the information you need to purchase a pop up camper for yourself. We know there is a lot of information to absorb, but it should all be helpful to you as you get closer to making a purchase. It might seem overwhelming but purchasing a pop up camper is a big decision, so you should be as informed as possible.

A pop up camper is a great option for someone that does not have the budget to purchase a larger RV or trailer. However, that does not mean that you cannot have a great vacation in your pop up camper. A pop up camper is more personal and greater for solo trips or trips with a spouse. It will let you experience nature more closely, and you will spend less time cooped up in your trailer than you would in a large RV.

Before you make the purchase of a pop up camper, the most important thing to determine is the towing capacity of your car. If you are purchasing a pop up camper there is a good chance you are working on a budget, so you will not want to purchase a new car as well. So make sure you take the time to calculate the towing capacity of your vehicle. This way you will be able to enjoy your new camper without any worries. With that information in hand, pretty soon you will be on the road enjoying your brand new pop up camper.

Are you a new or experienced trailer owner? Why are you interested in purchasing a pop up camper? What car do you own and what is its towing capacity? Let us know in the comments!

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