Picture this: You’re driving down the highway with your wife and kids. A large Ford F-350 pulls up beside you, breaking up the view of the long stretch of pavement. As the heavy-duty truck makes it way ahead you notice that it’s towing a camper.
Suddenly you get a ping of jealousy as your mind drifts off to all the family memories that could be made if you had one too.
Unforgettable adventures to National Forests or mesmerizing hikes in National Parks seem far out of your reach as you snap back into reality and look down at the minivan you’re driving.
While there are many perks to owning a minivan, you can’t tow a camper with one… right?
Wait… Campers That Can Be Pulled By A Minivan?
You absolutely can. Those memorable family camping trips are so much closer than you think.
Despite the easy ability that minivans have to tow campers, there ARE a few things you must know before taking the leap.
In this article I will share with you everything you need to know about minivan campers and trailers, minivan towing capacities, and which is the best minivan for towing.
Sit back, because it’s a tad bit more than you think!
Can You Tow a Camper With a Minivan?
As I stated previously, it is absolutely possible to tow a camper with a minivan. However, with any large investment, it is best to get the full scope of the situation beforehand so you aren’t wasting money on something that will kill your car.
So, what are the steps you need to take prior?
- Find out if your minivan can actually tow heavy-weight objects.
All minivans are capable of towing, however, not all minivans are capable of towing large vehicles and trailers. Older models are more likely to be incapable of this, however, a quick Google search of your vehicle should give you your answer.
- Fully understand your minivans model and specifications.
This is important because towing capacities can differ depending on the model.
- Find your towing weight capacity.
Your minivan’s towing capacity is the amount of weight your minivan can tow safely. It is often advised to stay quite a bit under the limit when choosing a camper or trailer but I will elaborate on that later.
- Find out what towing packages are offered with your minivan. Manufacturers sell tow packages that hook up to your van, making towing a trailer a breeze.
What Camper Size Can I Get For My Minivan to Tow?
While there are many, many different minivan travel trailers, minivan RV’s, and minivan campers on the market, the camper you choose will ultimately come down to its weight.
Listen, I don’t like to talk about weight either but in this case, it is extremely important.
Your camper’s weight should be well under the towing weight capacity and I will tell you why.
Say you have a minivan with a towing weight capacity of 4,000 lbs. Now you have to subtract the weight of not only your passengers but your food and supplies as well.
For ease let’s say those come out to 1,000 lbs.
So, your minivan can safely tow a camper weighing 3,000 lbs.
To maintain good care of your vehicle, you want to go a little below that threshold. Your minivan should be able to tow this with ease instead of chugging along like the little engine that could.
What Minivans Have a Good Towing Capacity?
Maybe you are in this situation but vice versa. You have a camper already but need an upgraded vehicle to tow it around with.
Maybe this is the first summer your kids are old enough to go on a camping trip and you’re realizing the good old Chevy Malibu just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
With thousands of options to choose from you may be thinking to yourself, what is the best minivan for towing?
Look no further. Here I have compiled a list of 4 of the best vans for towing:
Currently, in its fifth generation, the Odyssey has only grown in style and reliability over time.
This minivan has been known to be the best overall including, but not limited to towing.
With a spacious interior, it can seat up to 8 passengers with room for your kids to get all the space away from each other as possible.
Towing Capacity: 3500 lbs.
All models of the Toyota Sienna with a tow package can tow anything from a small boat to outdoor gear such as a minivan RV.
With 245 horsepower this minivan is rated one of the most reliable vehicles with other amenities such as four-wheel drive for those boondock campers out there.
Towing Capacity: 3500 lbs
As with the previous two minivans we have covered so far, the Sedona comes in ranking at a similar size and towing capacity.
However, what makes this minivan stand out is the option for upgraded packages to make your camping experience as comfortable as possible.
Kia Sedona models 2018, 2019, and 2020 have all been rated with a towing capacity easily able to tow a travel trailer or small boat.
Towing Capacity: 3500 lbs
Now, if you are in a position to afford a more luxurious option the Metris offers an abundance of just that.
This minivan is loaded with exclusive comfort and interior glamour wrapped up in a nice, shiny metal package.
Not only does it provide interior and exterior beauty, but it can also tow over 1500 lbs more than the average minivan does, making it a great option for those with a higher budget.
Towing Capacity: 5000 lbs.
Best Campers You Can Tow With a Minivan:
Now that we have gone through an overview of how to choose a trailer for your minivan and which minivans stand out in this market, let’s get to the information you probably came here for.
The best campers can be pulled by a minivan.
I will go through a few minivan-capable campers in order from lightest to heaviest while highlighting the benefits and differences between them so you can confidently make the decision that fits your lifestyle.
Timberleaf Pika – 970 lbs
This minivan trailer is the sequel to their classic teardrop model. It is more compact without sacrificing any comfort or simplicity.
The Pika is best known for off-grid RV travel/camping. It is 36% lighter than its previous model making it easy to take through rugged, rocky terrain.
In addition, the Timberleaf Pika has many amenities such as LED lighting throughout and a basic rear kitchen.
Length (ft): 12
Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro G12RK – 1252 lbs
Coming in at just over 1 ton, the Geo Pro is light enough for nearly any minivan on the market to tow.
This teardrop trailer is a very simple, lightweight RV for the minimalist camper who just wants their basic needs met.
This camper features a rear outdoor kitchen with running water, a fridge, microwave, electricity, a heater, and roof A/C.
However, despite having all of these features, the biggest downside to this trailer is the lack of a bathroom.
Length (ft): 11.3
NuCampTAG – 1284 lbs
Now, if off-road camping is more your style, the NuCampTAG has you covered.
It is a small, versatile, lightweight camper with a specialty Boondock Package available. This package includes aggressive off-road tires, heavy-duty pitched axels, a solar package, and a roof rack.
In addition to these rugged features, the NuCampTAG provides you with some necessities such as running water and a sink, and a rear outdoor kitchen.
Not only does it provide the necessities but it includes some “not so necessary” amenities for the off-roader.
These include a large battery bank with optional solar panels, a heater with a wireless thermostat, and most importantly, an exquisite star gazing window above your head for some incredibly cozy star gazing nights.
Due to its lightweight design, this teardrop trailer is ideal for someone looking to take their camping up a notch while still experiencing some comforts of home.
NuCamp TabS Teardrop Camper – 1,969 lbs
NuCamp is at it again, but this time it moves beyond the cozy, compact interior design of most teardrop trailers and allows you to stand upright inside your trailer.
Despite the additional height needed to accommodate this feature, this trailer is still one of the lightest on the market.
This teardrop trailer brings tiny camping to the next level without skimping on the essentials such as a small kitchenette, a cassette toilet, a large seating area that can convert into a Queen sized bed, and a small wet bath.
With its self-containing features, this trailer is versatile enough for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation.
Length (ft): 15.3
Scamp 16 Standard Trailer – 2,000 lbs.
This trailer is lightweight and simple with an exciting twist. It is fully customizable with 5 different floorplans to choose from.
With various options designed to fit your lifestyle, comes the downside of the long wait. Since these trailers are built to order it usually can take up to 6 months to receive.
However, this wait can easily be done if you live in a colder climate where camping really isn’t possible in the wintertime.
The wait is worth it with its LED exterior lights, propane stove, A/C, and kitchen sink.
Length (ft): 16
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is the typical towing capacity of most minivans?
Older models typically have a lower towing capacity but newer minivans on the market today have a towing capacity of 3,000-3,600 lbs.
- What is dry weight vs. wet weight?
Dry weight is typically referred to as the weight of a vehicle without any fluids in it (such as gasoline or oil). Wet weight is term referred to a weight once all fluids needed to drive it are in.
- What happens if I exceed the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)?
Exceeding this weight rating can do great damage to your vehicle. The GVWR is different from the towing weight capacity in that this takes into account the weight of your car as well. This weight requirement is very important to take seriously because it can directly be influenced by your minivan.
Let’s take a minute to summarize what we all just learned together. Towing capacities vary by make and model so get out that handy owner’s manual you probably haven’t touched since the day you bought your van. Ignoring this key point can be the fine line between having two motor vehicles and having none.
Don’t forget to take into account the weight added when your passengers, fluids, food, and equipment are all packed and ready to go as well.
Lastly, most minivans have similar towing capacities so finding the right camper comes down to the weight of the trailer but also what amenities are most important for you to have an enjoyable, memorable camping trip for many decades to come.
There you have it. The most important pieces of information are needed when thinking of making an investment in your camping experience.
Taking your camping trips to the next level is entirely possible whether you own a heavy-duty pick-up truck or a family fun minivan. Now get out there and look at some stars!
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