Many nomads are turning to Class B camper vans to explore the country without the need for a second vehicle. With #vanlife as popular as ever, it’s an exciting time to explore with one of these vehicles. However, there are times when even a class B might want to bring a car along, so what about their towing abilities? Can a Class B camper van tow a car?
Before you attach a tow bar to your camper van and hit the highway, there are a few things you need to know. So buckle up, and see if a Class B camper van can tow a car.
Let’s get started!
What Is a Class B Camper?
A Class B camper van is an RV on a van chassis. The most common types of vans people use for Class B camper vans in the US are the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit, and Ram ProMaster. However, these aren’t ordinary vans you see on the road.
There are significant differences between Class B Camper vans and standard conversion vans. The most notable difference is the amenities. Camper vans typically have beds, kitchens, and bathrooms that can provide comfort, flexibility, and freedom while traveling.
These rigs are popular with individuals, couples, and small families. However, it can get cramped in a hurry with such a tight space.
How Much Weight Can a Class B RV Tow?
The amount of weight a Class B RV can tow depends on the make, model, and engine type. However, most Class B RVs can tow 2,000 to 5,000 pounds. While this isn’t a tremendous amount of weight, it isn’t anything to overlook.
You must know the specific capabilities of your vehicle. If not, you could risk increasing the wear and tear on your van and putting yourself and others in a dangerous situation. When in doubt, check the documentation you received with your vehicle or contact the manufacturer.
We will take a closer look at specific towing details a bit later.
Can a Class B Camper Tow a Car?
It is possible to tow a car with a Class B camper van. However, these vans have minimal towing capacities compared to other more capable vehicles. You can expect them to tow anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 pounds.
The average smart car weighs around 1,500 pounds, but a Jeep is usually around 5000. If you want to tow a vehicle with your conversion van, most will need to stick with a subcompact, compact, or mid-size car.
While it is possible to tow a vehicle, there are quite a few things you need to keep in mind to do it safely. Here at Mortons on the Move safety is our top priority with RV’s.
Important Things to Consider When Towing with a Class B
There are some crucial things that you need to consider when towing with a Class B. By educating yourself; you can help ensure you have a smoother and safer experience on the road. You can never take safety lightly when traveling!
Your RV Toad Vehicle
We have written extensively about choosing an RV Toad vehicle before. The RV toad vehicle is the vehicle you’ll tow behind your Class B. This is an excellent option for those who want to set their camper up and use a different car for adventuring sightseeing, and supply runs. Some RVers call this vehicle a “dingy,” a small boat that attaches to a larger boat and is more convenient to navigate in and around ports.
Most of the time in a class B the intention is to use the van itself as the vehicle to get around, but bringing along a specialty vehicle might be warranted. Many enjoy choosing vehicles with capabilities that will enhance their adventures. This typically means higher clearances and more rugged designs for off-roading or accessing remote areas. However, that’s not always possible, especially if you’re towing with a Class B camper van.
It’s vital to understand car towing systems and if you will need to dolly or trailer tow your second vehicle. When considering these things, you will need to factor additional tow equipment into your weights which will be the biggest factor in towing a car with a class B.
One of the most challenging aspects of towing with a Class B camper is managing the weight limits. There are a handful of towing limitations you must consider to ensure safety while towing.
The first thing you need to consider is the vehicle’s towing capacity. To maximize safety, it’s generally best to use no more than 80% of the total towing capacity. While this is not required, its always safer as manufacturers generally rate the vehicle at the very upper limit of what it is capable of.
You also must consider the hitch capacity of your tow vehicle. This is the maximum weight a trailer or other towed object can place on the tow vehicle’s hitch. Obeying this weight limit helps to avoid issues with stability, handling, and general safety while towing.
The GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) is another significant number. The manufacturer sets the GCWR, the maximum combined weight of a towing vehicle, and the object it is towing. Exceeding this limit leads to decreased performance and increased wear and tear and can be a severe safety hazard. You need to make sure your van and all the cargo in it are under the gross vehicle weight rating but under the gross combined when towing. Unfortunately this might mean that you cannot bring as much stuff as you planned when towing a vehicle.
Pro Tip: Make weighing your rig easy with this guide on How to Weigh Your Truck or RV on a CAT Scale.
When towing a vehicle behind a class B its very important to have a reliable auxiliary braking system built into the towed vehicle. Most of the time, class B vans can tow up to 5000 lbs but cannot stop it on their own and require trailer brakes. This is true of towing a vehicle as well. You MUST use the second cars brakes as well to stop.
Brake controllers and auxiliary braking systems activate the brakes on the towed vehicle to provide braking assistance when the driver applies the brakes on the tow vehicle. The result is a smoother and shorter stop. Which type of braking system is right for your rig will depend on the weight of the towed vehicle and local rules and regulations. Familiarize yourself with any applicable laws where you’ll be traveling.
Even with auxiliary brakes when towing, you’re increasing the overall weight of your vehicle and the stopping distance. As a result, you must compensate by increasing the distance between you and any cars in front of you. In addition, you’ll want to reduce your speed during any conditions where you might need to stop.
You need to ensure your Class B camper van can handle towing a car and your hitch. Hitches have a weight capacity and must stay within the ratings for your particular hitch. If not, you could make a dangerous and costly mistake.
You must familiarize yourself with the process for connecting your towed vehicle. Depending on your hitch type, the process will be very different. However, no matter what kind of hitch you choose, you must take your time when hitching. Don’t let yourself get distracted by conversations or your phone. Skipping or missing a step during this point could spell disaster.
Dolly and flat towing are the most standard methods for towing a vehicle behind any motorhome. There are benefits and disadvantages for each and which you choose is up to you.
When dolly towing, you place the front wheels of a vehicle onto a tow dolly, and the rear wheels remain on the ground. This is an excellent option as it’s compatible with various vehicles, creates less wear on the towed vehicle, and requires minimal modifications. However, the dolly can add extra weight, maneuverability can be challenging, and they tend to take more time to set up.
On the other hand, flat towing is when all four wheels of the towed vehicle stay on the ground. The towed vehicle connects to the towing vehicle through a tow bar. The benefits of flat towing are the ease of connecting and disconnecting, more maneuverability, and minimal additional equipment. However, not every vehicle is compatible with this type of towing. You may need expensive modifications to use this method.
Pro Tip: Make sure you know these 10 Camper Towing Rules You Should Never Break before you hitch up and head out on the road.
While Class B camper vans typically get excellent fuel efficiency, that won’t be the case when towing. Fuel consumption will go through the roof, and you can expect to watch the MPGs plummet. However, a van with a diesel engine will notice the impact significantly less than a gas engine.
Typically, fuel efficiency for vans will decrease between 20% and 40% when towing. However, exact numbers will depend on the type of van, the towed vehicle, and the driving conditions. You may want to brace yourself; it will likely not be pretty when you see your MPGs.
Best Class B Campers for Towing
Some Class B campers are better than others for towing. If you’re shopping for a future camper van and plan to tow, here are some of the best options.
Airstream Touring Coaches
When most people think of Airstream, they think of their iconic silver bumper-pull travel trailers. However, Airstream makes a line of touring coaches that are all fantastic options for towing. These Class B motorhomes can haul upwards of 5,000 pounds so that you can bring your favorite toys or a small vehicle along for the adventure.
Some famous Airstream touring coaches are the Interstate 19, Interstate 24GL, Interstate 24GT, and Atlas. Which coach is right for you will depend on your needs. However, the 24GT is popular with couples, and the Atlas is roomy enough to seat four easily. No matter which Airstream touring coach you choose, you can know they built it with some of the best quality craftsmanship and materials in the industry.
American Coach Patriot
The Patriot from American Coach uses a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van chassis for its foundation. It has earned a reputation in the Class B camper van community for its reliability, performance, and quality. American Coach offers various floorplans and layouts for the Patriot. You can find one that fits your needs and traveling style.
Regarding the mechanics, the Patriot has a 7-speed automatic transmission with a turbocharged diesel engine that cranks 188 hp. This allows the Patriot to have a 5,000-pound towing capacity and a GVWR of more than 11,000 pounds. For towing a car, the Patriot is one of the best Class B van options.
The Winnebago Revel is as rough and tough as it gets for Class B motorhomes. This 4×4 motorhome sits atop a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis and can take you anywhere you can imagine. It uses a 3.0L V6 turbo-diesel engine to generate power and torque to help you take your adventures to the next level.
It has a trailer hitch rated for 5,000 pounds and a GVWR of just over 9,000 pounds. If you want to enjoy off-road adventures and have the option to bring a vehicle, the Revel is an incredible option. Not only does it check all the boxes, but you get the Winnebago name, which has a long history and strong reputation in the motorhome community.
Should You Tow a Car with Your Class B Camper?
It is possible to tow a car with your Class B camper. However, you must take the proper steps and precautions to do so safely. Don’t ignore any towing capabilities, and ensure all your equipment is up for the job. Take your time and plan accordingly to have a smooth and exciting adventure while towing with your Class B camper van.
Which of the camper vans on our list would you prefer? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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