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Dually Truck: What Is it and Do You Need One for Towing?

Dually Truck: What Is it and Do You Need One for Towing?

Dually trucks are popular in the RVing and farming world primarily for the increased towing and payload capacity. 

But what exactly are they, and what are the benefits? What does dually mean? We have traveled the country full time for 6 years with a dually so let’s dive into the world of dual-wheel pickups. 

What Is a Dually Truck? 

A dually truck has two rear wheels on each side — six altogether. They have wider rears to accommodate the extra wheels. The wider base can support more weight and makes these trucks more stable.

Dually Truck Towing Large Fifthwheel
This is our truck that has towed our 17,000lb rig over 100k safe miles

Sometimes you will hear or see a dually truck referred to as DRW or dual rear wheel, vs a SRW or single rear wheel truck.

Who Makes Dually Trucks?

All 4 major US truck manufacturers make dual-wheeled trucks. If you’re particular to a specific brand, there’s an option for you. 

Ford, Ram, Chevy, and GMC all make both gasoline and diesel dually trucks. All four brands have different configurations like trim packages, extended-cabs, and four-door models. Each brand differs, so each model will have different specs, payload, and towing capacities. 

How Much Does A Dually Truck Cost?

Dually trucks come as one of the most expensive types on the market. If you’re looking to purchase a new truck, prices begin around $35,000. 

ram 5500 flatbed

The higher towing and payload capacity, the higher the price. Newer and heavier-duty trucks can cost as much as $75,000 or more! 

What Is a Dually Truck Good For?

Most people don’t buy dually trucks just because they look cool. These trucks can do some heavy hauling and have higher weight ratings. Here are the top benefits of these heavy-duty trucks. 

Higher Towing and Payload Capacity

Duallies win when it comes to increased towing and payload capacity. If you need to haul a trailer that weighs over 20,000 lbs, this is the best option! Truck camper owners appreciate the increased payload capacity of these trucks, too. 

Hauling a backhoe with a dually
I wouldn’t have moved this machine without our dually

Increased Stability

With four rear wheels, these trucks’ stability beats out the regular versions. Needing to tow and carry large loads in your truck bed or camper make duallies a great option. 

Perfect for Towing Large Rigs

Duallies are perfect for towing large RVs, horse trailers, and truck campers. These trucks are serious workhorses! Having extra towing capacity can increase your peace of mind on long road trips and while traveling over mountain passes.

Dually truck filling at truck stop
Ever notice that semi trucks are usually duallies?

Do You Need a Dually for Towing a Fifth Wheel or Travel Trailer RV? 

You don’t need a dually for most fifth wheels and travel trailers. However, these trucks can haul the heaviest trailers and fifth wheels safely. If your camper weighs more than 14,000 lbs, it might be time to consider getting one. 

Most of the towing capacity does not come from the drivetrain however but the extra safety they provide with the extra tires on the rear end. Getting a flat or having a blowout when towing heavy can be catastrophic. A 3/4 ton SRW diesel truck can technically tow as much as a dually, but should it? Probably not.

Do You Need a Dually for a Truck Camper? 

Truck campers sit in the truck bed using the truck’s payload capacity rather than towing capacity. The weight of many truck campers requires heavy-duty trucks.

Some truck camper manufacturers make lightweight models that don’t require a dually.

Truck camper dually ford truck
This camper we took to Alaska was so heavy it needed a dually. Check out our Go North series to learn more

Many people with truck campers love the advantages of a dual-wheeled pickup because of the extra payload capacity and the camper’s stability sitting over the rear wheels.  If you are considering a heavy truck camper then you will want to go dual wheels. Keep in mind the gear you will bring along as well.

Cons of Dually Trucks

Dually trucks have many awesome features but come with some drawbacks! Let’s look at the cons: 

Rougher Ride

If you’re not towing a camper, you’ll experience a rougher ride in a heavy-duty dual-rear-wheel truck. With 4 high-pressure tires on the back, they don’t absorb bumps as well and also have stiffer suspension for hauling.

dually truck frame

If you’re not a full-time RVer or using your truck for towing or moving heavy things often, you may want to consider a different truck. 

More Expensive

There’s no doubt about it: duallies are the most expensive kind of pickup out there! The cost of a new one can deter many people. In addition to the upfront cost, maintenance and tires all cost more too. If you want the extra towing capacity and can afford it, go for it! 

Decreased Fuel Economy

With a larger truck comes more weight and decreased fuel economy. Add on a super-heavy trailer, and you lose even more fuel economy! Most of the cons about dual-rear-wheel pickups boil down to the cost of the vehicle, fuel, and maintenance. 

Worse Off Road And Snow Performance

Dually trucks are wide, meaning they dont fit on off road trails as well. Having two tires also prevents them from gripping properly in ruts and uneven terrain. Duallies can even get rocks stuck between the tires! Its not uncommon to end up with one tire off the ground as well in these situations.

dually tires stuck in mud
We have had some first hand off road and winter performance experience with our duallies.

Having dual tires also hinders winter performance. Dual wheels can trap snow and float more than a single wheel. Installing chains on dual tires is more of a pain as well.

BIG and W I D E

Being wider and larger in general makes driving these trucks more difficult in cities and construction. Parking lots are harder to navigate and finding parking can be harder. Most people take some time to get used to driving a truck this big and need to change their driving styles.

Dual Rear wheels on ram truck

Are Dually Trucks Worth It? 

These trucks have increased stability, can pull much more weight than a single rear wheel truck, and allow you to pull bigger campers and trailers! The increased capacity makes the associated costs worth it.

If you have a large trailer, truck camper, or want to upgrade, dually trucks are worth it. Particularly for the safety and peace of mind they provide.

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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LaRae

Monday 5th of July 2021

I added my name to your email list as I enjoyed reading the article on duallies. I have been trailering for almost 40 years, starting with small boats and gradually moving up to 38’ feet. I learned to back up because I am not good driving a boat around the docks, so my husband took over that job and I took over driving the truck. We bought a 38’ fifth wheel and now have a 28’ boat and a 28’ fifth wheel. My point here is that over the years, we have seen too many trucks pulling too much weight for their capacity. We have discussed moving from a one ton to a smaller truck because of fuel prices, but it’s not going to happen. People (mostly men!) do double takes when they see this 77-year-old white-haired lady climbing out of a massive truck, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I will enjoy your lifestyle vicariously; keep on trucking!!

Mortons on the Move

Friday 16th of July 2021

Thank you, and safe travels to you and your husband!

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