You may think that a Class B RV cannot tow anything, being the smallest of the RV classes, but surprisingly most all Class B RVs have a towing capacity of between 3,500 and 5,000 pounds. Before you tow anything with your Class B RV, however, check the manufacturer’s specifications on your specific vehicle’s towing capacity.
Continue reading further to learn more about what a Class B RV is, what you can tow with it, and what considerations you should take when towing something with your RV.
What is a Class B RV?
A Class B RV is the smallest class of RV that is available on the market today. Often called a camper van, a Class B RV is a type of cargo, panel, or sprinter van that has undergone a conversion to become a camper. While Mercedes Benz created the Sprinter van in the 1970s, there has been a renewed interest in camper vans and Class B RVs over the last decade.
Social media influencers, travel bloggers, single people, and small families have flocked to purchase these fun and easy-to-drive camper vans to explore more of the outdoors. Much of their popularity has been attributed to their ease of use, cheap gas, and no special licensing requirements to drive.
Can I Tow a Car with a Class B Motorhome?
Most Class B RVs are rated to tow 3,500 to 5,000 pounds. This means that anything that falls in this weight category, including a vehicle, must stay under this weight limit. For reference, a Jeep Wrangler, a popular tow behind vehicle, has a dry weight of around 4,200 pounds.
You will want to check the dry weight of the item you want to tow before hooking it up to your Class B RV. Dry weight means the weight of something without anything else on it. For example, if the dry weight of a Jeep Wrangler is 4,200 pounds, you will want to ensure there is nothing in the vehicle while it is being towed that would put it over the 5,000-pound mark.
Is it Bad for the Camper to Tow a Vehicle?
While it is not necessarily bad to tow a vehicle behind a Class B RV, it will put additional strain on the camper van. This is true for anything that is towing something, however. You may find that if you choose to tow an entire vehicle behind your camper van often enough, transmission and frame issues will start to creep up sooner than if you were not towing anything behind your camper van.
Can I Tow a Boat with a Class B RV?
Towing a boat is a common question related to the towing capacity of camper vans. However, as long as the boat is under the towing capacity weight limit, you can tow a small boat, jet skis, four-wheelers, and even snowmobiles.
If you are towing watercraft, however, you will want to make sure that you add the weight of the watercraft and the trailer that it is attached to before towing with your Class B RV. The same goes for snowmobiles and jet skis which will need to be put on a trailer to be towed.
Most small trailers weigh between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds. This will increase your towing weight and you may not be able to safely tow a trailer and something on top of it.
Do I Need Any Special Parts to Tow with a Class B RV?
Yes! If you plan on towing a vehicle or trailer of any kind behind your Class B RV, you will need to install a towing kit onto your camper van. The first, and the most obvious, part that you will need is a tow hitch. This is a piece of metal that rests along the rear bumper to hook your trailer or vehicle onto.
Sometimes you can get a tow package installed by a dealer. The complete package comes with the hitch, the wiring harness to connect trailer lights, which are required by law, larger brakes and drums, and a transmission cooling system.
Often times you will only need a hitch and electrical wiring to tow with a Class B RV. However, opting to install larger brakes, drums, and the cooling system can allow you to tow at your RV’s full capacity without putting too much strain on the camper van.
Best Camper Vans for Towing Capacity
Some Class B RVs will be able to tow at a much higher capacity depending on the make and model. While the standard towing weight tends to range from 3,500 and 5,000 pounds, there are some camper vans that can tow a lot more weight. Check out the top five conversion camper vans that have the highest towing capacity.
1. The Ram ProMaster comes equipped with a towing capacity just over the standard weight of 5,100 pounds.
2. The Mercedes Sprinter, a luxury camper van, has a higher towing capacity than the Ram and can pull 7,500 pounds.
3. The Ford Transit, like the Sprinter, can also tow 7,500 pounds. This is a great option for those that want or need a higher towing capacity but do not want to spend upwards of $100,000 dollars for a camper van.
4. Towing with the Nissan NV3500 is a tad pricier than the Ford Transit but still less expensive than the Mercedes. It features a whopping 9,400-pound towing capacity. This means you should not have to calculate dry weight before hooking up to your camper van.
5. Lastly, the GMC Savana is a beast with a 10,000-pound towing capacity. It is also the only van on the list with a minimum towing capacity of 5,700 pounds. With a fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon, the GMC Savana is a premier choice for beginner campers.
Driving a Class B RV While Towing
Once you have gotten your camper van converted, your tow kit attached, and your vehicle ready to hook up, the last thing that you should do before setting off on an adventure is to practice driving while towing.
The safest option to do this is an empty parking lot. You should practice turning, accelerating from a stopped position, and braking. This is because the weight behind your camper van will affect all of these things. You do not want to attach something to your RV without knowing how it feels to drive with it.