Can you pull a boat behind a tent trailer?

In today’s article, we will discuss: Can you pull a boat behind a tent trailer? We will explain what double towing is, and in which states it is allowed. We will also talk about the risks you take when you double tow and give you a few tips for a safe drive. 

Can you pull a boat behind a tent trailer?

Yes, you can pull a boat behind a tent trailer. However, in some states, it is illegal to double tow. Please see the table below for more information. 

States where you can pull a boat behind a tent trailer

StateDouble Towing Allowed
New HampshireNo
New JerseyNo
New MexicoYes
New YorkNo
North CarolinaYes
North DakotaYes
Rhode IslandNo
South CarolinaYes
South DakotaYes
West VirginiaNo

Do you need a license to pull a boat behind a tent trailer?

You don’t need a different licence to pull a boat behind a tent trailer. . The rules that apply are the same as towing a caravan/trailer in general. 

If the trailer has a GVWR (permissible total weight) less than or equal to 750 kg, then the B permit is enough provided that the trailer is always lighter than the towing vehicle and that the assembly does not exceed 3, 5 tons. For some vehicles, it is possible to go beyond this depending on the weight. Boxes F2 and F3 of your vehicle registration document are valid.

Conversely, if you opt for a trailer with a GVWR greater than 750 kg and within the limit of 3,500 kg, you must have the B+E license (cumulative GVWR less than 4,250 kg). 

On the other hand, no information is communicated on this point concerning the fact of using two trailers… Still, with two trailers, you will certainly exceed the 4,250 kg of GVW (vehicle + trailers), which would require you to obtain the B and E categories. 

Over 500 kg, a trailer must have its own license plate and therefore have its own registration card. If overcoming the 750 kg limit, the braking system is mandatory.

Is it easy to pull a boat behind a tent trailer?

Pulling a boat behind a tent trailer significantly increases the cargo volume of your car. There is no need to overload the roof and suffer the overconsumption of Scania’s aerodynamics. Your two trailers give you more freedom, detaching them at your convenience, allowing you to adapt your towing capacity.

Plus, you’ll feel like you’re driving a little train, which I admit must be pretty satisfying. Those with a caravan may also be tempted to hook up a small trailer for bicycles or to embed a picnic table. In short, pulling a boat behind a tent trailer can be quite convenient, but is it legal?

Laws are renowned for being complex, interminable and unparalleled in precision. However, a very careful reading of the texts governing the use of a trailer reveals a kind of vagueness as to the fact of using two trailers, hitched to one another. By isolating certain passages, however, we can manage to interpret certain things.

If we assume that what is not prohibited is allowed, then yes, you could tow two trailers behind your car, and even pull a boat behind your tent trailer. Besides the fact that you should have the B license, you will need a trailer with a GVWR of over 750 kg for the first one. 

The answers are unanimous: it is forbidden except by exemption. In the absence of a law, this practice is therefore at your own risk!

The ideal speed for pulling a boat behind a tent trailer

To drive well with a trailer, there is absolutely no need to rush. So, if you have a deadline to meet, you have to take a large margin of time to avoid delays. Indeed, with a trailer, it is indispensable to avoid jolts, even more with two or three trailers.

While the law may allow a speed of 180 on some roads and this is quite doable with a trailer, the point is, it can be dangerous, both for you and for other road users. Thus, to drive a trailer safely, you have to take wider turns than with a regular car in order to leave its own space for the trailer and thus round off the trajectory. 

Braking and acceleration will also have to be smoother than usual. This also includes increasing the safety distance with other cars because the load on the trailer increases the braking distance by 20 to 30%, in addition to the significant presence of unpredicted reactions to be managed at the wheel if it must brake urgently. 

The engine brake must be applied more than usual so that the brake system does not overheat. Excessive speed is prohibited when transporting a trailer because the consequences may be harmful: the tires of the trailer will heat up, the manoeuvre may occur and it may become tense, etc. 

It is therefore strongly recommended while waiting to stay in the right lane during long descents of the motorway while downshifting to save the brakes but also not to go too fast. If a vehicle is moving slower and you have to overtake it, you must be careful to take the length of the coupling into account and avoid falling back too quickly. 

It is also very important to stay awake to everything the road has to inform: anticipating bumps, tight turns, potholes, etc. by having a broad view of everything that is going on. It can also be used when parking is necessary as parking possibilities are not obvious with a trailer.

Backing up when double towing

Backing up when double towing requires experience. You have to do it little by little if you are new to the subject. There are vehicles with a rearview camera in the presence of a trailer as is the case of Volkswagen with its Trailer Assist but this kind of gadget is only a little help; most of the work is done by the driver. 

To begin with, you should know that a trailer reverses unlike a car: if you steer to the right, the trailer will reverse to the left and vice versa. Next, it is important to consider that the balances are fragile and this requires great care: beyond a certain steering angle, the trailer may feather and oversteer suddenly. 

It is therefore advisable to back up in small steps and as slowly as possible. Before you think about backing up in a cramped place, you should first think about training in a more spacious place.

Final thoughts

As you saw in this article, some states do allow double towing, while in other regions you may want to avoid pulling a boat behind a tent trailer. As a final piece of advice, take into consideration the overall weight of your boat and tent trailer, compared to the maximum towing capacity of your car.

This being said, if you have any questions or comments on the content, do let us know. 

FAQ on Can you pull a boat behind a tent trailer?

Can I pull my boat behind my trailer?

Yes, you can pull your boat behind your trailer, as long as the law in your state permits you. Double towing is not allowed everywhere, so make sure you check the rules in your area before hitting the road. 

Can you tow behind a trailer?

Yes, you can tow behind a trailer if the law in your state permits it. If so, you must make sure you don’t exceed the towing capacity of your car, that you secure the trail well. People nor pets are not allowed to travel in the towed vehicle(s). 

What states allow triple trailers?

The following states allow triple trailers: 

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Utah.