How fast can you pull a pop-up camper?

In today’s article, we will answer the following question: How fast can you pull a pop-up camper? We will discuss the maximum towing speed limit in the US, and explain how you can tell that your car can pull a pop-up camper. 

How fast can you pull a pop-up camper?

You can pull a pop-up camper anywhere from 50 to 80 mph, depending on where you are driving. As you will see in the table below, different states have different towing speed limits for campers. 

Maximum Towing Speed Limit in the US

StateMaximum Towing Speed Limit (mph)
Alabama70
Alaska65
Arizona75
Arkansas75
California55
Colorado75
Connecticut65
Delaware65
District of Columbia55
Florida70
Georgia70
Hawaii60
Idaho70
Illinois70
Indiana65
Iowa70
Kansas75
Kentucky70
Louisiana75
Maine75
Maryland70
Massachusetts65
Michigan75
Minnesota70
Mississippi70
Missouri70
Montana70
Nebraska75
Nevada80
New Hampshire:70
New Jersey65
New Mexico75
New York65
New Carolina70
North Dakota75
Ohio70
Oklahoma80
Oregon70
Pennsylvania70
Rhode Island65
South Carolina70
South Dakota80
Tennessee70
Texas85
Utah80
Vermont65
Virginia70
Washington60
West Virginia70
Wisconsin70
Wyoming80

Safety when pulling a pop-up camper should come first 

Besides respecting the state speed limit (which we feel should be needless to say), it is extremely important to load your pop-up camper correctly and to secure the load inside and outside the camper. At 80 mph, you do not want your camper to tip over, sway or get unhooked from the towing vehicle!

It is forbidden to have a load that can come loose or fall. Do not overload your camper. Too much weight in the camper can harm your vehicle and damage your tires, axle, and hub bearing. 

It is very important to distribute the camper load well. In general, more of the load should be in front of the camper axle for adequate hitch pressure. The hitch should support between five and ten per cent of the total camper weight, within the weight limit marked on the hitch. If the load is unevenly distributed, the camper could sway or zigzag. In addition, the ball and hitch could come loose, especially if too much of the load is in the rear of the camper.

Heavy and poorly distributed loads can push the rear of your vehicle down, lift the front and affect your ability to drive, especially on wet or slippery roads. They can also affect the radiation from your headlights and low beams, and thus blind oncoming drivers. The alignment of your mirrors may also be affected.

Before setting off, check the camper hitch, wheels, tires and lights, as well as load distribution and make sure it is secure. Also, check the tire pressure when the camper is loaded while the tires are cold. When you hit the road, gradually accelerate. Drive slowly and carefully.

Essential tips to successfully pull a pop-up camper

Curves and turns: Stay near the middle of your lane when negotiating a curve. When making a right turn, watch the traffic. Look in your right rear view mirror. Signal your intention to turn and slow down. If the curve is tight, drive forward until the front wheels of your vehicle are clearly past the curve before turning right.

When making a left turn, check the traffic. Signal your intention to turn. Go slowly. As you make your turn, make a big deviation past the intersection before turning.

Slow down and stop: If you come to a sudden stop, the camper could jackknife or slide sideways or the load could shift. To avoid sudden stops, leave a greater distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Stay out of the fast lanes and ride at a speed that allows you to slow down and come to a smooth stop in all situations.

Overcoming: You won’t be able to accelerate that quickly if you are towing a pop-up camper. In addition, you will need more space because your vehicle is much longer when a camper is attached to it. Before you pass, make sure you have enough time and space to do so. After passing the vehicle, allow more room before pulling into the lane. Do not pull into the lane too early, as this may cause your camper to sway, making it more difficult to control.

Getting overtaken: If you delay traffic, turn on your turn signals, pull over to your side, and let other vehicles pass. When travelling at high speed, trucks and buses create intense turbulence behind them. If a large truck or bus overtakes you, this turbulence may push your camper aside, causing you to lose control. In this case, do not break. 

Gently return your vehicle and camper to the correct position. If you accelerate slightly, it might make the manoeuvre easier.

Reversing: Back up very slowly and have someone outside the vehicle lead you. Make a series of small turns to steer your vehicle. It is advisable to practice this manoeuvre in an empty parking lot until you feel confident.

To reverse to the right, turn the steering wheel to the left. The front of the camper will go left, but the rear will veer to the right. To reverse to the left, turn the steering wheel to the right. The front of the vehicle will go right, but the rear will veer to the left.

How do you know if your car can tow a pop-up camper?

To find out how much your vehicle can tow, you can check your owner’s manual or look up your vehicle’s VIN number. You can also lookup the make and model of your vehicle to see what it is capable of towing. Please note that towing capacity may vary depending on whether you have the base model or all the amenities.

Once you figure out how much your vehicle can tow, it’s best to stay several hundred pounds under this limit. This gives you some leeway to collect additional equipment or water. Also, staying under the limit and not putting pressure on your weight reduces wear and tear on your vehicle.

Remember, when determining what your vehicle can tow, this weight includes both the weight of the packaged camper and what you put on the vehicle. Don’t load your camper with so much gear that you have to leave your dog behind.

Conclusions

By the end of this article, you should know:

  • The checks you need to perform on your vehicle: daily and weekly checks, maintenance at regular intervals and for winter driving.
  • How to buy the right tires for your vehicle and know when they need to be replaced.
  • Your responsibility is to ensure that the vehicle you drive is properly registered and insured.
  • The rules relating to the purchase and sale of used vehicles, including with regard to the safety certificate.
  • Registration requirements for properly towing a camper or broken down vehicle.
  • Vehicle requirements, including brakes, lights, mirrors and camper hitches.
  • The right way to load a camper and attach it to your vehicle.
  • Techniques for driving a vehicle with a camper attached.

Please feel free to get in contact if there are still some unanswered questions or if you have any tips on pulling a pop-up camper.

FAQ on How fast can you pull a pop-up camper?

What happens when you exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity?

When you exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity you bring a series of consequences for your card, such as engine overheating; tire failure, overloading the drivetrain, CO2 emissions increase among others. 

What percentage of max towing capacity is safe?

A percentage of 80% or 75% of max towing capacity would be safe and recommendable. 

How do you know if you tow too much weight?

You know you are towing too much weight when the rear of the truck will appear hunkered down and the front end will feel light.

How do you know the weight that is carried?

There are all kinds of scales to know the weight carried both on the shaft and the lance. They exist from scales for the wheels to scales for the lance, passing through wheels that have the scale incorporated.

References