What size hitch do I need for a pop-up camper?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: What size hitch do I need for a pop-up camper? We will explain what type of hitches exist, why you need a towing hitch and how to install one for a pop-up camper. 

What size hitch do I need for a pop-up camper?

To determine what size hitch you need for a pop-up camper you must know what the weight of your camper is. Most pop-up campers weigh approximately 2000 lbs. In this case, you will do fine with a Class I hitch (approximately 200 lbs hitch weight). 

But again, depending on the weight you are towing, you may need a bigger size and different class hitch. 

Hitch ClassCamper Towing WeightTongue/Hitch Weight
Class I1,000 – 2,000 lbs.100 – 200 lbs.
Class II2,500 – 3,500 lbs.250 – 350 lbs.
Class III3,500 – 5,000 lbs.350 – 500 lbs.
Class IV7,500 – 10,000 lbs.>500 lbs.

The types of camper hitches explained

Before opting for a specific type of hitch for your pop-up camper, it is necessary to assess different aspects, such as the use that we are going to give the shot, the frequency with which we are going to remove the camper, as well as the aesthetics of the vehicle.

Likewise, to choose a specific type of hitch, the brand, model and year of manufacture of our vehicle must be taken into account, since in the models that have the license plate on the lower part of the bumper, a hitch cannot be installed that covers, even partially, the license plate.

With this clear, we go on to see the different types of hitches. Currently, there are different options for towing your camper, which can be broadly divided into two categories: fixed hitches and removable hitches. Which hitch is best for your camper? Let’s see it.

Fixed hitches for campers

Fixed hitches are cheaper, which is their main advantage. As for the cons, the fixed hitches need specific tools both for their assembly and for their disassembly, as their name indicates, they remain fixed in the vehicle, even if the camper is not used. For this reason, they are especially indicated if the camper is used regularly. There are several types:

  • Gooseneck ball: This hitch is one of the easiest to find installed in a vehicle, among other things because it is aesthetically less cumbersome.
  • Classic ball: It has a much wider and more robust shape, and is used when the vehicle must drag a very large weight, as can be the case with off-road vehicles.
  • Mixed ball: The mixed balls are appreciated for their versatility, since they allow tow campers with two types of hitches, specifically by ball and by ring head.

In short, the fixed hitches are perfect for those who make intensive use of their camper and do not feel uncomfortable carrying a hitch permanently in their day-to-day life. The alternative is to opt for the removable hitches. Get to know them before choosing one or the other.

Detachable hitches for campers

As the name suggests, these hitches are designed to be dispensed with when desired. There is a lot of types:

  • Semi-automatic ball hitch: It is a type of hitch that is easy to assemble and disassemble, which can save a lot of headaches when using it. This hitch has a thread system and a pin, which works like a fixed ball.
  • Vertical ball hitch: It is a novel type of hitch, and at the same time, one of the most expensive. It has a double safety system, in which the hitch remains out of sight when disassembled. As in the previous case, to carry out its assembly and disassembly only a few seconds are needed.

Important technical data for camper hitches

Here are a few important data you must know about hitches in order to choose the right one for your pop-up camper:

  • Support load: The vertical force acting from top to bottom on the ball head of the trailer hitch is called the bearing load.
  • Towing capacity: This is the allowable load of the mass that can be attached to the tow vehicle. Before use, check whether the load and the trailer hitch are suitable for each other and suitable for the vehicle.
  • D value: Each trailer hitch has its own D-value. Together with the weight of the vehicle and trailer, this results in the allowable trailer load. The D value is particularly important for trucks. For normal cars, the maximum allowable load is not reached normally.
  • Identification plate: The coupling of a trailer must be approved. This approval is indicated on the respective nameplate of the trailer coupling.

Do I need a hitch for a pop-up camper?

One of the most well-known components that we can install in a vehicle is a hitch or tow ball, which will be absolutely essential to be able to transport a camper or trailer and which will also be highly recommended to be able to carry accessories such as a bike rack or a rear box, since, for example, it will be much easier and more comfortable to remove or put our bikes, from a tow ball bike rack, than from the roof of our car. 

Also the friction, and therefore the noise and fuel consumption will be much higher if I place the bikes or a box on the roof of our car than if I place them on top of our tow ball.

Installing the pop-up camper hitch

We must point out that a trailer hitch cannot be installed by just anyone, but rather you have to go to a workshop specialized in this type of accessories, although there are more and more workshops prepared to place the aforementioned balls in our cars. 

With the purchase of the hitch, we will provide you, upon request for the vehicle’s technical sheet, the manufacturer’s homologation certificate and together with the installation certificate that the workshop will give you, you must pass a specific inspection within a non-extendable period of 15 days, from that was installed. 

Finally, inform that, if the vehicle has had any previous legalized reform, such as front fenders or side steps or a change in the classification or reduction of the MAM, it will be necessary to hire a laboratory report. 

What paperwork needs to be done to install a hitch and stabilizer in a pop-up camper?

As we said above, the installation of a hitch must be carried out in a workshop that can guarantee compliance with the regulations. A tow ball is not just an accessory, and the law considers its installation as a major reform of the vehicle.

Therefore, once you have selected the ideal hitch model for your vehicle and camper set, you must homologate it and pass the technical inspection, presenting these documents so that the installation of the ball is reflected in the technical sheet of the vehicle:

  • Homologation certificate processed through the stabilizer or hitch manufacturer.
  • You should also get a conformity report issued by the manufacturer, which indicates that the installed model is the correct one for the vehicle.
  • Once you have installed the hitch, you must obtain an installation certificate, which will obviously be processed by the mechanic who has been in charge of mounting the hitch or stabilizer.
  • Finally, it must be borne in mind that after installation, you must contact the insurance company to inform them of it.

Final advice

You have to make sure that you have the right hitch for your pop-up camper, and that this hitch is a perfect match for the weight you plan on towing. Although many companies offer trailer hitches, sometimes it is wiser to opt for equipment offered by the manufacturer of the vehicle we are purchasing.

Most of the time, it will be designed for a specific model, and thus better adapt to towing needs. It will often be protected under warranty as well. In addition, security chains are always useful in case there is a separation of the road. Then, if the load is very heavy, it is best to make sure that you have brakes for it!

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please feel free to share them.

FAQ on What size hitch do I need for a pop-up camper?

Is it hard to tow a pop up camper?

No, towing a pop-up camper is not so hard, mainly due to its size and weight. In general, a pop-up camper can be towed by almost any car that has a towing capacity, even without trailer brakes. 

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. Please make note that different states have different towing speed limits for campers. 

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 look up 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.

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.

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