OH MY so much we dont know!

My wife and I are looking at travel trailers, we own a Dodge Durango with the 5.7 Hemi, 2 wheel drive, I'm happy to invest in the tow package, but what size trailer could we haul? We have three kids ranging from 13 years to 7 months and want them to be able to bring friends along. We have never tailored before and could use some advice on what is best for our situation.
Re: OH MY so much we dont know!

First of all, determine the tow rating of your vehicle, then go from there. When you begin to look at trailers, be careful not to buy too much trailer. Trailer weights are based on a basic bare-bones unit. Options such as an awning, a/c, propane tanks (full) and sometimes even the spare tire is considered "optional equipment" and not included in the stated weight.
Depending on when and where you camp, a small tent would serve the older kids and their guests well. I would determine the maximum weight trailer for your vehicle, then try to rent one for the first couple of times. All units are attractive in the showroom and sales lots, but to get one to a campground two or three times will be a real eye-opener. It would be sad indeed if you bought a trailer only to find the floorplan is unsatisfactory.
Re: OH MY so much we dont know!

One other thing is "How much can I safely stop?"....A short wheelbase tow vehicle can neither safely tow nor stop a long trailer. There will be times when you are going down hill in a fairly sharp curve and you will need to brake heavily. Traffic, unseen road hazards and loose livestock on the roadway will occur. When this happens, you will be glad you have a vehicle with adequate wheelbase to handle the situation.


Senior Member
Re: OH MY so much we dont know!

When you put the tow package on your vehicle just be sure they also install the trailer braking system so the trailer will help you to stop.


Senior Member
Re: OH MY so much we dont know!

The 'tow package' really can't be added to a vehicle. What you can do is add a hitch and trailer wiring so it is physically possible to tow something, and the biggest, best transmission cooler you can get to reduce the chances of your transmission dying. A transmission temperature guage is very good too, as most transmission failures are preceeded by high transmission temperatures.

I think you will find that your 'towing capacity' with that vehicle is not much. They may claim 7000 pounds, but that is with no accessories, cargo or passangers in or on the vehicle, only a 150 pound driver and a bit of gas. Anything else in the vehicle comes right off the towing capacity. If it is equavalent to a 1/2 ton pickup, you probably will want to shoot for 5000 pounds or less. Also make sure the tounge weight of the trailer does not cause you to exceed the GVWR of the truck or the rear axel, although this is more common with fifth wheels than with travel trailers.

You are looking at sleeping 5 to 8 people at once, yet light weight trailers are 'short'. Probably your best bet is something which 'expands' when you set it up. It is remotely possible you can find something which will sleep 5, possibly with an air bed on the floor, but I seriously doubt you will manage 8. Consider an 'add on' room or separate tent in addition to the trailer.