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RV ownership can be complicated, especially if you are interested or wondering can you rent a truck to pull a camper. While you may not wish to purchase a motorhome or other drivable RV, you still need to find an adequate tow vehicle to tow your travel trailer or camper. But what if you want to go camping and haven’t found a tow vehicle yet?
Can you rent a truck to pull a camper?
You can rent a truck to pull a camper, but it can be a very difficult process. However, you can call your local truck rental companies or rental car agencies to see if they have vehicles capable of towing your travel trailer or camper. You can also set up an ad in your local area and see if anyone is willing to rent their truck to you.
But what should you consider before renting a truck to pull a camper, and is there anything else that you need in order to safely and effectively tow your new RV? In this article, we will go over all of your possible concerns as well as some solutions to your problems. Let’s get started now!
What to Consider When Renting a Truck to Pull a Camper
There are a number of things for you to consider when deciding can you rent a truck to pull a camper. But what might some of those considerations be? Let’s discuss them now!
One of the main things you should consider when looking for a rental truck to pull your camper is the towing capacity of the rental. The amount of weight that your tow vehicle can handle should be your primary consideration at all times.
You never want to tow something that is heavier than what your tow vehicle can handle, which is why towing capacity weights and numbers are readily available for just about any truck make and model on the market today.
However, determining the towing capacity of a tow vehicle that you are unfamiliar with may be more difficult initially than you first thought. For example, most trucks have different weight limits depending on what you plan on doing with the truck. The bed of your truck has a weight limit, as well as the hitch and overall weight capacity of what is inside the passenger seating of the truck as well. But we’ll talk more about this later.
Weight of Your Camper
Speaking of weight limits, you can’t exactly determine what truck you need to rent before you know the overall weight of your camper or RV. You should always aim to rent a truck that has a towing capacity well over the weight of your camper- but how can you weigh your camper in the first place?
First of all, you should weigh your camper or travel trailer while it is fully packed and ready to go for a trip. The weight of your camper when it is empty will be very different from the weight of your camper when it is full. This also includes the weight of freshwater tanks as well as your propane tanks and other RV utilities.
You can always estimate how much your camper weighs when fully loaded, but I always recommend erring on the side of heavier rather than lighter. Many RVers recommend choosing a tow vehicle that can tow at least 10% more than your camper when it is fully loaded, just in case!
You can weigh your camper or RV by taking it to a variety of public weigh stations, or you can even weigh your RV at home. Check out this article to learn more about how to accomplish that.
Style of Hitch Needed
Before you can find a rental truck to pull your camper, you need to know what style of hitch you need. There are two types in use in the RVing world: a traditional ball hitch and a hitch designed for fifth wheels.
If you own a fifth wheel travel trailer or camper, you will have a much harder time finding a rental truck that can tow this style of RV. That’s because fifth wheel hitches are unique and require a very different set up compared to a traditional ball hitch. Fifth wheel hitches are also usually installed on heavy duty trucks, given the typical weight limits of fifth wheel RVs.
However, if your camper utilizes a traditional ball hitch design, you will have an easier time finding a truck that can tow this style of camper. Keeping the hitch capacity in mind while you shop is a good idea, as well as the size of the ball and receiver itself. The last thing you need is to rent a truck that has a hitch, but the hitch doesn’t fit the receiver of your camper!
Cost of Renting a Truck
Depending on the make and model of the truck you want to rent, as well as the company that you plan on renting from, you should consider how much renting a truck costs. Not only will you need to pay for the truck for however long that your camping trip takes, there are usually incidental fees or insurance payments that need to be made as well.
You may find that renting a truck to tow a camper costs more than you expect, especially given the liability that goes along with towing things. Many companies have additional fees and costs associated with towing, so this is something to keep in mind as you shop and determine the truck that works best for you.
Legal Implications of Towing a Camper with a Rented Truck
Speaking of fees and additional payments when it comes to towing a camper with a rented truck, you should also consider the legal implications regarding this. I do not recommend renting a truck from any particular company without also disclosing that you plan on towing something with it.
The last thing you want to have happen is an accident, or any other sort of situation that could lead you to getting into some legal hot water. You should always disclose that you plan on towing with a truck that you plan on renting, even if it results in extra insurance fees or deposits.
Seating Capacity Inside Truck
While you may have an additional driver that accompanies you on your travels and can drive another car, you may want to consider the seating capacity inside of your rental truck. If you plan on camping with the entire family of five, you may not be able to fit everyone into a traditional pickup truck.
Legally speaking, you can’t travel with people, children or adults, inside of a travel trailer or fifth wheel while it is in motion. If you can’t fit everyone into your truck, you may need to consider bringing along a residential or family vehicle as well as the truck and trailer combination. While this may lead to an additional expense, it is in the best interest for everyone’s safety.
Best Rental Truck Options for Pulling a Camper
Where can you find a rental truck option for pulling your new camper? Whether you want to transport your camper across the country to your new home or simply want to enjoy it and take it on a camping trip, here are some options for where you can rent a truck that can tow a camper.
U-Haul Truck Rental
One of the most popular moving companies located in the United States is U-Haul. U-Haul offers pickup truck rentals with a towing capacity of up to 6,000 pounds, which means that you can tow a wide variety of travel trailers or campers using this option. However, they do not offer fifth wheel hitches at this time.
The U-Haul pickup truck rental is usually very affordable and reasonable, but you may need to pay extra fees to use a hitch, as well as a deposit for towing using the truck. It is also important to know the weight of your camper so that you never tow more than that 6000 pound towing capacity.
The main benefits of renting a truck from U-Haul is that there are many locations located throughout the United States and Canada. You can easily pick up a truck from one rental location and drop it off at a totally separate rental location if that is something you are interested in.
Budget Truck Rental
Budget is another popular truck and moving van rental company located in the United States. They differ from U-Haul in that they offer a variety of trucks at different towing capacities so that you can find one capable of towing your heavier camper or travel trailer. Even though Budget does not offer fifth wheel hitches, they do have full size pickup trucks capable of towing up to 10,000 pounds.
This truck rental company is also similar to U-Haul in that you can pick up and drop off your rental truck wherever is convenient for you. However, given that you have the choice between different sizes of truck, the rental costs associated with renting from Budget are usually higher than renting from U-Haul.
Penske Truck Rental
At this time, Penske truck rental does not allow anything besides Penske-owned trailers on Penske-owned trucks which makes this a poor option for RVers. This could be different depending on your specific location so it may be worth a call to your local branch.
Just keep in mind that even if your specific Penske location allows you to haul your RV, you may not have the right license in order to do so and you may need to seek out someone who does. Penske only offers moving trucks or vans, and they currently do not offer rentable pickup trucks at this time.
Car Rental Companies
If you are seeking a pickup truck or SUV that is capable of towing a fairly lightweight travel trailer or camper, you may be able to find a solution in a variety of car rental companies. Some potential rental companies to look at include:
I highly recommend going to your local car rental company and seeking their advice in person, as they likely do not receive many customers interested in towing an RV with a rental car. While all of these companies offer trucks as rentals, it is unclear how many have hitches or towing capabilities that align with the weight capacities of your RV.
You should never rent a pickup truck from a car rental company without knowing whether or not you can tow using the vehicle. Whether it is against company policy or the truck simply can’t handle your camper, you should know this before booking a rental vehicle!
If you keep striking out when it comes to renting a truck from car rental services or companies, you may consider posting an ad on your local marketplace, such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You may be surprised to see the responses of people willing to rent out their pickup truck for a daily rate.
However, there are many caveats and things to consider when posting an ad to your local marketplace for renting a truck. For example, you want to make sure that you avoid any scams or situations that lead to a compromise in your identity or funds. You should also make sure that you are dealing with someone who understands their truck so that you also don’t receive any misinformation regarding the towing capacity of the vehicle.
You may want to ask your friend group or family members to see if they have any information regarding a truck that you can borrow or pay for. This could be a better option than simply putting out an ad for strangers in your local area. However, you may be surprised by people who are willing to rent their vehicles for additional income, especially if you are only planning on camping for a brief weekend!
Have you heard of RVShare or Outdoorsy yet? These companies are ideal for those of you looking to rent an RV of any style, including towable campers and fifth wheels. But how does RVShare or Outdoorsy work?
Similarly to private home rentals, you can rent someone else’s RV for a nightly rate, as well as some other fees. However, you can rarely rent someone’s truck or tow vehicle on its own, which may make this option unnecessary for those of you that want to camp in your own RV.
There are some listings on either of these RV rental sites that offer a truck and trailer combination, which is ideal for those of you still shopping around for an RV of your own. You may want to consider this rental option if you are nervous about towing or simply want to practice what it means to tow and camp in an RV, no matter the style!
Do You Need Accessories for Your Truck to Pull a Camper?
Let’s say you found a truck to rent that is capable of towing your RV or travel trailer. But what else do you need in order to safely tow your camper to a destination? Here are some of the accessories I recommend.
Depending on where you rent your truck from, you may need to purchase a hitch capable of towing your camper or RV. Hitches range in cost based on the towing capacity, which is why it is so important to know how much your RV or camper weighs before finding a truck or hitch.
You will also need to know the size of the receiver on whatever truck you are renting, which is a fairly specialized question that not everyone can answer. Hitch receivers range in sizes based on the class of hitch, or the tow rating of the vehicle. If you are new to RVing, it may be wise to brush up on some of this lingo before pursuing a rental truck or hitch purchase.
I always recommend towing a camper or travel trailer with a brake controller installed in your tow vehicle. However, this is not always an option, especially if you rent from a company that does not often do RV or camper towing. You will need to ask about a brake controller specifically before committing to a truck rental.
Brake controllers are designed to control the electronic brakes found in your RV or camper. This gives you added safety while on the road, as you can control the brakes of your tow vehicle as well as the brakes of your RV at the same time. However, brake controllers are not always installed in trucks that can tow.
Not every RV needs a brake controller, but I highly recommend one if you are towing an RV that weighs over three to four thousand pounds. It is something that gives you more control and safety while on the road, as well as peace of mind should you encounter any unfortunate travel scenarios such as traffic or roadway accidents.
One of the least expensive accessories that you can purchase for a tow vehicle is a tow mirror. These mirrors are designed to attach to your truck side mirrors so that you can extend your field of vision when towing. Both vehicles and RVs have complicated blind spots that you may not be ready for if you have never towed before.
You can purchase tow mirrors that attach to either side mirrors, and you can adjust these mirrors to a variety of angles. You should easily be able to see those traveling behind you as well as beside you. They are designed to make lane changing easier for those who tow RVs, which is a serious must have in my book!
While many RVers would argue that this is not a strictly necessary accessory, you may consider installing a backup camera onto your truck or tow vehicle. However, this may be an expense that is unnecessary and not worth it depending on the duration of your trip and how skilled you are at backing up your camper or RV.
Backup cameras can be extremely useful for beginners learning how to park their RV, as the majority of campgrounds and RV parks require you to park your RV by backing into a spot. This can be one of the most difficult things for new RVers to accomplish, so I recommend making it easier on yourself and purchasing a backup camera for your RV outings.
So, Can You Rent a Truck to Pull a Camper?
You can rent a truck to pull a camper, though it may be a complicated and difficult process without knowing the right questions to ask. The most important thing to keep in mind is the weight capacity of your tow vehicle, as well as the overall weight of your camper when full.
You may have better luck finding a rental through a local marketplace or a friend, especially if you don’t plan on camping for very long. However, there are a variety of truck rental companies to look into before your next big outing!