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When you’re driving along the highway towing your travel trailer, you might be thinking of that ATV you could have brought along for the adventure too if only you could tow with your tailgate down. Pickup trucks are ideal vehicles for towing and hauling things around in the bed and can be utilized even more if you could pull with the tailgate down.
If you’ve ever wanted to pack up your flatbed with adventure gear or additional equipment at the same time as towing, you might be asking yourself the question, can you tow a travel trailer with the tailgate down?
Towing a travel trailer with the tailgate down is possible, however, you may need to make adjustments to avoid your tailgate hitting against the tongue jack. You can replace your jack with one that creates enough space for your tailgate, add a hitch extension, or you can add tailgate supports.
Let’s take a look at towing a travel trailer with the tailgate down in a bit more detail to help you make the appropriate choice for your setup.
Can You Tow a Travel Trailer With The Tailgate Down?
Towing a trailer with the tailgate down is a potential option, however, it will rely heavily on the size of the trailer tongue on your camper. The tongue may stop the tailgate from being extended down fully which can lead to the tailgate banging around whilst you’re driving, and cargo not being fully secure in the bed.
Don’t panic if this is the case for you as there are a few things you can do to work around the problem. If you decide to go ahead and adjust your hitch or tongue jack, remember any modifications have to be weight-bearing and support the travel trailer. The trailer also needs to be level when towing for maximum safety when traveling on the open road.
It’s useful to know how much your travel trailer weighs, as this information may be needed in the future if something ever goes wrong with your camper. Knowing the weight and size of your trailer is wise as your pickup truck will need to have the towing capacity to pull the trailer.
I keep a note of the measurements and weight of my camper handy in case I ever need to refer to it in the future for recovery or a garage.
How Do You Tow a Travel Trailer With The Tailgate Down?
There are a few different options when towing a travel trailer with the tailgate down, and the one best suited for you will depend on the size of your trailer’s tongue jack and your pickup’s hitch size.
1. Replace the Trailer Tongue Jack
If the tongue jack on your trailer is getting in the way of your tailgate being able to come all the way down, it’s possible to replace the tongue jack with one that creates enough space for the tailgate to extend fully. Depending on the jack that’s on your trailer, you may already be able to turn it to the side and make a gap big enough for the tailgate to come down.
Replacing the trailer tongue jack may be a good option if you’ll be towing regularly and need the tailgate to be fully extended. However, as this is a permanent and often pricey option, it’s worth considering all options before running to the store!
2. Add Hitch Extension
Another option for towing with the tailgate down is to add a hitch extension to the shank and make the space between the tongue jack and the pickup truck bigger to accommodate the tailgate. Instead of adding an extension, you could replace the hitch altogether with a larger one. It’s relatively common for pickup truck owners to replace or modify the hitch on their rig, however, it’s vital to consider the weight the hitch will need to be able to support.
The video below gives a detailed look into extending the hitch on a pickup truck to allow the tailgate to go all the way down without interfering with the travel trailer. This can be a cheaper option than replacing the entire trailer tongue jack, but it’s important to choose an extension that can support the full weight of your trailer.
As you can see in the video, the process of adding an extension to your pickup truck’s hitch can be a bit fiddly, but it is relatively simple to do. It’s worth taking the time to complete the job as well as possible as the hitch needs to be strong and sturdy to support the trailer you’ll be towing.
3. Use Tailgate Supports
Whether your tailgate is fully or semi-extended, it’s wise to use some type of support to improve stability when out on the road. Tailgate supports are an ideal option, and ones with a gas spring can increase overall durability when the bed is down. Gas springs work by compressing gas in a small space and applying pressure allows the spring to work by releasing energy.
Tailgate supports are widely available and come in a range of sizes, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the right ones for your truck. As tailgate supports can be removed and reused, they are a cost-effective and flexible option.
Towing a travel trailer with the tailgate down is absolutely an option worth considering. Towing with the tailgate down may require some extra considerations if your tailgate can’t be lowered fully. With a few different ways of working around this issue, it’s important to choose the option best suited to your trailer, pickup truck, and budget.
Replacing the tongue jack on your travel trailer is one way to go, but can be pricier than adding a hitch extension or purchasing some tailgate supports. It’s best to know the weight of your trailer and the towing capacity of your pickup truck before deciding how best to move forward, as these factors may affect your choice.
Whatever option you decide on, make sure the job is done correctly as an ill-fitted tongue or hitch can be dangerous.