Selecting the Correct Hitch for your RV Camping Needs
Recently we discussed the importance of Brake controllers and the role they play in ensuring your travel trailer vacations are safe and fun for you and other motorists. This week launches the first of a series of three articles on hitches, their various parts, and some advice on how to select the best hitch for your needs.
Today’s article focuses on the receiver hitch; to many potential campers, travel trailers are referred to as bumper pull campers. While many pickup trucks are equipped with a notch in the rear bumper to accept a hitch ball, this arrangement is intended for towing light loads only. It is ill-suited to accepting the weight of a full featured travel trailer.
Receiver hitches are attached to your tow vehicle. They can be added aftermarket, but a vast majority of receiver hitches used in the towing of travel trailer RVs are part of a factory installed towing package. They come in five classes, each is suited to a specific weight and application.
Hitch Receiver Classes
- Class 1 – Class I hitches are usually found fitted to passenger cars and a small SUVs. Handling a maximum Tongue Weight of 200lbs with a maximum tow weight of 2,000lbs, Class I Hitches are not suitable for towing travel trailer RVs. Be it a hitch mounted bike rack or lightweight tow behind cargo trailer, they are suited for a light applications only.
- Class 2 – Class II hitches are marginally more robust than the Class I hitch, with a 350lbs Tongue weight and a 3,500lbs maximum tow rate they are usually fitted to small SUVs and light duty pickup trucks. While they may be suitable for towing some lightweight fold down campers, they are still not recommended for towing travel trailer rvs.
- Class 3 – Class III Hitches are common on Mid-Sized SUVs, Vans, and Pickup trucks. With a max tongue weight of 600lbs and a max tow weight of 6,000lbs, and a more robust hitch shank size of 2-in x 2-in Class III hitches are suitable for towing lightweight travel trailers, mini travel trailers, and hybrid travel trailers.
- Class 4 – Class IV Hitches are designed for all applications that most full-sized pickup-trucks, vans, and SUVs are commonly used for including towing travel trailers. With a Max Tongue weight of 1,000lbs and a max towing weight of 12,000lbs, there are few travel trailers that are not suited for the Class IV hitch.
- Class 5 – Class V Hitches are designed for heavy duty applications, having a receiver opening of 2-1/2-in x 2-1/2-in and a weight rating of 18,000lbs with a max tongue weight of 1,800lbs there are few trailers that the Class V hitch can’t tow.
Please consult your vehicle dealer if you have any questions about the towing capacities of your specific vehicle. As experts in their products, they are much better able to answer specific questions about what you can and cannot tow, or which receivers you can fit to your tow vehicle.
Next week; weight distribution, sway control, or both, what do I really need?