What can I tow?

Before you head off to buy a trailer tent or folding camper you will need to have an idea of what your car can tow.

In most cases, trailer tents are relatively light, so it’s likely your car will be able to tow one, but it’s always worth checking, especially if you have a smaller car.

There’s a further complication to check out if you choose a trailer tent without brakes.

Before you head off to buy a caravan you will need to have an idea of what your car can tow. Start by looking in the handbook to find the kerbweight of your car and multiply it by 85/100. If you haven’t decided on your tow car have a look our Towcar awards section.

This will give you the important ’85 per cent’ figure. Now check the towing limit for your particular model of car in the handbook. Is it higher than the 85 per cent figure? If so, you can begin to look for a caravan up to the 85 per cent limit. If not, you’ll be restricted to the lower towing limit. Whichever figure you use, the final thing to consider is that the whole outfit must be within the plated train weight of your car. Read our guide to weight and payload.

Matching your car and trailer tent or folding camper

To find out how heavy a trailer tent or folding camper you can tow with a particular car, start by looking in the handbook to find the kerbweight of your car and multiply it by 0.85. This will give you the important ’85 per cent’ figure.

Now check the towing limit for your particular model of car in the handbook. Is it higher than the 85 per cent figure? If so, you can begin to look for a trailer tent or folding camper up to the 85 per cent limit. If not, you’ll be restricted to the lower towing limit. Whichever figure you use, the final thing to consider is that the whole outfit must be within the plated train weight of your car.

You should now have a figure to work with. Keep this in mind and compare it with the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), sometimes called the Gross Weight (GW), figure you’ll see quoted with most trailer tents and folding campers. Theoretically you can tow up to 100 per cent of your car’s kerbweight (as long as you don’t exceed that all-important towing limit or the limit of your driving licence) but the Club certainly wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner.

Trailer tents without brakes

If you choose a trailer tent without brakes, you need to check another limit too. By law, the total weight of an unbraked trailer (including the weight of anything you choose to carry in it) must be less than half the kerbweight of your car. If you are concerned you may be near this limit, you can take your loaded, unbraked trailer tent to your local council’s weighbridge to find out how much it really weighs.

For more information

If you’d like to find out more about matching your car and a trailer tent or folding caravan, check out the Matching Car and Caravan Data Sheet on our Data Sheets page. Please don’t be put off by the title, most of the details on the Data Sheet are just as relevant to trailer tents and folding campers as to caravans.

Now you know what your car can tow, find out more about the types of trailer tent and folding camper available.

Club Care Insurance

Covered to tow? Club Care’s comprehensive trailer tent insurance policy gives you insurance cover on the move.

Trailer Tent Insurance

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