Have you ever wondered if your Jeep Wrangler has the towing capacity to pull a small camper or travel trailer? With its rugged build and off-road credentials, the Jeep seems like an ideal tow vehicle for weekend adventures and RVing. But what is the actual tow rating and capability?
The short answer is yes, many Jeep Wrangler models can safely tow small campers and lightweight trailers when equipped properly. However, there are limitations, so you need to carefully match the camper to your specific Jeep’s tow capacity and prep both vehicles.
This in-depth guide will cover everything you need to know, including:
- Jeep Wrangler towing capacity by model
- Best types of campers and travel trailers to tow
- Proper hitch set up and weight distribution
- Driving tips and towing safety
- Real owner experiences
Follow along as we explore the ins and outs of using your Jeep to tow an RV!
Table of Contents
What is the Tow Rating and Capacity for a Jeep Wrangler?
The first thing to understand is how much weight your particular Jeep can safely tow. The maximum towing capacity varies significantly depending on these factors:
- Jeep Wrangler model and year
- Engine and transmission
- Configuration – doors, top, drivetrain
- Factory tow package vs aftermarket hitch
For example, here are some basic specs:
- 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sport with 2.0L Turbo: 3500 lbs towing capacity
- 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with 3.6L V6: 3500 lbs towing capacity
- 2022 Jeep Wrangler Sahara with 2.0L Turbo: 4000 lbs towing capacity
Those ratings can go up or down further based on equipment. An aftermarket hitch may slightly raise the limits, while big off-road tires and mods can lower it.
When comparing different Jeep Wrangler model years and configurations, be sure to check the towing specs directly from Jeep. A newer model may not necessarily have a higher rating than a previous generation.
The tow rating is the maximum weight the vehicle can safely tow. But for real world towing, you’ll want to stay well below that threshold.
You should also look at:
- Tongue weight capacity – how much weight the hitch can handle
- Payload capacity – combined weight of passengers and cargo
- GVWR – max load vehicle can handle
Aim to keep your camper or trailer loaded weight to 70-80% of the Jeep’s tow rating for the best handling and control.
What Size and Type of Camper Can a Jeep Wrangler Tow?
Since most Jeep Wranglers have a moderate tow rating under 4000 lbs, you’ll need to be selective about the type of camper or trailer you plan to tow.
The best options are smaller, lightweight travel trailers rather than big, heavy fifth wheel campers. Some models that are well-suited include:
- Teardrop campers – compact and aerodynamic, average 1500 lbs loaded
- Mini campers – offer basic amenities in a small package
- Pop-up tent trailers – rugged and lightweight when collapsed
- Some small single axle models under 20 feet in length
For example, the Flagstaff E-Pro is an excellent match for Jeep Wrangler towing. It offers a cozy interior and outdoor kitchen in a compact, sub-3000 lb trailer.
Avoid large, heavy travel trailers over 30 feet long that typically have a loaded weight exceeding 5000+ lbs. Even with a high tow package, a Jeep Wrangler will struggle with big fifth wheels and toy haulers – the weight and wind resistance is too much to safely handle.
Stick with a small, aerodynamic camper around 2000-3500 lbs total weight and you’ll have many great options that your Wrangler can comfortably tow while still having cargo capacity remaining.
Proper Hitch Setup and Weight Distribution
Once you’ve selected your camper or trailer, getting the right hitch setup is critical. This ensures the trailer tongue weight is properly distributed across the Jeep’s suspension and allows for sway control.
Most new Jeep Wrangler models have a Class III receiver hitch and 4/7 pin wiring harness if the max tow package is added from the factory. Many owners choose to upgrade to an aftermarket hitch for more capability.
Some key components:
- Hitch with appropriate weight class – Class III or IV recommended
- Ball mount – adjustable to set the trailer level
- Hitch ball – proper diameter for trailer coupler
- Safety chains – crisscrossed from corner to corner
- Weight distribution system – evens out tongue weight
Taking the time to properly set up your hitch system is a small investment that pays big dividends in towing safety and stability. Don’t just hook up and go!
Be sure to use a weight distribution hitch for anything over 2000 lbs tongue weight. This transfers weight forward and helps maintain steering responsiveness.
Always use dual safety chains crossed underneath the trailer tongue as a backup. Chains should be rated for the trailer’s gross weight.
With the right gear and some patience dialing in the setup, your Jeep will be able to tow confidently and comfortably.
Tips for Towing a Camper Trailer with a Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most capable tow vehicles around – when equipped properly. Here are some key tips for safe towing:
- Maintain speed on grades – don’t exceed 55 mph downhill
- Allow extra distance for braking – increase following distance
- Watch your temperatures – keep an eye on engine and trailer
- Use your mirrors – properly adjusted mirrors are essential
- Take wide turns – allow for trailer cut in on turns
- Use lower gears – use 1st and 2nd to start out slowly
- Check tire pressures – inflate Jeep and trailer tires to max
- Secure your load – double check trailer weight distribution
- Communicate stops – use signals early, tap brakes to alert
- Practice, practice – test out handling before your big trip
The Jeep Wrangler has excellent low-end torque, so take advantage of the pulling power in lower gears. This gives you better throttle control.
Don’t be in a rush accelerating or braking. Smooth, gradual changes in speed are key – this is not the vehicle to drive aggressively when towing!
Real-World Examples of Jeeps Towing Travel Trailers
Seeing real examples helps visualize how capable the Jeep Wrangler can be as a tow vehicle. Here are some firsthand experiences from RV owners:
Reggie and his wife tow a 18ft Casita Spirit Deluxe with their lifted 2015 Jeep Wrangler Sahara. With a tandem axle and coming in under 3000 lbs loaded, the fiberglass Casita is an easy tow for their Jeep. Reggie added an aftermarket Class IV hitch and sway control and couldn’t be happier exploring backcountry roads.
James has a 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon that he uses to tow a Geo Pro 12RK. This small, single axle travel trailer weighs around 2500 lbs fully loaded. With the factory tow package, James stays well under the Jeep’s 3500 lb tow rating and has no issues with power or braking.
Cindy owns a inTech Sol Horizon teardrop camper that she tows behind her 2021 Jeep Wrangler Sport S 4-door. At just under 1500 lbs loaded, her aerodynamic camper is easy to tow and still leaves 1500+ lbs of capacity for cargo. Cindy loves the quick setup of her teardrop for weekend getaways.
No matter what camper you choose, using the proper hitch setup and staying within the Jeep’s towing limits is key. With a bit of care and common sense, you’ll be road tripping in comfort and style.
Common Questions about Towing with a Jeep Wrangler
Let’s review some frequently asked questions about the Jeep Wrangler’s towing capacity:
What size trailer can a Jeep Wrangler tow?
Most models can safely tow smaller travel trailers under 25 feet and around 3500 lbs or less when properly equipped. Larger 30+ foot trailers often exceed the Jeep’s capacity.
Can a Jeep Wrangler tow a 5th wheel?
No, the Jeep does not have the right hitch setup or payload capacity for large 5th wheel campers, which often weigh 15,000+ lbs. You need a heavy-duty truck.
Can a 2-door Jeep Wrangler tow a camper?
Yes, a 2-door can tow just as well as a 4-door, assuming the same engine and gearing. Just remember payload capacity is reduced with additional rear passengers.
Can you put a rooftop tent on a Jeep Wrangler with a camper?
This is not recommended, as the additional weight up top can negatively impact handling and stability when towing. Drive without the rooftop tent.
How much weight can a Jeep Wrangler tow?
As outlined above, maximum tow ratings range between 2000-4000 lbs for most Wrangler models and configurations. Real world towing capacity is less.
Key Takeaways – Towing a Camper with a Jeep Wrangler
To wrap up, here are the most important takeaways:
- Know your specific Jeep Wrangler’s tow rating – research the specs
- Select a small, lightweight camper or trailer within capacity
- Use a proper hitch system with weight distribution
- Load both vehicles carefully – distribute weight
- Drive slowly and smoothly, allow extra room to stop
- Brake early and take corners wide when towing
- Stay within ratings and don’t push your Jeep’s limits
The Jeep Wrangler makes an excellent tow vehicle for popups, teardrops, and small trailers under 25 feet and 3500 lbs. Understanding the capacities and limits of your Jeep along with an appropriate match for a camper is the key to happy travels.
With the right preparation and defensive driving approach, your Wrangler can confidently handle towing a small trailer for your camping adventures. Just take your time and enjoy the journey – there’s no rush when you’re out exploring in your home on wheels.
Happy camping and safe travels!