Tow A Heavy Travel Trailer With A Half Ton Safely: Pt. 1- Mindset

2.7l Silverado towing our 8,500 lbs ish East to West Travel TrailerI tow a heavy travel trailer with a half ton safely.  It is a 8,500- 9,000 lb travel trailer and I tow it with a 2022 Chevrolet Silverado with a 2.7l 4cyl.

Right off the top, I am not saying that you should do exactly what I do. I want to share with you MY experience and how I tow a heavy travel trailer with a half ton for thousands of miles per year in safety.

I have been towing travel trailers for over 10 years with everything from a half-ton truck to a long bed crew cab F-350. Coming from recreational experience towing these lumbering “rolling earthquakes” towing all over the Southeastern United States. My wife and I pull our travel trailer about 3-5,000 miles per year on average and hitch up between 15-20 times. We are your above average RV users. Most people who have Travel Trailers only use them a few times per year.  We camp for dozens of nights a year.

I want to show you in this article exactly what it takes for me to do this and if you apply these principles to your rig, no matter if you are towing a pop up with a minivan or a heavy travel trailer with a ¾ ton or a 1 ton truck. These things can even apply to utility trailers and flat bed car haulers, etc.

Mindset 1: You do not know everything about towing a heavy travel trailer

That is right, you don’t know it all. You never will. As in everything in life you can study, you can do your research, you can read until your eyes are blood read. But the reality is… you can’t know everything there is to know about towing. I will not even make that claim for myself. I am always trying to learn new things and I encourage you to keep an open mind as well. You may have been towing travel trailers and fifth wheels for decades, but I promise you, that there is always something else you can learn.

Technology changes, trucks and trailers change. Everything changes over time and it is our job as people who tow to make sure we understand the technology we are using in order to tow. We need to ensure that the equipment we use is the correct equipment for the job. We also need to have the mindset that our presuppositions are wrong about towing. What we have experienced in the past may not always be the right thing.

Mindset 2: You are towing- Lower your time-based expectations when you tow a heavy travel trailer


One of our favorite places to vacation (Camping or not) is Orlando, Florida. There is so much for a family to do in this one place from theme parks to nice restaurants, etc. When we drive to Orlando it takes about 10-11 hours travel time as it is about 600 miles from our home. It takes me about two tanks of gas to drive to Orlando when I am not towing the travel trailer. My 2.7l 4cyl Silverado pickup gets about 24-25 MPG on the highway empty.

However, when I tow the travel trailer with the same truck I have to make at least two additional fuel stops. This inherently means that I am going to be traveling at a much slower pace than when I am traveling empty.

Be a Conservative Driver

I am a conservative driver. My max speed tends to be right at the speed limit (This is part of the trick to getting such good MPG with his truck). I have consistently seen over time that people who rush and zoom ahead of me end up at the next red light or exit about 1-3 cars ahead of me.

That is not worth the extra stress and reckless driving in my opinion.

When it comes to towing, I am even more conservative. Every single tow vehicle and trailer you will ever tow has a speed that they are happy with once the tow vehicle and trailer are hitched properly. You will find that speed as you gain experience. A friend of mine has a fifth wheel camper and a HD diesel truck. His truck gets the most fuel efficiency at about 72 MPH. Every rig combination has a happy place and it’s your job to find it.

Find Your Rig’s Happy Place

I have found consistently that trucks pulling travel trailers are happiest at 55-62 MPH as a general rule of thumb. This is a similar experience towing with a 97 F1-50, a 99 F-350, a 2011 Tahoe, and our new 2022 Silverado.

Lower your speed expectations when towing, communicate that to your passengers and set the expectation that your trip may take 20-40% longer towing a camper.

Mindset 3: Increased Responsibility- Take Towing a Heavy Travel Trailer  Seriously

There are no shortcuts when you tow a heavy travel trailer. You have a lot that you are responsible for, you have a lot to learn if you are new to towing. I don’t want you to be afraid but I want you to understand that you are taking on a lot more responsibility. I want you to be cautious. You can learn how to tow , learn the equipment, learn how to do it safely and responsibly.

RV Accidents Happen

Many of the accidents I see with RV’s come from overconfident drivers who are testing the bleeding edge of control. They must forget that they tow a heavy travel trailer.

There was a perfect example from a recent trip that my wife and I took. We were not towing and were buzzing down the interstate at 70 ish mph. I noticed a travel trailer ahead that was just about out of control. The unstable travel trailer passed a semi and was swaying so much that the semi truck had to move onto the shoulder of the road.

I want you to realize that Lance travel trailers are high-end lightweight travel trailers. This one had two slides which would make it a Lance 2465. This is a 6,800 lb travel trailer (empty) and only about 29 ft long. It’s very short and nearly the perfect match for a half-ton truck! Very aerodynamic and should have excellent handling characteristics. But… this one… was all over the road.


Therefore, as we passed this potential wreck I was shocked at how recklessly this rig was set up.  Actually, the trailer was setting on a standard draw bar with no weight distribution hitch. The travel trailer was way nose down and the poor driver was sawing on the steering wheel trying to maintain control.

I know what you are thinking, this man was trying to pull this with a half ton truck, or maybe an SUV…. No… surprisingly, this reckless rig was being towed by a 2020-2022 Silverado 2500 ¾ ton truck!!!

My Point…exactly..

This perfectly illustrates my point… it’s not just about the tow vehicle you choose. It’s about the whole package. The 2500 Silverado is more than capable of towing without a weight distribution hitch safely but the driver didn’t even consider the set up enough to get the right height draw bar so the travel trailer was towing level.

Moreover, I would be surprised if this man had an emergency road side repair kit.

Mindset 4: Confidence to Tow a Heavy Travel Trailer

You nee to have confidence in your skills, your research, your preparation, and your experience. The worst thing in the world to do is have overconfidence. Overconfidence wrecks cars and trucks every single day. However, you need to have confidence in what you have prepared for. If you do things right, you have checked the equipment. You have tested and adjusted the equipment and have your rig dialed in. At this point, you can have confidence in your rig because you have physically gone through it. You have checked everything, and know what to expect.

We will work together to get you to the place where you can be confident in your skills and your rig.


Having the right mindset is crucial for you to have a positive and safe experience towing. I choose to tow with a half ton truck for a variety of reasons.  Which we will cover over the next few blog posts. During your study of trucks, trailers, hitches, etc remember that you need to have the right mindset. That is really the most essential piece to being safe. Having the right Mindset is the key to enjoying your camper and your experience having fun and getting to the campground safely.

In the next few posts we will go over how I tow safely and go through my process. Up next… why I choose to tow with a half-ton truck over a ¾ or 1 ton. Hint… it’s not about the money.

Take care friends!








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