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How do I choose the right size of trailer for transporting my RV?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. How Do I Determine What Size Trailer I Need?
  2. How Do You Determine What Size Travel Trailer I Can Tow?
  3. What Length Travel Trailer Should I Buy?
  4. How to Pick the Right Travel Trailer?
  5. Factors to Consider When Choosing a Trailer for Transport
  6. Legal and Safety Considerations
  7. Cost Implications of Choosing a Trailer
  8. Expert Advice and Professional Services
  9. Conclusion
How do I choose the right size of trailer for transporting my RV?

Choosing the right size trailer for transporting your RV is crucial for ensuring safe and efficient transport. The correct trailer size not only ensures the RV is securely held but also complies with road regulations and prevents potential damage during transit. Here are the key factors to consider:

  • RV Dimensions: Accurately measure your RV's length, width, and height. These dimensions are critical in determining the appropriate trailer size to accommodate your RV without overhanging or height clearance issues.
  • RV Weight and Weight Distribution: Knowing the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the Gross Trailer Weight Rating (GTWR) is essential. Proper weight distribution ensures stability and safety during transport. Consider the tongue weight and use a weight distributing hitch if necessary.
  • Type of RV: Different RV types (travel trailers, fifth wheels, motorhomes, etc.) have varying requirements for trailers. Each type needs specific considerations based on its unique design and weight distribution.
  • Destination and Route Specifics: Analyze the transport route for terrain and road conditions. The route’s characteristics, including potential obstacles and weather conditions, will influence the choice of trailer to ensure your RV arrives safely at its destination.

By carefully considering these factors, you can select the ideal trailer size for transporting your RV, ensuring a smooth and secure journey.


How Do I Determine What Size Trailer I Need?

To determine the correct size trailer for your RV, start by accurately measuring your RV’s dimensions. Measure the length, width, and height of the RV, as these dimensions are crucial for selecting a trailer that can accommodate the RV without causing clearance issues or overhang.

Next, understand the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), which is the maximum weight your RV can safely handle, including cargo, fluids, and passengers. Also, consider the Gross Trailer Weight Rating (GTWR), which is the maximum weight your trailer can handle. Proper weight distribution is essential to maintain stability during transport. Ensuring that your RV’s weight is well-balanced on the trailer prevents swaying and improves safety.

How Do You Determine What Size Travel Trailer I Can Tow?

Determining what size travel trailer you can tow involves understanding your tow vehicle and its towing capacity. The vehicle’s towing capacity is the maximum weight your vehicle can safely tow. Check your vehicle’s manual or manufacturer specifications for this information.

Tongue weight, which is the downward force exerted on the hitch by the trailer, is crucial for towing stability. Ideally, tongue weight should be about 10-15% of the gross trailer weight. Using a weight distributing hitch can help distribute the tongue weight more evenly across the vehicle and trailer axles, enhancing stability and safety.

When matching a travel trailer to your tow vehicle’s capabilities, consider the following tips:

  • Ensure the trailer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) does not exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity.
  • Use a weight distribution hitch to improve handling and safety.
  • Check the hitch weight rating and ensure it matches your vehicle’s specifications.
  • Consider the cargo carrying capacity to ensure you can safely tow your fully loaded trailer.

What Length Travel Trailer Should I Buy?

Choosing the right length for a travel trailer depends on various factors:

  • Number of Occupants: A larger trailer may be necessary if you have a big family or plan to entertain guests.
  • Desired Living Space and Amenities: Longer trailers offer more space and additional amenities like larger kitchens, bathrooms, and storage areas.
  • Parking and Storage Limitations: Consider where you will park and store the trailer. Larger trailers may require more space and may be challenging to maneuver in tight areas.

Balancing length with practicality and maneuverability is essential. While longer trailers provide more space, they can be harder to tow and maneuver. Here are common travel trailer lengths and their benefits:

  • 20-25 feet: Ideal for small families or couples, easier to tow and park.
  • 26-30 feet: Offers more living space and amenities, suitable for families.
  • 31-35 feet: Provides maximum space and luxury but requires a strong tow vehicle and may be challenging to maneuver.

Choosing the right length involves balancing your needs for space and comfort with the practicalities of towing and storage.


How to Pick the Right Travel Trailer?

When selecting a travel trailer, consider the following critical aspects:

  • Purpose of Use: Determine if the trailer will be used for recreational trips, full-time living, or seasonal vacations. This will guide the size and features you need.
  • Preferred Layout and Floorplan: Decide on the layout that suits your lifestyle. Consider the number of sleeping areas, kitchen size, bathroom layout, and storage space.
  • Build Quality and Durability: Research the build quality of different brands. Look for reviews and ratings on the durability and reliability of the trailers.

Evaluating different models involves comparing various travel trailers based on your criteria. Visit dealerships, attend RV shows, and consult online resources. Inspect trailers for craftsmanship, materials used, and overall condition.

Test-driving a few options is essential to ensure the trailer's compatibility with your tow vehicle and to gauge how it handles on the road. Pay attention to the actual weight of the trailer and ensure your tow vehicle can handle the loaded weight safely, considering the towing capacity.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Trailer for Transport

When transporting an RV, consider these factors:

  • Route and Travel Distance: Long-distance routes require trailers that can handle extended travel without issues. Ensure the trailer is suitable for the entire journey.
  • Terrain and Road Conditions: Evaluate the terrain and road conditions. Rough or uneven roads may require a more robust trailer with better suspension.
  • Weather Conditions and Seasonal Variations: Consider the weather conditions during transport. Trailers should be equipped to handle rain, snow, or extreme heat without compromising safety.

These factors impact the durability and functionality of the trailer. For instance, a lighter trailer might be sufficient for short distances on smooth roads, while a heavy-duty trailer is needed for rough terrains. Choose a trailer that matches the specific demands of your transport route to ensure a smooth and safe journey.

Transporting an RV involves adhering to several legal and safety regulations:

  • Permit Requirements for Oversized Loads: Depending on the size of your RV, you may need special permits for transport. Check state and federal regulations.
  • State and Federal Regulations: Regulations vary by location. Ensure compliance with all rules regarding trailer dimensions and weight limits.

Safety precautions before transport include:

  • Ensuring Proper Load Balancing: Distribute the weight of the trailer evenly to prevent swaying. Use weight distributing hitches to improve stability.
  • Checking Tire Pressure and Wear: Inspect the tires of both the RV and the trailer. Proper tire maintenance is crucial for safe travel.
  • Necessary Safety Gear: Ensure all safety gear is functional, including lights, brakes, and signals. Trailer brakes should be in top condition, and make sure the ball mount and fifth wheel hitch are securely fastened.

By addressing these legal and safety considerations, you ensure that your RV transport adheres to regulations and maximizes safety on the road.


Cost Implications of Choosing a Trailer

When choosing a trailer for transporting your RV, understanding the cost differences between renting various types of trailers is essential. Travel trailers and other RV types require different trailers, each with its cost implications.

  • Flatbed Trailers: Ideal for most travel trailers, these trailers provide a stable platform but can be more expensive due to their versatility and size.
  • Enclosed Trailers: Offer protection from the elements and additional security, often at a higher rental cost.
  • Specialty Trailers: Designed for unique RV types, such as those needing a fifth wheel hitch or wheel hitch, these can be the most costly but are necessary for specific RV types.

Potential savings can be realized by selecting the most appropriate trailer type. For instance, a pop up trailer might suffice for smaller RVs, providing cost efficiency. However, using a trailer that matches the actual weight and towing capacity of your RV is crucial. Overloading a trailer can lead to increased wear and potential damage, resulting in higher long-term costs.

By choosing the right trailer, you can ensure a safe journey and avoid unnecessary expenses related to repairs or fines from exceeding tow capacity limits.

Expert Advice and Professional Services

Consulting with professional RV transport services is highly recommended to ensure you select the correct trailer for your needs. Experts in RV transport can provide detailed assessments based on the specific characteristics of your RV, such as its hitch weight, gross vehicle weight rating, and actual weight.

Professionals can also advise on the best type of trailer for different RVs, whether it's a travel trailer requiring a standard pickup truck or a larger RV needing heavy duty trucks. They can assess the specific requirements for trailers, such as fifth wheel hitches for larger RVs or specialized wheel hitches for unique configurations.

By leveraging the expertise of transport professionals, you can ensure that your RV is transported safely and efficiently. They can help you navigate the complexities of trailer weighing, ensuring compliance with legal weight limits and optimizing load distribution for safety.

Professional services can also offer tailored advice on cost-saving measures, helping you choose the most cost-effective and appropriate trailer for your journey. For reliable and expert RV transport services, visit A1 Auto Transport. Their experienced team will provide the necessary guidance and support for all your RV transport needs.


Selecting the right trailer size for transporting your RV is crucial for ensuring safety, legal compliance, and cost efficiency. Properly matching the trailer to your RV's dimensions, weight, and type helps prevent accidents and avoids regulatory issues, ultimately saving money. For personalized advice and professional RV transport services, contact A1 Auto Transport. They offer a variety of trailers and expert guidance to match every type of RV, ensuring a smooth and secure journey. Reach out to their experienced team today for all your RV transport needs.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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