How Much Towing Capacity Do I Really Need?

Pickup truck with large camper in tow
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What Are Your Towing Needs?

Seems a simple enough question, right? The first step to finding the right vehicle for your towing needs is to be honest about what you’ll be towing on a regular basis. If this involves nothing more cumbersome than a couple of dirt bikes, a jet-ski, or lawn equipment like a sit-down mower, you can consider many smaller SUVs or compact pickup trucks. These typically have a towing capacity of 3,500 to 7,000 pounds, depending on the make and model.

You certainly don’t need to spend tons of cash on a heavy duty full-size pickup truck like a GMC Sierra 3500 or Ram 3500 with dual rear tires that have a maximum towing capacity of more than 30,000 pounds. Yes, they’re impressive machines. And no, you don’t need a heavy-duty truck to tow a couple of kayaks and weekend’s worth of camping gear. On the other hand, if your towing needs vary dramatically from one trip to the next, you’ll need a vehicle capable of handling the toughest and heaviest job you’ll ask of it.

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