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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all.

My wife and I bought a pop up camper during COVID and are looking to upgrade to a travel trailer. I've been trying to stay around 32 feet or less and about 6,000 lbs. I recently bought a '22 Silverado RST crew cab w/ a short bed and a 5.3 v8. Towing capacity is 9,200 lbs.

For the most part we camp state parks within a couple hours of the house but wouldn't mind venturing out a little further. We live in Ohio so no mountains here but if we were to go south through West Virginia or Tennessee we could hit mountains if we went that route.

Is this a realistic set up? Am I pushing the limits too far with a 1/2 ton and a trailer of this size or should I be looking at something smaller? The camper we like is pretty much right at 6k.
 

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Is the 6K dry or wet weight? You do not want to be too close to the max capacity, of course, but based on what I have read on here from more experienced towing guys, 6K is doable.
 

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2013 Sierra SLE CC 2500HD Duramax
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I had a 2013 Silverado CC 5.3 with 3:42’s in it. I towed a 30’ TT that had an axle weight of 6400 lbs loaded. You also have to be aware of tongue weight. Tongue weight will eat up your payload capacity of your truck. Check the sticker on your door or post for this number specific to your truck. Length of the “sail” behind you makes a difference too. Crosswinds will push you around. Headwinds will just use more gas. Tailwinds are non-existent when towing lol.
I had no issue with local 2-4 hour drives to our camping areas. I did a 2400 mile round trip to Yellowstone and Jackson. The truck struggled climbing out of Jackson to Dubois. I always towed in M4 at around 60 mph.
I have since upgraded to a 2500 and a 5th wheel. I have colour back in my knuckles lol.


2013 Sierra SLE 2500HD CC 4wd Z71 6.6 Duramax
 

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2022 GMC 3500
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With the set up you described, your battle, other than weight, is going to be the wind profile generated by the size of the trailer. 32 feet is a long, long trailer. It is gong to get beat up by winds and passing trucks which will translate into an uncomfortable driving experience.
I am always a proponent of bigger trucks with better brakes and chassis for loads like this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dry weight of the camper is 5869. Hitch weight capacity from Forest River is listed at 650 (I'm assuming this would be the hitch weight with a fully loaded rig. Cargo capacity is 1300 lbs but I can't see ever coming close to that). Max tongue weight on the truck is 920.

Obviously safety is my biggest concern and #2 is overworking the truck. I really didn't want to get an HD truck because it's also my daily driver. Also don't know that it would fit in the garage. It's close with the 1500.
 

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so you are looking at just over 7k. that is doable. you could add sway control (physical) to you hitch/tongue if you are concerned about that.

you will want electric brakes on both trailer axles
 

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2013 Sierra SLE CC 2500HD Duramax
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Dry weight of the camper is 5869. Hitch weight capacity from Forest River is listed at 650 (I'm assuming this would be the hitch weight with a fully loaded rig. Cargo capacity is 1300 lbs but I can't see ever coming close to that). Max tongue weight on the truck is 920.

Obviously safety is my biggest concern and #2 is overworking the truck. I really didn't want to get an HD truck because it's also my daily driver. Also don't know that it would fit in the garage. It's close with the 1500.
I have a standard 16x7 garage door and my stock height 2500 crew cab fits in by driving in. I can’t back it in as cab will hit due to rake of truck. Driving in just clears the shark fin antenna no problem.
Pretty sure a new 1500 is the same height as my 2500 if not a touch taller. I know the new 2500’s are way taller.


2013 Sierra SLE 2500HD CC 4wd Z71 6.6 Duramax
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the feedback guys. Going to tell the wife that if that's the one we could make it work but that we should look at some smaller ones as well.

Definitely going to look at sway control for the hitch.

As for the garage question it's close on both height and length. Love the truck though. Also a tight fit with an Acadia (which was towing the pop up) next to it.
 

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Dry weight of the camper is 5869. Hitch weight capacity from Forest River is listed at 650 (I'm assuming this would be the hitch weight with a fully loaded rig. Cargo capacity is 1300 lbs but I can't see ever coming close to that). Max tongue weight on the truck is 920.

Obviously safety is my biggest concern and #2 is overworking the truck. I really didn't want to get an HD truck because it's also my daily driver. Also don't know that it would fit in the garage. It's close with the 1500.
Hitch weight is measured, from the factory, on a bare-bones camper (not even empty propane tanks included).

I always tell half-ton people to start with the 66% rule of thumb. That is, take your max tow rating capacity and multiply it by 66%...that should be where you begin to think about towing weight. In your case, that would be a load of 6,072 lbs. So yes, your 6000 lbs. thoughts are good.

I tow a 25-foot at just over 5000 lbs loaded with my 2001 half-ton, and it really has not been a problem.
 

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It'll handle that easy peasy. But can you?

 

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2009, 2500HD, 6.0 L, 4x4, Ext Cab, Alumn FlatBed
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I am a VERY big fan of weight distribution hitches.

I did not like the looks of the factory hitch on the truck. I put on a class 5 (somewhat overkill) and It must have weighed 100 pounds so that needs to come off your numbers along with the weight distribution hitch.
 

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A 32' trailer is a huge wind sail and a lot for a 1500 to handle.

 

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I like the idea of a Hensley Arrow or a Pro Pride hitch. They even have great financing now!
 

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Hi all.

My wife and I bought a pop up camper during COVID and are looking to upgrade to a travel trailer. I've been trying to stay around 32 feet or less and about 6,000 lbs. I recently bought a '22 Silverado RST crew cab w/ a short bed and a 5.3 v8. Towing capacity is 9,200 lbs.

For the most part we camp state parks within a couple hours of the house but wouldn't mind venturing out a little further. We live in Ohio so no mountains here but if we were to go south through West Virginia or Tennessee we could hit mountains if we went that route.

Is this a realistic set up? Am I pushing the limits too far with a 1/2 ton and a trailer of this size or should I be looking at something smaller? The camper we like is pretty much right at 6k.
I've towed for 3 years or so up and down the east side of the US including mountains almost every other month. I just came back from a trip in northern Georgia two weeks ago. I just ordered a 23 Sierra 3.0 because I have to keep my truck empty due to lack of capacity. While it totally rocks from a towing perspective the fact that I can't use the bed for pretty much anything is what's making me up size. The Sierra will give me another 400 lbs of capacity and that's all I will ever need for just the two of us.

As others have stated a half ton trucks capacity is one of the biggest issues when towing an RV. Once you factor in your tongue weight and passengers it doesn't leave much for any cargo. My trailer is a 25 foot box, 30' including the tongue. The dry weight of the trailer 5300 lbs for me and does not include the two propane tanks and most trailers mount the battery on the tongue as well and it's not included in the dry weight either. I wouldn't tow without a weight distribution hitch W/ Sway control. The problem is most of the hitches are in the 75 to 100 lb area so this needs to be factored in as well on the trucks capacity. I use an Anderson WDH hitch because it was the lightest and it's quiet compared to the spring bar models when turning. Just be mindful of the label on your drivers door of your total capacity because it creeps up quickly.

Also, things like where on the trailer is your storage, forward or aft of the trailer axles? Are you going to be "boon docking" if so where on the trailer are the all of the holding tanks forward or aft of the axles? Between Fresh water, gray water and the black water tank they can change your tongue weight considerably thereby reducing you truck carrying capacity.

Keeping your tongue weight at around 11% to 12% (min of 10%) of your trailers weight will really keep sway down to a minimum (still using a WDH W/ sway control). I recommend getting a hitch scale it's worth the $ for piece of mind. It really helps when loading so you can balance your load to keep all the weight in the desired zone. I typically travel dry except a few gallons in the fresh and a few in the black tank, this is in case of a unplanned restroom need.

This is my current set up until the new ride comes in existence, 2018 Colorado long bed with a 2.8 diesel.



Wheel Plant Tire Vehicle Car
 

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2012 Chevy Silverado LT 1500 Z71 5.3L, 6l80, 3.42 G80 9500# tow cap.
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I feel 30+ft is too big for a 1/2 ton. Sail area, controlling sway, not enough payload for a heavy tongue weight. I've been towing since I was 15 in 1970 (1969 Sportvan 108" pulling a 5K# 22ft Shasta, and 7 people in the van.) With the 307, THM350, and 3.08 rear it was David pulling Goliath from SFRAN to Baltimore. Dad figured I needed to learn how to drive with a trailer, I had my learners, so ....................... I've had trailers ever since.

My previous Travel Trailers have all been between 18ft and 22ft. My current RV, a 2003 Sunline T-2570. 27ft overall, factory weights: 650# tongue weight (dry/empty) 4355# dry weight no options.

My last Cat Scale UNLOADED weights
Total weight 5063# with 2 batteries (series 24), 2 30# propane tanks, dry water tanks (Fresh, gray, black), 19ft awning, Electric tongue jack, spare on back bumper. permanent mount crank jacks at all 4 corners, 1 tv 21"in living room Kit area.
Tongue weight 758#. No supplies, tools, equipment in vehicle.
Reese Equalizer ball mount 1600# rated tongue weight. Equalizer bars rated for 1.5K#. Factory frame mounted hitch. Reese friction sway control

Loaded for a 1 week stint camping (food, clothes, linens, pot's and pans, tools, books, laptop (movies), crates for the dogs, lounge chairs, and the weight goes up. It's a fight to keep weights down, the wife wanting to take everything and the kitchen sink.

Last cat scale LOADED weight's
Total 5937#
Tongue weight 830# (almost 14%. I try to run 12% to 15%.)
These weights are well within the capacity of the truck, and the Reese EQ Hitch. I pin the ball mount on the 1200# tongue setting habitually so no real problem. EQ is set so the wheel arch for the front is 1/8" higher than stock, which gives me about 150# less weight than unloaded. Rear weight on Axle is 400# less than axle rating. 2 Adults, 2 shetland sheepdogs in cab for about 440#. No cargo in bed.

Truck is a 2012 LT Z71 5.3L, 6L80, 4x4, 3.42rr, 5'.8" bed. Stock height, 265/65R18E tires. Yeah it's a DOG in the Hills on I-70 or I-81, but on the flats it runs quite well. NMT than 60mph. And in 4th with tow/Haul ON.
I really should be pulling this with at least a 2500, and a possibly a Diesel, but being retired on fixed income, and both vehicles paid off, we can go camping. Try to stay below 5K# DRY WEIGHT. Keep the bling to an absolute minimum. It all adds up in weight.

EDIT: Even with the Trailering pkg, the transmission cooler is too small for towing. I put a Hayden 678 (yours will probably be a different #)in my 2012. Dropped my trans temps another 35-40*F to 170*F pulling my trailer. Unloaded it's about 150-155*F. HEAT is the ENEMY in a Transmission.

Note: Hayden says a 678 will fit a 2022. It'll fit in the original mount with minor grinding of the bottom plate so it'll slip in the grooves in the mount and fit snugly. . Top rail fo the cooler just fits in under the top of the center support.




Wheel Tire Land vehicle Vehicle Sky


Have Fun.
Larry
 

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Don’t forget to consider upgrading brakes.
A commonly overlooked upgrade… I’d suggest looking into a nice tow package upgrade, you won’t be disappointed.
Not really needed but will help fight sway…. Airbags. My brother in law had a F150 with bags and upgraded to a 350… he didn’t like the sway and has since added bags. Now he’s happier than Yogi with a picnic basket.
 

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04 1500 4.8
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Weight capacities are not where you want to be towing. I like 80% of the capacity as max for towing a camper and the length is too long, try below 26 feet. You will need a WDH system with sway and don't go cheap on this. Air bags might help, but try a good WDH system for a few thousand miles then decide. Travel trailers are a lot more to pull than a popup, as you will soon learn.
 

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I have a standard 16x7 garage door and my stock height 2500 crew cab fits in by driving in. I can’t back it in as cab will hit due to rake of truck. Driving in just clears the shark fin antenna no problem.
Pretty sure a new 1500 is the same height as my 2500 if not a touch taller. I know the new 2500’s are way taller.

2013 Sierra SLE 2500HD CC 4wd Z71 6.6 Duramax
Current 2500's are taller than the 'factory 2" lifted' 1500''s
Non lifted 2023 1500's will be 75.5" =/- a few '10ths. (So 6' 4" or less)

I'm not sure about a 2013 2500, but if it just clears a 7 ' (84") opening, it's sounds like its taller than the current 1500's.

2023 2500 crews are between 79" and 80"
 
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