Ask TFL: Retiring with a Trailer – How Much Weight Can My Midsize Pickup Truck Safely Tow?

How much safety margin should I give it?

2016 gmc canyon duramax diesel
GMC Canyon Duramax Diesel

How much weight can my midsize pickup truck safely tow? How much safety margin should I give it? We recently received this question from Larry.

Larry writes:

Never having owned a pickup truck, my wife and I are planning a retirement with a small travel trailer.  Everyone seems to have an opinion on how close to the max towing capacity of a truck you should  be pulling.  High on my list are the Ford Ranger or Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon diesel.

It really depends on the type of the camping trailer you choose. If you are retiring and going cross country, you should really either way more truck than you will need for the trailer, or a relatively small trailer.

I would recommend a trailer with a loaded weight of under 5,000 lbs, if you are looking at midsize trucks. If you set your trailer tongue weight at 10% of the trailer weight, and use a weight distribution hitch – it should make for a stable towing experience.

We generally push all trucks to their limits. We use trailer weights between 5,000 – 6,000 lbs for testing midsize truck on the Ike Gauntlet™ – world’s toughest towing test and our highway MPG loops.