Ask TFL: Is a Ford Raptor Good & Comfortable For Towing an Overland Trailer? What About the Low Payload Capacity?

Will it get us to a remote spot and back?

Can a Ford Raptor comfortably tow a 4,000 lbs off-road trailer to a remote camping spot and back? Here is a question that comes from Justine.

Justine writes:

“My husband and I are looking for the perfect truck (or SUV) to not only pull an Opus 4 Off-road trailer (roughly 4,000 lbs), but to also get us into, and more importantly back out, the back country and off the grid in Colorado. We have a Jeep Rubicon that we have outgrown as a 4 person/1 dog family to go on long trips. We love the Raptor but are disappointed in the low payload. We need as comfortable as you can get. How would the drive feel over the Rocky Mountains pulling that much weight? We have lots of gear, like bikes, SUP’s, a canoe maybe, plus the obvious, bedding/food/clothes. I wish we could test drive a raptor towing.”

Here is a quick look at an OPUS 4 off-road / overland camping trailer. It has an empty weight of just under 3,000 lbs, and a fully loaded weight of just about 4,000 lbs.

We have done several towing tests with the 2nd-generation and the 1st-generation Ford Raptor trucks. Let’s focus on the new 2nd-gen Raptor for the purposes of this discussion.

We always load the trucks to the maximum for our MPG or Ike Gauntlet™ – world’s toughest towing testing. If a truck can handle towing and hauling a maximum load during these tests, then it will do find with a smaller load. The trailer we used here is a large box/cargo trailer with a total loaded weight of 7,000 lbs.

I would suggest you get a crew cab Raptor, but try not to get the most optioned and luxurious trim level/package. This is not easy to do, as most Raptor trucks on dealer lots are fully optioned. Keeping some options off will help you maintain a payload capacity that is over 1,000 lbs (maximum of 1,200 lbs payload for a crew cab).

Indeed, a regular Ford F-150 4×4 crew cab may have a payload capacity of 1,500 lbs or more depending on options. You are giving up some payload capacity with the Raptor in order to gain more supple off-road ride.

Raptor Towing MPG

The Ford F-150 Raptor has a wider track and plenty of power. It’s generally a very stable truck when towing. The 2019 & 2020 Raptor trucks have the latest Live Valve shock absorbers that are adjustable and a little stiffer riding than previous Raptors. The slightly more stiff ride makes the towing experience more stable and enjoyable.

The truck returned a reasonable 8.4 MPG with a big 7,000 lbs trailer when driving 70 MPH on a highway.

Raptor Towing on the Ike Gauntlet

The Raptor has more than enough power and downhill braking capability to tow a 7,000 lbs trailer, or any smaller trailer. The Raptor did just fine on the Ike Gauntlet, although the Ram Rebel is a bit more capable for towing heavier weights and offering much more payload capability.

What about towing a trailer while off-road? This is a whole different question for another time.