Can You Tow A Boat Behind A Travel Trailer?

As you get more comfortable driving your truck and trailer to new campsites, your family might want to add an additional item to your vacations. Whether it is a trailer full of motorcycles and quads, or your family wants to add a boat to its arsenal, at some point you are going to have to decide whether you want to tow several things behind your truck, or if you want to get a new vehicle and take two.

There are roughly 28 states that allow you to tow items behind a trailer being pulled, and they are mostly on the west and mid-west areas. This type of towing is called either double or triple towing depending on your state, and can require you to obtain a special card from your local DMV, so it is best to check your state regulations before you hook anything to the back of your trailer. Your limitations in each state will be by length of your overall vehicle, and not by weight.

What States Allow Double Towing

Currently there are around 28 states where it is still legal to double/triple tow with trailers and they are:

  • Alaska Arizona Arkansas
  • California Colorado Idaho
  • Illinois Indiana Iowa
  • Kansas Kentucky Louisiana
  • Maryland Michigan Minnesota
  • Mississippi Missouri Montana
  • Nebraska Nevada New Mexico
  • North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma
  • South Dakota Tennessee Texas Texas

As you can see, the majority of these states are in the west, and mid-west regions of the US and never in smaller more congested states with a lot of traffic.

Is It Double Or Triple Towing?

The term double towing and triple towing means the same thing in general, but it coined the term depending on what state you live in. California might call it double towing, while Nevada might call it triple towing. It does NOT mean that you are towing two, or three things behind your truck, it is only verbiage set by each state, and their respective Department Of Motor Vehicles. Do not get confused by the different numbers and treat them the same.

Do You Need A Special License To Double Tow

For most states, you will not need anything other than your typical class C drivers license to double tow, but there are states that do require you to go into the DMV and take a written test to get a special towing card. There is no driving test required to make it legal for you to tow something behind your truck and trailer.

towing RV

Does The Trailer Type Matter In Double/Triple Towing

There is no difference to the law whether you have a typical tongue trailer, or a 5th trailer that makes it legal or illegal to double tow. While a fifth wheel trailer does have more stability than a typical tongue trailer, you will not have to worry about it either way. One thing to keep in mind is whether or not your truck can handle that much weight attached to it, or towing it. A quick example would be if your hitch weight was 5000 pounds, and you wanted to tow 7500 pounds of weight. This would not work and would most likely cause damage to your truck.

Do You Need Special Brakes

While the law does not require you to have special brakes for double/triple towing, it will all depend on where you want to tow and if there are any steep hills or grades you will have to go up and down. if you plan to do a lot of towing, you may want to look into installing, or having installed, trailer brakes. The extra trailer braking kit will ensure that you do not put all the force of your braking on the truck, and will keep your brakes and rotors from getting red hot when traveling down hill. If you are not an automotive savvy person, it would be best to take your truck to a shop and have them install the kit and all the wiring.

Is Double/Triple Towing Safe

As long as your truck or RV can handle the weight of everything you want to put on the hitch, you should have no issues double/triple towing, and it will perfectly safe. Keep an eye out for roads with lots of pot holes, and other issues. One other thing to remember is that if you are going to be in a place with lots of traffic, you will want to give yourself plenty of time to merge and change lanes. The best thing you can do to be safe is to use your common sense, and do not try to to overdue what your truck or RV can do. If you can do this, you will be perfectly safe.

3 Tips for Double/Triple Towing

  • Do The Math – Make sure you do all the math on the gross vehicle weight of all the items you want to tow behind your truck, and make sure that your truck can handle it. There is nothing worse than getting stuck out in the middle of no where with a dead truck.
  • Install Cameras – It would be good to install at least one or two cameras in you truck like a back up camera and a side mirror. Doing this will ensure you can see what you are towing at all times. There are lots of portable options out there if you do not want to permanently mount one.
  • Take Your Time – Take your time and drive slower if you are towing a trailer and something behind it. It is not a race, and turns are going to be much wider than normal when you have two things being towed behind you.

Final Thoughts

Double/Triple towing is usually okay if you are going short distances and want to bring a boat or utility trailer with you to your campsite, but is not good to do all the time because it puts a lot of weight on your truck, and can wear your truck down much faster than normal towing would. Be smart and if its a once in awhile thing, I would not worry about it, just remember to be safe.

Related Topics

Can You Tow A Boat Behind An RV

Yes, it is absolutely legal to tow a boat behind an RV as long as your RV can handle the weight of your boat. Typical RV’s have a 4500 pound towing capacity on its hitch which is used for a small car, so always check the gross vehicle weight of your boat before you decide to tow one. One thing to watch out for is backing a trailer down a boat ramp, make sure you do not submerge your tail pipe underwater, or it could cause serious engine damage to your RV.

Can You Triple Tow An RV

You can triple tow an RV as long as it is legal in the state that you are wanting to tow in. You must make sure that your RV can handle the extra weight of whatever you want to tow so that you do not burn your transmission out. The law is the same for triple towing with a truck or RV, so please check your local DMV to make sure it is legal.

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