Do You Really Need a Pickup Truck to Tow a Camper?

Towing is one of the main jobs of pickup trucks. The camper market is growing fast. With a purchase of a camper trailer comes the need to tow a camper. However, truck supply is low, making prices prohibitively high for many buyers. So, it looks like we need to figure out how to tow a camper without a pickup truck. What are the best towing vehicles that aren’t pickup trucks? 

Station wagon pulling vintage camper. Some cars and suvs are some of the best towing vehicles that aren't trucks.
Citroën DS Station Wagon classic estate car with a vintage caravan | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Can you tow a camper with something other than a pickup truck?

You can tow a camper with more than just the burley Ram 2500s and Ford F-250s. There are a whole host of sedans, wagons, and SUVs that can tow a camper with no problem. Granted, these sedans and SUVs typically have much lower Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR) than the classic towing pickup trucks. Here are some of the best towing vehicles that aren’t pickup trucks. 

Best towing vehicles that aren’t pickup trucks

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness
2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Subaru

There are a surprising amount of wagons, crossovers, and SUVs that are great vehicles to tow a camper. MotorTrend made a list of 15 such models. While not all of them are strong enough to tow much, some of them rival full-size trucks in towing capacity. 

For instance, let’s look at the weakest vehicle on the list of best towing vehicles that aren’t trucks, the 2021 Subaru Outback XT. Subaru is a brand synonymous with the outdoors lifestyle. Naturally, it would make sense for them to be able to bring a little camper along for the adventure. While the Outback isn’t your standard towing vehicle, it can still pull 3,500 lbs. Considering the killer gas mileage, low pricing, and versatility, the Subaru Outback is the perfect option for the right, lightweight campers. Around the same towing capacity is the Volvo V90 Cross Country and the Chrysler Pacifica. 

Vans can also tow a camper

While the Chrysler Pacifica doesn’t have the highest towing capacity at 3,600 lbs, it is still one of the best towing vehicles that aren’t pickup trucks. However, things start to ramp up with the Mercedes-Benz Metris that uses its weight and brawn to pull a max of 5,000 lbs. Seeing as these often turn into camper vans, many people lose sight of the fact that they are also strong towers. 

SUVs are the best towing vehicles that aren’t pickup trucks

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser ripping off road
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser | Toyota

This should come as no surprise, but some of the best towing SUV models might surprise you, after all. For instance, the 2021 BMW X7 makes the list with a super-impressive 7,500-lb towing capacity. The BMW X7 is essentially a sports car, making the X7 one of the more exciting options. Other fancy boys find themselves on the list, like the Mercedes-Benz GLE and the Porsche Cayenne; both can pull 7,700 lbs. 

Lastly, some body-on-frame SUVs like the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser and Chevy Tahoe are unsurprisingly strong, with a max towing capacity of 8,100 and 8,600 lbs, respectively. 

Topping the list of best towing vehicles that aren’t pickup trucks is the Ford Expedition, at a whopping 9,300 lbs. This is inching into actual truck numbers. While the Expedition is the best towing SUV model, right under it is the Lincoln Navigator, which is the most expensive SUV on the list. However, it is also one of the most luxurious cars included and can still pull 8,700 lbs. 

Do you need a pickup truck? 

With pickup truck prices and general availability being what it is, it might be worth asking yourself if you really need a pickup truck to tow your small camper, or could you skip the hassle and buy a wagon or SUV? 

RELATED: Don’t Assume Your Ford F-150 Can Tow Your Camper