Can A Chevy Tahoe Tow An Airstream?


Of the many different travel trailers available today, none is more iconic than the Airstream. Airstreams have a bullet train shape that make them streamlined enough to drive smoothly. RVers prefer Airstream for its durability, strength, and aerodynamic construction. 

There are so many sizes of Airstream trailers to choose from that you’re bound to find one that will meet your needs. These trailers will give you value for your money, and you can have so much fun in them. But can a Tahoe pull one of these?

Can A Chevy Tahoe Tow An Airstream? 

Yes. A Chevy Tahoe has a towing capacity that ranges from 7,700 pounds to 8,500 pounds, which is enough to pull an Airstream trailer. Most Airstream trailers weigh between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds, which falls within what a Tahoe can tow.

There are some Airstream trailers that are heavier than the range above. The Classic is the heaviest, and it weighs about 8,000 pounds. If you have a Tahoe with the Trailering Package, you can tow this trailer, but that will mean you cannot carry anything else in the trailer or the cargo area of your Tahoe. 

Below are the weights of empty Airstream trailers:

  • Basecamp – 2,285 pounds
  • Sport – 2,860 pounds 
  • Bambi – 3,000 pounds
  • Nest – 3,400 pounds
  • Caravel – 3,500 pounds
  • Flying Cloud – 3,852 pounds 
  • Tommy Bahama – 4,200 pounds
  • Signature and Serenity – Each 4,761 pounds
  • Globetrotter – 6,074 pounds
  • Classic – 7,788 pounds

The Basecamp is the lightest of the trailers while Classic is the heaviest of them all. You can tow any of the above trailers with your Chevy Tahoe. If you have Classic Airstream trailer, you will need to pack light so that you do not exceed the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of your Chevy Tahoe. 

Most of the others are easy to tow even when you bring all your exploration gear to the trip. Read on to learn more about towing an Airstream trailer. 

What Makes Airstream Trailers Good for Trips? 

Airstream trailers will cost you between $36,000 and $149,900. While this number may appear huge, these trailers have several advantages that put them ahead of the competition. There are good reasons why the manufacturer has such a high price point, and if you save up for the trailer, you will see why they sell for that much. 

Strong and Durable

Airstream trailers are strong and durable. These trailers have been on the road since the 1920s when the first trailer was made by the originator, Wally Bynum. About 65 percent of the trailers produced in 1931 when the company was taken over by Thor Industries are still operational today. 

Most of the Airstream owners I saw online said their old Airstream trailers are still in good condition despite having bought them as used models a few decades ago. If you take good care of the Airstream, it will serve you for many years – it is an heirloom. 

Lightweight Construction

These trailers also feature a lightweight aluminum construction. The aluminum exterior makes the trailers light enough for you to tow with ease, but the exterior is not flimsy. They may take a knock here and there, but they are strong enough to last many years. 

Great Aerodynamic Look

Further, the aluminum makes the trailers look great on the road. Each trailer has the shape of a bullet train, which makes it aerodynamic and for a smooth drive. According to Thor Industries, the manufacturers of Airstream trailers, the trailers have aircraft quality aluminum for them to last long. 

Easier to Tow

Airstream trailers are not built on top of the wheels, but in between the wheels to give them a lower center of gravity and make them easier to tow. With a lower center of gravity, you will find the units easier to tow, especially when you need to negotiate corners. If the trailer is built high on the wheels, it wobbles a lot, and this makes it unsafe on the road. 

The Airstream trailer has its own share of disadvantages, including the fact that it is very narrow. This means they may not accommodate every gear you want to tow, but they are still good enough for your adventure. 

How Powerful is a Chevy Tahoe? 

Chevy Tahoes have towing capacity of between 7,700 pounds, without the Max Trailering Package, and up to 8,500 pounds with the Max Trailering Package. The package offers you even more features to help you tow better and safer on the road.

There are three engine options available for the Tahoe. The standard engine in the base trim of the SUV is a 5.3L V8 engine, producing 355 horsepower and 383 pound feet of torque. This engine pairs to a 10-speed automatic transmission. 

You can have the optional four-wheel drive option on any of the trims you choose. If you go for the Z71, 4WD is standard, and this makes the trim powerful enough to venture off the road. 

The High Country is the top trim, and it is engineered to offer luxury and performance. You will have a more powerful 6.2L V8 in the High Country, and it produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound feet of torque. You can also go for the optional turbocharged 3.0L six-cylinder engine for 277 horsepower and 460 pound feet of torque. 

The Max Trailering package makes the Tahoe better at towing. You can still tow most Airstream trailers even without the package, but you can tow more with it. 

How to Tow an Airstream with a Chevy Tahoe

Although older models of the Tahoe may not be as comfortable as the new models, there is so much that a Tahoe can offer. If you have the new model, you will enjoy a host of luxury features to keep the trip as comfortable as possible. 

Before you start towing, you need to consider the gross vehicle weight of your Tahoe. A Tahoe has a curb weight of about 5,661 pounds, but some are heavier, and has a gross vehicle weight rating of about 7,500 pounds. 

The GVWR is the maximum weight that your Tahoe can handle. While the weight of an Airstream may fall within what a Tahoe can tow, the capacity of the Tahoe starts reducing when you add cargo in the cargo area, bring three or more passengers, and even add some gear in the trailer. 

The GVWR accounts for the weight of the vehicle, the trailer’s tongue weight, passengers, and the cargo you have in your Tahoe. A Chevy Tahoe can pull any of the Airstream trailers, but the GVWR may limit the size of the trailer you can tow. 

If you have so many passengers and a lot of cargo at the back, you need to consider their weight. Add their weight to that of the curb weight of the vehicle and see how much you still have to tow. 

For instance, assuming your Tahoe has a curb weight of 5,661 pounds with a gross weight of 7,500 pounds, you only have 1,839 pounds left for you to carry. 

The tongue weight of a trailer is between 10 and 15 percent of the total weight of a trailer. If you have a trailer that weighs 4,200 pounds and in it there is cargo or gear that weighs 800 pounds, it will weigh 5,000 pounds with a tongue weight of between 500 and 750 pounds. 

If the tongue weight is 750 pounds, and the car can only take 1,839 pounds, you now only have 1,089 pounds left for the passengers and any other cargo you need to have at the back of your Tahoe.

You should not exceed the gross vehicle weight rating as this may lead to damaged axles or other damaged components. 

Once you are sure that your Tahoe has the capacity to tow, you need to get the towing equipment to get the trailer on the road. You need a tow hitch receiver, a brake controller, and wiring for the trailer lights and brake system. 

  • A hitch receiver should be welded on your Tahoe. If you insert the ball mount into the receiver, the hitch will be secured. If your Tahoe already has a ball mounted to its bumper, then that will not be good enough for an Airstream trailer. 
  • A brake controller is a device that connects the brakes of your trailer and those of the tow vehicle. Towing without brake controllers puts you at risk. 

Closing Thoughts

An Airstream is like most of the other trailers. When driving, you have to be careful on the road so that you do not end up in an accident. You have to watch your speed and watch how you negotiate corners. 

Before you start the trip, check the trailer and the tow vehicle and ensure they are in good working condition. Check the lights, the brakes, and other components to ensure that they do not fail you when you start driving.
You can also visit an Airstream dealer before you start your tow – especially if it is your first time towing such as trailer. The dealer will guide you on how to tow the right way.

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

Recent Posts