Buying a fifth wheel is an exciting time in your life. There are a lot of variables to look at and tons of different models and benefits that each fifth wheel can offer.
There are different amenities available with different brands, and even unique floorplans for the various models that are out there. Before you can jump into all of those exciting and unique possibilities, you need to make sure that all of your bases are covered.
Can a Toyota Tundra Tow a Fifth Wheel or Toy Hauler?
So, can a Toyota Tundra tow a 5th wheel toy hauler? Yes, the Toyota Tundra is capable of towing a 5th-wheel toy hauler, but only the lightest toy haulers, and it also requires the correct towing package. The average toy hauler is 12,000 pounds and that is beyond the capacity of the Tundra.
There is a whole lot more you need to know about pulling a toy hauler with a Tundra, so keep reading… it is important!
What You Must Know If You Want To Tow A Toy Hauler With A Tundra
You’ll need to have a vehicle that is capable of towing your 5th wheel rv to all of the great places that you are going to adventure. Generally speaking, any 5th wheel toy hauler that you buy is going to need to be towed by a pickup truck.
Today, we’re going to examine the fit that a Toyota Tundra has with fifth wheel trailers and see if this truck model is going to be able to get the job done effectively. Can a Toyota Tundra tow a toy hauler?
Toyota is a brand that has seen a lot of success in recent years and is well-known for being a lasting brand that can create quality products. Now, let’s see if they are a great match for you, your needs, and your 5th wheel camper.
Generally speaking, a Toyota Tundra truck can tow anywhere between around 7,000 pounds and around 10,000 pounds. This is a problem for a lot of fifth wheels because on average they will weigh at least 12,000 pounds.
However, as mentioned, there are lots of different varieties and different models of fifth wheels and the lightest fifth wheels can weigh down around 7,000 pounds which would make those models a much better match for a truck like a Toyota Tundra.
The Toyota Tundra is not the largest pick up truck on the market by any means, and as a matter of fact they’re often smaller than their competitors.
Unfortunately, that is going to have a negative effect on the towing capacity that is found in the Toyota Tundra. However, as mentioned there are some lightweight fifth wheels that the Tundra may be able to handle.
There is a big safety aspect to this as well because you need to make sure that whatever you are towing is completely safe, not just meeting a number in a book.
As with anything, you should also make sure that these options work for you as far as style, design, and comfort go.
Trying to put together a set up that doesn’t work for you personally and what you enjoy in a vehicle and in a toy hauler is a recipe for disaster.
The Toyota Tundra
As with most car companies, Toyota has made different Tundra models available to try to suit different individual needs to create a better customer experience. T
hese are solid trucks that can be used for years and years, however we are going to be most interesting in how well they can tow something since we are looking at fifth wheels.
Starting at the bottom levels, we have the Toyota Tundra SR and the Toyota Tundra SR5.
Both of these vehicles have a maximum towing capacity of 6,800 pounds. While that is a solid number for a truck and would allow you to do a lot of work with your vehicle, it is going to make things a bit difficult if you are trying to tow a fifth wheel.
Fifth-wheel trailers usually start at around 7,000 pounds at the lightest weights, and as you can tell that is going to make the math very hard to work out for this problem.
Moving up in capacity, we have the other 4 models available with the Toyota Tundra.
These Tundra models are:
All four of these models have very similar maximum towing capacity numbers, so let’s look at the group together as a whole.
The Platinum, 1794 Edition, and TRD Pro all have towing capacities that are in between 9,000 and 9,500 pounds. That would be enough to haul some light fifth wheel haulers, so they are in range for what you should be looking at as a customer.
On top of that, the Toyota Tundra Limited can actually be outfitted so that it has a maximum towing capacity of 10,100 pounds which is definitely an impressive number when you compare it to the base models that had a maximum of under 7,000 pounds.
This upgrade is going to be useful if you are planning on doing a lot of towing on a regular basis, so you should keep these different models in mind as you start to plan out how your set up will actually look.
To haul a fifth wheel effectively, you need to have an appropriate amount of towing capacity as well as a payload rating for the truck that you are planning to use.
When towing capacity is discussed, it refers to how much weight a truck can haul behind it safely on trips on the road.
As mentioned, the towing capacity of the Toyota Tundra can go from anywhere around 7,000 pounds to roughly 10,000 pounds. That’s a pretty big difference of 30% that will matter greatly when it comes to hauling a 5th wheel camper.
Many people try to make it a simple math equation, but you also need to consider any additional items and equipment that are involved when you think about your towing capacity. If you have hitches or other kinds of equipment, you have to add that into the equation.
Some fifth wheel campers will not list their hitches in the weight which adds to what you pull. You should always do the work yourself and make sure you are putting yourself and the safety of others first, not last.
If you haul something that is above your towing capacity, you’re putting your vehicle in a lot of danger. When your vehicle is in danger it affects everyone around you.
Your passengers, fellow motorists on the road, and pedestrians are all at risk due to the extra stress on your vehicle’s engine and body. Don’t play it risky and feel bad later if there’s an accident – travel with confidence that you know you are being safe.
If you are wondering about the specific towing capacity of the vehicle you are buying, your dealer should be able to help you. This is a common question when buying a vehicle and they should be quite willing to help.
If you already have a Toyota Tundra, you should be able to find it in the manufacturer’s instructions, online, or from whoever you bought your vehicle from.
Payload of the Toyota Tundra
Payload is a necessary specification to know about and is similar but different from towing capacity. Payload refers to how much your vehicle is able to carry on the actual body itself.
That list includes any passengers weight, cargo, and any other equipment physically added to your cab or truck bed.
Thankfully, it is quite easy to deal with calculations involving the Toyota Tundra because the payload specifications are all in a quite narrow range between 1600-1660 pounds.
To be on the conservative side, you can essentially use 1,600 pounds as the number to know for the Toyota Tundra payload.
If you have heard of GVWR, that refers to the “base curb weight” of the vehicle added to the payload capacity.
If you have to install any equipment for your fifth wheel to work correctly, you will have to add that weight to the payload that is acceptable for your Toyota Tundra as well.
This may cause you more problems than the actual weight of the fifth wheel itself because the payload capacity is much lower. One option would be to use a gooseneck hitch because they’re smaller and lighter and can still be used by attaching to your truck bed.
Gooseneck hitches cannot be used with every fifth wheel though, so you need to check with the manufacturer instructions to see if this is a possibility for your Tundra.
The low payload number is concerning if you are bringing a lot of gear for some kind of adventure that you are planning to go on.
The weight of certain items can add up fairly quickly and you need to be careful that you are not going over on weight restrictions.
Your Fifth Wheel and its Weight
If you are getting serious about buying a fifth wheel for your Toyota Tundra, you need to make some careful calculations regarding the towing capacity and payload capacity of your vehicle.
You should have these numbers in mind before you look at models so that you don’t waste time looking up a bunch of 5th wheel campers that you can’t even buy.
If you already have a Tundra or if you are committed to only buying a Tundra, it will eliminate a lot of toy haulers from your search list right away.
That doesn’t have to be a negative, it can actually help you buy a product that works for you.
When searching for a fifth wheel, you need to know what you are looking for. Buying a well-known brand is a good idea because that means you are buying a product that has a long history of success.
It’s much easier to buy from these bigger brands because you can find information about them easier and you don’t have the hassle of doing guesswork on a little-known product.
As you look for fifth wheel haulers that you may want to buy, you should be able to narrow them down based on information you find on their websites.
Most companies will list the specifications upfront about what you need to tow them successfully. If any company is trying to hide information from you, that may be a red flag.
The 3 biggest pieces of information that you should know will be listed as “UVW”, “GVWR”, and “hitch weight”.
Unladen Vehicle Weight (UVW)
“UVW” stands for unladen vehicle weight.
This is the “bare bones” number for how heavy the fifth wheel is. This number factors literally nothing into it. This does not include gas, gear, cargo, or anything that you may be packing onto the 5th wheel.
If you are familiar with buying vehicles, you can think of UVW as the “curb weight”.
Remember, the maximum towing capacity of the Toyota Tundra is between 7,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds.
So if you see a number higher than 10,000 or even right around that number, you probably won’t be able to tow that 5th wheel with a Toyota Tundra. You’re going to some level of cargo and that will automatically put you over your towing capacity.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
“GVWR” stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.
This number is similar to the payload capacity that was discussed on the Toyota Tundra.
GVWR is a statistic that lets you know how much weight the 5th wheel can actually hold safely. This number refers to all of the cargo that you are going to put on the 5th wheel.
This includes things like fuel, luggage, cargo, batteries, etc. Basically – how much stuff are you going to be able to put on the fifth wheel hauler?
Again, this is more of an individual situation to check but if your UVW + GVWR adds up to more than the towing capacity of your Toyota Tundra, you’ll need to be careful packing your toy hauler.
Just because one part of the equation works does not mean that you are safe. Each individual part has to be within safety regulations and then the combined weight of everything needs to be under your towing capacity.
Some drivers overlook these equations which can lead to a dangerous situation, but with this information you should be able to stay safe.
Hitch weight is pretty easy to understand. This is the number that tells you how much equipment is going to be required to attach your fifth wheel to your Toyota Tundra.
Some people have the misconception that this number won’t matter much, but at times it can add up to thousands of pounds so you need to be very careful with the specific hitch weight of your model.
Is Your Fifth Wheel Safe to Tow?
Even though these numbers can be fairly straightforward, some people still make mistakes when it comes to calculating the safety of a fifth wheel and a Toyota Tundra.
This is how you do the calculations to see if your set up will be safe, or whether you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen on your hands.
Towing Weight Formula:
UVW + Weight of ALL cargo you will load onto the fifth wheel + Hitch Weight
This number is going to vary based on how much stuff you’re trying to bring. Obviously, this number won’t be 0, but it usually falls in between 600 and 1,700 pounds depending on what you are packing for.
Doing this calculation for yourself is important because no one can do it for you. No one’s cargo will be the exact same as yours, which is why the formula is provided for you here.
Obviously, whatever you bring should be under the GVWR of your fifth wheel.
You should probably weigh your fifth wheel once it’s loaded to make sure that you didn’t forget to weigh anything individually and you should definitely weigh it if you are just making estimates. It’s best to be safe rather than sorry.
This is the safest version of the equation to provide to you when it comes to towing a toy hauler. Your hitches may end up physically being on the truck so that may be a number that relates to payload more than it does to the towing weight, but check what your manufacturer says.
You can figure that out by detaching the fifth wheel from your truck. Whatever stays on the truck is what your payload rating is – that should not exceed the payload capacity of your Toyota Tundra. (probably 1,600 pounds)
The weight of the fifth wheel with all cargo on it should not exceed the towing capacity of your Toyota Tundra.
On top of these formulas, you should probably build in a bit of leeway. If the towing capacity of your truck is 10,200 pounds, it would not be the most wise decision to tow a fifth wheel that weights 10,199 pounds all the way across the country.
It’s generally accepted that you should build in a buffer of anywhere from 10-20% so that you are conservative with what your truck can handle.
Driving experience and towing experience plays a part in that formula as well, as does terrain and the nature of your environment.
Towing a fifth wheel with a Toyota Tundra is possible, you just need to watch your limits carefully for a safe and secure driving experience.