RVing is more popular than ever, but many people who own a Ford Explorer don’t know there are many travel trailers this SUV can tow safely.
The Ford Explorer provides an impressive towing capacity, with the latest 2021 models increasing the tow rating by another 600 pounds!
To help you compare the many different types of travel trailers the Explorer can tow, I put the best 15 down below with all the details on size, weight, amenities, and price.
You don’t need a heavy-duty truck to enjoy time camping with family or friends, so let’s check out the best travel trailers a Ford Explorer can tow!
Ford Explorer Towing Capacity Stats
Many Ford Explorer models can tow campers weighing up to 5,000 pounds, with the newer 2020 and 2021 models offering 5,600 pounds of towing capacity.
Please keep in mind that Ford indicates the tow rating is for vehicles not loaded with additional cargo and that you should never exceed more than 10% load on the hitch.
What this means is you cannot fill your 2020 Explorer with hundreds of pounds of camping supplies and equipment and still pull a 5,600-pound camper safely.
With so many different engines and tow-package options within the Explorer line, you must verify the exact stats for your particular model’s towing capacity before making a camper purchase. Ford’s data shows some Explorer models having a towing capacity as low as 2,000 pounds.
Check out this website for a more comprehensive look at towing capacity on pre-2019 Ford Explorers that includes details on various engine sizes.
What Do All the Explorer Stats Mean When Deciding on a Camper?
A good rule of thumb is leaving around 1,000-1,500 pounds free in your SUV and camper combo for supplies and passengers to stay within safe towing guidelines.
This amount will reduce the weight of the camper you should purchase, but since every family packs differently, you should always weigh items you plan to take camping (including the people) for an accurate number.
A couple going on a weekend getaway will carry far fewer extra pounds of gear than a family of six going on a weeklong excursion.
You can also take pre and post-load readings of your camper and Explorer at a commercial scale to verify how much your combination weighs. Most RVers fail to test their trailer in this way, but it can be a real eye-opener.
Even if you’ve been towing overweight without obvious issues other than poor gas mileage, you’re putting extreme wear and tear on your vehicle and camper. When camper or vehicle components fail, it’s not only dangerous, but you’ll end up with hefty repair bills.
What does all this information mean for Ford Explorer owners looking to buy a camper?
It means the safe range of travel trailer weight you should purchase will be around 4,000-4,500 pounds or less.
Don’t let a pushy RV salesperson brush away your concerns by stating it’s OK to pull a 4,800-pound dry weight camper with your 5,000-pound tow-rated Explorer model, because it’s not!
15 Great Travel Trailers A Ford Explorer Can Tow
From small teardrops to spacious pop-ups to convenient travel trailers featuring all the comforts of home, it’s impressive the campers you can pull with your Ford Explorer.
Let’s compare the top recreational vehicle models by type so you can clearly see some of the top options your Ford Explorer can tow. All weights are the dry weight (UVW) of the camper.
5 Best Teardrop Campers a Ford Explorer Can Tow
Teardrop trailers are aerodynamic, which provides better fuel economy. Most small teardrops are suitable for solo or couple camping, but some larger models can fit a small family.
1. Helio HE3
The Helio HE3 is a budget-friendly travel trailer your Explorer will have no issues pulling. The bare-bones design is ideal for off-grid camping, where you plan to spend most of your time outdoors. The bed converts into a sofa for more flexible camp living, and you can even add an optional air conditioner.
2. Little Guy [email protected]
The Little Guy [email protected] teardrop features a 58″ x 78″ bed, a rear-hatch kitchen with 12-volt fridge, an air conditioner, TV/entertainment center, storage, and large skylight. This easy-to-pull camper is the perfect upgrade over tent camping.
3. inTech RV Luna Light
|Weight.||1,775 – 1,850 lbs.|
The Luna Light is small, yet delivers a bit more luxury than other teardrops from the 32″ TV, convertible futons to bed, fireplace/heater, air conditioner, and well-designed rear kitchen for outdoor cooking and entertaining.
4. Happier Camper HC1
|Sleeps||up to 5|
The HC1 teardrop camper features a unique Adaptiv modular interior that allows you to configure the floorplan on the fly for any camping situation and can fit a small family. The components also double as outdoor furniture for even more flexibility. So many options expand customization, like including a kitchenette.
5. High Camp Aluminum
The High Camp Aluminum has a cool retro exterior design and stunning wood interior. The camper offers tons of storage, a roof vent/fan, and a rear kitchen with a slide-out cooktop.
5 Best Pop-up Campers a Ford Explorer Can Tow
Pop-up or foldable travel trailers are lightweight and easy to tow yet provide more sleeping and living space over hard-side campers.
1. Forest River Rockwood 1640LTD
|Length||12′ 4″ closed, 17′ 2″ open|
|Sleeps||2 – 4|
The Rockwood 1640LTD tent camper offers two sleeping areas, a dinette, kitchen with mini-fridge, sink, and stove, an outdoor camp stove, and a seven-foot awning.
2. Aliner Classic
|Sleeps||2 – 4|
The Aliner Classic offers more weather protection with it’s hard sides. Interior amenities include the option of a stationary bed or sofa bed plus a convertible dinette. A small kitchen includes a microwave, plus a furnace, water heater, outdoor shower, camp stove, dual propane tanks, and much more come standard.
3. Coachmen Clipper Sport 125ST
|Length||17’9″ closed, 23’5″ open|
|Sleeps||up to 7|
The Clipper Sport 125ST has plenty of sleeping and lounging space, along with a small kitchen so you can prepare food. There is an optional bathroom package to increase camping convenience.
4. Jayco Jay Sport 8SD
|Length||11’7″ closed, 16’2″ open|
|Sleeps||up to 6|
The Jay Sport 8SD provides spacious sleeping for three with even more options by using the convertible dinette or choosing the bunk. Ample storage capacity along with an outdoor camp stove make this compact pop-up a great choice for your Explorer to tow.
5. Air Opus
|Length||16’2″ closed, 18’4″ open|
|Sleeps||2 – 8|
The Air Opus models are the ones to look at if you want a rugged pop-up for off-grid camping. The Opus line can sleep 2-8 with optional annex tents and offer accessories that cover common camping situations.
Campstove and kitchen pull-out, electric air-tent inflation, large tires for ground clearance, and more all come in this lightweight pop-up.
5 Best Travel Trailers a Ford Explorer Can Tow
A full travel trailer is not out of reach for many Ford Explorer models with higher tow-capacity, as these following camper models demonstrate.
1. Jayco Jay Feather X19H
|Sleeps||up to 6|
The Jay Feather X19H is a hybrid travel trailer that increases sleeping space with two fold-out beds. With a kitchen and bathroom with a shower, you have everything you need inside, while the 13-foot awning gives you plenty of protection for outdoor living.
2. Forest River No Boundaries 19.5
|Sleeps||2 – 4|
The No Boundaries 19.5 model offers a ton of amenities in such a lightweight travel trailer. A full bathroom, queen-size bed, kitchen, and comfortable living and dining area increase value. A single slide out and 14-foot awning expand living space even more.
3. Starcraft Ravel Star Expandable
|Sleeps||up to 8|
The Starcraft Ravel Star Expandable trailer series offers models with up to three queen-size fold-out tent beds that are ideal for camping families. With a full kitchen and bath, this camper provides plenty of extra interior space for cooking or relaxing.
4. Airstream Bambi 19CB
The Airstream Bambi 19CB improves gas mileage with its aerodynamic shape and provides a compact kitchen, entertainment center, bathroom, and dining space for camping comfort wherever you travel.
5. Armadillo Trailers Backpack
|Weight||1500 – 1900 lbs.|
The Armadillo Backpack travel trailer is lightweight, yet packs in features like an option for a king-size bed! Another cool feature is the huge external in-frame sliding drawer that allows you to store all kinds of camping supplies safely away. The interior is small but highly functional with a kitchen and dinette/bed conversion.
Camper Towing Tips for Ford Explorers
Make Sure You Have the Proper Towing Equipment on Your Model
Many Ford Explorer models come without a standard tow package, but you can add one if yours doesn’t.
What does a tow package do, and what does it include?
A Ford Explorer Class III Trailer Tow Package includes a properly-rated frame-mounted hitch, all trailer connectors, and an engine oil cooler so you can attach a trailer and pull it safely with your vehicle.
Add Leaf Springs to Avoid Sag at Explorer Rear
You may find that your Explorer may “sag” at the rear when you tow a heavier-weight camper.
While the sag is not usually a serious concern, it looks weird when your vehicle and camper are not level.
If the sag is extreme, it can bring your front end up so much that the tires lose some traction, leading to dangerous driving situations.
This issue is shared across all model years, and experts suggest a few modifications that can fix rear-end sagging.
You can add a leaf spring to the vehicle’s rear to eliminate uneven balance while towing.
You can also try adding a quality set of air-assist shocks or adjusting the front-end ride-height through the torsion bars.
Lastly, double-check that you are not overloading the weight on the tongue (hitch) as you don’t want to exceed the 10% of gross trailer weight Ford recommends. Adjust your load of supplies on the camper interior to bring it more in balance over the axle, or offload unnecessary items.
Overall, it’s best always to have good alignment between your Explorer and camper for good handling and reduce undue wear.
Use Sway Bars When Towing Any Camper
Experienced RVers highly recommend sway bars on your camper. The equipment dramatically reduces side-to-side sway and fishtailing that can occur while on the highway.
Sway bars work with the force of the weight of your camper. Two sway bars fit on opposite sides of the trailer hitch.
When forces, like a passing semi or high wind, cause the trailer to move sideways, the sway bars assert pressure that causes enough friction to ease the movement.
As your SUV keeps pulling forward, it combines with the sway bar action to reduce shuddering or movement, so your camper and SUV stays under your control.
With sway and fishtailing one of the top causes of travel trailer accidents, make sure you install them on your camper before you hitch up to your Explorer.
A little SUV towing FYI: If you’re wondering what SUV has the highest towing capacity, it’s the 2021 GMC Yukon 3.0-liter Duramax that can pull 9,600 pounds.
Towing any camper is serious business. I hope this informational guide helps you understand the reality behind camper weight versus Explorer towing capacity so you can avoid dangerous accidents or costly repairs.
With so many great campers a Ford Explorer can tow safely, there’s no reason to hold off on buying the perfect model and hitting the road to make fun RVing memories!