5th wheels are a bit different. Instead of being attached to your bumper, like travel trailers are, 5th wheels place a lot of weight inside the bed of your truck. This means you are carrying the trailer more than you are pulling it. Different weight capacities come into play.
It would be easy to say no to this question but RV makers have made smaller and lighter 5th wheel trailers for years. You could go with one of those models but you would be giving up space, features, and comfort if you do. They are great for couples but little else.
To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. It is filled with the information you want to know about so you can decide if you need to upgrade your 1/2 ton or use it to tow a 5th-wheel trailer. It is an interesting choice to make.
If you stay within reason, then yes you can. By staying within reason, you are remaining inside the weight capacities for your truck's payload and towing limits.
Also, the age of your pick-up needs to be taken into consideration. The older models were not designed to handle heavier loads. Their weight capacities are a lot lower than modern half-ton pick-up trucks.
If you have a newer half-ton pick-up, then chances are there will be more 5th-wheel trailers you can tow than the older models can. It is said that the payload capacity you need to pull a lightweight 5th wheel is between 1100 and 1500 pounds.
To figure out if your 1/2 ton can do the job, you need to know the pin weight of the 5th wheel, the weight capacity of your truck, and over all towing capacity. The latter is important as your truck will have a towing weight limit that will rule out hooking up longer and bigger 5th-wheel trailers.
The question you will need to answer is will hooking up a 5th-wheel trailer to your half-ton be safe? This is a very vital question as you never know how much stress your truck feels until it is too late.
You do not want to push the limits on your vehicle.
One of the concerns you need to address is the weight of the truck itself. Pick-up trucks do not all weigh the same and if your pick-up weighs between 6000 and 8000 pounds, then you should be okay to tow that extra weight.
But if it weighs less than that, then you may be asking for trouble as the truck is not strong enough to handle the extra weight of the 5th-wheel trailer. Next, you have to be careful of payload space.
Many 5th wheel trailers come with heavy pin weights that will cut down on your being able to carry necessary cargo. You have to plan everything well as you do not want to have to leave something important behind.
That is because you won’t be able to buy it later on unless you drop cargo weight during your trip. Pulling a trailer has many factors involved other than the size of your pick-up truck.
If you are going with a half-ton truck, then you need to plan extra carefully as you will not have extra limits to work with. Part of the planning is to not forget about the weight of full holding tanks.
Being out of sight does not mean they do not matter. Those tanks can get fairly heavy when full.
Only a range of towing capacities can be given here. The reason this is so is because this truck model comes in a variety of trim sizes, engine models, and weight capacities. This will be the same for all trucks listed in this article.
The 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 has an 8,800 – 9,500 lb towing capacity. That is large enough for it to tow a variety of smaller 5th-wheel trailers. To give you a comparison, the 1500 4-wheel drive option is said to be able to tow up to 11,000 pounds approx.
The regular 2-door 1500 can only tow just over 9000 pounds. Then a comparison of their payload capacities shows the regular 2-door 1500 able to haul up to 2200 pounds approx. While the 4-wheel drive option can only handle 2000 pounds approx.
The towing capacity will all depend on the year, model, and trim of the Silverado you own. To get both pieces of information, check your owner’s manual, it should be listed in that booklet.
If it isn’t or you do not have the owner’s manual, then go to Edmunds.com and look it up on that website. This is a website that also helps determine the retail value of most cars and trucks.
The 2023 Dodge RAM can tow between 6,180 – 8,320 lb but one model with the 5.7L HEMI® V8 engine with eTorque Mild Hybrid Technology System can tow up to almost 13,000 pounds.
The payload capacity for this model is 2300 pounds. The 2015 Dodge RAM 4-wheel drive with a 5.7 V8 engine can to only 10,000 pounds and has a payload of only 1,500 pounds approx.
In comparison, the tradesman model with a V6, 3.6L engine does a little better. It can tow up to 10,650 pounds and has a payload capacity of 1900 pounds. These are just a few of the trims available.
There seems to be between 30 and 40 trim options which all may or may not have the same specs when it comes to towing and hauling. The same can almost be said for the 2020 versions.
One 4 x 4 can only haul 1600 pounds approx and there is no towing capacity listed for it. This truck may be able to tow a trailer but you should check the owner’s manual to see what Dodge has to say about this topic. Or contact your local dealer to see if they have this information.
If the 5th-wheel trailer is light enough, then yes it can. Its towing capacity according to one resource ranges between 8,700 – 9,500 lb for one of the 2023 models.
The 2020 4-door, 4-wheel drive SLT with a 5.7L V8 engine is said to be able to tow 12,000 pounds and has a payload capacity of just slightly over 2000 pounds.
Then the 2015 SLT 4-door, 4-wheel drive with a 5.3L, V8 can tow up to 11,800 pounds and has a payload space of 1790 pounds. When you think of the pin weight, which needs between 1100 and 1500 pounds of payload space, you are not left with much room for cargo.
You need to know these capacities of your year and trim of your truck as you may want to get a nice 5th wheel but your 1500 may not be able to handle the weight.
If you are not sure where to get that information, the Edmunds website should have it, the JD Power website may have it or the KBB website may have it. If these outlets fail, then call your dealer and ask them.
This is important information you cannot do without. You could do without but then your truck may be damaged beyond repair and insurance may not cover the loss.
A 2015 Chevy 1500 has a towing capacity of 9500 pounds and a payload capacity of almost 1800 pounds. That will provide you with the upper limits that you can go with your 5th-wheel trailer.
It is always best not to match those upper limits for safety and other reasons. The biggest 5th wheel your 1500 can tow will depend on many factors. Those factors include engine size and power, weight limit capacities, model, and year of the 1500.
We talked about pin weight but there is one other important factor that will play a large role in the size of your 5th wheel. That factor is the weight of the hitch. These 5th-wheel hitches can add a little or a lot of extra weight.
That extra weight removes any leeway you thought you had in your payload capacity. When it comes to towing, you cannot ignore any item. They all add weight to your pick-up and lower the available cargo or payload weight.
Even your little dog’s weight needs to be subtracted from the available payload limit. As would any other passengers you intend to bring along on your vacation.
While you have a strong Chevy 1500, your payload limits will dictate a lot to you and what 5th wheel trailer you can attach to that vehicle.
This would depend on the size of the 5th-wheel trailer. There is one 5th wheel model, the Winnebago Minnie Plus 29RBH that only weighs 6280 pounds when empty and comes with a 740 pin weight.
Most smaller trucks could handle that trailer with ease. It should also work for some older 1500 models. From what we can determine, the 1500 is the smallest truck you can use to tow a 5th-wheel trailer.
That does not mean there are smaller trucks that cannot do the job, it just means they are not mentioned anywhere. Another smaller 5th wheel that a 1500 could tow easily would be the Keystone Cougar Sport 2100 RK.
That trailer comes with a dry weight of 6800 pounds approx., and a hitch weight reaching only 1120 pounds. But it may be hard to find smaller 5th wheel trailers than these two options.
It is best not to go smaller than a 1500 as those smaller trucks are not made to handle heavy loads. The Northwood Fox Mountain 235RLS does weigh under 7000 pounds but it comes with an almost 2000 pound hitch or pin weight.
That may disqualify some 1500 trucks from towing it. You still need to add cargo and passengers so upgrading to a 3/4 ton is a better move than trying to to this trailer with your 1500.
One of the smallest and lightest 5th wheel trailers is the Scamp Lite 19′ Deluxe 5th Wheel Camper. It only weighs 2800 pounds when empty and has a pin weight of only 400 pounds. It is good for couples who do not need a lot of space.
This model is also one of the cheapest 5th-wheel trailers you can buy. A trailer we found that is close in size to the Scamp is the Escape Trailer 5.0 and it is 2 feet 2 inches longer than the Scamp.
Its dry weight only reaches 3910 pounds and comes with a pin weight of 646 pounds. The trouble with the smallest 5th wheel lists that we checked is that the term ‘small’ does not necessarily mean short.
When the term ‘small’ is used, it means those 5th-wheel trailers that are under 30 feet in length. That is not that small as the dry weights for these longer trailers can go from 6000 to 11000 pounds.
Their pin weights go from just over 1000 pounds to 1700 pounds and higher. Even though you are buying a ‘small’ 5th wheel, it may still be too much for your 1500 truck.
The best advice that can be given is to do your research carefully. As you can see what one person may think is small, is not small to you or to your truck. Stick with your weight capacities no matter what as those are the most important figures in towing a 5th-wheel trailer with a 1/2-ton truck.
To avoid all this math, you may want to consider upgrading to a 3/4-ton truck. These vehicles surpass the 1/2-ton in all weight limit categories and provide you with enough room to tow a larger 5th -wheel trailer if you want.