Originally Posted by dlake
We have a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee 6cyl. 290hp, with a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. What type/brand of travel trailer can we realistically pull?
The tow rating of 5,000 pounds is a myth. It assumes nothing is in the Jeep but a skinny driver. No passengers, pets, luggage, coolers, tools, nothing. My guess is your actual tow rating is closer to 4,000 pounds.
To determine your actual tow rating, load the Jeep with everything that will be in it when towing. People, pets, tools, spares, and the heavy shank and ball mount from your weight-distributing hitch. Go to a truckstop that has a CAT scale, fill up with gas, and weigh the wet and loaded Jeep. Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded Jeep from the GCWR of the Jeep and the answer is the max trailer weight of any trailer you can tow without being overloaded over the GCWR of the tow vehiccle
Assuming an actual tow rating of 4,000 pounds, then you'll be better off with a folding (pop up) camping trailer. My family went all over the USA with an 8' camper trailer for more than a dozen years when my two kids were still home, and we had a great time and have some wonderful memories. (Such as setting up during a rainstorm in Sequoa National Park.
) Today I'd probably choose a 10' or maybe even 12' camper trailer (inside floor length). Some of the current camper trailers have a GVWR of more than 4,000 pounds, so if your actual tow rating is 4,000 pounds, then choose one with a GVWR less than 4,000 pounds. Here's a link to some of the current campers on the market with GVWR of less than 3,000 pounds to over 6,000 pounds:
Rockwood Pop Up Campers by Forest River
So far, we've worried about the GCWR of the Jeep, and ignored the hauling capacity, which is limited by the GVWR of the Jeep. You can haul a Jeep full of folks, or tow a 4,000 pound trailer, but not both at the same time
without exceeding the GVWR of the Jeep. So subtract the wet and loaded weight of the Jeep from the GVWR of the Jeep to determine max hitch weight you can have.
The properly-loaded camper trailer should have a hitch weight around 12% of the loaded trailer weight. So figure on 12% of 4,000 pounds, or 480 pounds. If you have more than 480 pounds of unused payload available for hitch weight, then you can go with the 4,000 pound trailer. But if you have less than 480 pounds of unused payload available for hitch weight, then you need to buy a lighter-weight trailer.
The GCWR of the Jeep is in your Owner's Manual. The GVWR is on the driver's doorpost or door.