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Can a Toyota Highlander Tow a Camper?

A gray SUV towing a silver camper.

When you’re looking to purchase one of the best sport utility vehicles (or SUVs), you’re sure to come across the Toyota Highlander in your search, and for good reason; the Highlander was built to seat around 7-8 people comfortably and are perfect for daily family activities (commuting to and from school, soccer practice, etc.) and a wide range of other activities as well. This includes camping.

If you own a camper or trailer, then the Highlander can be the ideal SUV for you as it can tow both vehicles. With that being said, there are many different Highlander models out there; each with their own towing capacities ranging from 1,500-5,000 pounds. In order to choose the right Highlander for towing your camper, pop-up trailer, travel trailer, airstream, or teardrop trailer, we’ve put together a guide below.

Breaking Down Towing Capacity

If you look at the table below you can find basic information on each type of Toyota Highlander. There are a lot of different options, so you can find all the information below.

Model Name: Towing Capacity: Unladen Vehicle Weight: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating:
LE 1,500 lbs 4,134 lbs 5,665 lbs
LE PLUS 5,000 lbs. 4,244 lbs. 5,840 lbs.
XLE 5,000 lbs 4,310 lbs. 5,840 lbs
SE 5,000 lbs. 4,310 lbs. 5,840 lbs.
Limited 5,000 lbs. 4,354 lbs. 5,840 lbs.
Hybrid LE 3,500 lbs. 4,398 lbs. 6,000 lbs.
Hybrid XLE 3,500 lbs. 4,464 lbs. 6,000 lbs.
Hybrid Limited 3,500 lbs. 4,861 lbs. 6,270 lbs.

Once you find the one you want, you can look at the different camper options. The table below gives you the different types and weights:

A silver Toyota Highlander on display at a store.

Camper Type: Dry Weight:
Pop-up Trailer 600-4,000 lbs.
Classic Travel Trailer 2,200-7,800 lbs.
Teardrop Trailer 520-2,000 lbs.
Airstream 2,500-4,000 lbs.

Now you can look in-depth at each model, the pros and cons, the designs and which model would be best for you.

Trailer Types

Now that you know the Toyota Highlander can, in fact, tow a camper or trailer, let’s break down the different types of trailers to help you figure out which one you may want to purchase (if you haven’t bought one already).

A camper parked in the woods.

1. Travel Trailers

With this trailer, there are different sizes, weights, floor plans, etc. This section deals with the classic travel trailers.

Classic travel trailers are larger and have a complex, and comfortable, living space. They go anywhere from 10 feet to 35 feet and usually have bathrooms, interior kitchens, dining space, bedrooms, etc. They are popular because they can be towed by any vehicle that has a high enough capacity for towing.

This type of trailer might appeal to you because it is comfortable and versatile. You will just need to have a ball hitch on the back of your car and possibly a weight-distribution hitch if the camper is heavy.

Since they are popular, they have various sizes and shapes. The weights and lengths are listed above, but some manufacturers create trailers for specific circumstances. There can even be travel trailers that are as small as teardrop trailers.

If you have a Toyota Highlander, you might want to look at the various travel trailers. Custom campers could help you find the specific trailer that will fit your car.

A camper being pulled by a car through the salt flats of Utah.

2. Airstreams

Airstreams usually have rounded exteriors and are plated in a metallic covering. They have multiple sizes, even though their exteriors all look pretty much the same.

They aren’t made as much now, but if you want this style, you will just need to find a good source. There aren’t a lot of places that sell them new, but there are a lot who have them used.

Even though they aren’t as popular, they still have a niche market. You can go to airstream.com to check out the new campers. They have new models every year, which have a lot of different layouts, floor plans, and upgrades.

They don’t normally have slide-outs or fold-outs. The living space isn’t as big either. But, they will still surprise campers with how much form and function they have.

They can be as long as 33 feet and as small as 16 feet. Some of the models are perfect for those who own Toyota Highlanders. There are also special models that are extra small. Those look a little different but they still work.

A pop-up camper trailer parked by the woods.

3. Pop-up Trailers

Pop-up trailers, which are sometimes called camping trailers, are normally small with fold-out sections on the sides. These are different from slide-outs because they are covered by a flexible material like a canvas or other weather-proof fabric. There are also some pop-up trailers that come with hard pop-up, but normally they are soft.

They also normally have a small living space that can become bigger once the pop-outs are extended. They can have dining space, kitchenettes, and small bathrooms. The fold-outs can also have a bed. They are good for people because space can be added and removed.

If you have a family that likes to travel, then this would be a good option. They are almost like pre-made campsites that don’t take a lot to set up.

You can also have open-air because it has soft side pop-outs. Windows and airflow are some of the benefits of these designs. You should also make sure that your car can tow this type of Toyota Highlander.

You will want to look at the dry weight and calculate how much you will be putting in the trailer. Once you have added your luggage and gas, the trailer will be heavier than its dry weight. You should always try to stay below 25% to 30% of your maximum tow capacity.

A campsite by the mountain view with a white SUV and a camper trailer.

4. Teardrop Trailers

Teardrop trailers are good for those who have a small towing capacity. The mini trailers are easy to tow on almost any vehicle. They are light, aerodynamic, and small enough to not block your view.

They still come in different forms, lengths, and designs. They can have fold-outs and extensions for outdoor cooking. Some can even have good sleeping options.

They are easy to tow with almost any vehicle and the towing capacity is usually not an issue. They usually don’t weigh over 3,000 pounds.

If you want a simple and cozy living space then these are the best option. You may not have a lot of space, but they can still do a lot.

A lot of manufacturers have a unique design, so most teardrop trailers look different. Here are some teardrop trailers that could be good for Toyota Highlanders:

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