Toyota Tacoma Pop Up Camper Guide: Models Tacomas Can Tow

By Ryan Wilson

Updated:
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Toyota Tacoma truck

Are you in the market to buy a new or used pop up camper for your Toyota Tacoma? If so, it’s important to make sure the Toyota Tacoma pop up camper you’re considering can be safely towed by your truck.

Thankfully, most pop up campers are towable by a Toyota Tacoma, but there are some important differences between makes of Tacoma you should be aware of.

I own a 2017 Toyota Tacoma and tow an ALiner Expedition (a hard-sided pop up). I love how easy it is to tow, while still providing me and my family enough room to enjoy our home state of Alaska! Even if that’s not the camper for you, there are thankfully a large number of pop up campers you can choose from that have a range of features.

In the post below I provide you with the information you need to determine which pop up campers will work for your truck. This includes tow ratings for Toyota Tacomas, additional equipment needed to tow certain weights of campers, and a list of current pop up camper weights that will fit Tacomas.


Toyota Tacoma Pop Up Camper Towing Capacity

capacity

Recent models of Toyota Tacoma have a towing capacity ranging from 3,500 – 6,400 lbs, depending on the truck’s specific build.  Tacomas with 4 cylinder engines have a 3,500 lb towing capacity, as do Tacomas with a V6 engine, but no tow package.  Only Toyota Tacomas with a V6 engine and tow package can tow at the 6,400 lb level.    

Towing a fully-loaded trailer that weighs more than your vehicle’s towing capacity can be dangerous and affect your vehicle’s handling and braking ability. It’s VERY IMPORTANT to find the right trailer weight for your Tacoma!


Find Your Toyota Tacoma Pop Up Camper Towing Capacity

Your Tacoma’s towing capacity can be found in your owner’s manual and is the most reliable source of information on your specific Tacoma’s attributes. I highly recommend referring to it before purchasing or renting a pop up camper.   

You can also use an online tool that allows you to look up your Toyota Tacoma’s towing capacity by entering the year and make of your truck, or its VIN number. 


What Trailer Weight Should You Consider?

toyota tacoma pop up camper

It is not uncommon to see multiple weights listed for a pop up camper. The two most important weights to consider are the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and dry weights. The dry weight of a pop up camper is the unloaded camper weight. No water, no camping gear. Just the trailer and its pre-installed equipment. Whereas the GVWR is the maximum weight the pop up camper can handle. This includes the camper itself and all your gear and full tanks.

At a minimum, your Toyota Tacoma should have a tow rating sufficient to tow the camper’s dry weight. But that means you don’t plan on carrying much, if any gear, and little to no water or waste stored in your tanks.

To be safe, you could rely more heavily on the trailer’s GVWR, and be sure your Tacoma is rated to tow that.  But this means your trailer is carrying its maximum weight, which is likely not the case most of the time.

The right Toyota Tacoma pop up camper weight for your truck is probably somewhere between your trailer’s GVWR and dry weights. Then you’ll need to decide how comfortable you are towing a pop up near the top of your truck’s tow rating.

My Toyota Tacoma is rated to tow up to 6,400 lbs, yet my ALiner Expedition has a GVWR of 3,500 lbs. So, I am towing well under my truck’s tow rating. But I love it! My truck handles great. I never worry about my stopping ability, and I never have any trailer sway. Definitely consider if you really need, or want a larger pop up camper, just because your truck can tow it.  It might be more hassle than it’s worth.

Important Note:

Toyota has additional towing requirements for Tacomas that you need to be aware of.  If your pop up camper doesn’t have trailer brakes, then your Toyota Tacoma pop up camper tow capacity is reduced to 1,000 lbs.  

If the Toyota Tacoma pop up camper has a gross trailer weight over 2,000 lbs, Toyota states that a sway control device with sufficient capacity is required.

If the Toyota Tacoma pop up camper has a gross trailer weight greater than 5,000 lbs, you are required to have a weight distributing hitch with sufficient capacity to safely tow your camper.


What pop up campers can Toyota Tacomas tow?

question 1

There’s a pop up camper suitable for every make of Toyota Tacoma. Of the current models of pop up campers, 60% are suitable for the lower Tacoma tow rating (3,500 lbs) based on the trailer’s GVWR, and 93% based on the trailer’s dry weight. For Tacomas with a V6 engine and tow package, all models of pop up camper listed below can be towed.

Below I provide a table of the current Toyota Tacoma pop up camper models and whether they need to be towed by Tacomas with a V6 engine and tow package or not. I also list whether a sway control device, or weight distributing hitch might be required.

BrandModelDry WeightGVWRTrailer BrakesV6 Tow Req.Sway Bar Req.Weight Distributed Hitch Req.
SylvansportTRAILOFT117 lbsNANoNoNoNo
TentraxOverlook500 lbs1800 lbsNoNoNoNo
TentraxAscend600 lbs1800 lbsNoNoNoNo
KamparooVacationer725 lbsNANoNoNoNo
KamparooTrans-Continental840 lbsNANoNoNoNo
SylvansportGO840 lbs1650 lbsNoNoNoNo
ChaletLTW900 lbs2000 lbsYesNoNoNo
KamparooCargo Utility1140 lbs1840 lbsOptionalNoNoNo
ALinerScout-Lite1180 lbs3000 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Taxa OutdoorsWoolyBear1270 lbs2100 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
ALinerRanger 101300 lbs3000 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Off Grid TrailersSwitchback1300 lbs3500 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Taxa OutdoorsTigerMoth1310 lbs2200 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
ALinerScout1395 lbs3000 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Taxa OutdoorsWoolyBear Overland1400 lbs2200 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Coachmen9.0TD : Clipper Express1587 lbs2172 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Viking9.0TD : Viking Express1587 lbs2172 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
ALinerRanger 121450 lbs3000 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Taxa OutdoorsTigerMoth Overland1458 lbs2400 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
ChaletAlpine1505 lbs3000 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
ChaletArrowhead1585 lbs3000 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Coachmen860XLS1642 lbs2897 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Viking1706XLS : Viking LS1642 lbs2897 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Tribe TrailersBasecamp1654 lbs3307 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Off Grid TrailersExpedition 2.01700 lbs3500 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
ALinerClassic1725 lbs3000 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
ALinerLXE1795 lbs3000 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Taxa OutdoorsCricket1800 lbs2700 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Coachmen107LS : Clipper LS1801 lbs2938 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Viking2107LS1801 lbs2938 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Safari CondoR17131825 lbs2700 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
ALinerExpedition1850 lbs3500 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Coachmen108ST1863 lbs2687 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Viking2108ST1863 lbs2687 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Safari CondoR17231867 lbs2700 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
Taxa OutdoorsCricket Overland1978 lbs3000 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
ChaletXL-19201995 lbs3500 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
ChaletXL-19301995 lbs3500 lbsYesNoMaybeNo
RockwoodA122S2120 lbs3284 lbsYesNoYesNo
Coachmen12.0TD XL : Clipper Express2147 lbs3720 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Viking12.0TD XL : Viking Express2147 lbs3720 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
ChaletXL-19352165 lbs3500 lbsYesNoYesNo
Rockwood1910ESP2199 lbs2904 lbsYesNoYesNo
Coachmen128LS : Clipper LS2204 lbs3223 lbsYesNoYesNo
Viking2308LS : Viking LS2221 lbs3223 lbsYesNoYesNo
Rockwood1940F2223 lbs3240 lbsYesNoYesNo
Coachmen12.0 TD MAX : Clipper Express2225 lbs3259 lbsYesNoYesNo
Viking12.0TD MAX : Viking Express2225 lbs3259 lbsYesNoYesNo
ALinerEvolution2300 lbs3500 lbsYesNoYesNo
OpusOP Lite Air Tent2380 lbs3527 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Rockwood2318G2458 lbs3263 lbsYesNoYesNo
Rockwood2280BHESP2578 lbs3838 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor2518 KB2580 lbs3300 lbsYesNoYesNo
V-TrecV22581 lbs3790 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor2518 KS2600 lbs3220 lbsYesNoYesNo
TrailManor2518 KD2600 lbs3220 lbsYesNoYesNo
RockwoodA213HW2670 lbs3372 lbsYesNoYesNo
Rockwood2514F2673 lbs3295 lbsYesNoYesNo
RockwoodA214HW2700 lbs3353 lbsYesNoYesNo
V-TrecV42790 lbs3897 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Coachmen1285SST : Clipper Classic2840 lbs3296 lbsYesNoYesNo
Viking2485SST : Viking Legend2840 lbs3296 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Rockwood2318ESP2868 lbs3875 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Rockwood232ESP2952 lbs3794 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor2720 QB2960 lbs4293 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Taxa OutdoorsMantis 4.12972 lbs4201 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
MDC USAExplorer FF3028 lbs4409 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor2720 QS3040 lbs4250 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor2720 QD3040 lbs4250 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor2922 KB3040 lbs4390 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
OpusOP4 Air Tent3100 lbs4200 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Taxa OutdoorsMantis 5.23115 lbs4200 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor2922 KB3130 lbs4480 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor2922 KD3130 lbs4480 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor3124 KB3140 lbs4735 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Lifestyle CampersICONN EVO3197 lbs4409 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Lifestyle CampersICONN E23197 lbs4409 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor3124 KS3200 lbs4427 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
TrailManor3124 KD3200 lbs4427 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
V-TrecV33217 lbs4427 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
OpusOP2 Air Tent3244 lbs4400 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
RockwoodHW2773334 lbs3880 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Lifestyle CampersRECONN R23417 lbs4850 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
MDC USAJackson FF3455 lbs4409 lbsYesMaybeYesNo
Taxa OutdoorsMantis Overland3486 lbs5000 lbsYesMaybeYesMaybe
Tribe TrailersExpedition 5003600 lbs4100 lbsYesYesYesNo
RockwoodHW2963721 lbs4999 lbsYesYesYesNo
ConquerorUEV-4903800 lbs4800 lbsYesYesYesNo
MDC USAAusRV GT3854 lbs5512 lbsYesYesYesMaybe
MDC USARobson XTT3940 lbs5291 lbsYesYesYesMaybe
Lifestyle CampersRECONN R44520 lbs6173 lbsYesYesYesMaybe
MDC USAAusRV LX4734 lbs5732 lbsYesYesYesMaybe
Lifestyle CampersRECONN R4T5400 lbs7716 lbsYesYesYesYes

Test Drive a Pop Up Camper With Your Toyota Tacoma

Buying a pop up camper is a significant investment, so you don’t want to end up buying a camper that doesn’t meet your needs. For me, I didn’t want a camper that super heavy, or that didn’t handle well when driving down the highway. I also wanted a camper that was easy to setup and take down.

Unfortunately, camper dealers and private sellers won’t let you take a camper for a weekend test drive to see if it will work for you.

But there is another option. You can rent a pop up camper for the weekend on a site like RVshare, RVezy, or Outdoorsy.

Outdoorsy Screenshot scaled

When we first were testing out campers, I rented an R-Pod from Outdoorsy thinking that might be a good option for our Tacoma. After taking it on a week-long road trip, I realized it didn’t handle as well as I would have liked, and I didn’t like the low visibility I had.

Renting a camper from Outdoorsy, RVezy, or RVshare ended up being great, because it made me realize I wanted a pop up camper for my Toyota Tacoma. And that’s I how I decided an ALiner was the right fit for my truck and family.


Summary

For those like me, that prioritize ease of towing over a trailer with a ton of features, a pop up camper is an excellent choice for a Toyota Tacoma. But with the range of features available across pop up campers like ALiners, you won’t need to sacrifice much.

I have no regrets in my choice pop up camper and how it handles well while being towed by my Tacoma. In the future when my family outgrows our ALiner, we will likely choose another pop up camper to replace it. So, it’s nice to know that there are a lot options we’ll be able to choose from.

Check out our guide to purchasing a used pop up camper.

Save $25 off your Camper Rental at RVezy

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Author

Ryan is an avid outdoorsman who loves camping, hiking, and backpacking. He was initially reluctant to join the camper world, but after his first camping trip in one, he became a convert. He especially loves how camper ownership extends the camping season and makes it easier to be more adventurous with young kids. When not enjoying his free time, he works as a professional wildlife biologist studying the ecology and conservation of large mammals in Alaska.