Trucks & SUVs

Does the Toyota Tacoma Have Enough Pull for a Camper Trailer?

If you’re in need of a truck, then the Toyota Tacoma is a solid choice. The Tacoma has been around since 1995 and has gotten bigger and more capable over the years, but it never lost its renowned reputation for reliability. And with this tried-and-true truck formula, it’s easy to see why anyone would choose a Tacoma over an American rival. But let’s cut to the chase: Can the Toyota Tacoma pull a camper trailer?

The Toyota Tacoma has grown

While the Toyota Tacoma has been around for over 25 years, it’s gone through a few revisions since its introduction into the market. The second-generation Tacoma came along in 2005 and with it came a larger body, a choice between a four and six-cylinder engine, and even a more muscular X-Runner model. By the time the third-generation Tacoma rolled out in 2016, over 10 years later, Toyota had given it a beefier 3.5-liter V6 along with a multitude of bed and feature configurations to suit almost anyone.

For the 2021 model year, the base Tacoma comes standard with a 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, but if you’re in need of more towing power, then you would want to opt for the 3.5-liter V6 engine. That engine produces a whopping 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque and is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission, although, a six-speed manual transmission is possible if you step up to the TRD trim level.

A silver 2021 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition parked on a dirt road amid brown weeds
2021 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

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How much can the Tacoma tow?

Due to the differences in engine choices, as well as bed and powertrain configurations, the Tacoma’s towing capacity varies. As Camper Report points out, this can make it tricky to find the right Tacoma for your specific needs. However, they also handily laid out a comparison for all of the different Tacoma options and their respective tow capacities and payloads for your viewing pleasure:

2021 Toyota Tacoma tow capacities
2021 Toyota Tacoma tow capacities | Camper Report

As we can see, the four-cylinder Tacoma can handle up to 3,500 pounds, while equipping it with the V6 engine and four-wheel drive will bump that rating up to 6,800 pounds. But what does this mean when it comes to being to tow a camper?

That again depends on the size of the rig you want to tow. For example, a pop-up trailer can weigh between 600 and 4,000 pounds, a fifth wheel can weigh between 2,400 to 20,000 pounds, a teardrop trailer can weigh between 520 and 2,000 pounds, and lastly, an Airstream can weigh in at 2,500 to 4,000 pounds. This means that the Tacoma has enough pull for a pretty decent-sized camper, but you still need to be careful.  

2021 Toyota Tacoma parked
2021 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

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An RV’s weight can add up quickly

While we know that the Tacoma can tow an RV trailer on paper, you would just need to be careful in picking the right-sized trailer. Those numbers we listed above are for the camper’s respective “dry weights,” which means that adding necessities like a freshwater tank and a generator can easily add a few hundred pounds.

However, you really can’t go wrong with choosing a Toyota Tacoma as a tow rig. It’s a fun and fairly comfortable mid-size truck that can get just about anything done. And what’s even better is that it will outlast almost anything you own, possibly including the trailer that you plan to tow.