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What Campers Can a Ford Explorer Tow?

Published on August 13th, 2019 by Jim Harmer
This post was updated on April 27th, 2021

The popular Ford Explorer can pull a small travel trailer

Do you drive a Ford Explorer and are looking to go exploring in a new camper? If so, it is important to know what campers your Ford Explorer is capable of towing.

A 2019 Ford Explorer can tow any camper weighing up to 5,000 pounds while the newer 2020 Ford Explorer can tow up to 5,600 pounds! This means that a Ford Explorer can tow pop-up trailers, hybrid trailers, teardrop trailers, and some smaller travel trailers.

Now that you know what campers a Ford Explorer can tow, you need to decide which type of camper is the best match for you, your family, and your camping style! Continue reading to learn about your vehicle’s tow capacity and to see some examples of campers your vehicle can tow. Let’s get started!

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Maximum Tow Capacity

When purchasing a new camper, there are a few new terms that you will hear quite frequently. A few of the most important terms you should understand are the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle, the dry weight of each camper, as well as the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of each camper.

First, let’s discuss what the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle means. The maximum towing capacity is simply the total amount of weight your vehicle can tow. This number includes the trailer, cargo, fluid in the tanks, and passengers.

This number should never be ignored. Exceeding the maximum towing capacity can cause damage to your vehicle, the trailer you are towing, and puts you and all of your passengers in harm’s way.

When looking at campers to purchase, be sure to look up both the dry weight and the gross vehicle weight rating. The dry weight of the camper simply refers to the amount of weight the camper is when completely empty. On the other hand, the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) refers to the total weight of the camper when loaded to its maximum capacity.

If either the dry weight or the GVWR is close to your vehicle’s maximum capacity, it will be more difficult for the vehicle to tow. If either of these numbers is greater than the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle you should look at purchasing a different, lighter camper.

Ford Explorer Maximum Towing Capacity

As I said above the 2019 and 2020 Ford Explorers are capable of towing up to 5,000 or 5,600 pounds. However, the true amount of weight your Ford Explorer may depend on the type of engine and whether or not the vehicle is equipped with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

In the following chart, you will see how the different engine types and GCWR affect the maximum towing capacity of the 2019 Ford Explorer.

EngineGross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)FWD4WDMaximum Towing Capacity
2.3L EcoBoost I46,900 lbsyes2,000 lbs
2.3L EcoBoost I47,950 lbsyes3,000 lbs
2.3L EcoBoost I48,150 lbsyes3,000 lbs
3.5L V66,900 lbsyes2,000 lbs
3.5L V67,110 lbsyes2,000 lbs
3.5L V69,950 lbsyes5,000 lbs
3.5L V610,150 lbsyes5,000 lbs
3.5L EcoBoost V610,400 lbsyes5,000 lbs

Content courtesy of

Continuing with what your vehicle is equipped with, only certain Ford Explorers come with a built-in towing package. Others will need to be purchased from the dealership.

Not sure if your Ford Explorer has the correct towing package? Check your owner’s manual or ask the dealer what all came with your purchase!

The Difference between Types of Campers

Once you know what kinds of campers your Ford Explorer can tow, it may be helpful to know more about the differences between each type.

Each type of camper has a different style and offers a unique kind of camping experience. Keep reading to find the perfect kind of camper for you!

Pop-Up Trailers

Pop up-Trailers are one of the lightest kinds of campers without sacrificing too much living and sleeping space!

Length8 – 16 feet
Sleeping Capacity1 – 6 people
Price Range$7,000 – $50,000
Weight600 – 4,000 lbs

So how does a pop-up trailer create enough room for up to 6 people to sleep in without all the extra weight? Well, a pop-up trailer is essentially a tent built onto a set of wheels.

In the condensed form the trailer is only a mere few feet tall; however, once you “pop-it-up” the trailer is tall enough for one to walk, eat, and sleep in!

Pop-up trailers are the perfect fit for anyone who is looking to enjoy a convenient camping trip while still being required to slightly “rough it.”

However, it is important to remember that like a tent, a pop-up trailer is not going to provide much insulation. Extra blankets and sleeping bags may come in handy when staying in a pop-up trailer.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some national parks and campgrounds will not allow pop-up trailers. This is usually to protect campers from any nearby wildlife such as bears from interrupting their camping trip. Be sure to check any restrictions posted at the campgrounds before dropping the trailer!

Hybrid Trailers

If you prefer staying in a completely hard-shell camper but need to reduce the total towing weight, a hybrid camper might just be the perfect match for you.

Length16 – 30 feet
Sleeping Capacity1 – 6 people
Price Range$8,000 – $50,000
Weight2,000 – 5,000 lbs

A hybrid trailer gives you the best of both worlds between a pop-up trailer and a normal, full-size travel trailer. How does it do this exactly? Well, rather than “popping-up,” a hybrid trailer is full size but features a few “pop-out” sleeping areas.

Hybrid trailers come equipped with a cooking area, a small dining area, and even a bathroom! But what about the sleeping areas I mentioned earlier? On either end of the most hybrid trailer models, there are queen size bed pop-outs!

Once again, these tented pop-outs will not be as warm as a completely hard-shell trailer if the temperature drops but will help you get a little closer to nature while on your camping trip.

With a hybrid trailer, you are able to bring everything including the kitchen sink along with you on your next adventure!

Tear Drop Trailers

Teardrop trailers are easily the smallest of all towable trailers and even come in some unique shapes and sizes!

Length4 – 6 feet
Sleeping Capacity1 – 2 people
Price Range$7,000 – $12,000
Weight520 – 2,000 lbs

If you are looking to have a trailer that has every possible amenity equipped inside, then a teardrop trailer is NOT the trailer you are looking for.

In a teardrop trailer, you typically will only find a sleeping area for one or two people. Some models may even feature a small, outdoor cooking area. However, this is usually just a counter with a small amount of cabinet space.

With a teardrop trailer, you get to spend almost all of your time outside enjoying what nature has to offer you. However, this means if the weather gets bad, you will either need to stay in the small sleeping space or in the tow vehicle rather than in a comfortable sitting area.

Travel Trailer

A travel trailer is typically the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “camper.” A travel trailer is simply a camper that has a completely hard-shell exterior and usually features one or two slide outs.

Length10 – 45 feet
Sleeping Capacity1 – 9 people
Price Range$8,000 – $170,000
Weight1,000 – 12,000 lbs

As you can see in the table above, the size, weight, and price of a travel trailer can greatly vary. Many of the much larger models your Ford Explorer will be unable to tow. However, there are plenty of smaller, lighter models which will still provide you with everything you need for the perfect camping trip!

In a travel trailer, you will find a master bedroom, a small cooking area, a dining area, a bathroom, and often times a small living room area as well!

If you are looking for the most luxurious camper to take on your next camping trip, then a travel trailer is most likely to be your best choice.

Towable Examples

Now that we know how much your Ford Explorer can tow and the differences between the different types of trailers, let’s look at a few examples of each kind!

Pop-Up Trailer Examples

2019 Forest River Rockwood 1640ESP

Length12 feet
Sleeping Capacity1 – 6 people
Dry Weight2,559 lbs

Content courtesy of RV Camping World.

In this pop-up trailer, you will find comfort and convenience everywhere you look.

Along with two pop-out queen beds, there is also a double dinette and a gaucho/bed! Cook a tasty meal on the three-burner stovetop featured in the smaller kitchen area.

Want to add a little more luxury to your camping experience? Choose to add the optional shower and toilet pack to the 2019 Forest River Rockwood 1640ESP!

2020 A-Liner Classic Rear Sofa Bed

Length15 feet
Sleeping Capacity1 – 4 people
Dry Weight1,590 lbs

Content courtesy of

Looking for an all-around unique looking pop-up trailer? Well, everything about the 2020 A-Liner Classic Rear Sofa Bed is unique!

The first thing you notice about this pop-up trailer is the unique a-line shape. Rather than folding down flat, the sides fold in to form a triangle!

The second thing you may notice about this trailer is the fact that the pop-ups are not made of tent fabric! If you are looking for a pop-up camper capable of taking into bear country, this might just be the perfect model!

Once inside there is a small cooking space, a couch that doubles as a bed, and a double dinette! Take this creative trailer out on your next camping trip to ensure you have a one of a kind camping experience!

Hybrid Trailer Examples

2019 Jayco Jay Feather X19H

Jay Feather X19H Floorplan
Length20 feet 8 inches
Sleeping Capacity1 – 6 people
Dry Weight3,705 lbs

Content courtesy of RV Camping World.

The 2019 Jayco Jay Feather packs luxury and comfort into a small and manageable package.

In this model enjoy camping with access to a small bathroom (toilet, sink, and stand-up shower), a kitchen area (sink, stove, oven, microwave, and refrigerator), a double dinette, a sofa area, and TWO queen size beds.

Not only is this hybrid made to fit everyone inside for your next adventure, but it is designed to do so with style and comfort!

2017 Starcraft Ravel Star Expandable

Length21 feet 4 inches
Sleeping Capacity1 – 8 people
Dry Weight3,951 lbs

Content courtesy of RV USA.

Are you trying to find a camper that is both light enough to be towed by your Ford Explorer but big enough to fit the entire family? With the 2017 Starcraft Ravel Star Expandable, you can have just that!

This model features a full bathroom, a double dinette, a small cooking area, plenty of storage space, and not two, but THREE queen bed pop-outs!

When you take this hybrid trailer out camping, there is room for the entire family to get a good nights sleep!

Tear Drop Trailer Examples

2017 Little Guy T@G XL MAX

Length14 feet
Sleeping Capacity1 – 2 people
Dry Weight2,200 lbs

Content courtesy of RV Trader.

The 2017 Little Guy T@g is an iconic looking teardrop trailer sure to make everyone you drive past’s jaws drop.

In this miniature travel trailer, you will find room enough to sleep two, a mini air conditioner, and a small entertainment center.

Moving to the outside, open up the hatch and you will find the most luxurious teardrop trailer kitchen on the market! This kitchen has a sink, counter space, cabinets, a microwave, and a top opening refrigerator/cooler.

Looking for the perfect camping trip in the least amount of space? Then this is camper is sure to be a great fit!

2019 HELIO HE3 Series

Length11 feet 2 inches
Sleeping Capacity1 – 2 people
Dry Weight499 lbs

Content courtesy of Beckley’s RVs.

The HELIO HE3 Series is simply a bed on wheels! Nothing more, nothing less is featured in this comfortable trailer.

With the smaller, compact size of this trailer you are able to explore and adventure where larger trailers could not go! So take advantage of the petite size and explore somewhere new!

Travel Trailer Examples

2019 Forest River No Boundaries 19.5

NoBo NB19.5 travel trailer floorplan
Length22 feet 8 inches
Sleeping Capacity1 – 3 people
Dry Weight3,456 lbs

Content courtesy of RV Camping World.

The Forest River No Boundaries travel trailer is best described as a hotel room on wheels.

While there is not much privacy featured into the floorplan there is plenty of room for all to enjoy their camping trip.

Kick back and relax with the family in the convertible dining/lounge area on your next camping trip!

2020 Airstream Bambi 19CB

Length19 feet
Sleeping Capacity1 – 4 people
Dry Weight3,650 lbs

Content courtesy of RV Trader.

Airstream is a travel trailer manufacturer well known for designing and building durable and luxurious campers.

In the compact Airstream Bambi, there is a small kitchen area, a double dinette, and a separate shower and toilet room!

Take this light trailer out for a quick camping trip and experience the luxury of camping in an Airstream travel trailer.

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