Jeep Wranglers are pretty sturdy and can be great for off-road adventures. This jeep can take on a lot, but it does have its limits when it comes to towing larger loads, and it’s important that you don’t exceed the towing capacity.
A Jeep Wrangler has an average towing capacity of 2,000 to 4,000 pounds. This means it can handle towing pop-up trailers, hybrid trailers, Airstreams, and teardrop trailers.
As I said, Jeep Wranglers can be pretty sturdy, but even with its weight capacity, it does have its limits. Continue reading to find out more information.
Consider the Towing Capacity
The most important thing to consider when planning to tow a camper, or really much of anything, with your Jeep Wrangler is the towing capacity. If you read my article about which campers a Jeep Cherokee can tow, you know that the towing capacity can vary depending on just the make and model, let alone the configurations.
To help you out, I’ve provided a table below that breaks down the average towing capacity for Jeep Wranglers from 2010 to 2019.
|Year of Jeep Wrangler||Towing Capacity|
This table is only to give you a rough idea of the towing capacity according to the year of the Jeep Wrangler. There are obviously more specific numbers based on the trim of the Jeep Wrangler that you have, but that would be a much longer and larger table in order to list the specific towing capacity for each trim for each year.
To find out the exact towing capacity for your specific Jeep Wrangler, you can check the owners manual. In case you have misplaced the manual, though, you can visit this site that has a list of Jeep Wrangler service manuals in PDF versions that you can download for free. The list covers 2010 to 2017 Jeep Wranglers.
Another option, if downloading a PDF doesn’t seem like the right choice for you and you would really prefer a physical copy, this book from Amazon includes manuals for all gasoline models of the Jeep Wrangler from 1987 to 2017.
Anyways, on average, the maximum towing capacity for a Jeep Wrangler is 2,000 to 3,500 pounds. Sure, this sounds like a lot until you take into account just the dry weight of even an average Airstream trailer.
By dry weight, I mean how much the trailer weighs when it is completely empty. The lowest average dry weight for an Airstream trailer is roughly 2,500 pounds, and then you can add in the extra weight of the camping gear, the water you’ll probably want to carry with you for your trip, and anything else you might put inside the Airstream for the trip.
All of that extra weight can add up pretty quickly if you aren’t careful, and before you know it, you’ll be hitting or even exceeding your Jeep Wrangler’s maximum towing capacity.
Just be sure to keep track of how much weight you’re adding to the trailer and that it doesn’t exceed the maximum towing capacity. The last thing you want is to have your camper dipping towards the road or bottoming out just because you didn’t pay close enough attention to the weight load.
Along with the weight, it is also important to pay attention to the size of the camper. You don’t want to tow something much taller than your Jeep Wrangler because it could potentially sway in the air more with nothing closer to the top of it to block it from the wind.
You also don’t want to tow something that’s too long, but usually, the longer campers also tend to be the heavier ones.
Different Types of Campers a Jeep Wrangler Can Handle
That being said, there are still various types of campers that a Jeep Wrangler can handle. I can recommend, however, that you stick to the smaller and more aerodynamic ones just to be sure that you don’t have any problems.
Here is a basic breakdown of the dry weights and sizes for the different campers that a Jeep Wrangler can handle towing.
|Camper||Dry Weight||Length (in feet)|
|Pop-up Trailer||600-4,000 lbs.||8-16′ (box only)|
|Hybrid Trailer||2,000-5,000 lbs.||16-30′ (unextended)|
|Teardrop Trailer||520-2,500 lbs.||4-6′|
As you can see in the table, all of the dry weights fit within the range of towing capacity for the Jeep Wrangler, which is 2,000 to 4,000 pounds. Once again, keep in mind that this is only the dry weight of the campers, and you will be adding extra weight once you add in all of your camping gear.
That means that you probably don’t want to try towing one of the larger pop-up trailers, hybrid trailers, or Airstreams just because it would likely be too heavy with the total weight.
Chances are that the larger campers will not only be too heavy but a much larger size as far as height and width go for your Jeep Wrangler anyway.
There are plenty of smaller, aerodynamic campers out there to choose from for towing with your Jeep Wrangler, so don’t give up hope just yet. Here’s a list of examples.
Casita Travel Trailer
Starting with one of the lighter-weight travel trailers out there, Casita travel trailers can weigh as little as 2,000 pounds, but can still sleep a small family without any issues.
The Casita trailer is so lightweight because of its fiberglass construction. That combined with its design makes the trailer more aerodynamic as well as fuel-efficient for towing.
Practically any vehicle can tow a Casita travel trailer without any issues, and that includes any version of the Jeep Wrangler. Whether your Jeep Wrangler is one of the older models and can only handle a bit more than 2,000 pounds or its one of the newer models with the stronger engine and can handle up to 4,000 pounds, the Casita travel trailer, or any fiberglass trailer, is always a good and safe choice for towing.
The teardrop trailer is probably one of my favorite trailers out there just because I love the shape of it and how small it is. It’s perfect for more of the basic camping trips and at least keeps you from having to sleep on the ground.
Though teardrop trailers aren’t quite as light as the Casita travel trailer or fiberglass trailers– unless you go with one of the smaller, more basic options– they can still be pretty lightweight.
One great option is the [email protected] 400 teardrop travel trailer by NÜCamp. Unlike many of the teardrop trailers, this one has sleeping quarters, storage areas, and a restroom and cooking area. All of that is kept under 3,500 pounds as the total weight, meaning the weight once it’s all packed and ready to go.
Sure, it’s one of the heftier options of teardrop trailers, but it should still fit within the weight capacity of your Jeep Wrangler unless you have one of the much older models.
Pop-up trailers are also a great option of campers to tow behind your Jeep Wrangler. As you might remember from the table, a pop-up trailer can weigh anywhere between 600-4,000 pounds with just the dry weight.
Now, with the maximum weight capacity for a Jeep Wrangler being 2,000-4,000 pounds, you probably don’t want to try to tow one of the larger and heavier pop-up trailers, but a good middle option is the Starcraft Comet. Its dry weight is only 1,840 pounds, and it comes with a full sized and queen sized bed as well as a dinette and living area.
Sure, it has soft canvas walls compared to the hard walls of other campers like the teardrop trailer or the fiberglass campers, but that’s part of what keeps it so light-weight, making it very easy to tow. Plus, the walls are often waterproof, so there’s nothing to worry about there.
Alright. I admit, you probably don’t want to tow a full Airstream trailer behind your Jeep Wrangler just because it is the most likely on the list to easily exceed the maximum weight capacity. That doesn’t mean that you can’t tow any Airstream trailers at all though.
There’s this cute model of the Airstream out there called the Airstream Basecamp. It actually looks pretty similar to the teardrop trailer in the way that its a two-wheeled trailer, but it’s a bit longer. Its dry weight is 2,600 pounds, but it can only hold up to 1,000 more pounds than its dry weight, so it shouldn’t hit that 4,000-pound mark of the maximum towing capacity.
Not only would the Airstream Basecamp be easy to tow behind a Jeep Wrangler, but it has all you could want out of a trailer. It comes with a bathroom, a kitchen, and a lounge area that can turn into a bed. How neat is that?
Hopefully out of those samples of what campers you could potentially tow behind your Jeep Wrangler will give you some ideas. Before you go straight to trying to tow that camper, though, there are a few things that you might need to consider.
The Need to Know about Towing Campers with a Jeep Wrangler
Now, there are a few more things you need to know about towing a camper with your Jeep Wrangler, besides the rather low towing capacity.
As part of dealing with the low towing capacity, you will probably want to watch your speed while towing any of these campers. Sure, the ones that we discussed fit within the towing capacity, but once you get close to the limit, towing the camper and driving around with it can get pretty difficult.
To keep things safe when towing a heavier load, you’ll probably want to keep your speed closer to 60 to 75 miles per hour when possible.
Another thing to keep in mind about the Jeep Wrangler as a towing vehicle is that it does have a lower wheelbase, so that doesn’t do much to make any form of towing much easier.
In addition, there are a few upgrades that you’ll likely want to consider in order to enhance your towing experience with your Jeep Wrangler. Most of these upgrades will also ensure that you don’t run into too many problems like your jeep overheating, your camper swaying in the wind, or not being able to stop the camper when you use the brakes in the jeep.
These upgrades include:
- Weight Distributing Hitch
- Sway Control
- Transmission Cooler
- Wiring Harness
- Brake Controller
Adding a weight distributing hitch to your Jeep Wrangler will help to keep the jeep and camper level while driving instead of having the camper sag down a bit. It also helps to distribute the weight of the camper more evenly to make it a smoother drive.
As for the sway control, this simply ensures that neither your camper or your Jeep Wrangler gets too buffeted by the wind while driving. Getting rocked around in gusts of winds can especially be a problem if the camper you’re towing has a larger surface area or if they’re taller than your jeep.
Believe me, the last thing you want is to be pushed around by a gust of wind from a passing truck or a windstorm and you no longer have all of the control that you want over your vehicle or the camper you’re towing behind it.
If you remember anything from the last article about using a Jeep Cherokee to tow a camper, you’ll remember that the automatic transmissions in a jeep can tend to overheat when towing a large load. This is likely to be true for any towing vehicle with automatic transmission.
When the transmission of a vehicle overheats, it can wear out the transmission quite a bit. This is why it’s important to have a transmission cooler to keep the transmission fluids at cooler temperatures, so then the transmission will be less likely to overheat.
As for the wiring harness, it’s not necessarily required in order to be able to tow a camper with a Jeep Wrangler, but it certainly makes it convenient. Basically, a wiring harness will go from your jeep to the camper connector to ensure that the lights on the camper are hooked up to the lights on your Jeep Wrangler to ensure that you don’t have any issues.
The brake controller will help to connect the brakes on your jeep with the brakes on your camper, so a signal can be sent to the camper breaks to make sure that both works at the same time instead of simply hoping that the camper will come to a stop at the same time you do.
Just make sure that your camper actually has brakes installed first. If not, that’s another thing you should highly consider just because the factory brakes on the jeep can tend to be less than desirable.