RV triple towing is a more common sight today, even though RV towing laws are different from state-to-state. Many campers are willing to take the chance in order to carry more stuff to a favorite vacation spot, even on steep mountain roads in the West.
Is this kind of towing even legal?
RV Triple Towing Laws, Rules and Regulations
Although some people call it “double towing,” the more common (and probably appropriate) description is “triple towing” because it refers to one RV towing two trailers. You don’t see people triple towing in the majority of East Coast states. Congestion, narrow highways and just too many people make it a dangerous thing to do.
Many of the states that allow RV triple towing are wide open places with lower population densities. These states that do allow triple towing generally have flat roads and plenty of open space, don’t you think?
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
But wait: even if triple towing is legal in your home state, what about those out-of-state getaways?
Before you tow your motorcycle trailer with your fifth wheel, take a minute to get familiar with triple towing laws along your route. Although some state vehicle codes clearly state if triple towing is allowed, many other state laws about triple towing are vague.
For example, if you plan on traveling cross country, this is the kind of information you’ll find in a state’s vehicle code:
- ILLINOIS: maximum combined length of two- or three-vehicle combination (with fifth-wheel trailer only) 60 ft.
- Arizona: maximum combined length for two vehicles 65 ft. Triple-towing allowed with fifth wheel
- Texas: maximum length of two- or three-vehicle combination 65 ft.
States set their own highway laws about recreational vehicle triple towing and some seem to enjoy complicating the rules. For example:
- Wisconsin: requires you to have a special RV triple towing permit
- California: makes all state residents with trailers over 10,000 lbs or RVs over 40′ long get a special endorsement on their driver’s license.
If you spot a commercial big rig triple towing, don’t assume you can triple tow too: the United States Federal Department of Transportation is in charge of commercial towing and they make their own laws, which don’t apply to recreational vehicles.
The only way to know for sure if triple towing is legal along your route is to research RV towing laws for each state in which you plan on double towing. Browsing each state’s individual department of transportation website will give you the most current information.
RV Triple Towing Pros and Cons
If triple towing regulations work in your favor, you’ll have many options for recreational entertainment on your next vacation. But don’t hook up yet: ask yourself if you really want to deal with triple towing hassles. For example:
- Your combined weight and towing capacities must be within safe and reasonable limits. Consult your tow vehicle or motorhome’s towing guidelines to be sure.
- Backing up is no longer an option, but investing in a backup camera will give some peace of mind as you’ll know what’s behind your rig.
- Bad driving conditions like rain and rough roads will greatly affect your handling and maneuvering. Are you an experienced RVer who’s ready to handle a hazardous situation while triple towing?
- Forget about fuel economy: we’re talking GPM (Gallons Per Mile), not MPG.
Finally, ask yourself: Is triple towing really worth all of the mental stress while driving, the additional burden on the tow vehicle and the high cost of fuel?
If having a variety of outdoor adventures on the road is that important, why not consider renting one of those toys you’re hauling when you get to your destination? You’ll save money and have a less stressful time RVing.