Airstreams are known to be made with lighter materials compared to other RV trailers. And if you have one, you are fortunate because, good news, they also tow easier and better than other RVs. Now you need a tow vehicle that caters to the weight of your airstream and has numerous security features for safe travel with your family or friends.
What is the best tow vehicle for airstream? The best trucks for airstream towing are the Ford F-150 and RAM 1500, with superior towing capacity. Dodge Durango, Chevrolet Tahoe, and Jeep Grand Cherokee are the best tow vehicles for additional cargo space. If you have smaller airstreams, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford Transit are fit for you.
The Weights that Matter in Airstream Towing
Towing an airstream requires an in-depth study of the weights that need to be considered before purchasing a tow vehicle. If you seek an expert, they will be open to discuss your airstream needs and the specific and safe weights to tow that are commonly set by the manufacturer.
Towing capacity is the weight a towing vehicle can pull. This also answers as to how much weight your whole airstream has. The weight of the towable should not exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle to ensure safe travel.
Payload Capacity is how much weight your tow vehicle can carry other than the weight of the towable. This includes the luggage and passenger weight you put on your car.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum allowable weight load of your vehicle or airstream set by the manufacturer. This includes the passenger’s weight, luggage weight, and the weight of the car.
Tow Your Airstream with Trucks: Superior Towing Capacity
Trucks have a more significant amount of towing capacity compared to vans and SUVs. So, if you have a more extensive airstream, it would be the perfect fit for you.
2021 Ford F-150: Best Available Towing and Payload Capacity
The 2021 Ford F-150 has the best available towing and payload capacity when it comes to trucks. The truck features numerous security and safety systems which makes your RV travel safe and worry-free.
A Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) system helps keep your tires on the road by adjusting the shock absorber stiffness to have a safe drive. Another excellent feature of the Ford F-150 is the Smart Trailer Tow Connector. This system informs the driver if something needs tending in your trailers, like problems with the turn indicator lamp, brake lamps, or trailer battery. All this can be viewed in the tow activity screen of your truck.
The Onboard scales are also a plus factor in this truck that measures the approximate payload weight to prevent exceeding what your vehicle can handle; overloading may be harmful to your vehicle and trailer. To check the weights, just view the onboard scale status on the SYNC 4 screen. You can download it on the FordPass App.
A Terrain Management System with seven modes: normal, slippery, sport, tow/haul, off-road, Baja, and rock crawl, helps in deep dirt, sandy, or rocky terrain. Furthermore, rigid off-road lighting gives a clear view of terrains that are full of steam. Fog lamps illuminate the trail for safe driving.
Additional features are the Lane-keeping system that alarms the driver if they’re too close to the lane edge and a Pre-collision assist with Automatic emergency braking, which scans the road and alerts you of a potential collision. The system applies automatic braking if the driver is unable to do so.
2021 Ram 1500: For Long Roadtrips and Long Hauls
For long road trips and long hauls, you can never go wrong with the 2021 Ram 1500. This fuel-efficient truck is equipped with a three-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that covers 33 miles per gallon.
This truck’s Smart towing technology has a trailer tire pressure monitoring with a live pressure reading of up to 4 trailers and up to 12 tires per trailer, which helps you keep track if any of the trailer tires are not in good condition or needs replacement. Also under the smart towing technology is the trailer light check that ensures all trailer lights are working. Add to this the trailer-tow power-fold mirrors with 360 degrees surround-view camera to keep track of the surroundings during the ride. Five cameras are also present to view the truck and trailer surroundings, especially when parking both vehicles.
Security features of this truck include Electronic stability control, Trailer sway control, Electronic roll mitigation, and Hill start assist. A Trailer reverse steering control allows you to use the Trailer steering knob to control the truck’s direction.
A Blind spot monitoring system also adds safety during your travel. It uses dual-wide radar sensors positioned in the tail lamps that scan the blind spot behind your truck, considering the trailer’s length to ensure safe changing lanes while towing your airstream.
Towing with SUVs: Guaranteed Additional Cargo and Passenger Space
Although SUVs have decreased towing capacity compared to trucks, you can also find more benefits when using one. If you are looking for more cargo space that you cannot fit in your airstream, an SUV is an answer.
Dodge Durango: Featuring the Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers
Have a rain or shine drive with the Dodge Durango featuring their rain-sensing wipers that detects windshield moisture and automatically activates the wipers. The SUV also comes with a trailer sway control and a brake pressure application to alternating wheels, ensuring a stable ride to both vehicles.
Automatic high-beam headlamps add visibility to your vehicle and airstream during daytime running, and fog lamps and tail lamps light your way on the road during nighttime.
The adaptive cruise control with stop automatically adjusts the speed when slower traffic is detected and brings the vehicle to a complete stop if required. This happens most when the driver is unable to step on the break and is very useful in avoiding accidents.
A blind spot monitoring system partnered with the Electronic T-Shifter checks the surrounding of the SUV and trailer and alerts to a possible obstacle when changing lanes. They also provide ease and control of the steering wheel for a smooth drive.
The Dodge Durango features a fast brake. The brake assist boosts your vehicle’s braking power in case of emergencies, while ready-alert braking prepares the brakes for a panic stop to provide possible collision. An electronic brake force distribution regulates the braking pressure to enhance stopping distances, especially when you are towing a heavier airstream. Lastly, an electronic stability control helps you maintain directional control over your vehicle.
Chevrolet Tahoe Full-Size: The Multi-Awarded SUV
Chevrolet Tahoe is one of the most awarded vehicles on this list. It was awarded as the Best Family Car by Kelley Blue Book’s, the Best New Car by Autotrader, and picked as one of the Editor’s Choice List Large SUVs.
Now let’s dig in to find out why this multi-awarded vehicle is the right one for your airstream. First off is the advanced trailering system, which features an in-vehicle application to check for the trailer profiles, pre-departure checklist, trailer tire pressure, and temperature monitoring on your airstream while driving your vehicle. Indeed an advanced system for all your trailer needs.
For safety and security, there are various systems to help you achieve your desired RV trip.
Nine camera views on the vehicle help you when parking or driving in tight spaces. Working together with this system is the safety and driver assistance that allows the driver to be more in control and confident on the road.
Preventive systems and alerts come next. The forward collision alert gives caution to a potential front-end collision with another vehicle. It also alerts you if you are too close to a car you are following.
Front pedestrian braking gives pedestrian alerts and provides hard emergency braking if needed. This system only works at speeds below 50 mph. Another interesting system of Chevrolet is the following distance indicator that offers a gap time in seconds between you and another vehicle. This helps alert you if you’re too close to the car you’re following.
Lastly, the auto high beams system automatically turns on and off the headlamps depending on the surrounding and traffic conditions, so you won’t have to do so yourself.
Ford Expedition XLT Max and Its Exceptional Cargo Space
Ford Expedition’s XLT Max has exceptional cargo space and can tow up to 9300 pounds when equipped with the Trailer tow package. It has a standard cargo management system that helps organize your bags, luggage, and equipment. The best-in-class towing vehicle features trailer sway control, roll stability control, blind spot information system, and a Class-exclusive Pro Trailer Backup Assist that helps steer the trailer in reverse by just turning a knob.
The Ford Expedition also introduces an integrated trailer brake controller with anti-lock brakes and sway control, which synchronizes vehicle and trailer brakes for a smooth drive. It is an easy-to-use control that is positioned to the right of the steering wheel.
To improve off-road performance, Ford uses electronic limited-slip differential for challenging dirt paths and trails. The addition of the terrain management system helps the vehicle adapt to different road conditions with various modes such as normal, sport, tow or haul, eco, grass/gravel/snow, sand, and mud/ ruts.
You can access the Navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link with a five-year subscription which provides you gas station location and prices, weather forecasts, and even sports scores.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee: With Over 70 Safety and Security Features
Safety and security at their best as the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee introduces over 70 features to make you safe and secured while you travel. The SUV has exceptional capability under any weather and road condition, all with the help of the Electronic Limited-Slip Differential and the Selec-Terrain Traction Management system.
The Protech I introduces over 70 standard and available safety and security features to protect things and people inside the vehicle. The Jeep has seven airbags and a chassis that directs crash energy away from the cabin and protects you from unexpected situations.
There are also available automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitoring, all for the people and the vehicle itself.
An advanced Uconnect Technology introduces a hands-free Siri voice control and iPhone and Apple CarPlay used for listening to music, reading texts, and answering calls while still being focused on the wheel.
Lastly, a Smart Tech system with a SiriusXM Guardian application assists you to lock and unlock the doors, start the vehicle, and activate the horn to locate the vehicle in a crowded parking lot.
Vans for Towing Small-Sized Airstreams
While the van’s towing capacity is a little smaller than SUVs, they are still one of the good choices if you have small airstreams like a Bambi. Plus, they also have excellent cargo space.
2021 RAM ProMaster: Best-in-Class Payload Capacity
The 2021 RAM ProMaster has the best-in-class maximum payload capacity of up to 4,680 pounds. This van handles both transport and towing effortlessly with its class-exclusive front-wheel-drive system with a 36-foot turning diameter. Also, this system allows ease of maneuver into tight curves, narrow alleys, and crowded places. In addition, there is also an electronic stability control and a forward collision warning with active braking to save you from unexpected situations on the road.
Safety and security is the top priority of RAM ProMaster. They incorporated a crosswind assist that detects strong winds to help you stay on the course and focused on the road. A blind spot monitoring with rear cross path detection alerts you of vehicles approaching which is not seen on the side mirrors and warns the driver when a vehicle enters a blind spot zone.
Another perfect feature of this tow vehicle is its forward collision warning and active braking, which gives the car maximum stopping power when needed and aids in preventing potential collisions.
An exciting feature of this vehicle caught my attention. The company uses digital rearview mirrors as a standard mirror when turned off but provides a real-time video stream when turned on. Just don’t divide your attention to driving and watching the video stream. Drive if you must and stop if you watch.
For additional protection, an airbag system offers six airbags with an adaptive venting technology in the driver and passenger’s seat to guard you on the road.
2021 Ford Transit: Tested and Built Ford Tough
Another noteworthy tow vehicle from Ford is the 2021 Ford Transit, tested and built Ford-tough. It features an all-wheel drive system designed to enhance handling and maximizes traction. The van has plenty of cargo space with a 31-gallon fuel tank.
The Ford Co-Pilot360 technology provides a pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking. The process is executed when camera technology detects a potential collision on the road. Then, an alert sound and message will be displayed on the screen, and brakes will automatically be applied if the driver’s action towards the possible collision is not enough. A forward collision warning also alerts if there is a potential collision in front of your vehicle. The post collision braking mode applies a moderate brake when an initial collision is detected or already happened.
Lane-keeping system works as a camera scans the lane markings on the road and alerts you if you are about to go out of the lane to keep you going on a straight and safe driving. With the help of adaptive cruise control, the vehicle has enough cruising speed and distance between you and the car you are following.
Other security features of this tow vehicle are auto high-beam headlamps and Blis with Cross-traffic alert and trailer coverage where you can safely change lanes when no car is detected on the vehicle and trailer’s blind spot. The front and rear split-view camera also provides a view around the entire vehicle for easy parking.
Nissan NV: Featuring their Trailer Towing Accessories and Class IV Tow Hitch Receiver
Indeed, the Nissan NV is for RV towing as it features plenty of towing accessories and a Class IV tow hitch receiver. This vehicle’s tow-haul mode adjusts the transmission shifts and helps pull the trailer, especially when going uphill or downhill. In addition, a heavy-duty radiator, battery, and alternator also allow you to tow confidently.
The NV passenger towing accessories aid in the ease of towing with its additional weight-distributing hitch ball mount, telescoping tow mirrors, and trailer tow harness. Other accessories include manually extendable tow mirrors, which give a better sight of the road, especially when towing. A frame-mounted Class IV tow hitch receiver can tow up to 8,700 pounds.
For security and safety, Nissan NV incorporated a protective bumper and tire pressure monitoring system, which alerts you when pressure is too low in one of your tires. This system informs you when you need to pay extra attention to your tires.
Another safety feature is the alarm system and immobilizer that alerts you when there is a detected potential break-in. No outsider is allowed inside your vehicle as the immobilizer needs a registered key for the vehicle to operate; therefore, only family members or people you travel with can access the vehicle.
Additional safety assists are eight standard airbags, vehicle dynamic control, traction control system, and the anti-lock braking system.
Mercedes-Benz Metris: Features a Driver-Assist System
Mercedes-Benz Metris is a mid-size multi-purpose van that features a tough, powerful, efficient, and flexible Driver-Assist System. The crosswind assist detects crosswinds affecting your vehicle and corrects the course of your vehicle if you become off lane,
When traveling through slippery and challenging roads, the load-adaptive electronic stability program helps the vehicle regain control. And if you ever feel sleepy while driving, you will surely come to your senses with the attention assist that monitors your driving pattern and gives warning alerts to help you stay awake on the road.
A rescue assist would be beneficial in times of emergency. The QR code allows rescuers to find the best way to access the passengers inside the vehicle without cutting into fuel tanks, airbags, and energized circuits.
Using radar technology, Mercedes-Benz introduces a blind spot assist system that warns you of other vehicles in your blind spot zone when changing lanes.
FAQS on Choosing the Right Airstream Tow Vehicle
Here are some of the other questions you might be thinking of at the moment. I had them all laid out for you in this section of frequently asked questions in choosing a tow vehicle for your airstream.
How much towing capacity do I need for an Airstream?
Towing a small Airstream Basecamp requires a 5,500 pounds towing capacity. Since not all airstreams have the same size, a bigger trailer needs higher towing capacity, considering the additional weight of the trailer itself and the weight of things inside it.
Is it hard to tow an Airstream?
Airstreams are substantially easy to tow. Because it is made from an all-aluminum body composition lighter than materials used in other trailers, and ease of towing is mainly based on the trailer’s weight, it is easier to tow an airstream.
What vehicles can tow an Airstream?
Vehicles such as pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs can be used to tow an airstream. These vehicles are designed to be used in transportation with additional duties for hauling trailers. Towing capacity, payload capacity, and other specifications are needed to be considered in choosing your tow vehicle.
Personal preference and weights are the primary basis when choosing a tow vehicle for your airstream. You should have extensive knowledge of the specifics of your RV to be able to pick the best one, of course always with the airstream size consideration. Remember that safety is as essential as a pleasurable trip, so choose the one that you feel most comfortable and safe with. After all, it will be your second home on the road considering an RV as your first one.