How Big of a Trailer Can I Tow With a Half-Ton Truck?

Half-ton trucks are great vehicles for towing light trailers, such as small campers, utility trailers, and boats. While the exact weight capacity of a half-ton truck depends on its engine size, drivetrain, and other factors, it’s safe to say that you can tow up to 6,000 pounds with a half-ton truck in good condition.

When deciding what size trailer to tow with a half-ton pickup truck, it’s important to take into consideration the payload capacity of your vehicle. The payload capacity is the amount of weight the vehicle can safely carry when towing a trailer.

This includes the trailer itself plus any cargo or passengers in the cab of the truck.

To calculate your half-ton’s payload capacity, subtract its unloaded weight from its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). You can find this information on the doorpost sticker or in your owner’s manual. If you don’t have either of these documents handy, you can also look up your vehicle’s GVWR online.

Once you know your half-ton truck’s payload capacity, you can determine what size trailer it can tow safely. Generally speaking, you should never tow more than 80 percent of your vehicle’s max payload capacity — this gives you enough wiggle room for any unexpected bumps in the road or sudden braking.

For example: if your half-ton pickup has a GVWR of 8500 lbs and an unloaded weight of 5500 lbs then its max payload is 3000 lbs (8500 – 5500). Therefore, it can safely tow 2400 lbs (80% of 3000), which would be enough for a small camper or utility trailer.


In conclusion, if you have a half-ton pickup truck in good condition and you know its GVWR and unloaded weight then you should be able to safely tow up to 6,000 pounds without issue. However, it’s always best practice to stay within 80 percent of your vehicle’s max payload capacity when choosing a trailer so that you don’t put too much stress on your truck.

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Karen Watkins