6 Best ½ Ton Trucks For Towing Travel Trailers With Ease

Towing a travel trailer carefully is the “NECESSITY” for an RV owner.

You are probably using any mid-side hatch or SUV for towing campers, but once you start breaking the weight threshold, you should begin to consider upgrading your towing vehicle – let’s say from SUV to a light pickup truck, also known as a half-ton truck.

Guess what?

The market is full of options, and companies like Ford, Dodge, etc., offers various ½ ton truck for towing travel trailers. These trucks are fuel-efficient, bolted with good power, and stuffed with luxury features.

What Is A ½ Ton Truck?

A half-ton truck is classified by its payload capacity of 1,000 pounds. Compared to segments, then ½ ton is the best truck segment globally. In terms of application, it is used for light-duty hauling and towing work.

Usually, to avoid any mishappening, truck makers recommend utilizing towing capability up to a certain limit.

What Are Factors To Consider When Choosing A Pickup Truck?

  • GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight): This is the actual weight of a loaded vehicle. (Please note: GVW also includes cargo, fluids, passengers, and extra weight.)
  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): This is the maximum weight you can refer to as loaded trailer weight.
ClassTowing Capacity
Class 10 – 6,000 lbs.
Class 26,001 – 10,000 lbs.
Class 310,001 – 14,000 lbs.
Class 414,001 – 16,000 lbs.
Class 516,001 – 19,500 lbs.
Class 619,501 – 26,000 lbs.
Class 726,001 – 33,000 lbs.
Class 833,001 lbs. +
Usually, ½ ton trucks come under class 1 or 2
  • GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating): This is the maximum weight that your truck shouldn’t exceed.

Which Is Best? Gas Or Diesel Engine

  • Price: Gas is way cheaper than Diesel. In addition, most truck manufacturers consider buyers’ perspectives and offer a popular model with both Gas & Diesel.
  • Maintenance: In terms of truck maintenance, there is no major price difference.
  • Resale Value: Gas engines have a short life. Resultant, it doesn’t offer higher resale value than a Diesel-powered truck.
  • Performance: Diesel engines propel more power to the wheel than Gasoline engines.
  • Towing Capability: Towing an RV or loading heavier loads is considerably better with a Diesel-powered truck as it generates more torque.

In addition, you can also consider criteria such as Cab & Bed size, Fuel economy, etc.

Factors I’ve Picked For Choosing ½ Ton Trucks:

  • Towing capability
  • Price
  • Fuel Economy
  • Handling and comfort
Truck NameTowing Capacity
Ford F-150Up to 14,000 lbs
Chevy Silverado 1500Up to 13,300 lbs
Dodge Ram 1500Up to 12,750 lbs
GMC Sierra 1500Up to 11,800 lbs
Toyota TundraUp to 10,200 lbs
Nissan TitanUp to 11,040 lbs

Now, you might think, which is the best half-ton pickup truck you should buy for your trailer? So, without wasting time, let’s get straight to the list.

Top 6 1/2 Ton Truck Models

1. Ford F-150

Ford F-150 with travel trailer
Ford F-150 with a travel trailer
Engine Type3.5L V6
Horsepower400 @6500 rpm
Torque500 @ 3100 rpm
Transmission10-speed automatic electronic
Drive TypeRear-wheel type
Fuel20/24/21 mpg for city, highway & combined (4×2 variant)

19/22/20 mpg for city, highway & combined (4×4 variant)
Standard SafetyABS, Airbags, TPMS & Roll Stability Control
Towing CapacityUp to 14,000 lbs.
Price Range $28,940

Ford F-150 is the ultimate ½ ton truck when it comes to pulling a trailer. With more than 700k units (source – Statista), Ford’s F series is also the best-selling lightweight truck in the world.

So, what makes Ford F-150 the best half-ton truck for towing trailers?

Well, everything starts with the engine and capability. The pickup truck offers best-in-class towing and payload capacity. As standard, the Ford F-150 comes with a 3.3L V6 Turbo Intercooler engine, which comes mated with a 10-automatic transmission.

Together, Ford F-150 can tow up to 14,000 lbs and comes with a max payload capacity of 3,325 lbs, making it one of the best half-ton trucks for towing a travel trailer.

In terms of fuel efficiency, ECM functions great and makes light trucks churn 18 MPG in the city and up to 25 MPG on the highway, which is good, seeing the size and capability.

When it comes to handling and safety, Ford F-150 is power-packed. The truck comes with hill start assist, drive modes, 4×4 (optional), etc. That’s not all, there is a rear-view camera with a dynamic hitch that assists in navigating reverse with confidence when no one is around. Below is the list of other standard safety features:

  • Pre-Collision Assist
  • Automatic Braking
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go
  • Lane Keep Assist

2. Chevy Silverado 1500

Chevy Silverado 1500 parked with a trailer
Chevy Silverado 1500 parked with a trailer
Engine Type6.2L V8
Horsepower420 @5600 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)460 @4100 rpm
Transmission10-speed electronically controlled drive
Drive Type4WD
Fuel23/33 MPG City/Highway
Standard Safety6-Airbags, Hitch Guidance, Rear Camera, TPS, etc.
Towing CapacityUp to 13,300 lbs.
Price Range $29,300

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is the 2nd best half-ton truck your money can buy. Compared to its predecessor, the 2021 Silverado is more powerful, got more muscle, is lighter, and comes equipped with the latest in the car-tech world.

Silverado 1500 offers the best resale value and 5-year cost to own. Not just that, after Ford F-150, with 500k+ trucks sold, it is the fastest-selling ½ truck for trailers.

Mechanically, a more powerful 6.2-liter engine helps generate 420 hp and a massive 460 lb-ft. torque, allowing Silverado to tow up to 13,300 lbs. However, it’s less but a good rival truck to Ford F-150.

Like F-150, Silverado 1500 comes with a 10-speed transmission, which helps generate torque and delivers good fuel efficiency of 23 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway.

As mentioned above, Chevrolet has upgraded Silverado, it comes with a rear camera with 15 views, a vehicle terrain system with mobile app integration, navigation, trailer theft alert (1st in the segment), etc. That’s not all, Chevrolet also offers a wide range of tailgate features that might help you access cargo space.

Wait! If you want something even more aggressive or bolder, then you can check the Silverado Midnight edition. Pretty sure this will grab eyeballs on roads. In safety, you get additional features as standard:

  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Lane Departure Alert
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Rear Park Assist

3. Dodge Ram 1500

Dodge Ram 1500 crawling on off-road
Dodge Ram 1500 crawling on off-road
Engine Type5.7L HEMI V8 with E-Torque
Horsepower395 @5600 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)410 @4100 rpm
Transmission8-speed automatic
Drive Type4 Wheel Drive
Fuel21/33 MPG City/Highway*
Standard Safety6 Airbags, Stability Control with Anti Roll, Diff. Warning Systems, etc
Towing CapacityUp to 12,750 lbs.
Price RangeStarting @$32,795*

Dodge offers the Ram 1500 in 6-different* trims, each of which comes with exceptional performance, capability, and price range.

Mechanically, Dodge Ram 1500 comes with 5-different engines, but I will discuss the most innovative – 5.7L HEMI V8 E-Torque. This powerful engine comes with a first-in-class e-Torque Mild Hybrid system that helps tow 12,750 pounds (when properly equipped) and churns 350 horsepower with 410 lb-ft of torque.

In terms of capability, Dodge Ram 1500 is designed for serious performance. Features like trailer reverse steering control, electronic stability control, electronic roll migration, hill start assist, 360 degrees surround-view camera, and blind-spot monitoring make towing a travel trailer an easy job.

Another first-in-class feature of the Ram 1500 is an air suspension system. This 4-corner air suspension automatically levels or adjusts the suspension to reduce drag and increases efficiency.

Like Ford F-150, Dodge uses a high-strength steel frame, assisting durability and rigidness during off-roading as well as towing campers, making it one of the best cars for camping as well.

I’ve also researched more topics, such as travel trailers for off-road, popular motorhome brands & popular camper van brands.

Ram 1500 comes with a multifunction tailgate. Be is fully closed, 60/40 split or down, it offers easy loading and unloading of cargo. Not just that, it has a max. weight loading capacity of 2,000, no compromise on strength, making the Ram 1500 one of the durable 1/2 ton trucks.

The manufacturer offers different types of warranties, some of which are missing in other manufacturer’s list.

WarrantyPeriodMiles
Diesel Powertrain5 years limited warranty100,000
Diesel Roadside Assistance5 years100,000
Rust5 years100,000
Gas Powertrain5 years60,000
Gas Roadside Assistance5 years60,000

4. GMC Sierra 1500

GMC Sierra 1500 in Red colour
GMC Sierra 1500 in Red color
Engine Type6.2L EcoTec3 V8
Horsepower420 @5600 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)460 @4100 rpm
Transmission10-speed automatic
Drive Type4WD
Fuel20/23 MPG City/Highway*
Standard Safety6 Airbags, LED Daytime Running Lamps, Camera, StabiliTrak, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, etc
Towing CapacityUp to 11,800 lbs.
Price RangeStarting @$30,000*

The next ½ ton truck on the list is Chevrolet’s biggest rival. GMC, also known as General Motor Truck Company, shared parts and items for truck manufacturing, but GMC is aesthetically different in design and features.

Sierra 1500 comes fitted with a 6-function tailgate, factory-installed suspension lift, off-road tires, best-in-class cargo volume, industry 1st carbon-fiber composite bed, ProGrade trailering with mobile App, etc. Under the hood, the GMC Sierra 1500 shares the same 6.2-liter V8 EcoTec3 diesel engine capable of towing a travel trailer up to 11,800 pounds.

Inside, nothing feels like you are driving a pickup truck. GMC has utilized the space and offers premium materials, ingenious storage space, sound-absorbing technology, etc. Sierra 1500 safety features include:

  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking

5. Toyota Tundra

Toyota Tundra towing a off-road trailer
Toyota Tundra towing an off-road trailer
Engine Type5.7L V8 iForce
Horsepower381@ 5600 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)401 @4100 rpm
Transmission6-speed electronically-controlled automatic
Drive TypeRear Wheel Drive (RWD)
Fuel13/18 MPG City/Highway*
Standard Safety8 Airbags, Collision System, Vehicle Stability Control, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, etc.
Towing CapacityUp to 10,200 lbs.
Price RangeStarting @$34,025*

Toyota is the biggest automobile manufacturer in the world. The brand is well known for reliable engines, easy maintenance, and user’s trust. It has received multiple awards, some of them are “Best Truck Brand 2020”, “Best Resale Value,” etc.

Thanks to ergonomics & comfort, Toyota Tundra behaves like an everyday truck. It comes fitted with a 5.7-liter V8 engine, which is mated to a 6-speed electronically controlled transmission. Fuel efficiency is a little less in the half-ton truck range.

With up to 10,200 pounds, Toyota Tundra’s towing capacity is slightly less than Ford F-150, Dodge, etc. Resultant, this will help to tow only lightweight travel trailers and teardrop campers when configured properly.

In features, you get integrated navigation, an 8-inch HD display, a smart key system, multiple storage spaces, remote connection, Wi-Fi connections, and various safety systems.

Toyota also offers Tundra in Nightshade special edition. Not just that, you can also check TRD Pro to make your Tundra adventure-ready. Additional safety features include:

  • Toyota Safety Sense
  • Lane Departure Alert (LDA)
  • Automatic High Beams (AHB)
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
  • Driver and Front Passenger Advanced Airbag System
  • Tire Pressure Monitor System
  • Engine Immobilizer
  • Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)

I suggest reading other topics, such as camper van brands, trucks for Pulling a 5th-wheel trailer & tips for towing a trailer with a car.

6. Nissan Titan

Nissan Titan towing an Airstream
Nissan Titan towing an Airstream
Engine Type5.6L V8
Horsepower400@ 5800 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)413@ 4000 rpm
Transmission9-speed automatic
Drive Type4 Wheel Drive with 2 Speed transfer case
Fuel15/21 MPG City/Highway*
Standard SafetyNissan Air Bag System, Latch, TPMS, Intelligent Cruise Control with Automatic emergency braking, etc.
Towing CapacityUp to 11,040 lbs.
Price RangeStarting @$36,950*

Nissan Titan is one of the best alternatives to the Toyota Tundra. Be its engine performance, towing capacity, and feature list, Nissan Titan looks more promising. The only issue that remains is fuel economy; Titan delivers 15 mpg in cities and 21 on highways, which is less efficient than many half-ton trucks.

Mechanically, a chunky 5.6-liter engine comes mated with a 9-speed automatic gearbox, which transfers power to all wheels and offers a max towing capacity of up to 11,040 pounds.

With a five-year or 100k miles, Nissan offers a best-in-class warranty, almost double rivals like Ford F-150, Silverado, Ram, etc. The manufacturer has taken towing features seriously and gave its best to make towing easier:

  • Intelligent Around View® Monitor
  • Remote Trailer Light Check
  • Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
  • Trailer Sway Control
  • Tow Mirrors
  • Tow-Haul Mode

Adding to towing ability, Nissan comes bolted on a fully boxed ladder frame chassis and uses heavy-duty front suspension, heavy-duty disc brakes, commercial-grade differential system.

In features, you get a dual-panel panoramic moonroof, power-slide back glass, lots of connectivity options (Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Nissan Connect, etc.), a premium audio system, USB ports with other safety features, making it one of the best half-ton truck for towing travel trailer easily.

Conclusion

If you ask, then I will pick Ford F-150 without a doubt. Among all trucks, F150 is the best-selling and most reliable truck for travel trailers in the market. It offers exceptional performance with excellent mileage. You can purchase it for $28,840*.

Why am I so confident about this truck? So, I’ve medium size trailer with syncs properly with F-150. In addition, Ford is a reliable motor brand in the USA and offer a wide range of service network. What else do I need?

However, if you need more power and can compromise with towing capacity, then the Chevrolet Silverado can be your next purchase.

FAQs

Can you pull a travel trailer with a 1/2-ton truck?

Depending on the type of travel trailer, you can tow a travel trailer with any half-ton pickup truck. Vehicles like Ford F-150, GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram 1500, and Toyota Tundra are the best examples of ½ ton trucks.

How big of a camper can I pull with a 1/2-ton truck?

On average, you can pull up to 14,000 pounds when configured properly. Here, you should know that an average ½ ton truck pulls up to 10,000 pounds. There are a few specific half-ton truck variants that propel enough power and dynamics to pull big campers.

How big of a travel trailer can I tow with F150?

The Ford F-150 can easily tow between 5,000 to 14,000 pounds when configured according to Ford’s standards. The total towing capacity of the Ford F 150 also depends on the engine variant, type of gear, rear-axle ratio, and tire configuration.

Which Ford F-150 engine is best for towing?

Ford’s 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine is best for towing travel trailers. It produces 400 hp @6,000 rpm and 500 lb-ft @3,100 rpm. Combining both, Ford F-150 pulls 14,000 easily.

Which Nissan Titan is best for towing?

With up to 11,040 pounds, Nissan Titan XD is the best trim for towing travel trailers. Another side, Titan King Cab has a max towing capacity of 9,370.

Can a Nissan Titan tow a fifth wheel?

Yes, Nissan only trims “XD” can tow a 5th wheel trailer only when configured properly. While towing, please make sure that you read the manual and follow all guidelines carefully.

Hope you found the best 1/2-ton truck for towing list helpful. Don’t forget to tell your fav. brand. Also, let me know in case I’ve missed any vehicles above.

* Prices mentioned above are subject to change anytime.
* Image source – Ford, GMC, Toyota, Dodge

Written by Shailesh Thakran

Hi, I'm think tank behind Throttlebias. I love blogging, mainly about Automobiles. Via Throttlebias, I want to educate & share in-depth articles about Car Detailing and related areas. Outside Throttlebias, I love to write marketing & stuff.

2 thoughts on “6 Best ½ Ton Trucks For Towing Travel Trailers With Ease”

    • Hi Matt, thanks for your feedback. However, the company prints (*) on Owner’s Manual. This says that we expect (given number) as the best output. There is ZERO guarantee that a truck/car will deliver the same number. Rest depends on the driving condition and maintenance.

      Reply

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