We’ve discussed towing now and again on this blog, from a few different perspectives. We’ve published a post about towing a car behind an RV, we’ve talked about the best tow bar for flat towing, and we recently addressed methods for trailer sway control in detail. But today we’re looking at triple towing, which is a whole different can of worms.
Let’s get right to it!
- 1) What Is Triple Towing?
- 2) Is Triple Towing Legal?
- 3) In What States is it Legal to Triple Tow?
- 4) What Is the Difference Between Double Towing and Triple Towing?
- 5) How Long Can Your Triple Tow Be?
- 6) Can You Tow a Camper and a Boat at the Same Time?
- 7) Is Triple Towing Safe?
- 8) In States Where Legal, Are There Additional Safety Regulations For Triple Towing?
- 9) Our Suggestions For Anyone Considering Trying To Triple Tow:
What Is Triple Towing?
Triple towing refers to towing two vehicles behind the vehicle you’re driving.
So, for example, you might be driving a truck and towing your 5th wheel behind it while also towing your boat behind the 5th wheel!
Another example would be a motorhome towing a car (or “toad”), with the car hauling a trailer containing a four-wheeler, jet skis, mopeds, or other recreational “toys”.
Is Triple Towing Legal?
It’s legal in SOME states but not everywhere, and it’s very important to understand where it’s legal and where it’s not before you decide to tow in this manner.
Prior to setting yourself up to tow, you’ll need to determine whether the states through which you want to travel allow triple towing, AND what their specific regulations are. You can visit each state’s Department of Transportation website for this information.
In What States is it Legal to Triple Tow?
At the time of the publishing of this post, (January 2022), the following states allow triple towing – but again, each state has specific regulations that include legal length, width, height, and weight, as well as possible non-commercial license endorsements:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Vermont.
Be aware that you really need to do your research before triple towing. Not only do the laws vary from state to state, but they can even vary within a state. For example, while it’s legal in the state of Illinois, the maximum allowable RV width on some roads in the state is 102 inches, while the maximum allowable RV width on other roads in the state is only 96 inches.
In Nebraska, whether you’re hauling one or two vehicles behind your rig, the maximum combined length allowed is 65 feet. In Illinois, however, the maximum combined length allowed is only 60 feet, and if you’re triple towing, one vehicle must be a 5th wheel trailer.
So, you can see how important it is to have your ducks in a row prior to making a plan to tow more than one trailer across state lines.
And while you might think a law enforcement officer wouldn’t stop to measure the difference between 60 or 65 feet, if you were to be involved in an accident (your fault or not), and you were violating the triple towing regulations of that state when the accident occurred, you could have a serious problem on your hands, including the possibility of an insurance company refusing to cover damages.
What Is the Difference Between Double Towing and Triple Towing?
Double towing (or “hauling doubles”) is a term used by commercial truck drivers, but it actually has the same meaning as triple towing.
When commercial drivers tow two trailers behind their rig, they call it double towing or hauling doubles.
However, a very significant difference between commercial “double towing” and non-commercial “triple towing” is education. Commercial drivers hauling two or more trailers have training specific to the practice of “hauling doubles”. In fact, most states require a special license endorsement for commercial drivers, though there is no such requirement for non-commercial drivers in most states. (Some states do require a license endorsement for non-commercial drivers, though, so be sure to keep that in mind!)
How Long Can Your Triple Tow Be?
Again, this varies from state to state, so checking the laws in the state or states in which you plan to tow is imperative. With that said, most laws cap the maximum length of a triple tow setup at 60’ or 65’.
Can You Tow a Camper and a Boat at the Same Time?
You can tow a camper (including a 5th wheel) and a boat at the same time, provided you are within the height, weight, width, and length limits, and you have a safe setup for doing so.
You’ll need to be sure that the combined weight and towing capacity of your towing setup (tow vehicle, hitch(es), hitch receiver(s), brakes, etc) fall within safe limits… and that your RV or truck and the trailers you’re towing are all in excellent condition and brakes, brake lights, tires, etc. are optimally maintained.
Is Triple Towing Safe?
As noted above, there are a number of safety factors to consider when triple towing. While it can be done safely, it can also be a very unsafe practice unless all vehicles involved are optimally maintained, weight and towing capacities are strictly followed with safety in mind, and the driver has the experience to safely triple tow in all traffic situations.
If you aren’t sure what you’d do in the event of a tire blowout while hauling two trailers, for example, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. But if you’re well prepared and are capable of triple towing in traffic, around corners, up and down hills, along rough roads, in the rain, etc., and if the rig or truck you’re driving and the trailers you’re towing are in optimal condition (tires included), then triple towing can be done safely.
In States Where Legal, Are There Additional Safety Regulations For Triple Towing?
Yes, there are additional safety regulations that vary from state to state. Some states, as we mentioned previously, require that a driver has a special license endorsement permitting triple towing (or “double towing”).
Our friend Tom Morton (Mortons on the Move) has triple towed/double towed, so we’ll let him explain how he does it along with some of the particulars you need to know if you’re considering triple towing (also called double towing as you’ll hear Tom refer to it here).
Our Suggestions For Anyone Considering Trying To Triple Tow:
- The combined weight and towing capacity must be within safe limits.
- You should already have considerable RV driving and towing experience.
- Check with your insurance company to make sure you’re covered in the event of an accident while triple towing.
- Brakes and tires (including pressures) should be checked and reported to be in optimal condition prior to triple towing.
- Remember that your risk (and the risk to those around you) increases with every additional item you’re towing – think about turning, merging lanes, stopping, and starting with the additional weight and length.
- Increase stopping distances.
- Consider weather conditions.
Geek Out With Us Every Week
Join our newsletter to learn about all things RV-related. Every week we offer free tips, tricks, product reviews, and more to our online community of RVers. So, whether this is your first time on the road or you’re a seasoned expert, we’d love for you to geek out with us!