Skip to Content

What is the Best Tow Bar for Flat Towing?

What is the Best Tow Bar for Flat Towing?

We’ve flat towed our Honda CR-V behind our motorhome for over 18 years now, so we’re well aware of the benefits of flat towing. We’ve also had plenty of time and experience to determine which is the best tow bar for flat towing, or “4-down” towing.

When you choose to flat tow your vehicle behind your RV, your “toad” or “dinghy” rides on all four wheels. If you’re using the right tow bar, one person can quickly and easily connect and disconnect it.

In today’s post, we’ll let you know what we think is the best tow bar for flat towing and why it’s the only tow bar we recommend.

Choosing the Best Tow Bar for Flat Towing Behind an RV

There are several things to consider when choosing the best tow bar for flat towing your toad, beginning with the weight of the car you plan to pull.

You need to consider the weight of your tow vehicle (and all its contents) when choosing the best tow bar for flat towing.

When choosing a tow bar system, you need to consider the weight of the vehicle you’ll be towing… and everything in or on it.

Tow bars have a limited towing capacity, so you need a tow bar with an appropriate weight limit relative to your toad/dinghy.

Most tow bars of this kind will include wiring to connect your RV’s lights to your toad’s lights. Not only is it dangerous to tow a vehicle without working lights, but it’s also illegal. So, if you choose a tow bar kit that doesn’t include a lighting solution, you’ll need to purchase a wiring kit separately.

You’ll also need safety cables. Many tow bar packages include safety cables, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to invest in a pair made for your towing capacity. It’s illegal to tow without safety cables because they prevent your toad from ricocheting down the highway, in the unlikely event that the tow bar detaches from the RV or the toad.

Safety cables are a critical component of any tow bar system.

Safety cables are a critical component of any tow bar system.

Another critical component of your towing setup is the hitch receiver. Many RV’s come equipped with a receiver from the factory, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to install one on the rear of the RV.

To save yourself money and inconvenience, check the size of your RV’s receiver and match it to the tow bar you’re buying. Most RVs will have a standard two-inch square receiver but confirm this before shopping.

What to Look for in a Tow Bar for Flat Towing

Let’s look at some of the best features of tow bars for flat towing so you’ll know what to look for when considering various brands.

Ease-of-Use

Simple is best! Easy hookup and quick-release systems are benefits you’ll appreciate every time you hook up or detach your toad. Ideally, you’ll want a tow bar that can be easily connected and disconnected by one person.

Non-Binding

Binding is an issue you might encounter when trying to disconnect, when the latches won’t release due to pressure on them. Non-binding latches are one of the best features of any tow bar setup. Take it from us, you don’t want to deal with binding! It can be incredibly frustrating. As far as we’re concerned, no tow bar makes it into the “best tow bar for flat towing” category without non-binding latches.

An anti-binding system is an important part of the best tow bar for flat towing.

This is our original tow bar, which we sometimes had to fight with to get it to release. Binding can occur when your tow vehicle is parked at an angle from your RV or when you’re parked on a slight grade.

Non-binding latches let you release the tow bar at any angle or slope. No more worrying about being perfectly straight or level to disconnect. No more pulling your toad back and forth to try to get your tow bar to release.

Weight Capacity

As mentioned previously, finding the right weight capacity is essential. Locate your toad’s weight in your owner’s manual, and only compare tow bars rated for more than that weight. Accounting for anything you may carry in the toad means that buying a tow bar with a considerably higher weight rating is best. That also might allow you to upgrade to a heavier toad at some point without replacing your tow bar.

Durability

Think about the function of a tow bar. It’ll be seated between your RV and your tow vehicle as you roll along miles and miles of highway. Consider not only your tow bar’s durability over time but also its durability related to safety.

The best tow bar for flat towing will be durable over time and all types of terrain.

A good tow bar system will be durable over time and through all types of terrain.

The Best Tow Bar for Flat-towing

As we noted at the beginning of this post, we’ve towed our car behind our RV for more than 18 years. We’ve used several tow bars, and we have a clear favorite.

Roadmaster Nighthawk

The Roadmaster Nighthawk is our tow bar system of choice, and of course, it’s the one we’ve used ourselves over thousands of miles.

What We Love About It

We’ll start with the most unique feature of the Nighthawk.

No other tow bar system incorporates the LED lighting of the Roadmaster Nighthawk. These prominent lights run along the tow bar arms and illuminate anytime the RV’s lights are on. They tell traffic that we’re towing a vehicle behind our class A motorhome, even in total darkness. That’s a huge safety bonus, since other drivers may not expect to see a car “following” so close behind you.

Then there are the Nighhawk’s non-binding latches. We’ve tried to make this tow bar system bind. You read that right. We’ve actually tried to cause binding on purpose because we couldn’t believe there’s a tow bar system that will never bind. But we’re happy to report that we failed in that attempt.

Anti-binding technology and lighted bars for safety.

The Roadmaster Nighthawk offers non-binding technology and lighted bars for safety.

We owe this to the non-binding Freedom Latch of the Roadmaster Nighthawk. The release is easy, simple, and non-binding every single time we disconnect. Considering the number of times we dealt with binding in the past with our original tow bar, this feature is unmatched in our book. Nighthawk is Roadmaster’s top-of-the-line tow bar, but it isn’t their only one to feature these latches. So you can still get their non-binding technology without springing for the most expensive model they make.

The Nighthawk also offers the longest bar arms we’ve ever seen, which makes it that much easier to connect without getting the toad perfectly positioned. It features solid stainless steel inner arms and a baked-on powder-coat finish on the outer arms to prevent corrosion.

We also love the enclosed channel for the power cord and safety cables, keeping everything easily at hand, and looking good, too.

The Nighthawk's channels for the safekeeping of power cords and safetycables.

The Nighthawk has enclosed channels for the power cords and safety cables – a super clean design!

Is the Roadmaster Nighthawk Tow Bar the Best Flat Towing Option for You?

We think you’ll love the Roadmaster Nighthawk for all of the features we’ve noted in this post. Since we use and love it ourselves, it follows that we’d feel comfortable recommending it. And we do. We know it’s the Cadillac of t0w bars, and there are certainly less expensive models available. But when it comes to safety, we don’t like to cut corners. And since most RVers will buy one tow bar that can last them for many years, we think this is a great investment.

When it comes to safety, ease of use, reliability, and durability over time and travel, we think the Roadmaster Nighthawk is the best tow bar for flat towing.

We love our Nighthawk so much, that we’ve arranged with Roadmaster to provide a special package just for you. Since you’ll surely want to protect such an awesome piece of gear, what better add-ons than a free tow bar cover, and a free hitch receiver lock!?

SPECIAL!
Roadmaster, Inc Logo
Roadmaster Nighthawk RV Tow Bar RVgeeks Package

The Roadmaster Nighthawk is our favorite RV tow bar. The non-binding latches ensure you'll have an easy time disconnecting, no matter how the RV and tow car are positioned. Longer arms make...Show More

The Roadmaster Nighthawk is our favorite RV tow bar. The non-binding latches ensure you'll have an easy time disconnecting, no matter how the RV and tow car are positioned. Longer arms make connecting and disconnecting easier. And the LED lights along the arms improve safety and visibility when towing!

Check out our latest Nighthawk video here

Call Roadmaster at (800) 669-9690 to order your Nighthawk tow bar factory direct and tell them you want “The RVgeeks Package”. You'll receive a FREE Tow Bar Cover & Hitch Receiver Lock to keep your new Nighthawk secure and looking great. Free Shipping is also included!

Show Less

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. 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!

We'd Love It If You Shared This!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Gary

Tuesday 4th of October 2022

New RVer and also new to having a towed vehicle. I went to the Roadmaster website (I used the link provided)...but didn't find anything. Was this a time limited package?

Gary

Wednesday 5th of October 2022

@TheRVgeeks, OK, thanks for the advice...called them today and ordered everything I need!

Gary

Tuesday 4th of October 2022

@TheRVgeeks, Ahhhh...got it! Thanks!

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 4th of October 2022

Hi Gary! Sorry if that wasn’t clear… there’s nothing on the website about the package (Roadmaster Nighthawk towbar, free cover, and free hitch receiver lock), you just will receive all of that if you CALL Roadmaster and, when ordering the Nighthawk, tell them that you want “The RVgeeks Package”. Unfortunately, you can’t order it online.

Hope that helps!

Bill Wintermute

Saturday 16th of October 2021

Blue ox is by far the superior tow bar, I have used them for many years!!

TheRVgeeks

Saturday 16th of October 2021

Hi Bill. We're so pleased that you love your tow bar. But having had a Blue Ox for much of our 18+ years full-timing, and having switched to Roadmaster, and now having years-long use of each, we can tell you from extensive personal experience with both brands that there's no comparison. Roadmaster blows Blue Ox into the weeds. It's just a better design. We're glad to hear you're happy with yours, but we would never go back.

William Thaw

Friday 7th of May 2021

Sorry, I have one more question. Would I need new safety cables and a new electrical cable? It looks like it is a lot longer than my blue ox.

TheRVgeeks

Friday 7th of May 2021

No worries, William. If you get a Nighthawk, the safety cables and power cord/umbilical are included... so they'll be the right length.

William Thaw

Friday 7th of May 2021

I have a blue ox setup. Are there adapters so you can use the roadmaster nighthawk without changing the baseplate?

TheRVgeeks

Friday 7th of May 2021

Hi William. Good question... yes! Roadmaster sells a version of the Nighthawk (Model #677) that comes with the appropriate adapter so that it connects to the pins for a Blue Ox baseplate. It's listed as out of stock at Amazon (https://amzn.to/33qqZMs), but if you call Roadmaster directly (800-669-9690) and ask for "The RVgeeks Package", they may have it in stock AND you'll get the free cover, free hitch receiver lock, and free shipping!

Ira Holtzman

Friday 7th of May 2021

What do you recommend to protect the front of my Jeep Wrangler dingy? I noticed you do not use anything. I have a cover but it is a pain to put on and take off. However when I do not use it I notice chips in the paint from rocks and some fins bent on the radiator. Is there a simpler solution? Also I did not see a price for the Roadmaster Nighthawk. I currently use the blue ox tow bar and you are correct unless I am level it binds. In fact when I travel by myself I generally do not bring my dingy for fear I will not be able to disconnect it. Thanks Ira

P.S... I drive a 2009 Newmar 40ft DutchAire and tow a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with Blue Ox tow bar and base plate.

TheRVgeeks

Friday 7th of May 2021

Hi Ira. Sorry to hear your Jeep is getting dinged up while towing. You're right, we don't use anything to protect the front of our CR-V, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that it has a large, black plastic front bumper, so there isn't any paint to get chipped. And the way it wraps underneath the front of the car, there isn't an issue with the radiator fins getting bent, either.

Of course, that doesn't help you with your Jeep, does it?! But there might be a solution to replace the cover you're currently using (which can be a pain, too, and can cause their own problems with wearing/rubbing the paint, etc). It's called the Tow Defender. It's by Roadmaster, but they have a version that's designed to work with all brands of tow bars. You can see more info about it here (https://www.roadmasterinc.com/products/protection_storage/protect_store.php, just scroll about halfway down the page), including a picture showing it installed. It's a fabric barrier that extends between the RV and the towed car, blocking anything from being thrown (or bouncing) up above the towbar level. In addition to the info on Roadmaster's site, you can check out reviews on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3f3Kakq.

If you're interested in a Nighthawk to replace the Blue Ox (we remember the nightmare of getting our old Blue Ox disconnected at times... it often took both of us, one at the tow bar release handles, and the other behind the wheel of the car to back it up to release the pressure on the latches), they make a model (#677) that has attachments that will work with your existing Blue Ox tow clips that attach to your base plate, so you don't need to upgrade any of that. The Nighthawk isn't cheap... it retails online for about $1,200 online... but you can get a free towbar cover, hitch receiver lock, and free shipping if you order direct from Roadmaster (800-669-9690) and ask for "The RVgeeks Package".

If you don't drive at night, and aren't interested in the LED lights on the Nighthawk, you can get the same non-binding latches in Roadmaster's Sterling All-Terrain towbar. It's also a couple hundred dollars cheaper than the Nighthawk. But you may need to call Roadmaster and ask if they have a version that will work with your Blue Ox baseplate & pins... we can't find any info about it online, but we seem to remember there being one (just like the Nighthawk has).

Hope this helps.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We participate in the Amazon affiliate program, which provides a means for us to earn a small commission by linking to products there. But our opinions are our own and we only link to products we can recommend to friends with complete confidence. And using our links won't cost you an extra penny!