The Honda CRV is a multi-purpose do-anything suv! I used to own a first-gen CRV, and it served me and my family very well. I can tell you firsthand that this is more suv than a car, and can make a great vehicle for camping and pulling a camper. What’s not to love, it has great fuel economy and tons of cargo space for all of your camping gear.
Before you start to pull anything with your CRV, there will be some things to understand and consider so both you and your vehicle have a safe trip. With any truck or suv, it is important to get an understanding of your vehicle’s towing capability and options available so you can tow your camper to your favorite destination. Given today’s advancement of lightweight materials, campers are getting light enough that any modern suv can tow a small travel trailer, including your CRV.
How much can a CRV tow?
CRV Towing Capacity
First, let’s get an understanding of your CRV’s towing capacity. One main factor in determining your towing capacity is the engine. Current Gen CRV’s are powered with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine making 190 HP. Regardless of your trim package (see chart below), this is the only engine available and gives you a towing capacity of 1,500 lbs.
Besides the trailer weight, your vehicle is also pulling additional weight in things such as passengers, fuel, propane, batteries, food, and anything else you decided to bring on your camping trip. As we start to think about weight, or sometimes called gvwr (gross vehicle weight rating), we need to account for items to your camper and suv that will add weight.
A good, quick rule of thumb is to tow no more than 80% of your max towing capacity. The reason for this is that you will likely encounter hills, headwinds, and exceed speeds that your vehicle may have not been tested for. So give yourself that extra 20% should help account for real-world scenarios. Given that we want to stick around the 80% mark, I suggest towing a camper fully loaded around 1,200lbs.
Honda CRV Accessories
Alright, now that we figured out our max towing, let’s figure out what accessories you need to tow your camper. Luckily, the CR-V comes with an available tow package. This package has an advanced tech system to monitor the road surface and adjust your wheels to keep your trailer steady.
Honda CR-V Towing Package — The tow package includes a receiver-style Honda CR-V tow hitch, a drawbar, a clip, and a hitch harness.
- Hill Start Assist — This system works to prevent roll-back during the moment you switch your foot from the brake to the gas pedal on a hill.
- Real-Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™ — Available intelligent all-wheel drive distributes torque to each wheel for better road contact and control — no matter what the trail throws your way.
- Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with Traction Control — This feature expertly maintains traction on slippery road surfaces as you take corners.
- Brake Assist — This feature active scans surrounding traffic and adjusts the brakes to help you avoid collisions.
You will of course need a trailer hitch outfitted to your Honda. You can have this done at either the Honda dealership or at a camper dealership. There are some different-sized hitches depending on your camper, but you will likely get a 2″ receiver that will handle most of your trailering needs (Although, for smaller campers, a 1 ¼” receiver could also work). The hitch receiver will mount just below and slightly stick out from your bumper. Clearing the bumper will give you less trouble and the likely hood of hitting your bumper while driving.
Also, you will be fitted with a wiring harness. This wiring harness will allow you to connect your camper while towing. This will give you brake lights and tail lights for your camper. There can be a 4-pin or 7-pin wiring harness. For your size camper, you will likely only need a 4-pin harness.
Depending on the weight of your camper, you can also add a trailer brake to your CRV. Usually, any camper over 1,500lb will have electric brakes. But seeing that we will be sticking with a small trailer around 1,200lbs, we likely will not need to have one installed.
When towing a camper, you are adding extra strain to your tires. The load increases on them and they may not be equipped to handle the extra weight. Make sure you have newer ties (anything older than 6 years is pushing it) and that you are at the proper inflation (link to PSI tire article?)
Campers you can pull with a CRV
Now that we have a good understanding of what you can tow and the accessories needed, let’s figure out what campers you can tow. Many small pop-ups and teardrop campers may be within reach of towing with your CRV. As we mentioned above, we want to stick around the 1,200lb tow weight.
Sylvan Sport GO
The Sylvan Sport GO is a really cool tent pod that can act as a pop-up camper as well as a cargo hauler. The neat thing about this camper is that it is almost like a swiss-army knife of campers! It’s a pop-up camper, a toy hauler (can fit a four-wheeler), and can even carry your kayaks or mountain bikes on its roof rack.
The GO is only 840lbs (dry weight) and can have a carrying capacity of 1,000 (although, we don’t want to carry that much with our CRV). Its frame is made of durable aluminum and available with a 1-1/4 or 2-inch receiver. This camper can also sleep with two adults very comfortably.
MyPod by Little Guy Trailers
The MyPod is a 100% fiberglass molded body on a sturdy frame. With a dry weight of 760 lbs. and tongue weight of just 110 lbs., the MyPod is perfect for small cars and still packs a ton of great features. Choose from white, silver, black, blue, or red. Includes Full/Double Size Bed. It also has an available roof rack to carry your kayaks or mountain bikes.
Earth Traveler T250LX
The Earth Traveler T250LX is a pretty amazing small teardrop camper. Its extremely lightweight (about 300lbs) and opens up to a spacious tent camper. Each component of their teardrop trailer is handcrafted using principles of biomimicry and the organic shape is weatherproof and aerodynamic. This will make you feel like you are camping into the future! I don’t see many options to carry additional bikes or kayaks, but you should be able to strap those on your CRV anyways.
So What Camper can a CRV Pull? – Conclusion
So can a Honda CRV pull a camper? You bet! We have reviewed that a Honda CRV has a maximum towing capacity of 1,500lbs (although we want to play it safe and keep it at 1,200lbs). Outfitting with a tow package and basic accessories such as a hitch receiver will get you well on your way to pulling a small trailer. Teardrop trailers are a great option, especially ones that can turn into a utility trailer. I wish you the best travels in your CRV!