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In the world of RV's and travel trailers, a 33-foot travel trailer is considered an ambitious size. With the average length of a travel trailer being between 21 and 28 feet, 33 feet is considerably longer. If you have a trailer of this length, take extra care in choosing the right size vehicle to tow it and be sure that you're confident in driving it before you hit the road. You won't need a commercial driver's license to tow your trailer, but you will need plenty of confidence and know-how to be successful.
Items you will need
Tow hitch package
Check on the laws in your state to make sure you are allowed to tow a 33-foot trailer. Most states allow trailers up to 40 feet, but if you live in Louisiana, the max length is 30 feet. Use the handy chart on Towing World's "Towing Laws Listed by State" web page to get information for your state or contact your state Department of Motor Vehicles.
Find out the weight of your travel trailer. When you purchase your travel trailer, the dealer may tell you the "dry weight" of the trailer -- but don't use that to assess your trailer's weight, since the dry weight is measured before any passengers, cargo and fuel tanks are added to the trailer. To assess how much weight you'll be carrying, ask about the Gross Vehicle Weight instead.
Assess whether your vehicle can handle the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of your travel trailer. You can typically find the towing capacity in your vehicle's owner's manual. If you don't have the owner's manual, order one from the company that made your car. You want to be sure your vehicle has the capacity to tow a 33-foot trailer so that you don't ruin your transmission, bearings or other expensive vehicle parts. Some RV experts recommend a 3/4 ton pickup to handle a load of 7,500 lbs.
Install a hitch system for your vehicle. Depending on the vehicle's weight, you may need a Class IV or V trailer hitch. Class IV hitches can carry a load of 7,500 Gross Trailer Weight (GTW is the same as GVW for a travel trailer), while a Class V hitch can carry a load of 10,000. RV manufacturers will typically recommend a certain kind of towing system; if you want to be sure you're doing it right, follow their recommendations.
Trailer hitches consist of a receiver and a drawbar for your vehicle. Bolt the receiver hitch to the vehicle's chassis or have it welded on by a professional welder. Then connect your drawbar and ball to the receiver hitch. Once you have the hitch set on your vehicle, you can place the trailer's hitch on the ball portion of your vehicle hitch. Each hitch system is different, so be sure to consult the manual that came with your system.
Practice towing your trailer in a large parking lot, where you can test out the braking distance, turning radius and your method of backing up. Consider taking an RV safety course if you are not confidently driving your vehicle with the trailer attached.
Check your route before you head out on a trip to make sure there are no bridges or overpasses that may pose a problem for your trailer. Check with the Department of Transportation in the states you will be visiting for information on road conditions and restrictions.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.