The GMC Sierra is one of the most popular pickup trucks in the US, with over four million units sold throughout its history. Along with competitors like Ford and Ram, it’s a staple in American automotive tradition. The wide array of engines available makes the GMC Sierra a capable workhorse.
Can The GMC Sierra 1500 Pull Campers and Trailers?
The GMC Sierra 1500 can pull a wide variety of trailers and campers, thanks to a maximum 12,200-pound towing capacity. Other versions can tow to 9,700 pounds when the driver chooses one of two possible 5.3L V8.
The least capable version can still pull 6,500 pounds, so there’s a Sierra for every need. To achieve the maximum towing capacity, you need to purchase the trailering package. GMC fits the Sierra 1500 with improvements for better performance when pulling heavy loads.
If you consider how much campers and trailers weigh, you can be sure that the Sierra 1500 will cover most of your needs. But, there’s a lot to towing than just a number. There are many factors that you need to understand to do it safely. We’ll cover them in this article.
Also, the GMC Sierra powerplant and drivetrain configuration are essential. There is a difference in towing capacity between a 2WD and a 4WD Sierra 1500. Due to how the power splits between the wheels, usually, 2WD will pull more. We’ll explain what’s the particular case with the Sierra.
One of the Sierra’s main advantages is that there are many powerplants available. Drivers can personalize the vehicle for their specific needs. Need heavy towing day and day out? There’s a Sierra for that. Are you going to have random towing and challenging terrain? There’s also an option for that.
Plus, there’s a lot that goes behind what you’re towing. Campers come in many shapes and sizes, as do trailers. Understanding their characteristics is vital for towing safely. But, before we get into what kind of trailers and campers the GMC Sierra 1500 can tow, let’s see how each engine performs.
How Many Pounds Can The GMC Sierra 1500 Tow?
The GMC Sierra 1500 can tow up to 12,200 pounds, but there are many different towing capabilities for every need. The following table shows the most towing capacity for each powerplant and drivetrain configuration. This information is only for those GMC Sierra 1500s with automatic transmission and a ball hitch.
|GMC Sierra 1500 Version||4,3L V6||2,7L Turbo||3,0L Duramax||5,3L V8 (L83)||5,3L V8 (L84)||6,2L V8|
|Crew Cab Short Box 2WD||7700||6900||9200||9800||9600/11400*||NA|
|Crew Cab Short Box 4WD||7500||6600||8500||9600||9400/11200*||9300/12100*|
|Crew Cab Standard Box 2WD||7600||6800||NA||9800||9600/11300*||NA|
|Crew Cab Standard Box 4WD||7400||6500||NA||9600||9400/11000*||9100/12000*|
|Double Cab Standard Box 2WD||7700||6900||9300||9900||9700/11300*||NA|
|Double Cab Standard Box 4WD||7600||6600||9000||9700||9400/11200*||9300/12200|
|Regular Cab Long Box 2WD||7900||NA||NA||10000||NA||NA|
|Regular Cab Long Box 4WD||7700||NA||NA||9800||NA||NA|
*Max Trailering Package included
If you’re looking to tow heavy loads, then 2WD GMC Sierras are your best choice. In all vehicles, the engine sends power to the wheels.
These, in turn, move the truck and deal with friction. In 2WD, the powerplant sends all its power to just two wheels (the rear, in the case of the Sierra). Therefore, only two wheels have to deal with road resistance.
In 4WD, the engine must first split power between four wheels instead of two. The vehicle has to overcome more friction, and this resistance affects towing ability. Plus, because a 4WD truck has more components, such as a front differential, it’s usually heavier, reducing the pulling power.
Also, it’s important to highlight that the GMC comes with three V8 options, two of which have the same displacement. The L84 is the newest alternative. It provides more efficient fuel management but has sacrificed some towing ability.
You might notice a considerable difference in towing abilities when using the Max Trailering Package. Let’s find out why.
How Does The GMC Max Trailering Package Increase Towing Capabilities?
When you’re towing heavy loads, you’re putting extra strain on components like the transmission, brakes, suspension, and engine. Especially in the case of automatic transmissions, this translates to more heat and decreased use life.
So, manufacturers offer improvements in tow packages to meet superior towing demands. In GMC’s case, it’s the Max Trailering Package. This upgrade includes a 3.42 axle ratio for more torque. The radiator is bigger to meet cooling demands and heavy-duty rear springs to aid in stabilizing heavy loads.
These improvements increase the towing capabilities up to 12,200 in the GMC Sierra 1500, with a double cab and a standard box. The powerplant must be the 6.2L V8 and the 4WD version. There are 2WD options for this style.
Read more on how towing packages can help you increase your vehicle’s towing ability in our article.
How Does The GMC Sierra 1500’s Towing Capability Compare To The Competition?
There are several pickup trucks in the market that can tow thousands of pounds, so the GMC Sierra 1500 faces tough competition. Let’s see how it stacks up against other brands in the following table. Keep in mind that these are the maximum towing capacities, which might include towing packages.
|Make||Model||Maximum Towing Capacity (pounds)|
The GMC Sierra shares a platform and most mechanical components with the Chevrolet Silverado. Still, it underperforms against its sibling. But the Sierra comes in at a couple of thousand dollars cheaper.
But the Silverado isn’t the only truck that outperforms the Sierra. The Sierra is the lowest performer when compared to the rest of the US-based brands.
This list’s surprise is the Nissan Titan XD, with a respectable 11,070 pounds, beating its Japanese rival, the Toyota Tundra. But, the clear winner is Ford. With its tow package, the F-150 runs away with an impressive 14,000 pounds.
So, now that we’ve seen how the GMC Sierra 1500 compares to the competition, let’s find out what kind of trailers and campers it can tow.
What Kinds Of Trailers And Campers Can The GMC Sierra 1500 Tow?
Even if the GMC Sierra 1500 tows less than trucks from Ford, Ram, and Chevrolet, it can still pull heavy loads. The following table gives you some examples of campers you could handle with your truck.
This table factors in a 40-gallon water tank. The additional weight column includes supplies like food and clothing.
|Camper size||Weight||Water weight||Additional weight||Total weight|
This information tells us that, excluding the inline-4, most of the GMC Sierra 1500’s powerplant options could tow these campers.
Let’s discuss trailers. While there are many varieties out there, these are some general examples. It would be best if you always weighted your trailer individually to verify the exact towing figures.
|Trailer Type||Average Empty Weight||Average Load capacity||Estimated total weight||GTWR|
|Car Trailer||1,900||7,100||9,000||6,000 to 15,000|
|Small Horse Trailer||2,900||4,300||7,200||7,000 to 8,000|
|Large Flatbed trailer||3,000||7,400||10,400||2,900 to 26,000|
From this table, we can see the 4.3L V6 engine would be put through its paces with small horse trailers and unable to tow the other examples. In any of these cases, we recommend a tow package.
Remember that GTWR is Gross Trailer Weight Rating, the maximum recommended weight for a fully loaded trailer (or camper).
Another important towing term is the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR), the maximum recommended weight of your vehicle and your fully loaded trailer.
Make sure that these figures do not exceed the manufacturer’s guidelines. To read more about exceeding towing capacities, check out our article on the topic.
The GMC Sierra 1500 is a versatile truck that can fulfill most towing needs, thanks to the many powerplant options available. GMC even includes diesel and four-cylinder options. But, with such variety, it’s essential to understand their towing capabilities.
If you’re looking to tow heavy loads, you should go for the V8 or Diesel alternatives and consider the Max Trailering Package. These combinations deliver the most pulling capability, in some cases reaching 12,200 pounds.
As with any towing experience, you should check the manufacturer’s ratings. Then it would be best if you weighed each camper or trailer individually. This way, you can ensure the safest experience.
When it comes to the competition, the GMC Sierra 1500 doesn’t keep with brands like Ford, Ram, and even Chevrolet, with which it shares most components. Still, there are plenty of trailers and campers you can pull with the Sierra.
From recreational campers to livestock trailers, the ability to tow† with confidence is a key attribute that truck owners look for. It's why the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 and Sierra Heavy Duty feature not just powerful capability, but available technology that is tailored for the trailering experience.How big of a camper can a Sierra 1500 pull? ›
The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 maximum towing capacity reaches 13,000 pounds with the available 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 engine, the Max Trailering Package, and 20-inch wheels.How much can a 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 tow? ›
2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Towing Capacity. The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 is a light-duty pickup truck, but don't underestimate its hauling power. In fact, when properly equipped with the Max Trailering Package, the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 maximum towing capacity goes up to 13,000 pounds.How big of a truck do I need to pull a travel trailer? ›
The weight range for a Travel Trailer is between 1,250 – 8,500 lbs. If you have a Travel Trailer under 3,500 lbs, you will be fine with a mid-size pickup truck. Most Travel Trailers fall in the 4,000 lbs range, so you need a Full-Size Pickup truck to tow them safely.Which GMC Sierra can tow the most? ›
The heavy-duty 2022 GMC Sierra 3500HD has the highest GMC Sierra towing capacity, a maximum gooseneck towing capacity of up to 36,000 pounds. When you're done towing, the Sierra 3500HD offers an equally-impressive maximum payload capacity of up to 7,442 pounds.What size truck do you need to pull a 10000 pound camper? ›
|Full-Size Truck||Towing Capacity (lbs)||Payload Capacity (lbs)|
|Ford F-150 Lightning||Up to 10,000||Up to 2,235|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500||Up to 9,500||Up to 2,300|
|GMC Sierra 1500||Up to 9,400||Up to 2,270|
|RAM 1500||Up to 8,320||Up to 2,335|
The Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and Ram 1500 are three well-known half-ton vehicles that can securely tow most travel trailers weighing a maximum of 6,000 lbs.What is the max trailering package 2023? ›
The Max Trailering Package provides enhanced trailering capabilities, helping each of the four Sierra 1500 engine options reach the 13,200-pound max towing capacity it's famous for. The Max Trailering Package is available on the SLE, Elevation, and SLT trim levels.How much is a 2023 GMC Sierra fully loaded? ›
The starting MSRP of the 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 is $37,200 for the Pro trim level but can go up to $82,200 for the Denali Ultimate. GMC Sierra 1500 prices will ultimately depend on the trim level, configurations, and additional packages you choose.What GMC 1500 has the highest towing capacity? ›
The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 towing capacity is up to 13,000 pounds. Its enhanced 3.0L Duramax turbo-diesel and 6.2L V8 engine can tow up to 13,000 pounds. The 5.3L V8 can pull up to 11,000 pounds. Lastly, the 2.7L turbo high-output engine can tow up to 9,400 pounds.
Do You Need a 4×4? Four-wheel-drive pickups typically have slightly lower towing capacities than their 2-wheel-drive counterparts due to the extra weight of the 4-wheel-drive components.Does towing capacity include the trailer? ›
It is the maximum weight of your vehicle with a trailer attached, as determined by the vehicle manufacturer. Combined weight means the weight of both the tow vehicle and the trailer together. It also includes any cargo or load placed in either vehicle.Is a gas or diesel truck better for towing RV? ›
By the nature of diesel fuel and the combustion process, a diesel engine has been more fuel efficient than it's gasoline counterpart. Further, the design of a diesel engine typically means that there's less horsepower but more torque, the twisting force, and that's what you want when pulling a heavy load.How to increase towing capacity GMC 1500? ›
- Upgrade the Axles. With upgraded axles, you can manage heavy-duty components with greater ease. ...
- Increase Suspension. ...
- Upgrade the Brakes. ...
- Programmer. ...
- Install an up-to Task Hitch. ...
- Get a Bigger Radiator. ...
- Frame and Chassis. ...
- Replace Your Intake and Exhaust.
Best 3/4-Ton Truck Towing: Ford F-250 Super Duty
Currently, Ford has the highest 3/4-ton tow rating of 22,800 pounds with its regular cab two-wheel-drive F-250 Super Duty equipped with the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8. Ram tops out at 20,000 pounds with its Cummins I-6-powered regular cab.
The maximum towing capacity of a GMC Sierra 1500 comes in at up to 13,000 pounds1 for the 2023 model year.Can a 1500 truck pull a 5th wheel camper? ›
Many 24' 5th wheel RV's on the market today at under 6000 lbs. Don't load it very much, leave the freshwater tank empty or almost. Half-ton or 1500 series trucks may be configured in many different packages. Some are very heavy duty with the proper axle ratio, engine, springs and tires to handle a 6000 lb 5th wheel.Can a Silverado 1500 carry a truck camper? ›
Typically, a truck camper for a Shortbed Silverado 1500 will need to be under 7.5' in floor length, and it should weigh less than 1,600 lbs.How big of a camper can a 1 2 ton truck pull? ›
Can a Half-Ton Pull a Travel Trailer? Half-ton trucks are extremely popular tow vehicles. Travel trailers that fit within their payload and towing capacities average from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds and 5,000 to 13,000 pounds respectively.