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Updated: Jun 11, 2023

For towing an RV safely and within the guidelines of the law in BC we have compiled some information and links gathered from ICBC and the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations in one place to make it easier than searching multiple places.

Having the right license or endorsement for the size and weight of your RV and knowing if your vehicle can pull the weight of your RV fully loaded is the first step.

You can tow a recreational vehicle up to 4,600 kg GVW (gross vehicle weight) or 10,141.26 lbs., with a regular Class 5 license.

The exception to this is if the RV has air brakes, then you will need an air brake endorsement from ICBC.

If your RV is over 4600 kg, you will need to upgrade your license with ICBC to be legal to tow it in BC. See the links below to the ICBC website for more information.

Vehicle Towing Capacity for an RV

Matching your pickup with a compatible RV is knowing the towing capacity of your vehicle.

Pickups are labelled with a maximum towing capacity and is listed in your manual or available from the dealer online.

Take into consideration a fully loaded RV and your trailer hitch, fluids, and gear on your vehicle that can add to the weight of the vehicle. Your RV will also have the weight listed in the manual or at the dealer.

An unsafe or improperly loaded vehicle that exceeds the GAWR (Gross Axle Rating) or the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is prohibited. This applies to RV towing, utility towing, and boat towing.

Maximum Lengths

Maximum Length of fifth Wheel trailers with a GVW of under 10,000 kilograms is 14.65 meters (48 feet).

Maximum overall length for a combination of a pickup truck with a fifth-wheel trailer is 19.0 meters (62.3 feet).


A heavy-duty battery and alternator may be needed for additional lighting, along with a special wiring harness to connect to the trailer lights. RV trailers usually have electrically operated brakes, so a special controller is needed in the pickup truck to operate the trailer brakes. Most new pickup trucks have an integrated trailer brake controller unit but with others, a special controller needs to be installed.

Fifth Wheel Hitch

The fifth wheel hitch is mounted in the truck bed which gives the fifth wheel a greater turning radius and can be easier to maneuver than a regular RV trailer hitch.

Your fifth wheel should be rated to tow 20 percent more than your trailer’s weight. For example, if your fifth-wheel RV weighs 5,000 kg, select a fifth wheel that is rated for at least 6,000 kg.

Trailer Brakes

Most RV trailers have either electric brakes or hydraulic surge brakes. Surge brakes are not allowed on trailers over 2,800 kg GVWR. As well, recreational trailers have an emergency breakaway device that will activate the trailer brakes if the trailer comes adrift from the truck. Some new trucks are equipped with an integrated trailer brake controller, but in most cases, special controls need to be added so you can activate the trailer brakes with the truck’s brakes. Most electric brake controllers are dash-mounted and have a manual override button to allow the trailer brakes to be operated without operating the tow vehicle braking system if needed.

(ICBC, 2022)

November 2022

by Digital Markateer


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