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Can You Ride in a Camper While Being Towed?

We see this question on various Facebook groups and forums quite often. Can you ride in your camper while it is being towed? The answer may surprise you.

The answer is both yes and no. While there are no federal laws prohibiting passengers from riding in a camper while it is in motion, many states have laws on the matter. These laws typically range from restricting the type of trailer to age limits and total passenger limits. In addition, most insurance companies will not cover any damages or injuries that occur while passengers are riding in a camper while it is being towed.

So, while you technically can ride in your camper while it is being towed, it is not advisable, and you could be putting the passengers at risk by doing so. Think about it; a camper typically has no seat belts or other safety features. If something were to happen while you are being towed, the passengers could be ejected from the trailer and seriously injured. Have you ever seen a camper that has rolled over due to winds? It’s an ugly sight.

Destroyed Travel Trailer on Highway
This travel trailer was involved in an accident in Wisconsin. Notice that the trailer is absolutely destroyed. You wouldn’t want to be in that when that happens. Photo courtesy of Madison.com.

If you have any questions about whether or not you can ride in your camper while it is being towed, be sure to check with your local laws and your insurance company before doing so.

What states allow passengers to ride in your camper while it is being towed?

As we mentioned, different states have different laws regarding passengers riding in a camper while it is being towed. So we broke the list into travel trailers/fifth and fifth wheels only.

Remember that laws change frequently, so always check with your local department of motor vehicles (DMV) for the most up-to-date information. I’ve even found that you can call your local state trooper’s office and ask them, and they’ll set you straight (after all, they’re the ones that would give you the ticket if you were violating a law).

States that allow you to ride in both travel trailers and fifth wheels.

Here is a list of states allowing passengers to ride in both travel trailers and fifth wheels.

  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi 
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

States that allow passengers to ride in only fifth wheels.

These states do not permit passengers to ride in travel trailers. However, you can have passengers ride on fifth wheels.

  • California
  • Montana
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

What about motorhomes and camper vans? Can I ride in the back of one of those?

While we covered fifth wheels and travel trailers, we haven’t forgotten about motorhomes or camper vans. The answer is yes. You can ride in both motorhomes and camper vans while someone is driving it. Actually, that’s one of the best parts of having either – relaxing and enjoying the scenery while someone else does the driving.

Woman in the Back of Camper Van on the Road
Imagine just lounging in the back while someone else does the driving. Doesn’t that sound nice?

Final thoughts on hanging out in the back.

You can ride in a moving travel trailer and fifth wheel (in the proper jurisdictions). Riding in a camper while being towed is possible, but you need to consider some things before hitting the open road. This article outlines everything you need to know about safely towing a camper and riding in it simultaneously.

Remember, we often cross several state lines when heading out on a long road trip. Check the specific regulations for each state you’ll pass through, as they can vary from place to place.

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