Imagine…today’s the day you go to pick up your new bass boat. Whether it’s brand new off the lot or you’re buying it used, there’s one thing you know for sure, you want to protect this investment and stay safe in the process.
After confirming that the trailer is solid and up to the task, what is the next most important piece of equipment that you need?
A solid vehicle to tow your boat behind.
I have compiled a list of things to consider when deciding what vehicle you may want to tow your boat with and a list of SUV’s and trucks to give you all the options you need. These vehicles are built to perform and give you options to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Best Midsize SUV: Dodge Durango
Best Fullsize SUV: Ford Expedition
Best Truck: Ram 1500
(More on this later in the article)
Related article: How Much Do Bass Boats Weigh? (17+ Examples)
The very first thing that you need to consider is how much weight you will be towing behind your vehicle. This number isn’t just how much the boat itself weight, but the weight of the:
Although most bass boats weigh around 5,000 pounds, it is highly recommended that your vehicle have at least 1,500 to 2,000 pounds more towing capacity than your boat, trailer, and gear combined. This keeps you safe on the road, efficient at boat lifts, and decreases the wear and tear on your vehicle.
Here are some common but important abbreviations you’ll see when looking at vehicles to tow your bass boat:
- GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): the maximum that a vehicle can weigh while driving down the road. This includes curb weight, passengers, and gear.
- GTW (Gross Trailer Weight): the total weight of the trailer plus all the gear you have in it.
- GCWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating): the maximum weight that a vehicle and the trailer it’s towing can weigh.
Knowing how much weight your vehicle can handle, and how much weight you plan to drive with or tow, are incredibly important.
The next big thing you will want to consider is what kind of terrain you will be driving on. This will determine whether or not you can save some money by purchasing a vehicle with 2-wheel drive, or if 4-wheel drive might be a better option.
When to go with 2-wheel drive:
- Boat ramps are consistent, not very steep, and well-kept.
- You are looking to save a little bit of money.
When to go with 4-wheel drive:
- Your boat ramps may experience low waters/droughts.
- You want the flexibility to travel to as many boat ramps as possible.
- There is the potential to drive on wet or muddy dirt roads so you’ll want the extra traction.
The last thing that you need to consider is the utility that makes the most sense for this vehicle.
Here are some things to consider:
- How often will you be fishing each year?
- What other purposes might this vehicle need to perform?
- Are you going to be driving long distances to fish?
- And of course…how heavy will the boat, trailer, passengers, and gear weigh?
With all that being said, below I have listed some of the best SUV’s and trucks on the market that are used all over the country by bass fishermen. As you will be able to see, there is no one-size-fits-all, so keep an open mind!
Best SUV’s for towing bass boats
When it comes to SUVs, you need to be careful and know exactly how much your vehicle can safely tow. Many if not most SUVs don’t have the towing capacity to tow a bass boat. However, here are a few that can:
- Toyota 4Runner (V6)
- Can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
- 2- or 4-wheel options.
- Dodge Durango (V6 or V8)
- Can tow up to 7,800 pounds (V8), or 6,200 pounds (V6).
- All-wheel drive.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Can tow up to 7,400 pounds.
- Turbodiesel option available.
- Chevrolet Suburban
- Can tow up to 8,000+ pounds depending on the model.
- Ford Expedition
- Can tow up to 9,300 pounds.
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- Can tow up to 8,300 pounds.
Best Trucks for towing bass boats
Most trucks have what it takes to tow a bass boat, but you should always make sure to check exactly how much towing capacity your truck has and how much your bass boat weighs. Here are a few popular trucks out there for towing bass boats:
- Toyota Tacoma
- Can tow up to 6,700 pounds.
- Chevrolet Colorado
- Can tow up to 7,000 pounds with the gas engine, and the diesel model adds around 700 more pounds of towing capacity.
- Ram 1500
- Can tow anywhere from 8,000 to 9,000 pounds.
- Nissan Titan XD
- Can tow anywhere from 9,700 to 10,900 pounds.
Although I have primarily focused on the towing capacity for each vehicle, many of the newer models have options for features that make towing easier than ever, including:
- Rear-view camera
- Integrated Trailer-Brake Controller
- Electronic Trail-Sway Control
- Smart Tow/Haul Mode
With manufacturers making towing easier and easier every year, there is no shortage of vehicles on the market that are capable of towing your bass boat as safely and efficiently as possible.
By now you hopefully know what are the most important features and specs to look at when choosing a vehicle to tow your bass boat. With so many great options out there, I hope that you were able to get a better idea of what vehicle will work best for you!