Touring Coaches

Towing with a
Class B RV


We’ll cover what can safely be towed with an Airstream Touring Coach, how to drive when towing, and the benefits of towing with a Class B RV vs. other RVs.

If you’re choosing a Class B RV like an Airstream Touring Coach, you’ve likely thought about what and how you can tow with it. We’re here to help.

While they don’t have as much towing power as a Class A motorhome, Class B RVs can still tow smaller items like boats, jet skis, ATVs, and even snowmobiles. It’s all about knowing your weights, ratings, and capacity. And we’ll break all of that down here.


Benefits of towing with a Class B RV

The beauty of a Class B RV is its nimble size. You don’t have to worry about a special driver’s license, a huge motorhome to maneuver and park, and all the expenses that come with fueling and maintaining it.

Class B RVs are typically built on Sprinter van chassis, as is the case with Airstream Touring Coaches. That makes them nimble enough to fit in the city just as well as they do at a national park or campground. And towing a lightweight vehicle or trailer behind your coach is inherently easier than towing a car or larger behind you.

Plus, how great would it feel to head to the lake with your jet ski in tow, or to the mountain with your snowmobile ready?


Towing terms to know

Before you start towing, there are some things you need to learn and know how to use.

Any vehicle with towing capability is tested and rated, and those ratings are your guide to what’s safe to tow and what’s not. So let’s go over the terms and what they mean. But if you can’t immediately remember them like the back of your hand, we understand. A visit to your dealer is always a good start.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
This is the maximum allowable loaded weight of your tow vehicle or Airstream, as set by the manufacturer. GVWR includes the weight of passengers, cargo, and the vehicle itself. Exceeding the GVWR poses significant risks as it makes the vehicle difficult to control, slow, or stop. 

Tow Rating
The vehicle manufacturer’s rating of the maximum weight that can safely be towed by a vehicle. The weight of your RV plus the weight of your vehicle (plus any cargo and liquids in the tanks) should not exceed this rating. 

Net Carrying Capacity (NCC)
The total weight that your Airstream can carry, including cargo and passengers. NCC does not include the weight of the unit itself. Never overload your Airstream. That excess weight can create a dangerous amount of inertia, making it difficult to stop. And, over time, those added pounds will take a toll on your tow vehicle’s brakes, suspension, frame, and engine.

Unit Base Weight (UBW)
Sometimes called “dry weight,” this is how much your Airstream weighed when it rolled off the assembly line – before you started putting stuff in it. 

Hitch Weight (HW)
Also known as Tongue Weight, this is the amount of weight a trailer's tongue places on the tow vehicle’s hitch. Because the hitch is attached to the tow vehicle’s frame, exceeding your tow vehicle’s tongue weight rating will push down the rear of the tow vehicle, causing not enough weight to be on the front axle. The result is difficulty steering, possible loss of traction, and trouble stopping. Hitch Weight can be influenced by the distribution weight of weight inside your Airstream. If you are bumping against your tow vehicle’s Hitch Weight limit, consider a distribution hitch, which can help level out your Airstream and tow vehicle. The Airstream hitch weight includes the batteries and propane tank weight.

Occupant and Cargo Carrying Capacity (OCCC)
This standard is applied to motorized RVs. The Occupant and Cargo Carrying Capacity is the maximum allowable weight for everything onboard the unit – people, pets, food, tools, full water, and LP tanks plus personal belongings.


Formula for calculating what you can tow and carry

A general formula to figure out what you can tow is:

GCVWR - UBW = Weight available for tanks, cargo, passengers, and towing.

You’ll still have to figure in your Hitch Weight and OCCC to get your final tally. If it helps get your mind around it, a jet ski weighs about 850 pounds, plus the weight of the trailer you use to tow it.

If you’re towing with an Airstream Touring Coach, here’s a reference guide:

Airstream Touring Coach weights, capacities, and ratings

Touring Coach





Atlas 11,030 lbs/
15,250 lbs
985 lbs 10,045 lbs Up to
5,000 lbs
Interstate 24GL 11,030 lbs/
15,250 lbs
1,730 lbs 2WD/
1,455 1bs 4WD
(deduct 90 lbs for air suspension
and 240 lbs for leveling jacks)
9,300 lbs 2WD/
9,575 lbs 4WD
(add 90 lbs for air suspension
and 240 lbs for leveling jacks)
Up to
5,000 lbs
Interstate 24GT 11,030 lbs/
15,250 lbs
1,980 lbs 2WD/
1,705 lbs 4WD
(deduct 90 lbs for air suspension
and 240 lbs for leveling jacks)
9,050 lbs 2WD/
9,325 lbs 4WD
(add 90 lbs for air suspension
and 275 lbs for leveling jacks)
Up to
5,000 lbs
Interstate 19 9,050 lbs/
13,930 lbs
1,663 lbs 7,426 lbs Up to
5,000 lbs


Never underestimate how helpful a conversation can be

If math isn’t your strong suit or you just need to talk out the possibilities with someone you can trust, schedule a visit to your Airstream dealer and bring all of your questions and ideas.

Not sure where your nearest dealer is? Find them with our helpful locator.


Towing tips for while you’re on the road

Once you know your ratings and allowances and what you can tow, the last step before you hit the road is to practice towing in a safe place.

Head to an open parking lot and complete some wide and sharp turns; you’ll need to know how to do both. Practice reversing into a parking spot and keep in mind that each turn of the steering wheel has an opposite reaction on the trailer you’re towing. Too sharp of a turn and the trailer could jackknife and cause damage to your RV and your trailer.

If you’re headed out in inclement weather, add snow chains to your tires and most importantly, slow down. Don’t be afraid to pull over in conditions that just don’t feel right.

When you need gas, look for stations you can easily pull through, so you can avoid backing up in a tight spot.

And take advantage of the best-in-class Mercedes-Benz® driving features that come standard in every Airstream Touring Coach, including:


  • Blind Spot Assist
    Monitors the areas along the side and rear of the coach and warns you if changing lines would be dangerous, via a visual and audio warning.


  • Collision Prevention Assist
    Monitors closing speeds between your vehicle and those around it. If a collision is likely, the system calculates and provides the necessary brake force to slow you down.


  • High Beam Assist
    Automatically adjusts your headlights to high beams when the road is clear of traffic and adjusts back when traffic is present (so as not to endanger other drivers).


  • Lane Keeping Assist
    Detects when you’re starting to stray from your driving lane and alerts you via a vibration on the wheel. If you don’t respond, it can apply the brakes to help you return to your lane.


  • Active Brake Assist
    Detects when you’re too close to another vehicle or a pedestrian and applies the brakes.


  • Active Cruise Control Assist
    Set your distance to other vehicles and your coach will automatically help you maintain it by applying the brakes or speeding up as necessary.


  • Active Rear Cross Traffic Assist
    Warns you when traffic or pedestrians are crossing your path when you’re in reverse.


Have fun and be safe out there!