I am buying a used 2014 and I was wondering if I would be able to tow a pop up camper with it
Scott, I am sure that Equalizer is a great weight distribution hitch. It's also a bit spendy. The same company makes the Fastway E2 WDH. Not quite as fancy as the EQ, but it's just an excellent WDH for pulling a trailer with a Pilot. We pull an R-Pod 178 with our 2018 EX-L, and we use the Fastway E2 rated at 600 lbs tongue, and 6000lb max trailer weight. It's a perfect fit for a 3000 lb travel trailer behind a Honda Pilot!Which trim level? 2WD or AWD?
My 2015 EX-L has a maximum towing capacity of 4,500 pounds and I have hauled multiple campers. That said, you need to understand 4,500 pounds is the maximum my vehicle is rated for and anything you put inside or on top of the vehicle, including passengers, lowers that number by a comparable amount. Said another way, if you add three passengers, each weighing 150 pounds each, your towing capacity is now 4,150 pounds. That 4,500 assumes the drives is 250 pounds, I believe. While many "pop-up" campers are "reasonably" light, there are also some that are pretty heavy and could stress that Pilot (IE. longer, have a slide, and high-side type pop-ups, etc.).
When looking at campers, pay attention to the dry weight. That is the weight of the trailer with absolutely nothing else added in, such as bedding, pots, pans, water (in the fresh water tanks), a bigger battery, extra propane tank, food, etc. Everything you add in or on the camper raises that dry weight number. Ideally, you should not exceed 70% of the vehicles towing capacity (it's good to have some safety margin), so really the camper should not have a weight of more than 3,150 pounds. You can fudge a little on the number, but it's still a good rule of thumb. Everything depends on the weight of the trailer and the towing capacity of the vehicle.
Does the 2014 you're looking at already have the entire tow package installed, including the transmission cooler and required wiring harness? My 2015 EX-L did not, so I had Honda install these (these are ALL Honda OEM parts, but Honda just choose not to install them at the factory...). The transmission cooler does exactly what the name implies and will help the transmission last longer. It is highly recommended even if you are towing a medium weight trailer.
There is a cheat!
If you are not familiar with towing bars (AKA load leveling bars, weight distribution bars, etc.), then I highly recommend you looking at the following Equalizer link. I have been using a set of these for 12 years and will never haul a ball mounted camper without them again). In a nutshell, they shift tongue weight from the vehicle back onto the trailer, which effectively lightens the trailer a little from the towing vehicles perspective. Said another way, properly installed towing bars can reduce the weight of the vehicle by multiple hundreds of pounds, depending upon the used towing bars, camper, and tow vehicle. I use the 600 pound Equalizer model on my 2015 Pilot and can tell a difference in the Pilot's ability to haul the same camper. If you go this route, have a knowledgeable trailer place that is familiar with Equalizer bars install them for you (they will need both the trailer and the tow vehicle to install them correctly). Go through the videos on the Equalizer website as it provides a nice installation walk-through, including how much the back of the tow vehicle should dip.
Thanks for the information, STMech. I am not familiar with the Fastway, so I wonder if it's something they developed since I purchased my Equalzier bars all those years ago. I assume the Fastway also comes with the built-in sway-bar? If not, perhaps that is the difference. Also, does your R-Pod weight that much? Just curious since most of the R-Pods I have seen "appear" to be much lighter in weight, even the larger R-Pods, so I was guessting, even fully loaded, they would not except 1,500 - 2,000 pounds.Scott, I am sure that Equalizer is a great weight distribution hitch. It's also a bit spendy. The same company makes the Fastway E2 WDH. Not quite as fancy as the EQ, but it's just an excellent WDH for pulling a trailer with a Pilot. We pull an R-Pod 178 with our 2018 EX-L, and we use the Fastway E2 rated at 600 lbs tongue, and 6000lb max trailer weight. It's a perfect fit for a 3000 lb travel trailer behind a Honda Pilot!