The weight of a camper is critical when determining towability and fuel efficiency; before purchasing a recreational vehicle, you should determine the weight of whatever you will be pulling and if your towing vehicle is the appropriate size.
Determining camper weight is not as easy as it may sound. Various factors must be taken into consideration, making it a complicated process. Camper weight differs from one trailer to another, so you will need to factor in the dry weight, how the camper is packed, and what you are bringing with you.
What to Keep in Mind
- The dry camper weight does not include fluids or camping gear.
- When determining the right tow vehicle, keep in mind that you may end up hauling 1,500 pounds on top of the camper dry weight.
- A majority of vehicles rated to tow up to 7,200 pounds come with the ability to pull campers below 24 feet.
- Popup campers feature a lighter dry weight compared to fifth wheel campers.
Staying within the camper weight ratings and choosing the right tow vehicle are imperative to the safety of RV travelers, and it is important to understand common terms when calculating camper weight.
Gross Camper Weight
The gross camper weight refers to the actual weight of a fully-loaded camper, including the weight of the passengers, the cargo, fluids, and optional items onboard. The gross camper weight should be within the limits as set by the camper manufacturer and state laws.
Gross Trailer Weight Rating
This is the maximum gross weight that should not be exceeded. This applies to trailers or campers and vehicles as well.
Gross Trailer Weight
Used when referring to a trailer, the Gross Trailer Weight is similar to Gross Vehicle Weight.
Dry camper weight is the weight of a camper including only the standard equipment. This excludes any fluids, cargo, optional equipment, and passengers on board the travel trailer.
Cargo weight refers to the total weight of the cargo added to the camper, including the weight of the passengers and their belongings, and the weight of optional equipment added to the camper.
Ways to Limit Camper Weight
Hauling a camper using your truck requires that you stay within the camper weight ratings in order to enjoy better fuel efficiency while ensuring ease of movement.
- Know your Limits
Find out the towing limit of your vehicle and stay within the limits. Knowing these limits will help you estimate the maximum loading capacity, so that you stay within that count.
Decluttering helps you get rid of excess weight. Only bring the most important items. Keep your number of souvenirs to a minimum, unless you have extra capacity to accommodate these items.
Remove Any Extra Seats
Taking out the extra seats on the rear of your camper can remove up to 70 pounds from the camper weight. Therefore, if there are no passengers to occupy the rear seats, you should remove them, rather than carry the extra weight.
Go for the Aluminum Alternatives
Rather than the heavy steel bumper, go for a lightweight aluminum alternative. However, this option depends on the model of your camper. Look around your camper and decide what you can swap out; aluminum is the best choice when it comes to roof racks, mounting kits, brackets, and similar items.
Remember, a minimalist approach when packing helps you avoid overloading your camper. Always ensure that your camper does not weigh more than the limits of your tow vehicle.
Aluminum alternatives will help with camper weight management. Following these tips can help keep your travels safe.