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Average Camper Weight: Planning to get your own camper but still wondering how heavy of a trailer you should get?
How can you successfully tow it with your truck?
With all these questions…
Using weight as a denominator can help you narrow things down to a decision.
Today, we are going to be looking at Average Weight Campers along with the things you have to know before getting (or using) one.
How Much Do Average Campers Weigh?
An average camper weighs around 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg) of dry weight. This refers to the weight of an RV without any liquids, passengers, or cargo.
For a more realistic example, you’ll need to add one 500 pounds (680 kg) of gear and other weight.
Depending on the type of trailer and the materials used, a camper can weigh about 250 pounds per foot of trailer.
This depends on the length of your camper trailer as well as its construction and build type.
These are a few examples of popular camper models and how much they weigh:
- Forest River RV Wildwood Grand Lodge 42DL – 43’7” – 13,068 pounds (dry weight)
- Jayco Eagle 330RSTS – 39’3” – 10,249 pounds (dry weight)
- Keystone RV Outback 328RL – 37’10” – 8,710 pounds (dry weight)
- Highland Ridge RV Open Range Lite LT272RLS – 35’ – 8,085 pounds (dry weight)
- 2017 Cherokee West 274DBH (32 foot long box) – 7,705 pounds (dry weight)
- 2016 Jayco Jay Flight 38BHDS (38 foot long box) – 7,690 pounds (dry weight)
- 2015 Jayco Jay Flight 27RLS (27 foot long box length) – 6,030 pounds (dry weight)
- Dutchmen Aerolite 2133RB – 25’8” – 5,632 pounds (dry weight)
- 2015 Jayco Jay Flight 26RKS (26 foot long box length) – 5,605 pounds (dry weight)
- Grand Design Imagine 2150RB – 26’9” – 5,482 pounds (dry weight)
- 2017 Salem Hemisphere 24BH (24 foot long box length) – 5,118 pounds (dry weight)
- 2017 Rockwood Mini-Light 2504s (25 foot long box length, 29 foot total length) – 4,800 pounds (dry weight)
- Cruise LITE 19DBXL – 24’8” – 4,418 pounds (dry weight)
- 2017 Coleman CTS192RDWE (23 feet box length) – 3,974 pounds (dry weight)
- 2017 R-Pod RP-176 (17 feet long) – 3,786 pounds (dry weight)
- 2015 Jayco Jayflight 19RD (19 feet box length) – 3,715 pounds (dry weight)
- Coachman Clipper Ultra-Lite Travel Trailer: 18’4” – 2,978 pounds (dry weight)
How To Measure The Weight Of a Camper?
Knowing how much your camper weighs can help you prepare to make your trip safer, and your travels go smoothly because you know what you’re dealing with.
And when determining the overall weight of the trailer…
Here’s how you do it:
Calculate the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) then add the unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) plus the net carrying capacity (NCC).
The NCC consists of equipment, gas, water, and fuel.
And, if you have slide-outs or a generator, it equals to more weight.
A slide-out can add an extra 1000 pounds to a trailer while generators up to 400 pounds.
To know the maximum GVWR, look at the gross axle weight rating (GAWR).
The GAWR is the total load that the trailer’s axles can support without getting knocked down.
If your vehicle can control the maximum GVWR of the travel trailer, you should have no problems pulling a trailer even when it is completely loaded.
You might be wondering…
How can I calculate all these measurements?
Well, the best way to get an accurate measurement for your camper is to use a local CAT scale or other equivalent roadside scales.
By driving over the platform, you can read your total camper weight.
Helpful tip: Drive over the scale with the total weight you plan on traveling with. It should include the trailer, liquids, passengers, and cargo.
This way you can ensure that you’re within the load limits safe for your vehicle, before heading out on a road trip.
RELATED: 13 Cheapest Camper Trailers
Understanding the Listed Numbers Of Weight
Don’t let yourself get caught off guard and confused when talking to the salespeople.
Step up your game at an RV dealership!
Expect a whole bunch of different weight numbers listed on the manufacturer’s websites and owner’s manuals. Some people will also tell you the gross weight as well as the dry weight.
But trust me, you got this!
Here’s all you need to know:
Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW) or Dry Weight (DW) –
The weight of a tow vehicle or trailer straight from the manufacturer or factory. It’s how much the trailer weighs when it is empty.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) –
It is the maximum weight that the trailer can handle. This includes the unloaded vehicle weight, optional equipment or accessories, passengers, liquids, and cargo.
The trailer and tow vehicle each have their own GVWR.
Net carrying capacity (NCC) –
The weight of all the items you pack into the trailer.
Dry Hitch Weight –
The amount of weight that’s put on the trailer ball while towing. It assumes your trailer is in unloaded vehicle weight and is usually about 10 percent of your trailer’s weight.
Cargo Carrying Capacity –
The greatest amount of weight your belongings and gear should total to.
You can weigh your items separately before loading, to accurately keep track of your cargo’s weight.
Tongue Weight and Pin Weight –
Tongue weight or pin weight refers to how much vertical weight is actually being expressed onto the back of your vehicle.
This refers to the weight pressure put onto your vehicle’s towing ball during towing.
The dry hitch weight will tend to be lower than the other weights, as the RV’s wheels will take most of its weight, putting less pressure on your tow truck.
Where Does The Weight Come From?
A camper may put up a greater or lesser weight. Even a small trailer can weigh in on the bulky side.
Gear and Water
Water weighs 8 pounds per gallon, and an average trailer has a 48-gallon freshwater tank.
So, your freshwater tank will add 400 pounds to the weight of your trailer.
Then, we add the gear weight to the camper. A generator weighs about 90 pounds.
Slides and the Weight of Your Camper
Remember that if your camper has slide-outs, it will increase the weight of the trailer. A single slide-out adds 800 pounds to the overall weight of the trailer.
An alternative to the slide-out—the popup—helps you gain extra room without the extra weight. Popups don’t add weight since these are generally constructed of canvas or other lightweight, collapsible materials.
Camper Construction Weight
The materials used for the construction of your camper can also have an impact on the overall weight of your camper.
The two main RV construction types are wooden and aluminum frames.
If a camper isn’t built out of fiberglass, it’s usually with wood and corrugated siding. These campers are heavier and need more power to haul. The wooden frames weigh about 900 pounds more than the aluminum campers.
On the other hand…
Aluminum campers are lightweight because they use aluminum for their structure. You’ll recognize these campers by their smooth sides.
For vehicles that need to pull something that’s on the lighter side, fiberglass and aluminum campers are great options.
Liquid, Passenger, and Cargo Weight
Each tank on your RV will add in extra weight when full. Freshwater, propane, gasoline, or sewage can all add up from 40 to 400 pounds.
Depending on the number of passengers, this can add on an additional 120 to more than 700 pounds.
Then, with the cargo added to the trailer, that’s an extra 400 pounds of camping gear, food, and kitchen supplies among others.
Often forgetting about your camper’s cargo carrying capacity? You’ll likely end up packing more than you expect.
Traveling with boats, bikes, a generator, space heaters?
Always onsider their weight implications.
Always remember: All these items will add extra weight to your trailer.
Pots, pans, dishware, cutlery, food, towels, toiletries, paper goods, linens…
All these things (and more) will also contribute to the weight of your camper.
Suitcases and Clothing
Think of the weight restrictions for luggage on an airplane.
You’ll have to account for the packing you’ve done for this specific trip.
What’s the bottom line?
You must always remember to take note of the weight you’ve started with and do your best to keep track of the weight you’re likely to end up with.
What size vehicle do you need to tow a camper?
Many factors could affect the ease or difficulty of towing the trailer.
Let me tell you…
The most important advice I had and would give about your towing vehicle and its load is “do not max out your towing capacity.”
The easiest way to know if you can tow your camper is to take the dry weight and add one 500 pounds (if you’re traveling with a family).
This accounts for potential gear, passengers, and liquids. Then, make sure that this number is not more than 85% of your vehicle’s towing capacity.
And that’s just one side of the story…
It’s also advisable to check the vehicle’s tow rating through the sticker inside the door. This will give you the exact ratings and the amount it can tow.
The Gross Combination Weight Rating includes the weight of the loaded trailer and tow vehicle. The Maximum Tow Rating takes the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and the Gross Combination Weight Rating into account to display the optimal towing capacity for a vehicle.
Drivers must consider not just the weight of the trailer, but also the weight of the tow vehicle and the gear they’re hauling.
You don’t want to buy a trailer that matches your vehicle’s exact towing capacity or even any bit over. It can damage your transmission and engine over time.
It means you’ll burn out your transmission on the long run.
If you’re pulling loads that are too heavy, you also may not be able to travel up hills.
Also, you want to leave a little margin of error in case the trailer company or your towing vehicle are giving “hopeful” numbers in the advertising materials.
It may surprise you that the “maximum towing capacity” for your vehicle could be more than the weight of your camper.
But you still shouldn’t tow it.
Instead, pull a trailer that is 80 percent of the maximum hitch weight.
Wondering why you should pull less?
Here are good points to lighten the load:
- Save your transmission: Pulling the maximum weight your vehicle is made for can burn your transmission out.
- Quicker, easier travels: Especially for traveling up hills, pulling the maximum weight load won’t have you cruising at the speed limit.
- Play it safe: In case of miscalculation from either your towing vehicle’s specs or the trailer manufacturer, a little twist can ensure you get where you’re going safely.
Do You Need a Truck?
Be wary as you shop for campers and make sure that you don’t get taken by the marketing. Check the numbers.
There is a camper for almost every type of vehicle. Even a car can tow a little one-man teardrop camper. However, don’t stress your mini-SUV by pushing the limits of your tow capacity, if you want a massive 26′ trailer.
Sometimes, if you want the big RV, you gotta get a big truck to match it.
Factors – such as horsepower and torque, whether the suspension will provide a smooth ride for passengers, and how much cargo you intend to carry – all play important roles.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How heavy is a small camper?
A small camper can weigh anywhere from 500 pounds to 4,500 pounds, depending on the style. Small campers include Teardrop campers, pop-up campers, and shorter travel trailers.
The average weight of a teardrop camper is about 2,000 pounds with cargo while the average for small travel trailers is about 3,000 pounds.
How much does a 20-foot camper weigh?
A 20-foot travel trailer will average around 2600 pounds dry weight. This varies by model and build.
Meanwhile, a loaded 20-foot travel trailer could weigh as much as 2,700 or 2,900 pounds.
How much does a lightweight camper weigh?
Generally, lightweight travel trailers are considered 6,000 pounds dry weight or less.
What is the best camper for the money?
Our Top-Notch pick is the Mercedes Benz Metris Weekender.
The Metris Weekender strikes a great balance between family grocery getter and weekend escape pod.
It is furnished with an innovative rear fold-down seat bed, plus very comfy pop-top sleeping quarters with a sprung mattress that’s capable of seating five and sleeping four.
Unlike most other campers on the road…
It can fit in any standard garage and should present no problem to those living in RV-restricted neighborhoods.
The Metris isn’t cheap, but it’s also a daily driver.
It offers rear curtain airbags along with Mercedes’ slew of collision avoidance and stability systems.
Despite its size…
…the 2.0-liter turbo motor and five-speed transmission offer surprising grunts and a remarkable 5,000-pound towing capacity.
The Weekender promises to be among the safest, and most drivable, campers on the road starting at $65,000.
How Does Construction Type Affect Weight?
type of camper has aluminum metal structuring.
It has lighter weight than traditional “stick-built” trailers with wooden 2×4’s.
Use innovative materials in flooring and cabinets in place of heavier ones to save on weight. Suffice to say, look for materials that are lightweight.
But wait, let me tell you something…
Lightweight travel trailers can sometimes be more expensive than their heavier counterparts.
Conclusion: Camper Weight
Each type of trailer has a specific purpose.
The weight of each trailer is different.
Learn everything you need to know on your travel trailer weight and shrug off possible weight on your shoulders before it’s too late.
What’s your pick? Let me know in the comments and let’s discuss!