How Much Does A Camper Weigh?
The average camper weighs approximately 5,200 pounds, but your ability to tow that weight is going to be a bit more complicated than a single simple number.
There are many considerations to make and a few definitions to know when you are deciding upon your first trailer purchase.
The potential legal and insurance ramifications should deter any ignorance because a lack of knowledge in this particular subject could be very costly.
There are laws and regulations in place that are meant to act as guidelines to keep you safe and those around you safe.
Okay, first, since you are curious about the weight of the trailers, let’s take a look at those before we get into the other weight numbers that you will need to know.
Example Camper Weights
- 1,545 Lbs (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) – 13 Feet – 2019 10RK Hummingbird Trailer
- 2,860 Lbs (Batteries and LPs Included) – 16 Feet – 2018 Sport 16RB Trailer
- 2,980 Lbs (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) – 19 Feet 10 Inches – 2019 17RK Hummingbird Trailer
- 3321 Lbs – (Shipped Weight) – 21 Feet 5 Inches – Keystone 175 LHS Single Axle Trailer
- 3,634 Lbs (Batteries and LPs included) – 22 Feet – 2018 Sport 22FB Trailer
- 4761 Lbs (Batteries and LPs Included) – 23 Feet – 2018 International Serenity 23CB Trailer
- 6,586 Lbs (Batteries and LPs Included) – 28 Feet – 2018 Airstream Land Yacht Trailer
- 5625 Lbs (Unloaded) – 29 Feet 2 Inches – 2019 24MBH White Hawk Trailer
- 7,757 Lbs (Unloaded) – 37 Feet 10 Inches – 2019 32BHS White Hawk Trailer
- 6,620 Lbs (Unloaded) – 35 Feet 3 Inches – 2019 30RD White Hawk Trailer
Camper Composition – Weigh the Benefits
Generally speaking, there are two types of campers; those made of aluminum and those made of fiberglass.
There are benefits to both, so you will need to make some calculations and decide what is right for you and your situation. Here’s a quick rundown:
Aluminum is cheaper than the fiberglass campers which should immediately indicate which one is perceived as the superior product.
You should know that aluminum isn’t a bad product.
True it can be damaged more easily than the fiberglass campers, but those damaged sections are cheap and easy to replace.
Their exterior structure is made of shingles which makes removing one piece and replacing it with another super simple and cheap.
The downside to these trailers is that they often have wooden frames which isn’t the lightest material that you could choose.
This has a direct impact upon your gas mileage, and puts an additional strain upon your truck and its transmission.
This is usually considered to be the superior material for a number of reasons.
The exterior is much more durable, so it will do a better job of holding up to the various rocks kicked its way as well as other sources of potential dents to the fiberglass.
However, when something inevitably does damage it, it will be more expensive to repair
Fiberglass also stays cleaner and maintains its shine better than others.
Its smooth surface is also easier to clean than the aluminum shingles. Since these campers look better over a longer duration, their resell price holds up better.
That isn’t the only reason for the better reselling price.
The fiberglass exteriors usually mean that the structure of the camper is made of aluminum piping rather than wood. This means better gas mileage.
That isn’t a big deal for short and uncommon trips, but it will add up fast of you intend to take the camper around the country.
Trailer Weight Definitions to Know
Okay, hopefully that gives you an idea of the camper weights that you will be encountering. Let’s move onto some definitions.
Afterwards, we can go a bit more into how you can use these numbers to keep everyone safe and help prevent you from destroying your transmission.
It is important to remember that just because you can move the trailer, it doesn’t mean that nothing is going wrong.
Side Note – You can find a lot of the truck-related information on the driver-side door of the truck.
That same information can also be found on the truck’s manual and on the manufacturer’s website
Vehicle Curb (Also called Kerb) Weight
This is the weight of the vehicle with absolutely nothing inside of it. It is the weight of the vehicle itself.
It may or may not include the additional weight of a full tank of fuel, so there can be some variation there. In the United States, a driver is not included in the calculation.
In Europe, many of the manufacturers will add 165 lbs. to account for the driver.
Dry Weight is like Curb Weight except all of the vehicle’s consumables such as fuel, oil, washer fluid, coolant, etc. are not included in the calculation.
Gross Vehicle Weight
This is the combined weight of the vehicle, the people inside the vehicle, and any cargo that is located inside of the vehicle.
To clarify, the Gross Vehicle Weight does not include anything hauled behind the vehicle.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
This is the the maximum operating weight of the vehicle. The manufacturers are including the weight of the vehicle of this calculation.
You will have exceeded this number if you drive onto a scale and the number displayed exceeds the GVWR number in the vehicle’s manual.
Gross Combined Weight Rating
The GCWR is the maximum weight of absolutely everything.
When you total the vehicle, everything inside the vehicle, the towing apparatus, the trailer, and everything inside the trailer, it should be less than this number.
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
This is the maximum weight that can be placed on the specified axle.
The individual ratings of each axle will likely be specified with a FR (Front Rating) and a RR (Rear Rating).
Additional Camper Weight Considerations.
Campers with Slides
At the turn of the 21st century, campers began to incorporate a sliding room system that expanded the living space from what was essentially a hallway to something a bit more comfortable.
This was a fantastic addition for every camper’s quality of life, but it is also a rather heavy addition. Typically, there will be an additional 750+ lbs per slide.
Water, Food, Clothing, and other random necessities
You might be surprised how quickly the random items that you toss into your camper will quickly add up.
The water alone will typically add about 400 lbs to the load, so don’t fill up until you are at your destination.
According to several sources – You will probably be looking at a rough 1,500 pounds added to the curb weight of your camper when you are all packed up and ready to go.
That will vary of course. Here is some reference material of the bulkier items to help you calculate the amount of weight that you can expect to be adding to your camper.
Yeah, you are probably going to want water.
Most RV sites offer showers and water hookups, so you should be able to fill up at the location.
However you should be aware of the total estimated weight if you are going to carry it with you.
Water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon. Assuming that you have the rough average of a 40 gallon tank, you will be adding 332 pounds of weight just with that single addition.
Okay, it isn’t the heaviest item, but it is one of the heavier common items.
You likely have a 30 to 40 pound propane tank.
That base weight of the 30 to 40 pound tank will increase by 25 to 34 pounds respectively.
Each person is expected to add 175 pounds each.
That is the combined average of the typical adult male (191 Pounds) and typical adult female (159 Pounds).
I’m not saying that we should each be eating an average of 3 to 5 pounds of food per day; I am simply listing the averages, so that you can use them in your calculations.
Floor Jack and random tools
The floor jack is going to cost you 35 Lbs, and don’t forget about the other tools that you will probably want to keep handy.
Of course, you will also have 100’s of pounds of random supplies that range from a toaster to toiletries.
Oh, and you will want your books. Don’t forget your Ipad because you really don’t want to leave that behind.
Don’t forget your charging cables…It will add up fast. There are a thousand little items like that that will steal your available weight one ½ pound at a time.
I’d recommend not waiting to pack till the last day because of how common it is to load everything up and find yourselves overweight.
Camper Weight Distribution – Just as Important as Total Weight
One RV Is Not Like the Other
Many people make the mistake of assuming that RV manufacturers take weight distribution into account. Unfortunately, that is not always true.
Sometimes, presentation is the focus because obviously, presentation sells.
I’m not saying this is normal, but it is something to research before committing to a purchase.
I recently made a trip from Bend, Oregon to Orlando Florida.
It was a mad dash that took my brothers and I three days to complete. It was a blast…but it also had it’s risky moments.
A couple times while we made our way across the rather boring states in the center of the United States, we came across a couple different campers that were swaying back and forth.
The drivers were doing a good job controlling their vehicles, but you could feel their panic as the winds battered there sides.
A little sway was constantly making the rest of us rather uncomfortable.
Now, there is only so much that you can do in a situation like that.
The one thing that I highly recommend is purchasing a hitch built with anti-sway and weight distributing capabilities.
The Equalizer is the favored hitch at the moment, but there are many other good hitches out there.
Keep in mind that some of them should not be used in icy conditions, so be aware of what your hitch can and cannot do.
When dealing with such heavy weights, balance becomes a big issue.
One of the factors needed to achieve this balance is the tongue weight.
This is the calculated weight that is being applied to the ball of the hitch.
Ideally, roughly 9 to 15 percent of the gross trailer weight will be placed upon this point.
Camper Weight Management
The Tow Hitch Rating Should Exceed the Need
If you are searching for the right camper then you might also be looking for a new towing hitch.
If that is the case, make sure to buy a hitch that is rated for an amount of weight that exceeds what you plan on hooking onto the back of your truck.
The common consensus to exceed that weight by 10 to 30%. Just keep that in mind when you are looking.
Campers hold quite a bit of weight, and can demolish another vehicle if the hitch fails.
You’ll be thankful that you did when you inevitably need to make a sharp turn to avoid a careless driver.
It brings peace of mind knowing that the hitch is less likely to snap or bend.
Don’t Max out the Weight of your Trailer and Vehicle
On a similar note, you shouldn’t load up your trailer and truck to the top of what the Truck is rated to carry and pull.
Just because it can move, does not mean that it can move well.
It is a common mistake to purchase a camper and load it up until it just barely fits within the capabilities of the truck.
Your truck will have a difficult time maintaining the speed limit when hauling that load up the steeper hills.
I have seen this countless times, as I’m sure that you probably have too. That is also a fantastic way to burn up the transmission of your truck.
When calculating the weights, keep in mind that the more weight you have, the more difficult it will be to stop in the event of an emergency.
For safety, stay as light as possible; you are not just risking your life out there, you are risking others as well.
You will also be wearing down your brake pads faster.
Do yourself a favor, trim the campers weight and have a safer journey.
I really don’t want you to get hurt.
Weighing Stations – Ticket Warning
You may or may not be aware of this, but there are weigh station checkpoints and police officers with portable scales that are stationed along the major roads to monitor the trucks that are hauling various cargo.
Some of these weigh stations can require campers to stop, but the qualifications for required stops vary from state to state ( You can find more information here weigh stations and RVs).
About half of the states won’t require you to stop unless your load exceeds 10,000 pounds, but that isn’t the case .
You could be driving away with a hefty fine if the the weight being towed exceeds the tow rating that is listed on the inside of your truck door. Please be careful.