Camper Weight: How Much Does An RV Weigh? An Informative Guide

camper weight

Last Updated on August 25, 2020 by Michael J. Branco

On average, the camper weight for an RV is around 5200 lbs. But this figure only represents the average dry weight of a camper. You will need to factor in the fuel, water, and essential items to determine the average total camper weight.     

The size of your Camper and its composition and your camper weight distribution determine your specific trailer weight. When buying a new camper, you need to keep in mind your existing vehicle’s towing capacity when looking at the RV specs weight. It is also an important factor for safety reasons. You need to be aware of your camper weight so that you do not violate any local laws. There are certain weight requirements that you need to abide by for vehicle insurance.

Table of Contents

Camper Composition and Travel Trailer Weight

There are two primary materials used to make your campers body: aluminum and fiberglass. There are pros and cons to both makes. Let us discuss each to help you decide if you want to go with an aluminum body or fiberglass body.     

Aluminum

It is the cheaper option as compared to fiberglass. It doesn’t necessarily make aluminum a bad material. In fact, an aluminum camper can damage easily; however, you can replace the damaged components easily at a low price. 

There are shingles used to construct the aluminum RV structure, which means you can easily remove one piece and replace it at a low cost. 

The aluminum RVs usually have frames made up of wood, which will make your vehicle heavier. Your camper weight has a direct impact on your fuel consumption and mileage. More weight will also add strain to your truck and its transmission. Most vintage camper weight is heavier due to their aluminum and wood structure.            

Fiberglass

Campers usually consider a fiberglass body to be superior to an aluminum body. Fiberglass exterior lasts much longer and is sturdier against rocks and tough conditions. 

But, if it does get damaged for some reason, the repair cost is going to be very expensive. Fiberglass will stay clean, and its shine will last longer than other structures.        

Cleaning the smooth fiberglass surface is easier as compared to the shingles of aluminum. Because of their durability and shine, fiberglass RVs have a better resale value, which can be an important factor in your purchase decision if you want to sell your vehicle after a few years. 

The structure of RVs having fiberglass exterior is usually made of aluminum piping and not wood. This will make the RV lighter and save your fuel by giving better mileage. 

While the wooden structure is not that big of a deal for short trips and occasional camping, but it will matter if you want to tour the country in your RV.   

Trailer Weight Definitions to Know

camper weight

Certain terminologies are often used when discussing the camper weight of big vehicles and the towing capacity of your car or truck. Let us delve into these definitions a bit to help you understand the tiny details that add to your Camper’s weight.

Certain terminologies are often used when discussing the camper weight of big vehicles and the towing capacity of your car or truck. Let us delve into these definitions a bit to help you understand the tiny details that add to your Camper’s weight. 

GOOD TO KNOW–  The majority of the trucks have their information written on their driver side door. You can find the same information on the manual of that truck and the website of the truck manufacturer.

Vehicle Curb or Kerb Weight

When the vehicle has absolutely nothing inside it, the weight of just the vehicle is referred to as the vehicle curb.

The weight of the full fuel tank may or may not be included in the curb weight. In the US, the weight of a driver is counted in the curb weight. Many European manufacturer add 165 pounds of driver’s weight.          

Dry Weight

Dry weight is quite similar to curb weight except that the consumables of the vehicles such as oil, fuel, coolant, washer fluid, etc. are not included in calculating the dry weight.    

Gross Vehicle Weight

The weight of a vehicle plus the cargo and the people inside it is called its gross vehicle weight. If you haul something behind your vehicle, its weight will not be included in the gross weight.  

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

Every vehicle has a limit of the maximum weight with which it can operate, that maximum weight is called its gross weight rating. Make sure not to exceed this weight limit to stay safe.     

Gross Combined Weight Rating

This rating denotes the maximum weight of everything, including the truck or towing car, everything inside it, the towing apparatus, the RV, and everything inside the RV. You should not exceed this rating for safe towing of your trailer.          

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)

Every axle has a positive rating of the weight limit that you can put over it. Every axle will have a front and a rear rating specified for it.

Other Considerations for Camper Weight

Camper Weight

Campers with Slides

Slides allow you to maximize your living space offering maximum comfort. However, slides add to your camper weight and make it heavier. If you opt for a camper with slides, you typically will have more than 750 pounds for each slide.      

Water, Food, Clothing, and Other Random Essentials

Everything you take with you into your RV will add to the camper weight. Just the water alone weighs around 400 pounds, which is why it is best only to fill up when you have reached your destination. 

Typically a camper with all the gear and essentials pack will have additional weight of 1500 pounds. This figure will be different for different campers. Let us discuss some major items that add to your camper weight:     

Potable Water

You cannot move without a water supply with you. RV sites do have water hookups and showers, so you can fill up when you reach there.     

Just make sure to find out the estimate of the total weight before you move from a location. 

Each gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds. Suppose if your water tank has a capacity of 40 gallons so that a full tank will contain 323 pounds.     

Propane Tank

While a propane tank is not the heaviest on your list but it does have significant weight going into your Camper. Typically a propane tank will weigh 30 to 40 pounds, and a full tank will have an additional 25 to 34 pounds.     

People

Every person will add an approximate of 175 pounds on the trailer, which is the average figure of the weight of the typical male adult of 191 pounds and a typical female adult of 159 pounds.   

Food

Food ration is also an unavoidable weight added to your Camper that you need to take into account.   

Floor Jack and Random Tools

A typical floor jack weighs around 35 pounds. In addition to that, you will be carrying other tools which will have some weight that needs to be accounted for.     

Miscellaneous Information

You will have hundreds of pounds in terms of miscellaneous items, including kitchen supplies, toiletries, gadgets, charging cables, etc. It is best to pack ahead of time to avoid loading everything into the trailer on the day of the trip.

Camper Weight Distribution – Just as Important as Total Weight

No two RVs are made the same.

Not all RV manufacturers are careful about weight distribution when creating the model. Some of them solely focus on the presentation of the vehicle as attractive models sell fast. So before you buy a vehicle, it is best to look into its weight distribution feature.      

Hitches

camper weight distribution hitch

RVs that do not have proper weight distribution tend to sway on the road. This can create a high risk for the driver and people on board. It can be really difficult for the driver to control a swaying trailer and damage the vehicle and the people in it. 

The solution to this situation is to install a camper weight distribution hitch. A hitch will distribute your camper weight evenly across the surface and prevent the swing. Just remember that some inches are not recommended to be used in extremely cold weather. So consider the capabilities and limitations of a hitch before buying it.   

Tongue Weight

Balancing the weight on the trailer can be a problem. When you use a hitch, the weight that is put on its ball is known as the tongue weight. It is best to keep the tongue weight around 9% to 15% of the trailer’s gross weight to achieve the Camper’s optimal balance.

Camper Weight Management     

The Tow Hitch Rating Should Exceed the Need

Using the right tow hitch is important to manage the camper weight on the road. Make sure your tow hitch rating is more than the gross weight of your trailer. The best practice is to have a tow hitch rating of 10% to 30% more than your camper weight. 

The weight on a loaded trailer is quite a lot, and in case the hitch fails to perform, the Camper can crash with another vehicle on the road and cause a lot of damage. A powerful tow hitch will save you and help the driver when they have to make a sharp turn. A great hitch won’t bend or snap in tough conditions.        

Don’t exceed the Weight of your Camper and Vehicle.

Do not go beyond the recommended weight limit of your trailer or your truck. Sometimes you’ll see that the truck or trailer can move with excess weight, but that does not mean that it will move easily.

It would help if you always carried less than what’s recommended for your truck to stay safe. Do not load up nearing the limits. It becomes tough to maintain the speed limit when the towing truck has to take the Camper on steeper routes. It also messes with the transmission of the truck. 

Braking Considerations

More weight results in more difficulty while using brakes at crucial times, like in case of an emergency. To stay safe, pack as light as you can. Too much weight is not just a risk for your life but also a hazard for other people on the road. Other than that, loading up too much will result in the brake pads wearing down quicker than their normal life—pack light for your and other peoples’ safety. You don’t want to get hurt on your trip.    

Average Weights of Different types of Trailers 

Travel Trailer (2300 – 8800 pounds)

  • On average, a travel trailer will weigh 2300 to 8800 pounds.
  • Suitable Towing vehicle: SUV, Truck, minivan, or cargo van.
  • A minivan can only tow some of the lightweight travel trailers.  

Fifth Wheel (5900 – 11500 pound)

  • On average, a fifth wheel will weight 5900 to 11500 pounds.
  • Suitable Towing vehicle: Only truck.
  • The fifth wheel has a design that only a truck can fit its stabilizer arm.  

Toy Hauler (4100 – 14200 pounds)

  • On average, a toy hauler will weight 4100 to 14200 pounds.
  • Suitable Towing vehicle: SUV, truck, cargo van. 
  • If you’re carrying ATVs or dirt bikes, the weight can increase from 300 to 800 pounds.

Airstream (2500 – 8000 pounds)

  • On average, an airstream will weight from 2500 to 8000 pounds.
  • Suitable Towing vehicle: SUV, truck, minivan, or cargo van. 
  • Airstreams can have dramatically different weights due to the difference in their make. 

Pop up Camper (1400 – 3200 pounds)

  • On average, a pop-up camper weight will be around 1400 to 3200 pounds.
  • Suitable Towing vehicle: SUV, truck, minivan, or cargo van.
  • Hard side trailers will be heavier as compared to tent trailers but within the mentioned weight ranges.  

Read Full Article on Pop Up Camper Weight.

Small Camper or Teardrop (600 – 3100 pounds)

Wondering how much does a small camper weigh? On average, a teardrop or small camper weight will be around 600 to 3100 pounds.

Suitable Towing vehicle: SUV, truck, minivan, or cargo van.

It is possible to tow some small campers just by cars, but don’t attempt to tow a vehicle with more than 1500 pounds of gross weight with a car.   

Passenger, Liquid, and Cargo Weight

All the tanks on the RV add to their weight when they are full. Typically there is a gasoline tank, a fresh water tank, a black water tank, and a propane tank that goes in a trailer, adding 40 to 400 pounds to the camper weight. 

The passengers will increase the vehicle’s gross weight from an added 120 pounds to more than 700 pounds. 

And your typical cargo will include kitchen supplies, toiletries, gadgets, camping gear, etc. making up around 400 pounds if you don’t overboard with packing.               

Weighing Stations – Ticket Warning

All the major roads have weight station checkpoints and a police officer having portable scales to regulate the trucks that haul different cargo. You might need to stop at some of such weight stations according to their camper weight chart. You won’t have to stop at such weight stations in half of the states unless you cross the weight rating by 10000 pounds, but that’s virtually impossible to move around. Exceeding the tow rating of your truck can result in huge fines, so be careful when loading up.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Camper Weight

How much does a 16-foot camper weight?

The average weight of a 16-foot camper can be between two thousand pounds and three thousand five pounds. This range is quite huge because the floor plan, construction type, manufacturer, slide-outs, dealer added features, and interior appliances make a lot of difference in camper weight for various RVs.     

How much does a 15-foot camper weight?

A fifteen-foot camper can have a camper weight ranging from two to three thousand pounds. The weight will vary according to the make and add on the Camper features and how much of cargo you load up in your vehicle. 

How much does a large camper weight?

The weight of class A motor homes can range anywhere between sixteen thousand pounds and thirty thousand pounds. Large campers can be significantly varying weights depending upon their make and model. 

How much does a 32-foot camper weight?

The camper weight by length is typically two hundred and fifty pounds per foot. According to this computation, a thirty-two foot long will have an average weight of 8000 pounds. Now, this figure can go significantly higher as these campers are home away from home, and you might load up a lot once you’ve camped on your desired location. 

What truck can tow 12000 lbs?

Several heavy-duty trucks can perform the task of hauling twelve thousand pounds of camper weight when equipped with the right engine and towing gear. Some of the popular choices include Ford F-150, Nissan Titan, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram pickups. 

What size truck will pull 15000 lbs?

The towing capacity of a truck is maximized with a good engine and the right towing equipment. According to Ford’s truck camper weight chart, Ford F-350 can haul fifteen thousand pounds when it is properly equipped. But to tow a fifteen thousand pounds of camper weight, you would want a truck whose maximum towing capacity is more than that. For this purpose, you might want to consider the Ford F-450, which has a maximum towing capacity of sixteen thousand pounds when it is properly equipped.

Read: Best Truck Bed Cover 

What size truck do I need to pull 10000 pounds?

When a Ford F-150 is properly equipped with a 3.5 liter EcoBoost V-6, with a long bed, 4×2 crew cab having an axle gears ratio of 3.55:1, it has a towing capacity of thirteen thousand and two hundred pounds, which is perfect for hauling the camper weight of ten thousand pounds.        

How big of a truck do I need to pull a camper?

This depends on your camper size and weight. However, to give you a fair idea, the half-ton trucks of modern days can haul nine thousand to ten thousand pounds of weight. This is not necessarily the towing capacity of every half-ton truck, but most of them can easily tow ten thousand pounds or more when they are equipped with a heavy-duty engine and towing gear. 

How big of a camper can a Silverado 1500 pull?

The Chevy Silverado’s towing capacity depends on the engine and the towing gear that is accompanying it. For example, when you equip it with a 5.3-liter engine and serious towing gear, it can tow a maximum of eleven thousand pounds, which is one thousand and seven hundred pounds more than its standard maximum towing capacity. Similarly, when you equip it with a 6.2-liter engine along with serious towing gear, it can tow a maximum of twelve thousand and five hundred pounds, which is three thousand and one hundred pounds more than its standard maximum towing capacity.      

How heavy is a 25-foot camper?

As discussed above, a typical camper has a weight of two hundred and fifty pounds per foot when it is loaded. This means a twenty-five-foot recreational vehicle should weigh six thousand two hundred and fifty pounds on average. This shall vary according to your Camper’s make and model and how heavy or light you have packed.

Last Words

Deciding on the ideal camper weight depends on various factors that can be different for different RVers. Once you have set your mind on a certain RV model, keeping in mind your truck size and number of passengers, check out the reviews and experiences of other owners of that vehicle to know its pros and cons. Sure the gross weight of your trailer can be different according to your style of packing and rationing. However, the dry weight is a constant figure that will impact your total camper weight and towing requirements. Give special consideration to the floor plan of your Camper. You don’t want a swaying vehicle causing panic on the road for you and other good citizens. Hope you are now well known about the different types of camper weight.

Scroll to Top
0 Shares
Tweet
Share
Pin
Share