camper weight
AN EXAMPLE OF THE CAMPER WEIGHT SCALE IN ACTION. SCALES FROM METTLER TOLEDO ARE NORMALLY USED TO MEASURE RV WEIGHT. ALWAYS VISIT ONE OF THESE SCALES WITH YOUR RV LOADED WITH CARGO AND PASSENGERS TO KNOW YOUR ACTUAL GROSS WEIGHT.

How Much Does An RV Weigh ? Average Camper Weight

Generally, the average camper weight is approximately 5,200 lbs (2,350 kgs) when it comes to dry weight. “Dry weight” refers to the weight of an empty RV with no fuel or water in its tanks. A more realistic average camper weight, once you have added items, fuel and water to it, would be closer to 6,700 lbs or 3,030 kgs in weight.

However, generally speaking, for every foot of your RV (in terms of the box length), you can expect there to be around 250 lbs of weight when the camper is filled with water, fuel, and items (such as furniture/beds etc). So, if you have a 10-foot RV, you can expect a camper weight around 2,500 lbs. Similarly, if you have a 15-foot RV, you can expect a camper weight of around 3,750 lbs.

If you have found this page, it is presumably because you are looking to see trailer weights and ascertain what weights your truck can pull. Generally speaking, if you have bought a truck which claims it can tow 7,200 lbs (3,250 kilos) then you are going to be fine towing travel trailers which are 24 feet or less. We have to see the evaluation of the camper weight in much more detail:

How Much Does An RV Weigh ? Unloaded Vehicle Weight, Gross Vehicle Weight, Cargo Capacity, Tongue Weight, Pin Weight. What Do They Mean ?

I want to explain the following camper weight categories, what do they mean, and which is important for you: unloaded vehicle weight,  gross vehicle weight, cargo capacity, tongue weight and pin weight.
What do these four different weights mean? They are all potentially important for different
reasons, and depending on your approach to the tow capacity of your vehicle they could be critically important.

What Is The Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW)

Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW):  This refers to the weight of the bare trailer itself with no equipment or water in its tanks. It means the dry weight of the travel trailer itself with no cargo or passengers in it. Just the camper weight of the empty travel trailer going down the road. That is usually the rv weight that most people are actually concerned. What they
want to know is not “how much does an RV weigh”, but “how much does this RV does really weigh”.

What Is The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) This is the maximum weight that the camper could safely weigh, and it refers to the camper weight with an average load of equipment and full water tanks inside. Actually, you should be interested in knowing how much the camper weight is, when it is loaded. Well, technically that is the GVW the gross vehicle weight,  the maximum capacity.
But usually you are never going to maximize the capacity of a trailer. I have a business and I do not see families coming to my business that are maximizing the GVW at all. Even families with toy haulers do not have this issue. The gross vehicle weight is a specification interesting only for us and for the service departments for camper weight distribution purposes.
These families, and a few individual RV users, they want to know, once they have everything loaded, and the toy hauler loaded, the fully loaded camper weight.
They want to factor, for example somewhere between 75 to 125 pounds of stuff and I know you are that one person out there. I do this for a living and almost everybody fits within that boundary that I just shared with you, even if they say that “we pack a lot of stuff from the kids, we are a different case, we are not like your other customers“.
So gross vehicle weight: unloaded vehicle weight plus all the cargo you can possibly shove in, it is the gross vehicle weight. that is, the maximum weight of the trailer plus the cargo and the ordinary quantity of expected passengers.
That is really the weight you want to ponder when you are figuring out what sort of weight distribution set you require for a travel trailer or potentially a fifth wheel hitch. All this because if you are that one person who loads completely the RV, you are going to want a hitch that is rated for that kind of weight.
If it is a fifth wheel hitch and it is not rated for enough for that weight, then you could actually start to torque and flex, and that could be catastrophic. If it is a weight distribution system on a travel trailer and you have the wrong load setting on those sway bars, it will occur that the systems are not going to work properly and that is going to introduce extra porpoising in your trailer going down the road, and furthermore, extra wiggling, back and forth all over the place and pretty soon your whole trailer will oscillate, and you are going to be terrified to tow it.

What Is Tongue Weight And Pin Weight?

Tongue weight or pin weight, as it would be called on a fifth wheel. That is how much vertical weight is actually being expressed onto the back of your vehicle.
This refers to the weight pressure which is put onto your vehicle’s towing ball during towing. Please bear in mind that this refers to towing an empty RV with no equipment or water in its tanks. The dry hitch weight will tend to be significantly lower than the other weights, as the RV’s wheels will take most of its weight, putting less pressure on your tow truck.
Now in the case of a fifth wheel, the pin weight is really important to know because your vehicle has a payload capacity in the bed of that truck. You do not want to exceed that capacity. Otherwise, you will otherwise extinguish your warranty, ordinary or extended warranty, and wreck the bed of your truck.
Now, it is actually really hard to do that but it is important to understand the differences now. In the case of a travel trailer you will end up “cheating” those calculations.  I say “cheating”, as those load leveling hitches called weight distribution system, are designed to spread out and diminish the tongue weight on a trailer so you can cheat that number quite a bit thanks to the weight moderation introduced by the weight distribution system.
camper weight
FIFTH WHEEL TOWED BY A GMC WITH A LARGE BED AND A GOOSENECK HITCH TO TOW THE RV. FIFTH WHEELS ARE THE HEAVIEST TRAILERS WHILE TEARDROP CAMPERS HAVE A SMALLER CAMPER WEIGHT.

What Is The Weight Distribution System

What is a weight distribution system?  it is actually an exterior class 4 hitch upgrade. If you are looking through the Ford, GM or Dodge literature and user manuals, you are going to see class 3 and class 4 hitches. What is the difference then?  Both trailer hitch classes have a two inch square receiver, but a class 4 hitch has built-in weight distribution system. Class 4 hitch has bars that help lift the chassis and essentially distribute that camper weight.
If you look at the two inch square receiver on the back of your vehicle, if you look
at the weight tag there, you are going to consider that every travel trailer you look at
weighs too much for your towing vehicle.  Well, that is because you are supposed to be handle that relation between the camper weight and the towing vehicle, with a weight distribution set.
A weight distribution load leveling hitch on a travel trailer is the same thing as just an external add-on versus an interior built-in component. Therefore, what you are doing, is to create and retrofit a class 4 hitch with a weight distribution kit. The difference there is you also get a lot of anti sway benefits to most load leveling systems.

What Is The Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC)

Cargo carrying capacity: that is how much stuff you can pack in this camper before you start to structurally overload it. Maybe the floor or the axles. It depends on where the the weak point is in the trailer. Usually, as I explained before, you are never going to come anywhere close to that cargo carrying capacity, unless you start loading bags of bricks and cinder blocks, concrete blocks and fertilizer bags in this thing, to put some rare examples.  You are never going to get this thing packed full to its capacity.
This is the maximum amount of things that the RV can be filled with. The lower a camper’s cargo carrying capacity, the more conservative you will have to be with your equipment and gear.
camper weight
AN EXAMPLE OF THE CAMPER WEIGHT SCALE IN ACTION. SCALES FROM METTLER TOLEDO ARE NORMALLY USED TO MEASURE RV WEIGHT. ALWAYS VISIT ONE OF THESE SCALES WITH YOUR RV LOADED WITH CARGO AND PASSENGERS TO KNOW YOUR ACTUAL GROSS WEIGHT.

Updated Camper Weight Examples 

Twice per year we update the list of identified catalogue RVs and we depict their camper weight. In any case, despite this guide, check always the product specifications provided by the RV manufacturer.

Consider to weigh your RV in a public county scale or in a private company like CATS and know the UVW of your own camper. Apart from the unloaded camper weight, take it at least once with your family and the usual cargo, gear and amenities used, to know the camper weight when it is loaded.

  • 2019 Flagstaff E-Pro 12RK with 11 (camper weight unloaded or UVW) 1,157 Lbs from Forest River.
  • 2019 RP R-Pod with 17´(unloaded camper weight or UVW) 3,798 Lbs from Forest River.
  • 2019 Jayco Jayflight 19 with 19´(Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 3,723 Lbs from Jayco
  • 2019 10RK with 13´(Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 1,575 Lbs from Hummingbird RV
  • 2019 CTS-192 with 23´(unloaded RV weight or UVW) 3,993 Lbs from Coleman.
  • 2019 Sport 16RB with 16´ (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 2,874 Lbs from Airstream
  • 2019 Rockwood Mini Light with 25´(UVW or unloaded travel trailer weight) 4,814 Lbs from Forest River.
  • 2019 17RK with 19´ (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 2,997 Lbs from Hummingbird RV
  • 2019 Salem Hemisphere 24 with 24´(UVW or unloaded camper weight) 5,137 Lbs from Forest River.
  • 2019 175 LHS Single Axle with 21´ (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 3,334 Lbs from KeystoneRV.
  • 2019 Jay Flight 26 with 26´(UVW or unloaded RV weight) 5,623 Lbs from Jayco.
  • 2019 Sport 22FB with 22´ (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 3,642 Lbs from Airstream
  • 2019 Jay Flight 27 with 27´(UVW or unloaded travel trailer weight) 6,042 Lbs from Jayco.
  • 2019 International Serenity 23CB with 23´ (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 4,758 Lbs from Airstream
  • 2019 Jay Flight 38 with 38´(unloaded camper weight or UVW) 7,714 Lbs from Jayco.
  • 2019  Land Yacht with 28´ (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 6,569 Lbs from Airstream
  • 2019 Cherokee West 274DBH with 32´(unloaded vehicle weight or UVW) 7,721 from Forest River.
  • 2019 24MBH White Hawk with 29´ (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 5,621 Lbs from Jayco.
  • Ascape Thirteen with 13´ (unloaded small travel trailer weight, also UVW) 1,522 Lbs from Aliner
  • 2019 32BHS White Hawk with 37´(Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 7,763 Lbs from Jayco.
  • 2019 Nest with 16´ (camper weight unloaded or UVW) 3,424 Lbs from Airstream
  • 2019 30RD White Hawk with 35´(Unloaded Vehicle Weight) 6,663 Lbs from Jayco

Camper Weight And The Weight Of Water Tanks And Items 

When adding water to your tanks, bear in mind that it weighs approximately 8 lbs (3.6 kg) per gallon. RVs have an average of about 48-gallon capacity water tank, meaning that your water tank by itself, will add around 400 lbs (181 kg) to your overall camper weight. That is approximately the same as 2 adult passengers!

Then we have to add items and equipment which help you to run your RV and dwell within it comfortably. Some of these are lighter items, such as duvets and pillows, however, if you have an electricity generator which is powerful enough to power the A/C unit of an RV, then youa are going to be adding 90 lbs (41 kg) to your trailer right off the bat.

By the time you add on food and drink, kitchen appliances, utensils, sleeping equipment, and camping gear, among other items, you are looking at adding another 400 lbs (181 kg) to the camper weight. So, even if you are conservative with your gear and water, you can easily add around 900 lb (408 kg) to your camper weight before any passengers are even onboarded in it! Essentially, you have obtained the weight of a large family already added into your vehicle before you step inside.

Be Wary Of Slide-outs

Slideouts may be convenient when it comes to sleeping space, but they add a significant amount of weight to your RV. One slide-out usually adds around 800 lbs (363 kg) to the camper weight, a significant addition.

On the other hand, if your RV has “pop outs” – the canvas material pop outs – instead, you should not worry about any dramatic weight gains. The canvas is very light. I refer to those RVs known as tent trailers and pop up campers.

Construction Type And Influence In The Camper Weight 

Generally speaking, there are two ways in which RV trailers are constructed. If your RV has smooth sidewalls on the exterior, then it is probably made from fiberglass. Fiberglass travel trailers typically have aluminum structuring inside which allows them to boast a much lighter camper weight than many other trailers.

On the other hand, there are the so-called “stick built” RVs which have aluminum corrugated sliding on their exterior and a wooden frame on the interior. This heavy lumber frame is the cause for additional camper weight, usually adding around 900 lbs (408 kg) to the average RV.

The four seasons RVs are the heaviest recreational vehicles, considering their footprint. They have more insulation and an additional layer of material witin the structure. For example the Arctic Fox, that is very heavy for its size thanks to its excellent insulation.

Do Not Put Too Much Pressure On Your Towing Vehicle!

As I mentioned before, I would recommend taking the unloaded vehicle weight of the RV and adding around 1,500 lbs (680 kg) to be safe. Then, you need to take this number and make sure that your vehicle can tow it! Be sure that this number is not more than 80% of what your vehicle claims it can safely tow.

Your truck may claim that it can tow 4,000 lbs, but remember that these numbers are likely to be inflated slightly for marketing purposes. Also, if your truck really can tow 4000 lbs – that is at its uppermost limit! If you constantly force your truck to pull a weight at its highest capacity, you are going to have problems in it, for example, in the transmission.

First, your transmission will begin to burn out. Second, going up hills is going to be extremely dangerous and challenging. Third, driving at the speed limit is going to be challenging, especially on highways. Finally, as aforementioned, the company selling the truck may be a little over-optimistic with the weight capacity numbers in order to sell more trucks.

I would personally suggest that you go and check out the sticker on the inside of the driver’s door for the tow vehicle. When calculating how much this vehicle can tow, use THIS number and not the glossy numbers promoted online or in marketing materials. The add-ons and packages purchased with the vehicle will affect this number, so it is always best to check out the sticker.

For example, let’s say you have a tow truck which can tow 7,500 lbs. If you have an RV which has a dry weight of 5,000 lbs, then you want to add around 1,500 lbs for water and equipment weight. This gives you a weight of around 6,500 lbs. Your truck will be able to tow this weight, as it is 1,000 lbs under the limit. However, it will probably still struggle when it comes to hills and high speeds – the closer you are to the limit, the more pressure you are putting on your tow vehicle.

The Truck You Need As Towing Vehicle In Relation To The RV Weight

When you shop around for RVs and travel trailers, the RV manufacturers know that everyone is looking for travel trailers with a low camper weight which are easier to tow, as they will require lower towing capacity in the tow vehicle. This results in lots of exaggerated words such as “superlight” and “featherlite” which are supposed to sound like “not heavy” and therefore, more exciting to the prospective customer. Always check the product specifications and not the flashy advertisements for your final decision.

You may not even need a tow truck. Small one-man teardrop RVs can be towed by a lot of regular cars, for example.

Nonetheless, if you are looking to buy an impressive 25-foot camper, you probably want to buy a truck which has a large enough towing capacity to accommodate it. Do not stress out your SUV by pushing its towing capacity to the maximum.

Conclusions For The Camper Weight Analysis

As a general rule when buying a new RV, you should ascertain the unloaded vehicle weight and then add on approximately 1,500 lbs (680 kg) for equipment, water, and other amenities.

Always rent before buying. Rent a travel trailer that suits to the towing capacity of your current main vehicle. If your favorite travel trailer is too heavy, you may need another towing vehicle. Before you purchase a camper, see that it is suitable for the towing capacity of the vehicle you will use for towing.

So that was a breakdown of unloaded vehicle weight,  gross vehicle weight, cargo capacity, and tongue weight.  So not all camper weight numbers are the same. Ask us questions in the comments, I want to make sure that you are looking at the right weight for the right vehicle, and that you are considering all the features required for a safe travel, such as handling and braking of the RV to name a few.
SHARE
Previous articleAverage RV Prices With 21 Examples
Next article21 RV Accessories That I Had To Buy For My New Camper
Alexander Beliavski
I am Alex, an RV designer and RV developer. I create bill of materials for RV manufacturers for travel trailers and fifth wheels. I have also worked as an RV designer, As a consultant, I create customization trees for RV manufacturers who want to offer a solution to prospective customers to design their custom RV with variant configuration. I sell in Indiana trailer hitches, hitch balls, goosenecks and weight distribution systems and I provide advice to customers who want to know which is their towing capacity, which hitch ball should they utilize and how to deploy a weight distribution system. I do my best to explain all these processes and their installation, here in RV Favorites.