Are you wondering how much weight you’ll really be pulling when you settle on your next camper?
It’s understandable that you’d want to know.
After all, it will dictate what you use to haul your camper, how you pack, and even where you can go.
If only finding out the weight of your camper was as easy as setting it on a scale. Instead, determining the weight of a camper is actually a complicated process with several factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Every camper will weigh a unique amount depending on its dry weight, how you’ve packed, and what you’re traveling with.
The following list will give you an idea of some average camper weights, and a ballpark figure for where your camper’s weight will start.
Where To Begin
While there will undoubtedly be variations, a good rule of thumb is that each foot of your camper will add 250 pounds to the total weight you’ll be pulling.
Remember that the “dry” weight of your camper will not include any fluids or gear.
Anticipate that you’ll end up pulling around 1,500 more pounds than the given dry weight of a specific trailer.
Many people are looking to know how much their trailer weighs so they know whether or not their current vehicle will be able to haul it.
The majority of vehicles rated to tow 7,200 pounds will be able to pull any trailer under 24 feet. Again, there will be exceptions to this, but it can be a good place to start.
Important Terms To Know
If you want to sort through the weight of your vehicle, there’s some terminology you’ll want to understand.
Unloaded Vehicle Weight: This is the weight of the camper with no gear, no fluids, and no additional items. This is the barebones structure weight, before it’s prepped to hit the road.
Gross Vehicle Weight: This weight is the total weight of your vehicle once you’ve added the full tanks of water and an average load of gear. This is supposed to be the maximum your trailer should weigh. You should keep the final weight under this number.
Dry Hitch Weight: This is the amount of weight that’s put on the trailer ball while towing. It assumes your trailer is at its unloaded vehicle weight, and is usually about 10 percent of your trailer’s weight.
Cargo Carrying Capacity: This is 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.
Where Does The Weight Come From?
Wondering where that extra weight comes from?
Even a small trailer can weigh in on the hefty side. Here’s why.
Slide-outs can help keep your towing footprint small but add spacious room when you stop.
They’re also going to add a significant amount of weight.
You can expect each slide-out to weigh about 800 pounds. Multiple slide-outs quickly add up to some serious weight.
An alternative to the slide-out—the popup—helps you gain extra room without the additional weight. Generally constructed of canvas and/or other lightweight, collapsible materials, popups don’t add weight.
However, they also aren’t heavy-duty or able to provide significant protection during extreme weather conditions.
We love the extra room the slide-outs and popups allow during the casual hours you’re parked in a site. If you have significant weight restrictions for your towing vehicle, though, you’ll probably want to skip the slide-out models.
It’s not just the type of bonus space you need to accommodate for when considering the construction. You’ll want to factor in the kind of material your camper is built with when working out what it will weigh.
Many campers are constructed with fiberglass.
These campers will be lightweight and use aluminum for their structure. You’ll recognize these campers by their smooth sides.
Fiberglass and aluminum campers are a great option for vehicles that need to pull something on the lighter side.
If your camper isn’t built out of fiberglass, it will be made with wood and corrugated siding. These campers are significantly heavier. While there are benefits to each type of camper, the wooden ones will require more power to haul.
It’s easy to forget that the fluids in your trailer’s systems can quickly add up and contribute a significant amount of weight to your load.
As an example, a single gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds. Many trailers boast a 48-gallon freshwater system.
That’s almost 400 pounds of weight—in water alone.
It’s easy to see how you’ll soon reach that 1,500 pounds of additional weight you need to apply to the given dry weight.
Traveling with boats?
All of these items will add weight to your trailer.
It’s likely you’ll end up packing more than you anticipate. It’s easy to throw a few extras on board and forget to consider their weight implications.
Pots, pans, food, dishware, cutlery, towels, paper goods, toiletries, linens—all of these things—and more—will contribute to the weight of your camper.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do without them, so you need to factor them into your expected weight.
Suitcases And Clothing
Finally, you’ll have to account for the packing you’ve done for this specific trip.
Think of the weight restrictions on luggage you check on an airplane. While it may be “only one bag” it could contribute 50 pounds to the final weight—per bag.
Your Results May Vary
Someone else pulling the same camper may log in a greater or lesser weight.
Travel with pets? You’ll have to factor in them and their supplies as well.
Traveling during the winter where you need more heavy duty gear? Your winter weight may be different from the summer weight.
The important thing is that you know what weight you’ve started with, and do your best to keep tabs on the weight you’re likely to end up with.
Knowing what your camper weighs can help make your trip safer, and your travels go more smoothly.
Average Camper Weights In Action: 7 Examples
Looking for some hard and fast examples of what camper weights look like?
Here are some examples to help you identify how much your trailer will weigh.
1. Coachman Clipper Ultra-Lite Travel Trailer: 18’4”
This model offers a double bed, a dinette booth, and a shower and toilet.
It also has a pantry and a wardrobe.
The Coachman Clipper Ultra-Lite will sleep up to three people. It has a 33-gallon freshwater system and a 25-gallon black water capacity. It also has a 25-gallon grey water capacity.
- Dry weight: 2,978 pounds
- Gross weight: 3,718 pounds
- Hitch weight: 318 pounds
2. Dutchmen Aerolite 2133RB – 25’8”
This Dutchmen Aerolite has a queen bed, an outdoor kitchen, and a dinette booth.
It also has a single slide out. The outside shower offers both cold and hot water.
A 21-inch oven and 3 burners provide you with a functional kitchen where you can prep the same meals you would at home, while on the road.
The freshwater system in this model is 52 gallons. Grey water capacity is 39 gallons, while the black water capacity is 28 gallons. This model also sleeps three.
- Dry weight: 5,632 pounds
- Gross weight: 6,600 pounds
- Hitch weight: 592 pounds
3. Forest River RV Wildwood Grand Lodge 42DL – 43’7”
This is a large trailer that can easily accommodate everyone you travel with.
Sleeping up to seven persons, the trailer has a kitchen island, loft, private bedroom, and even ceiling fans.
Triple slide-outs ensure there is plenty of room once you set up camp.
This Grand Lodge model has a 40-gallon capacity freshwater system, black water tank, and grey water tank.
A bathroom complete with a shower and space for a 50-inch television will leave you wanting for nothing while on the road with this camper.
- Dry weight: 13,068 pounds
- Gross weight: 14,000 pounds
- Hitch weight: 1,855 pounds
4. Grand Design Imagine 2150RB – 26’9”
This trailer will sleep up to four.
A front bedroom, a rear bath, and a full kitchen will give you the amenities you crave while on the road.
The capacity of the freshwater system is 52 gallons. The grey water capacity is 72 gallons, and the blackwater capacity for this model is 39 gallons.
Substantial pass-through storage makes this a great trailer for people who need to travel with additional equipment.
- Dry weight: 5,482 pounds
- Gross weight: 6,695 pounds
- Hitch weight: 427 pounds
5. Highland Ridge RV Open Range Lite LT272RLS – 35’
This RV is equipped with two slides and can sleep up to five.
It boasts a separate front bedroom with a queen-sized bed and a wardrobe. The bathroom has a shower, sink, and toilet.
An equipped outside kitchen and dual slides give you ample room while at camp. This trailer has a freshwater capacity of 50 gallons, a black water capacity of 31 gallons, and a grey water capacity of 57 gallons.
- Dry weight: 8,085 pounds
- Gross weight: 9,990 pounds
- Hitch weight: 830 pounds
6. Jayco Eagle 330RSTS – 39’3”
The Jayco Eagle sleeps four people and has three slide-outs.
Built for luxury, this model even has a designated space prepped for washer and dryer install.
Dual slide-outs in the main living space will give you plenty of room during your waking hours. An equipped kitchen with an island will help provide all the amenities you’ve left at home.
The Jayco Eagle has a freshwater system of 75 gallons. Its grey water capacity is 97.5 gallons and its black water capacity is 32.5 gallons.
- Dry weight: 10,249 pounds
- Gross weight: 11,750 pounds
- Hitch weight: 1,290 pounds
7. Keystone RV Outback 328RL – 37’10”
The Outback 328RL has 3 slide-outs and can sleep up to five persons.
Theater seating, a fireplace, and vaulted ceiling contribute to a feeling of luxury and plenty of space.
The private master bedroom has a king-sized bed and a wardrobe.
Two refrigerators and an equipped kitchen will keep you fueled while you’re on the road.
A 30,000 BTU furnace and a 15,000 BTU cooling system will keep you comfortable in whatever weather you encounter.
This Keystone model has a 60-gallon freshwater system. The black water capacity is 38 gallons and the grey water capacity is 76 gallons.
- Dry weight: 8,710 pounds
- Gross weight: 10,500 pounds
- Hitch weight: 1,075 pounds
Hauling Your Trailer
Some important advice on your towing vehicle and its load: do not max out your towing capacity.
Your truck (or hauling vehicle) will come with a designated max weight load. Whatever that number may be, do not anticipate that you will be pulling that maximum weight.
Instead, plan on hauling a trailer that is 80 percent of the maximum weight load.
Wondering why you should pull less than the given number?
After all, that is what the vehicle is rated to pull. If you’re looking for some good reasons to lighten the load, here are a few.
- Save your transmission: Pulling the maximum weight your vehicle is rated for can have you burning through your transmission.
- Quicker, easier travels: Especially if you’ll be traveling up hills, pulling the maximum weight load won’t have you cruising at the speed limit.
- Play it safe: In case there’s been an error in calculation from either your towing vehicle’s specs or the trailer manufacturer, a little wiggle room can ensure you get where you’re going safely.
Know The Numbers And Hit The Road
Hopefully, this article has left you prepared to determine what kind of trailer will work for you—and whether or not you’ll need a new vehicle to tow it.
Gather the information you need and crunch some numbers. In no time at all, you’ll be ready to get on the road.
Have we missed anything here we should have included? Have an experience you’d love to share? We can’t wait to hear it. Drop us a line in the comment section below.