How Much Does a Camper Weigh?

When it comes to determining the right camper for you and your camping situation, there can be so much information to consider that it may seem overwhelming. For instance, how do you find a camper your vehicle will capably tow and that works for you and your camping needs? One of the key considerations when it comes to determining whether or not a camper will work for you and your towing capacity is the weight of the camper in question. But how do you know how much a camper weighs?

If you’ve looked into campers before, perhaps you’ve noticed that there are lots of different figures and weights, and understanding what means what can be quite confusing. Fortunately, we’re here to help explain what each term means, and what that means for you and your towing capacity. Read on to learn more!

Not only does the length of your camper trailer affect its weight drastically, but so will its construction type. And it can be hard to keep all the different weight measures straight, with terms such as the following to learn and understand:

  • Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW);
  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR);
  • Curb Weight;
  • Payload;
  • Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR);
  • Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR);
  • Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC);
  • Sleeping Capacity Weight;
  • Dry Hitch Weight;
  • Tongue Weight;
  • Dry Weight.

Ratings for each are the maximum weight limits as determined by the manufacturer. To further complicate things, sometimes some of those weights are substitutable.We’ll explain more, though, and soon enough you’ll understand what each term means.

Just as important as selecting a camper that your vehicle can adequately tow, however, is that you select a camper that will benefit you and your travel needs best, as well as a camper that will last. These terms will be discussed below into more detail for a further understanding of camper weight terminology to ensure your safety.

Gross Vehicle Weight is often confused with Curb Weight. Curb Weight is the weight of the camper or vehicle, without any fuel, no passengers and no cargo. Whereas, Gross Vehicle Weight is the current weight of the camper when traveling, including the number of passengers attending the trip, and cargo,  added with the Curb Weight itself.

Let’s jump right in.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum amount of weight the camper may sustain and the number should not be exceeded. Curb Weight and Payload factor in determining the GVWR of the desired vehicle and camper. Payload determines the maximum number of passengers and load that is acceptable for the camper before exceeding the GVWR. It is crucial to consider a GVWR that is higher than your desired cargo weight. Often errors individuals will make are loading a camper of, for instance, 10,000 lbs in GVWR, with 10,000 lbs in cargo. It is incisive to subtract the Curb Weight out of the campers GVWR to determine the Payload of allowance best for your safety. As a safety rule, campers with a GVWR over 1500 lbs should have a braking system and a run-away brake cable system.

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) is found on both, front and rear axles of your towing vehicle and your camper. These numbers inform you of the maximum weight a single axle can sustain. To avoid weighing more than what the capacity of the axles are, ensure checking these numbers and combining them together. Such error may cause an incident down the road and danger not only yourself but also potential drivers around you.

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is the maximum weight of the camper and your towing vehicle both combined, including curb weight and cargo weight of each vehicle. Calculating GCWR is done by adding the curb weight with the payload weight together of both, the towing vehicle and the camper once fully attached. Set by the manufacturer, this number should not be exceeded when loaded and traveling, instead, it should be a priority to avoid overloading either vehicle to avoid the consequences of mechanical failure.

An important factor for determining GCWR is gear ratio, which makes quite a difference. An axle code is found on a sticker on the vehicles and campers door, to which you can visit your manufacturer’s website online and match that code with your particular vehicles axle ratio on the fleet towing guide provided, and that will convey your gear ratio which will inform you more on the GCWR and capacity of your towing vehicle.

Cargo Carrying Capacity

The Cargo Carrying Capacity is a fixed weight limit determined by the manufacturer and should not be exceeded. To calculate your campers cargo carrying capacity it is crucial to know its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, further subtract the Unloaded Vehicle, the Sleeping Capacity Weight Rating, the Propane Fuel Weight, and the Freshwater weight. The end result will be the campers Cargo Carrying Capacity.

Sleeping Capacity Weight Rating

The Sleeping Capacity Weight Rating is the number of the sleep positions in your camper. This number is calculated by the number of sleeping positions further multiplied by 150 pounds.

Tongue Weight (TW)

Tongue Weight (TW) is associated with the attachment of your towing vehicle and camper. The basis of finding the right Tongue Weight is by considering 9-15% of your Gross Vehicle Weight and measuring approximately by that number. Use visual perception. If the Tongue Weight is needlessly heavy, it will force the rear end of your towing vehicle downwards and this will compromise steering. However, if the Tongue Weight is lighter than need be, it will point upwards into a peak, which will compromise breaking.

Dry Hitch Weight

Dry Hitch Weight is the weight allowed to be added on the trailer ball of your towing vehicle, and the weight it supports. This specified weight should not be surpassed.

Dry Axle Weight

Dry Axle Weight is determined by subtracting the Unloaded Vehicle Weight and the Hitch Weight, resulting in the camper weight when it is attached to the hitch.

Dry Weight or Unloaded Vehicle Weight

Dry Weight or Unloaded Vehicle Weight is the weight of your camper when unloaded. This excludes camping gear, food, kitchen supplies, which broadly add about 400 lbs in weight. In most cases, the dry weight provided by the manufacturer does not include the propane tanks and possibly batteries either. Water tanks once added, weigh nearly 400 pounds itself. Additionally, Dry Weight specifies the weight of an empty camper before adding its equipment and loads.

Why is Camper Weight Important?

The consequences of disregarding these factors are high in number. It is crucial to find the best weighing campers for your needs and towing vehicle. Errors that can occur otherwise, involve damaging your engine, transmission, rear axles brakes, wheel bearings, and the braking systems due to overheating,  all shortening your campers future reliability, and giving the probability of an overall collapse. Other potential risks include jeopardizing your warranty, and if located in a state that checks RVs and such camper weights, you may risk getting a ticket if pulled over, undergoing your vehicle on a scale.

When selecting the right camper size for you, additional factors to consider are your travel needs, style and specifics. For instance, calculating the factors above should relate to your potential and desired load. If your needs are minimal and your travel style is simple, you may want to consider a camper with a maximum weight limit equivalent to that. However, if your travel needs are highly demanding, and your travel style is rich, it is best to consider a camper with higher rating numbers, by adding an additional 500 pounds to the numbers assumed or calculated, since there is always more weight added than we necessarily consider.

Small Sized Campers Weight

Traveling with a total of two passengers, this is likely to be the right camper for that. These campers vary in weight, they weigh from 1,100 lbs to 2,500 lbs. However, if the needs and style of travel are heavy equipped, the cargo allowance of the camper should be examined. Small campers can vary on its Cargo Carrying Capacity starting from 400 lbs up to 1,500 lbs. Keep in mind that the Campers Dry Weight is not related to its Cargo Capacity, for instance, while a camper may weigh low, its Cargo Capacity can vary from low to very high. Lightweight campers available to select start from 1,500 lbs in weight, with a Carrying Capacity of 500. As well as, a camper of 1,700 lbs camper in weight, with a Cargo Capacity of 1,200 lbs. Therefore, both options can fit the needs of a small camping trip, whether the style is light in weight, or heavy and high maintained.

Medium Sized Campers Weight

These campers weigh from 2,500 lbs up to 5,000 lbs, and best fit the needs of three to four passengers, making it ideal and comfortable for a small group of friends or a small family. Naturally, these medium-sized campers can be accessorized delectably with averagely sized beds, kitchenettes, and bathrooms. These campers, although ideal for small families by providing sufficient space, they may also offer ideal comfortability and space for couples while simultaneously offering a great extent of luxurious travel style and travel needs for those seeking such campers. Additionally, it would allow for extra load space and weight. Again, it is important to rely on the Cargo Capacity not the weight of the camper itself, and determine the exact load capacity needed. In today’s market, there are medium-sized campers from a Dry Weight of 2,500-3,000 lbs that are available in Cargo Capacities of both, as low as 615 lbs, and as high as 1,688 lbs.

Large Sized Campers Weight

Such large campers start from 5,000 lbs up to 10,000 lbs. Pleasant for large families or large groups of friends.  These campers are doubtlessly accessorized well for the comfortability of a large trip, with large kitchenettes, full bathrooms, AC,  so innately they are high in Dry Weight. Examples of these campers can vary and average from a Dry Weight of 6,100-7500 lbs, that are available in both, low Cargo Capacity of 1,008 lbs, and in a high capacity of up to 3,500 lbs.

Fundamentally, not all large camper weights, are the best fit for large groups of people. For instance, if a campers Cargo Capacity is low, a number of five to six passengers will cover almost half of that number, leaving your Payload at a very low number, therefore you will not be able to add a great extent of weight.

Campers Construction and Built

A great factor that affects the camper’s weight drastically, is its construction and built, rather than its size, length and width alone. Campers vary from different built materials such as, aluminum and fiberglass. Both types of construction campers can be found in various travel style, and it will not affect whether one camper is more luxurious in interior design than the other, no matter its built.

However, when it comes to the weight of the camper, choosing a camper of aluminum material will be drastically lighter than a camper built of fiberglass, which is heavier and more firm. How this affects your decision on choosing the ideal camper, is of various reasons. For instance, if you are seeking a camper lighter in weight yet large in size with extra living space and average rating weights, a camper built of aluminum may be the option to consider. This is also very important if your tow vehicle is not necessarily ideal for heavier campers.

Necessities and  Storage

It is crucial to add at least 1,500 lbs to any campers weight. Water tanks and gear, such essentials of a camper cannot be avoided. Water weighs 8 lbs per gallon, add generators weight, grey tanks, and black tanks. Other necessities include air mattresses, kitchen amenities, and campfire supplies. These necessities together can add up to 600 lbs if not more. Most campers and RVs, ideally are furnished and equipped before purchasing, providing the above-mentioned necessities such as kitchen equipment, beds and mattresses, a sofa, a dinette, that all affect the camper weight.

Other added weight may include electrical hookup cords, a water pressure regulator, hampers, a hand-held vacuum, a trailer ball, a drill socket, outdoor camping furniture including folding chairs, a portable table and more. Storage will include backups that will be needed for either safety or comfortability. Such items include extra bedding, sheets, cleaning detergents, medical and emergency kit, RV repair kit, extra tire, etc.

Accessories and Customizing

The camper you select will essentially be considered your second home, therefore your unique style will be projected on to this camper. Accessorizing the camper can be fun or it can be disappointing when it does not equal well with the numbers of GCWR needed. Little things will add up, therefore it is very important to consider these factors and really understand camper weight terminology, before selecting your ideal camper.  Accessories that can be added may include kayaks, bikes and all camping gear considerable for outdoor activity.

Other items that are essential and may be added to any camper are personal electronics including cell phones, computer, laptops, dishes, silverware, cups, cooking utensils, paper towels, napkins, coffee pots, food and more. To further customize and style the camper to your preference, the weight added altogether can vary from 400 lbs to 600 lbs. That weight will be added with the weight of the necessities mentioned above, plus the weight of occupancy. To allow freedom of customizing, it is advised to aim for a higher Cargo Carrying Capacity, than what you think you need. Keep in mind, this camper is intended to last long, time and thought should be invested wisely.

Example Camper Weights

Provided below are samples of campers and trailers with their weight without water or gear, including their Dry Weight, and Carrying Cargo Capacity. Consider these examples to help you conclude what your ideal camper need be.

  • Ultra Light 2019 Hummingbird 10RK – Dry Weight of  1,545 lb. Cargo Carrying Capacity of 455 lb.
  • Ultra Light 2018 Hummingbird 16FD – Dry Weight of 2,535 lbs Cargo Carrying Capacity of 965 lbs.
  • Jay Flight 2019 SLX7 145RB – Dry Weight of 2,380 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 615 lbs.
  • Jay Flight 2019 SLX7 154BH – Dry Weight of 2,520 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 730 lbs.
  • Aerolite 2019 2133RB – Dry Weight of 5,410 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 2,190 lbs.
  • Coleman 1601 EXP Light LX 2019 – Dry Weight of 3,283 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity 1,557 lbs.
  • Coleman 18RB Lantern LT Conventional – Dry Weight of 3,111 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 739 lbs.
  • Salem Cruise Lite 2019 T177 RBFSX – Dry Weight of 3,159 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 1,151 lbs.
  • Cherokee 2019 264L – Dry Weight of 6,958 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 1,008 lbs.
  • Flagstaff E-Pro 2016 E16TH – Dry Weight of 2,842 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 1,688 lbs.
  • Flagstaff E-Pro E12SRK – Dry Weight of 1,763 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 1,135 lbs.
  • R-pod Ultra Lite 2019 RP-172 – Dry Weight of 2,338 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 905 lbs.
  • Rockwood 2019 Geo-Pro G12SRK – Dry Weight of 1,763 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 1,135 lbs.
  • Rockwood Roo 2019 235S – Dry Weight of 5,418 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 1,467 lbs.
  • Salem Hemisphere 2019 GLX 272 RL – Dry Weight of 7,294 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 2,351 lbs.
  • Alpha Wolf 2019 23RD-L – Dry Weight of 5,392 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 2,208 lbs.
  • Wildwood Heritage  Glen 269RL – Dry Weight of 6,179 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 3,351 lbs.
  • Surveyor 2019 19BHLE – Dry Weight of 3,599 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 1,101 lbs.
  • Vibe 2019 278RLS – Dry Weight of 7,588 lbs and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 2,072 lbs.
  • Jay Flight SLX7 195RB – Dry Weight of 2,890 and Cargo Carrying Capacity of 860 lbs.