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Key Takeaways

  • Fifth wheels weigh between 12,000 to 20,000 pounds on average.
  • The weight of a 5th wheel depends on factors like size, construction, and amenities.
  • Understanding fifth-wheel weight is crucial for safe towing and vehicle selection.  

Confused about fifth-wheel weights? Find clarity and expert advice on determining the weight of these RVs for safe and hassle-free towing experiences.

A fifth wheel typically weighs between 12,000 to 20,000 pounds. The weight depends on factors like size, construction, and amenities. Understanding the weight is crucial for safe towing and selecting an appropriate vehicle.

As someone who's been knee-deep in the world of fifth wheels, I get your curiosity. I've had the same burning question that led me to dive into extensive research and consult with experts. With a solid background and experience, I'm here to share the inside scoop.



How Much Does A Fifth Wheel Weigh?

If you're considering a fifth wheel for your next RV adventure, understanding the weight of these fifth-wheel trailers is crucial. The weight of a fifth wheel impacts fuel efficiency and determines which tow vehicle is suitable for your needs.

The average weight of a fifth wheel varies significantly depending on its size, features, and construction materials. Lightweight fifth wheels can weigh between 7,000 to 9,500 lbs and typically measure 21-34 ft in length source.

On the other hand, mid-size fifth wheels range between 10,000 to 14,000 lbs and are usually 33-41 ft long. Full-size luxury fifth wheels can weigh anywhere from 14,000 to 22,000 lbs and measure between 35 to 45 ft in length source.

Consequently, it's essential to know the weight of your ideal fifth wheel to ensure your tow vehicle is up to the task and that you can tow safely.

Factors Affecting Fifth Wheel Weight

Size and Build Material

One of the main factors affecting the weight of a fifth wheel is its size and build material. Generally, larger fifth wheels will weigh more than smaller ones due to the extra materials and components used in their construction.

In addition, building materials such as aluminum and fiberglass tend to be lighter than those made from steel or wood. The average empty weight of a fifth wheel is around 13,000 pounds, and the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is about 18,000 pounds, depending on the specific model.

Optional Features

These features include upgraded appliances, slide-outs, awnings, and entertainment systems. Each of these additions can add significant weight to the fifth wheel in terms of its individual mass and the extra support structures required to accommodate them.

For example, slide-outs can add up to 500 pounds each, depending on their size and materials used, and a residential-size refrigerator might weigh several hundred pounds more than a standard RV fridge.

When considering the towing capacity of your tow vehicle, it's essential to account for the added weight from optional features in the overall hitch weight and gross axle weight rating.

Storage Weight

This includes personal belongings, camping gear, food, and any other items you'll need for your trip. Be mindful of the cargo carrying capacity (CCC) of your fifth wheel, which is the maximum weight you can safely transport in terms of cargo.

The CCC is derived from the difference between the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and the unloaded vehicle weight (UVW).

Factor Weight Impact
Size and Build Material Larger and heavier materials increase the weight
Optional Features Upgrades and additional features add weight
Storage Weight Cargo weight increases the overall weight

When choosing a fifth wheel to purchase or rent, always consider the factors mentioned above, and do not exceed the towing capacity of your tow vehicle. Ensure that your setup's hitch weight, tongue weight, and total weight are within the recommended limits set by the tow vehicle's manufacturer.

Average Weights by Length

It's essential to remember that not all fifth wheels are created equal. The size of the fifth wheel directly impacts its weight, so it's helpful to look at average weights by length. Keep in mind that hitch weight, gross axle weight rating, and gross vehicle weight rating are other important factors to consider when assessing a fifth wheel's weight.

One of the most common questions potential fifth wheel owners ask is, "How much does a fifth wheel weigh?" To answer this, let's start by looking at the numbers. A lightweight fifth wheel can weigh as little as around 2,400 lbs, while the heaviest ones can reach up to 20,000 lbs.

The average weight of a fifth-wheel trailer falls between 12,000 and 15,000 lbs. However, these numbers can vary based on the specific model and its features, as shown in the table below.

Length (Feet) Weight Range (Pounds)
Under 20 2,400 - 5,000
20 - 25 5,000 - 9,000
25 - 30 9,000 - 12,000
30 - 35 12,000 - 15,000
35 - 40 15,000 - 20,000
Over 40 20,000+

Tongue weight is another crucial factor when towing a fifth wheel. This is the amount of weight being applied to the hitch, and it impacts the tow vehicle's handling, braking, and overall stability. On average, the tongue weight should be around 10-15% of the fifth wheel's total weight.

Understanding the weight class of a fifth wheel is also important.

  • Lightweight: Up to 30 feet long, maximum weight of around 9,000 lbs
  • Midsize: 30 to 40 feet long, average weight up to 15,000 lbs
  • Full-size: Over 40 feet long, average weight of 15,000 lbs or more

Understanding Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

When it comes to fifth wheels, it's important to understand the concept of Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This number represents the maximum weight a vehicle can safely carry, including its own weight, cargo, passengers, and any additional equipment.

Fifth wheels are known for their size and luxurious amenities, but their weight can vary widely. Some may weigh as little as 6,000 pounds, while others can exceed 20,000 pounds. Many factors affecting a fifth wheel's weight include the length, floor plan, materials used, and added accessories. To find out your fifth wheel's specific weight, check the manufacturer’s specifications or weigh it at a certified vehicle scale.

Your tow vehicle plays a significant role in your fifth-wheel setup. Matching your tow vehicle's towing capacity with your fifth wheel's gross vehicle weight rating is essential. This ensures that your tow vehicle can safely handle the weight.

Various factors affect a tow vehicle's towing capacity, such as the engine size, axle ratio, and transmission type.

  • Unloaded Weight of the Vehicle: The weight of a truck as produced at the factory, including generator fuel tanks, full engine, and fluids, but not including water, cargo, dealer-installed accessories, and propane.
  • Dry Weight: The weight of a fifth wheel without any cargo, fluids, or passengers. It typically includes some factory-installed options but not any dealer-installed accessories.
  • Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC): The maximum weight of the cargo (including water, propane, and personal belongings) that the trailer can safely carry.
  • Hitch Weight: The weight of the fifth wheel on the hitch of the tow vehicle, also known as the pin weight or tongue weight. Proper hitch weight is crucial for maintaining safe driving conditions while towing.
Fifth Wheel Weight Category Average Weight Range
Lightweight 6,000 - 10,000 lbs
Mid-Range 10,000 - 15,000 lbs
Luxury/Heavyweight 15,000 - 20,000+ lbs

Finding Specific Fifth Wheel Weights

Manufacturer's Specifications

When searching for the weight of a specific fifth wheel, it's essential to start with the manufacturer's specifications. Most manufacturers provide information on the fifth wheel weight, including the unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) and the cargo carrying capacity (CCC).

Different manufacturers offer a wide range of fifth wheels, which can differ significantly regarding size, design, and features. Some of the common factors that play a role in determining the fifth-wheel weight include:

  • Frame materials
  • Construction method
  • Size and length of the trailer
  • Optional equipment and amenities

You can usually find this weight information on various platforms, including:

  1. A sticker or plaque on the fifth wheel itself.
  2. Manufacturer's website or brochures.
  3. Online forums, where owners of specific models share their experiences.

Weigh Stations

Another way to determine the actual weight of a fifth wheel is by visiting a weigh station. These stations are set up primarily for commercial vehicles but can be used by RVers to find the accurate weight of their fully loaded fifth wheel.

Using a weigh station helps account for the added weight in terms of

  • Cargo
  • Water and propane tanks,
  • Personal belongings
Weight (lbs) Category
9,000 - 10,000 Lightweight fifth wheels
10,000 - 15,000 Mid-range weight fifth wheels
15,000 and above Heavier, luxury fifth wheels

It's worth noting that while manufacturer specifications are helpful, they may not accurately represent the weight of your specific setup. Factors such as the towing capacity of your tow vehicle, tongue weight, and hitch weight all play a role in your RV's overall weight and should be factored in when determining your fifth wheel's weight.