While the modern camper is an amazing holiday vehicle that offers flexibility, there is always a temptation to overpack it and cause it to be overweight.

There is very little more frightening than towing an incorrectly packed camper at highway speeds when it sways from side to side behind your car. There are many horror stories of the trailer flipping and pulling the tow vehicle.

The weight you can add to a camper depends on the type of camper, its size, and the method of propulsion. If the trailer is towed, the applied weight limits must be rigorously followed and not exceeded, as this will affect the stability, the camper's structure, and the cost of towing.

It is very important to ensure that the weight you add to the camper stays within the allowable limits and also that you pack the trailer correctly to ensure that most of the weight sits on the axles and towards the front.

From my 45 years of camping with various types of vehicles, I can tell you that packing a camper is a skill that is not always taught when the trailer is purchased, and yet it is essential to ensure you get to your destination safely.



How To Work Out How Much Weight You Can Add To A Camper

How much weight you can add to a camper and how you pack various factors determines it.

  1. The type of camper.
  2. The size of the camper.

The Type Of Camper

The type of campers vary considerably and include.

  1. Pop-Up Campers
  2. Teardrop Trailers
  3. Hybrid Trailers
  4. Travel Trailers
  5. Toy Haulers
  6. Fifth-Wheels

Pop Up Campers

Pop-up campers are essentially tents mounted on a trailer. These lightweight, relatively low-cost models are very popular among tent campers and small families.

Teardrop Trailers

Teardrop trailers are similar to pop-up campers except that whereas the pop-up campers have a tent structure, teardrop trailers have a permanently constructed structure.

Teardrop trailers are cheaper and lightweight to be towed by lower power vehicles.

Hybrid Trailers

Hybrid trailers mix a pop-up camper and a normal camping trailer. While being towed on the road, the hybrid trailer has all of the extensions packed away, and it is the same size as a normal trailer.

The hybrid trailers extensions are opened up at the campsite, and the vacationers enjoy a mix of trailer and tent life.

Travel Trailers

Travel trailers are fixed units that provide the whole living area within the trailer.

All sides of the travel trailer are hard and provide better insulation than traditional pop-ups or hybrids. Depending on the size of the trailer, they generally offer full kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Toy Haulers

Toy haulers are available in a travel trailer or fifth wheel format.

Toy haulers can carry "toys" such as a motorbike, golf carts, four-wheelers, and dirt bikes in the "garage" area, which normally converts into a sleeping compartment once the toys have been offloaded.

These trailers have a ramp that opens up from the rear, drops down the floor, and makes loading the toy much easier.


Instead of a conventional trailer towing hitch, fifth-wheel trailers have a connecting mechanism that attaches to a "fifth wheel" inside the truck's bed.

These units have large interior space, including a sleeping area over the truck's bed.

They are relatively ungainly and large and require large trucks to tow them.

Motor Homes

Motor homes are the iconic RV and represent the peak of ease of use, creature comforts, and space utilization.

Motorhomes are large, can carry extra weight, and provide the convenience of using their facilities while traveling.

How Much Weight Can Each Type Of Camper Carry?

There are several weight values used when evaluating a camper. The weight you can carry in the trailer will be determined by two factors, which include.

  1. The maximum permissible weight of the camper
  2. The maximum weight the tow vehicle can pull.

The following limits determine these weights.

  1. UVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight)
  2. CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity)
  3. GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating)
  4. GVRW (Gross Vehicle Weight Ratio)
  5. The hitch (or tongue) weight.

The importance of these weights is that they show the weight available to load the camper and how this affects the tow vehicle.

The maximum towing rating of the tow car must not exceed the GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating), including the weight of the towing hitch, the weight of the vehicle's passengers, and whatever is carried in the trunk.

You can expect a trailer filled with water and gear to weigh about 250 pounds per foot of length (the box length, not the total length, including the hitch).

The following table details the various weights which can be loaded onto the campers.

The following table details the various weights which can be loaded onto the motor homes.

How To Pack A Trailer Camper

Packing your trailer to ensure that you don't exceed the carrying capacity and correct the weight distribution is very important.

As shown in the table above, the maximum weights are clearly defined, and these must not be exceeded.

It is important to understand the weights of things you have added, such as clothing, and the weight of the full water tanks, gas bottles, and foodstuffs when calculating these weights.

The majority of the weight must be positioned over trailer campers and to the front of the camper. There should not be a lot of weight towards the rear.

If the weight is towards the rear, you risk that the trailer will sway when you are towing it, leading to loss of control and an accident.


Anthony Day

Anthony Day

Hi, my name is Anthony, and RVs are what I'm passionate about. I bought my first RV when I was 21, and I've been hooked ever since. I'll guide you on how they work, how they can be used in different environments, and how they fit into our everyday lives.

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