Before you buy a travel trailer, knowing the weight is incredibly important. This vital statistic will determine how suitable the travel trailer is for your car, truck, or other vehicle. It helps you understand if the trailer is fit for purpose, so you might assume finding the weight is a simple task.
Although the manufacturer will generally reference the weight of the travel trailer, this isn’t quite the full story.
There are a few other details and ratings that have to be considered before you make a choice. Factor in the weight of everything you add to the trailer, and determining how suitable your trailer is for your car becomes much more complicated.
Considering weight, length, age, and all the additional factors can give you a fairly accurate weight for your travel trailer. Use this guide to find out everything you need to know about the average weight of the travel trailer.
What’s The Average Weight Of A Travel Trailer?
A travel trailer is a very popular form of RV, and they’re an adaptable vehicle for camping, vacations, and exploration.
Although the travel trailer is a fantastic choice for many lifestyles, it’s important to know the weight before you make a purchase. Otherwise, the wrong size trailer will sit in your garage and never get used.
You might not expect it, but there’s a massive weight difference between the lightest travel trailer, and those at the other end of the scale.
The average weight of a small travel trailer is 3500 lbs, and the average weight of a large travel trailer is 6300 lbs. However, this is just the average, so there are travel trailers that weigh significantly more or less than that.
A travel trailer might weigh anywhere between 1000 lbs, and 9000 lbs. Some even top 10,000 lbs.
The length is an incredibly significant factor in determining the weight of a travel trailer, and there’s plenty of variety to be found here.
The average travel trailer is around 25 feet in length, 10 feet high, and 7 to 8 feet wide.
All these measurements are important when considering the weight of a travel trailer, but it’s the length that has the most variety. The length of a travel trailer can vary from 10 feet to 38 feet. Most trailers are 20 to 30 feet.
Height can also vary, although there isn’t the same amount of choice. Width changes very little, as the trailer has to be safe for road usage.
The weight of the travel trailer is hugely dependent on the length. So, you might assume that knowing the length means you understand the weight. However, it isn’t quite that simple. There are other factors that contribute to the overall weight of the travel trailer.
At this point, you might be wondering why it’s so important to understand the weight of your travel trailer.
A travel trailer needs to be pulled by another vehicle, so that vehicle needs to have the correct towing limit. A travel trailer that’s too heavy for the vehicle can’t be safely towed. A car will have a limit that cannot be exceeded.
When you know the rough weight of the travel trailer, you can see if it’s suitable for your vehicle, and if you have a good enough hitch.
Weight also affects the driver’s license requirements. Depending on the state, a larger travel trailer may require a different license to drive legally.
Understanding the dry weight of the trailer itself isn’t the only thing you need to know. When we take our trailers out, we need to pack them with everything necessary for the trip. This adds to the overall weight of the travel trailer.
Finding the total weight of your travel trailer means finding the dry weight, and the weight it can handle. Below, we’ll go into detail about the terms and acronyms used when describing the different weights of the trailer.
The first thing you need to know is what factors affect the weight of the travel trailer.
How Length And Age Affect The Weight Of A Travel Trailer
The length of the travel trailer is directly related to how much the trailer weighs. A longer trailer will weigh more than a shorter trailer, with the weight increasing with every inch of length added.
If you’re trying to find a lighter travel trailer, you should start by looking at the shorter models. Without the added feet of length, these trailers have less weighing them down. Smaller trailers can’t carry as much, either, which means a smaller trailer will still weigh less when fully loaded.
An 18-foot travel trailer will have an average weight of 2000 lbs. A 25-foot travel trailer will have a weight of around 5000 lbs. A 35-foot travel trailer will have an average weight of 7500 lbs.
Height can also affect the weight of a travel trailer, but there’s less variety in size. A trailer will only be between roughly 8 and 12 feet in height. So, while a taller trailer does increase the weight, it isn’t as noticeable a difference.
Furthermore, a longer trailer has more room for additional weights such as appliances and furniture. Extra height doesn’t have the same effect.
A shorter trailer will have less weight on average than a longer trailer. But there’s more to it than simply finding the length. The age of the trailer can have a surprising effect.
Older trailers tend to be heavier, because the construction techniques and materials are less refined. As technology improves, sturdy trailers are built using lighter materials. So, if you’re buying a travel trailer second hand, you should consider the age as well as the length.
The furniture of an older trailer often contributes to the weight. If you have a second hand trailer, then bulky furnishings, including doors and windows, may be adding excessive weight. Even a small trailer can weigh a lot when filled with heavy materials.
Something else to consider is if the travel trailer has a slide out. A slide out provides the trailer with a larger living space, but it also adds a significant amount to the overall weight. A short trailer with a slide out may end up weighing as much as a longer trailer without a slide out.
A slide out can potentially add as much as 800 lbs to the weight of a trailer. However, the slide out might still be a low weight alternative to increasing space. It’s a tricky balancing act between space, length, and weight.
While length is an important consideration, it’s also important that you don’t see it as the only thing that matters. Otherwise, you might be surprised when your small trailer ends up heavier than you assumed.
Understanding The Weight Of Your Travel Trailer (Acronyms And Terminology)
Before you begin finding the weight of your travel trailer, you need to understand the terminology used. Otherwise, you might misinterpret what weight the manufacturer has provided.
The weight the manufacturer provides generally refers to the unloaded weight. This is the weight of the trailer itself, without anything on.
However, the weight will change as you start to pack up your travel trailer. By the time you’re ready to hit the road, your trailer might be a completely different weight, and no longer suitable for your vehicle and hitch.
This might mean you need to do some math to determine the total weight of your travel trailer.
First is the Unloaded Vehicle Weight, or the UVW. This is sometimes known as the dry weight. The UVW refers to the weight of the travel trailer when it’s empty of everything, including water tanks and propane tanks.
The UVW is often what’s provided by the manufacturer, but it doesn’t quite tell the full story. By the time the travel trailer is fully loaded, it might have gained an extra 1500 lbs, on top of the dry weight.
There’s also the dry hitch weight. This refers to the weight of the trailer that rests on the hitch, which is typically around 10 to 20 percent of the total weight. The rest of the weight will be balanced on the wheels and axle.
Next is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or the GVWR. This is the maximum weight that the travel trailer can be when fully loaded. This number includes the passengers and driver, as well as fuel and water, and anything else you bring with you.
The CCC, or Cargo Carrying Capacity, is the total weight available for equipment, accessories, cargo, and passengers. To find the CCC, take away the UVW from the GVWR.
Another acronym to be aware of is GCWR, which stands for Gross Combined Weight Rating. This refers to the maximum weight of the trailer and the towing vehicle combined.
Finally, there’s the Sleep Capacity Weight Rating, or the SCWR. A simple acronym, this refers to how many people are allowed to sleep on the travel trailer. Travel trailers generally have room for 2 or 3 sleepers. The SCWR will assign an assumed weight for each passenger, and calculate from there.
As you can see, the unloaded and loaded weights of the travel trailer are quite different. Knowing them both will give you an accurate idea of the weight that your car will be towing, so you can determine what’s suitable.
Now that you understand what you’re looking for, we can give you some examples of the average weight of different travel trailers.
Small Travel Trailer Weight (With Examples)
To help better understand the correlation of weight and length in a trailer, it’s useful to see some examples. This allows you to easily comprehend how the length interacts with weight, and how it isn’t quite as simple you might first assume.
For small travel trailers, we’ve rounded up some popular brands that sell trailers that are 25’ long or less. We’ve put them in weight order, so you can see how the length and weight isn’t always a direct correlation.
- Coachmen Clipper 9.0TD. Length: 14’2”. UVW: 1,418 lbs.
- Aliner Ascape Plus. Length: 13’. UVW: 1630 lbs.
- Forest River Flagstaff E-Pro E12SRK. Length: 12’3”. UVW: 1,763 lbs.
- Coachmen Clipper 12.0TD MAX. Length: 17’5”. UVW: 2,225 lbs.
- Forest River Flagstaff E-Pro E15TB. Length: 16’4”. UVW: 2,667 lbs.
- KZ Sportsmen Classic 180BH. Length: 21’5”. UVW: 2,690 lbs.
- Forest River R-Pod RP-171. Length: 19’. UVW: 2,714 lbs.
- Jayco Hummingbird 16MRB. Length: 19’10”. UVW: 2,890 lbs.
- KZ Sportsmen Classic 160QB. Length: 22’. UVW: 2,900 lbs.
- Forest River Flagstaff E-Pro E16BH. Length: 19’. UVW: 3,280 lbs.
- KZ Sportsmen Classic 180RBT. Length: 21’9”. UVW: 3,370 lbs.
- Forest River R-Pod RP-192. Length: 22’2”. UVW: 3,379 lbs.
- Coachmen Apex Nano 185BH. Length: 20’ 7”. UVW: 3,406 lbs.
- Forest River Flagstaff E-Pro E20FBS. Length: 21’8”. UVW: 3,442 lbs.
- Coachmen Apex Nano 194BHS. Length: 22’8”. UVW: 3,634 lbs.
- Forest River R-Pod RP-193. Length: 22’11”. UVW: 3,654 lbs.
- Airstream Flying Cloud 23FB. Length: 23’9”. UVW: 4,000 lbs.
- Coachmen Apex Nano 208BHS. Length: 25’. UVW: 4,260 lbs.
- Forest River R-Pod RP-202. Length: 25’. UVW: 4,574 lbs.
As you can see, length does play a significant role in the weight of a travel trailer. But you can also see that length clearly isn’t the only factor. Some longer trailers, such as the KZ Sportsmen Classic 180BH, weigh less than shorter travel trailers.
Part of this might be caused by the build of the trailer, and the materials used in construction. Clever building techniques and lightweight materials allow larger trailers to be built at a lower weight.
So, you must consider the brand, and the build, when deciding on the length of your travel trailer.
Large Travel Trailer Weight (With Examples)
From looking at the specs of small travel trailers, we could see a close connection between length and weight. For larger travel trailers, the length and weight is even more important. Larger trailers aren’t suitable for all vehicles, and some may even require a different driver’s license.
To see just how large a travel trailer can be, this list covers the weight and length of some of the biggest options available.
All these trailers are over 25’ long, and some are close to 40’. A larger travel trailer is able to sleep multiple people, and will have plenty of room for storage. When considering a larger trailer, it’s necessary to consider the GCWR, as well as the UVW.
- Prime Time Avenger 21RBS. Length: 27’7”. UVW: 5,209 lbs.
- Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB. Length: 25’11”. UVW: 5,600 lbs.
- Prime Time Avenger 25FSLE. Length: 29’7”. UVW: 5,673 lbs.
- Cruiser Radiance R-25BH. Length: 29’11”. UVW: 5,727 lbs.
- Airstream Flying Cloud 28RB. Length: 28’. UVW: 6,100 lbs.
- Jayco Jay Flight 28BHBE. Length: 33’7”. UVW: 6,640 lbs.
- Jayco Jay Bird 29RKS. Length: 33’11”. Weight: 6,750 lbs.
- Forest River Flagstaff Super Lite 26FKBS. Length: 29’8”. UVW: 6,838 lbs.
- Prime Time Tracer 28RES. Length: 32’11”. UVW: 6,866 lbs.
- Cruiser Radiance R-30DS. Length: 35’5”. UVW: 7,160 lbs.
- Forest River Flagstaff Super Lite 27BHWS. Length: 32’10”. UVW: 7,310 lbs.
- Forest River Flagstaff Super Lite 29BHS. Length: 35’5”. UVW: 7,605 lbs.
- Jayco Jay Flight 31MLS. Length: 35’7”. UVW: 7,975 lbs.
- Forest River Flagstaff Super Lite 27FBIK. Length: 33’1”. UVW: 8,324 lbs.
- Jayco Jay Flight 33RBTS. Length: 37’10”. UVW: 8,750 lbs.
- Prime Time RV Lacrosse 3411RK. Length: 38’10”. UVW: 8,963 lbs.
Again, the length of the trailer plays a huge role in determining the weight. But, as with the smaller trailers, it isn’t the only factor.
Build, size, and materials can all affect the weight of the travel trailer. Another factor that needs to be considered is the floor plan. It might be surprising, but the layout of a travel trailer can affect the weight distribution.
A travel trailer under 10,000 lbs is unlikely to require a separate license to tow. However, in some states, to tow a large and heavy travel trailer may need to apply for a Class B Non-Commercial license.
What Else Adds Weight To A Travel Trailer?
We can clearly see that for the average travel trailer, length and weight are closely connected. However, we can also see that it isn’t the only factor. Sometimes, a smaller trailer can be heavier, and some longer options can be surprisingly light.
Once you’ve purchased your trailer, you probably want to get out onto the road fairly quickly. No one wants a travel trailer just to sit in the garage. So, you pack up, hitch the trailer to your car, and get ready to go. Only to discover that you can’t tow the trailer.
This might be because you’ve been thinking about the UVW, and not the GVWR. That means you’ve only considered the unloaded weight, and you’ve forgotten the load.
The UVW is the weight the manufacturer often provides, and it doesn’t include all the added cargo. If you’ve bought a larger trailer because your vehicle can tow the UVW, it might struggle with the larger GVWR.
So, here are the items of cargo that tend to add the most weight to the travel trailer:
- The generator. Every travel trailer needs a generator, and choosing the right size isn’t easy. Too small, and it can’t provide the level of power you require. Too large, and it weighs the trailer down. A handheld portable generator can be fantastic, but even these end up adding a significant amount of weight to the trailer. Before purchasing your generator, consider exactly what it needs to be used for, and what size you can get away with.
- Water. It’s easy to forget about the water weight, because it’s so vital. However, it’s important to factor this in when considering the total weight of your travel trailer. Once the water tank has been filled, the weight of the trailer will increase significantly. And while you can cut down on appliances and comforts, the trailer needs water.
- Fuel. Dry weight, or the UVW, doesn’t include the weight of a full fuel tank. Again, this is an added weight, but a necessary one.
- Appliances. One of the great things about travel trailers is that they can feel like a home away from home. But every time you add a home comfort to your travel trailer, you increase the weight. With some items, this weight may not make much of a difference, but it can quickly start to add up. Plus, the more electricals you take, the larger a generator you’ll require.
- Repair kits/hoses/first aid kit/etc. Basically, all the essentials. There are some things you need to take in your travel trailer, to ensure smooth running. Sometimes, these things are so necessary, we forget that they add weight.
There are many things that add weight to the travel trailer, and a lot of them are fairly essential. But with some careful packing, you can easily reduce the load.
Correctly Distributing Weight In A Travel Trailer
Sometimes, you can easily spot that a travel trailer has been loaded incorrectly. There will be an obvious lean, or tilt, and you can easily see where the weight has built up. Other times, it isn’t quite so simple. Instead, you’ll only notice that the weight is off center when you start to drive.
Uneven weight distribution can seriously impact the safety of your trip. The towing hitch and the trailer can both be affected by incorrect loading. Before you start packing up your travel trailer, you need to know how to distribute the weight.
When the trailer is manufactured, it’s built in a way that correctly distributes the weight for towing.
First, you need to place the heaviest cargo at the front of the trailer. It should be ahead of the axle, and evenly distributed from left to right.
Start with the heavy cargo first, so you can secure everything in place. The cargo shouldn’t shift as you drive, as this ruins all the work you did finding an even distribution. It can also cause damage to the cargo, and the trailer.
As a general rule, 60% of the weight should be in front of the trailer’s axle.
In many cases, the travel trailer will come with a guide from the manufacturer explaining the best way to load. Read this to understand the best weight distribution for your specific brand of trailer.
An incorrect weight distribution will generally be noticeable as you tow the vehicle. The more you use the trailer, the better you should understand how to load correctly.
A fully loaded travel trailer should never weigh more than the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. If you exceed this weight limit, you may cause damage to the hitch, the towing car, or the trailer itself. Even correctly distributed weight can’t make up for a trailer that’s too heavy for the tow.
Once you’ve got everything loaded, you can weigh your trailer to check that it’s within the correct specifications. Weigh with and without the car, to understand where the weight is.
How To Make Your Travel Trailer Lighter
When you first weigh your travel trailer, it can be a surprise to discover just how heavy it is when fully loaded. All the small and light things you pack are heavy when put together, until you’re adding a significant amount of weight to your trailer.
Many of us have been over enthusiastic with our first load, and ended up overpassing the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating by some amount. Don’t worry, it happens. You just have to learn a few tricks for cutting down the excess. Here are some easy ways to make your travel trailer lighter.
- Begin by weighing the trailer both with and without the car. This helps you understand exactly where the weight is coming from. Don’t waste time taking everything off the travel trailer, when the real problem is a packed car.
- Make sure you know your limits. Stay aware of the GVWR as you pack, so you don’t go over.
- Budget for the essentials. There are some things that are necessary, including water and fuel. These have to be the priority, so make them your first consideration.
- Get rid of anything you haven’t been using. It’s tempting to pack everything you possibly can, but those little appliances can have a big effect. Take away anything that isn’t being used, any extras that you can easily live without, and all the things you forgot were in there in the first palace.
- Replace heavy furniture with lighter alternatives. Built-in furniture can often be surprisingly heavy. Take it out, and add new, lightweight replacements. This is true for doors as well, which can generally be replaced with curtains. Also, drawers and cabinets can sometimes be switched with lighter materials.
- Don’t forget the outside. Are you towing around a bike rack but no bike? There are frequently things on the outside of the trailer that don’t get used, and end up completely forgotten. Take them off, and you can reduce the weight significantly.
- Use aluminum for repairs. Aluminum is fantastic for repairs on a travel trailer because it’s strong but light. Learn to work with this material, and you may not reduce the weight of the trailer, but you’ll ensure you aren’t adding more.
- Write a checklist of what you need. Don’t overload just because you’ve forgotten what you already have. Write a checklist and stick to it. At the end of your trip, look back through the list. Were there items you didn’t need? Can they be left behind next time?
- Calculate the watts you actually use, and buy a smaller generator. Or, try and install solar panels. They can provide the bulk of the power, while a reduced size generator does the rest.
The more you use your travel trailer, the better you’ll understand what items are necessities, and what will be left behind. The travel trailer is a great way to lead a simplified life, so you don’t need to pack it full of gadgets to have a good time.
How Does The Weight Of A Travel Trailer Compare To Other RVs?
The standard travel trailer is a wonderful choice for touring and exploring. If you prefer a lighter option, the pop-up travel trailer, or the teardrop travel trailer both weigh significantly less on average. A small pop-up trailer could weigh as little as 600 lbs.
The larger travel trailer is the fifth wheel travel trailer. Some of these can weigh upwards of 10,000 lbs, and will require a separate license to drive.
If you’re choosing between a motorhome and a travel trailer, you may be interested in the weight difference.
The largest motorhomes are Class A motorhomes. These have a length between 21 feet and 45 feet. The average Class A motorhome is 33 feet long. The weight range is between 16,000 and 30,000 lbs. A Class A motorhome is almost a house on wheels.
A Class C motorhome is smaller than a Class A, and also lighter. Class C motorhomes tend to weigh between 12,000 and 20,000 lbs, and are 28 feet long on average. With a separate bathroom area, these are a comfortable size.
The Class B motorhome is the smallest of them all. These are generally the size of a van, and will weigh between 4,000 and 14,000 lbs. Although they may not have the luxury of space you can expect to find in a Class A or C motorhome, they’re an economical choice for short trips.
Knowing the weight of your travel trailer when it’s loaded and unloaded is incredibly important. It ensures you’re safe on the road, and can even affect the type of license you need.
Before buying a trailer, you should understand the unloaded weight, the total weight allowance, and what that means for your towing vehicle.
Keeping the weight of your travel trailer low makes it easier to maneuver, and more efficient to run. Although a travel trailer is generally lighter than an RV, or other types of motorhome, it’s still a heavy item.
Length and weight of the travel trailer are closely linked. A shorter trailer will generally weigh less than a longer trailer. On average, a travel trailer will weigh between 2000 lbs and 8000 lbs, depending on the size and build.
Understand the weight and allowances of your travel trailer. Then you can enjoy the experience, without the worry of a heavy trailer.