An RV, as the name suggests, is a vehicle meant for true recreation with friends and family. The trailer provides excess space for your travel plans and gives you a chance to have a true family trip away from home.
Having interacted with multiple RV owners, we know just how many people are concerned about the weight of their RV and the towing requirements related to it. So how exactly does an RV weigh?
The average weight of an RV is around 10,000 pounds. However, the weight can change as you load up your gear and add commodities to the RV. The gear can bring about 1,500 pounds of additional weight to the mix, enhancing the vehicle’s total weight.
The total weight of your RV is also determined by its size. Larger RVs like fifth wheels or motor homes tend to weigh more than the 10,000 average. Also, smaller RVs or travel trailers can weigh less than the average.
In this article, we look at the weight of an RV and the amount of power required to pull the vehicle forward.
Understanding the Different Numbers
Once you start looking around for the weight of your RV, you will realize that there are different numbers and titles associated with them. Many companies mention the dry vehicle weight, but that shouldn’t be the only figure you take into computation when you calculate the weight of your RV.
The Weight Stickers
The RV weight sticker displays all of the most important weights as they apply for your RV. The information on this sticker has changed over the years, but it should contain at least some combination of the following:
- GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating). The maximum gross weight that the axles will carry. This is independent of the weight rating of the tires.
- GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). The maximum weight that the axles and/or the tires will carry. It is the lesser of the axle carrying capacity or the tire carrying capacity
- UVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight). The total weight of an RV as it was delivered to the dealer. It does not include any dealer-installed accessories.
- NCC (Net Carrying Capacity). This is the actual amount of cargo allowed. It is in simplest terms, GVWR – UVW = NCC. This is sometimes listed as CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity)
- GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating). This is the maximum weight of this RV plus any towed vehicle combined. This is listed on the RV for motor coaches, but not towables. For towables you can get this rating from the sticker on your tow vehicle.
- Hitch Weight. The maximum weight the hitch can support. In the case of a towable this is the maximum weight the RV’s hitch can support and has nothing to do with the hitch rating of the tow vehicle. In the case of a motor coach this is the hitch rating of the hitch used for towing a chase vehicle.
- GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight). See GVWR
- CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity). See NCC
- Gross Dry Weight. See UVW
- Dry Axle Weight. The weight of the trailer when the RV is on the hitch. This can be calculated as UVW – Hitch Weight = Dry Axle Weight.
Dry Vehicle Weight
Unloaded or dry vehicle weight is the total weight of the RV trailer without anything in it. This weight is calculated without gas, gear, waste, or water. Essentially, the dry vehicle weight is what your RV weighs when rolled out of the manufacturing plant. This is also the lightest it is ever going to weigh.
As discussed above, your RV will weigh 1,500 pounds more than its dry weight on average once it is filled with gear.
Gross Vehicle Weight or GVWR
The Gross Vehicle Weight or GVWR basically calculates how much the RV weighs when the trailer is full. This is the total weight of the RV, after it carries all of your gear and components.
Once you surpass the GVWR, you will affect the performance of your RV and also the performance of the vehicle towing the RV. Additional GVWR can enhance the stopping distance, leading to braking problems and causing poor fuel average.
Dry Hitch Weight
The dry hitch weight is popularly known as torque weight and is basically the same as dry vehicle weight. This is the weight of the empty RV, when it is tied to the hitch of the truck towing it. Dry hitch weight is applicable for travel trailers or pop-up campers.
The dry hitch weight of your RV will obviously increase once you load the vehicle with gear and other components.
The Cargo Carrying Capacity
The Cargo Carrying Capacity or CCC of your RV is the maximum amount of weight that you are capable of loading on top of your RV. The CCC includes all of your gear, waste, gas, water, and obviously.
If you want to know the total amount of CCC you are adding to the RV, you can start by emptying your RV and weighing everything as it is put into place. This might seem tedious, but it will help you know the weight you are adding to your RV.
How to Manage the Weight of Your RV?
Obviously, it is hard for you to identify just how much your RV will weigh when packing small items, but you can always stop at a truck weigh station and get your RV weighed for future care. You will have a better idea of what to pack once you have your RV weighed and know how far off you are from the maximum weight.
You can manage the weight of your RV by identifying all necessary items that you need on your trip, the gear you cannot live without, and all supplementary items. Do you want to pack for different scenarios? Or do you just want to go with the flow and only pack necessary things? Most RV travelers believe that you should only pack items that add some value to your trip.
One packing hack we have learned from constant travelers is to pack all the essentials and then see what else is necessary. Once you have packed all the essentials, you should take something out to add another additional item. The process will help you understand how important each item is to you.
Readers with an utterly empty RV can follow the tedious process of getting each item weighed, before putting them inside. Weighing each item will help you identify how much your gear weighs. You can also document the process to identify areas you can cut down on if the total figure goes overboard.
Identifying Weight Based on RV Classifications
RVs or recreational vehicles are grouped in multiple classes based on chassis type, length, and weight. You should know the appropriate classifications of recreational vehicles and their respective weight before hitting the road with one.
Class A RVs
Class A RVs are the largest as this category includes motorhomes with built-in engines. These RVs tend to be long in size and can often measure over 30 feet in length — we are talking something along the lines of ‘Meet the Fockers.’
The total weight of class A RVs is often around 20,000 to 30,000 pounds. Class A RVs tend to look like buses and have plenty of space inside them. Also, some national parks and resorts restrict Class A RVs, so you should select your locations appropriately.
Class B RVs
Class B RVs are primarily classified as camper vans. Class B RVs usually weigh anything from 8,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds. These RVs tend to be around 18 feet long. These camper van conversions also happen to have lofted fiberglass roofs, where passengers can stand up and look around.
Class B RVs don’t come with many restrictions and are allowed pretty much everywhere. Class B RVs are allowed pretty much everywhere and don’t have limitations since they are the same size as a work van.
Class C RVs
Class C RVs are small recreational vehicles with bodies built atop truck chassis. The truck chassis used for class C RVs are altered to bear the vehicle’s weight. Class C RVs are the easiest to drive since they are lofted on top of truck chassis and don’t come with too much additional weight.
Getting in and out of a class C RV isn’t that hard, and you might find maintenance easy as well. Class C RVs tend to weigh around 10,000 to 12,000 pounds and can be 18 to 20 feet long. The dry weight does increase when a gear is added.
And That’s a Wrap!
Knowing the weight of your RV is always better than not knowing the weight. If you are in doubt, it is always good to get the RV weighed for a correct stat. You can find commercial weigh stations literally anywhere around you.