An American institution since the 1920s, travel trailers are for those outdoor enthusiasts who need a lot of sleeping and living space and would rather drive a tow vehicle than get behind the wheel of a massive RV. Given that travel trailers are comparable in size to some RV classes, exactly how much do these trailers weigh?
The average weight of a travel trailer is between 1,200 to 8,700 pounds and up. You’ll need a heavy-duty pickup truck like a Ford F-150 or a Nissan Titan XD to haul that much weight. An SUV is also a suitable towing vehicle.
In today’s article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about travel trailer weight. We’ll even present a list of current travel trailer models and their accompanying weights. You won’t want to miss it!
What Is a Travel Trailer?
First, to be clear, let’s talk about what a travel trailer is.
Travel trailers go by many names, everything from caravans to campers to towed trailers. They originated between Canada and the United States sometime in the 1920s. The bold lovers of the open road that drove travel trailers at the time were known as tin can tourists.
Then, in the decades to follow, everyone realized how cool travel trailers were. People even started living in them, earning the trailers another name: the house trailer.
Today, travel trailers are very much livable, especially compared to other types of campers that don’t afford nearly as much space. Spending time in a travel trailer is like living in a ranch-style home. Everything is on the same floor and spread horizontally across the length of the trailer.
Travel trailers will feature at least one bedroom. You’ll have a kitchen nook and perhaps a dedicated living space as well. The standard size of a travel trailer is between 13 and 40 feet. The bigger trailers can accommodate 10 people comfortably, while smaller to mid-sized ones might halve that capacity.
If you feel like your travel trailer is somehow too small and cramped, you can always look for a model with slide-outs. Some travel trailers feature fabric pop-up walls like a pop-up camper while others have slide-out walls built from the same hard material as the camper walls, ceiling, and floors.
This Is How Much the Average Travel Trailer Weighs
Like other types of trailers, travel trailers are available in many sizes and configurations. That, as we’ll talk about a little later, can influence their weight. That’s why on the lighter side of the scale, a travel trailer can weigh 1,200 pounds to about 4,000 pounds.
A trailer of this size will be smaller, so it will lack the spaciousness that bigger models are known for. You might have fewer designated rooms or spaces, and you certainly won’t be able to accommodate 10 passengers on a travel trailer of this size. Maybe you’ll be able to fit five people, but it could be even less, like three or four.
Larger travel trailers can weigh 5,000 to 8,700 pounds, sometimes even closer to 9,000 pounds or into 10,000-pound territory. In this weight class are the largest, longest, and most inclusive travel trailers that money can buy. You’ll have access to more space, a greater number of amenities, and features that make your travel trailer your new home away from home.
18 Real Examples of Travel Trailer Weights
If you’re looking to buy your first travel trailer, you don’t want weight generalizations. You need to see specific numbers associated with certain models. We’re here to deliver. In this section, we’ll look at current travel trailer models from all your favorite manufacturers, including Jayco, Keystone RV, Forest River RV, and more.
- 2021 Keystone RV Springdale 1740RK: 4,039 pounds
- 2021 Keystone RV Hideout 19RBWE: 4,308 pounds
- 2021 Keystone RV Bullet Crossfire 2200BH: 4,328 pounds
- 2021 Keystone RV Passport SL 282QBWE: 6,050 pounds
- 2021 Forest River RV Cherokee 294GEBG: 10,985 pounds
- 2021 Forest River RV XLR Hyperlite 3016: 8,853 pounds
- 2021 Forest River RV Wildcat 262RSX: 6,918 pounds
- 2021 Forest River RV Ibex 23RLDS: 7,660 pounds
- 2022 Jayco Jay Feather: up to 6,370 pounds
- 2022 Jayco Jay Feather Micro: up to 3,975 pounds
- 2022 Jayco White Hawk: up to 7,025 pounds
- 2022 Jayco Eagle HT: up to 9,500 pounds
- 2021 Airstream Flying Cloud: 6,000 pounds
- 2021 Airstream Pottery Barn: 7,600 pounds
- 2021 Airstream International: 6,000 pounds
- 2021 Lance Camper 1575: 3,700 pounds
- 2021 Lance Camper 2375: 7,400 pounds
- 2021 Lance Camper 2465: 7,800 pounds
Check out the following lightweight travel trailers.
What Influences the Weight of a Travel Trailer?
After reviewing the above selection of travel trailer weights, you can’t help but wonder why some are around 4,000 pounds and others topple 9,000 pounds or even clock in at five-figure weights. Is it size alone or are other factors at play?
Indeed, they are! Let’s explore in this section why some travel trailers are heavier than others.
The obvious determining factor is the size of the travel trailer. A smaller travel trailer will never weigh as much as a larger one because there’s less to it.
The travel trailer weights we provided in the last section accounted for the vehicle when full since everything that goes on a travel trailer makes it weigh more. That includes any gear you bring onboard as well as things you might not really think about such as fluids.
From water to coolant, engine fluid, and brake fluid, these liquids have weight. A gallon of fluid is approximately 8.345 pounds.
The tanks that are included with your travel trailer can also contribute to its weight.
At the very least, you’ll have a blackwater tank for waste and a freshwater tank to get a supply of water to your sink and even your shower and toilet depending on how luxe the trailer is. Some trailers have graywater tanks too, which hold sink waste.
The size of the tanks is commensurate with your travel trailer size. For smaller trailers, the tank capacity might be 28 gallons, while for larger trailers, the tank capacity can be as high as 78 gallons.
Knowing that fluid weighs about 8 pounds per gallon means that a full 28-gallon tank would weigh 224 pounds. A full 78-gallon tank weighs 624 pounds!
Then you have to consider your own weight as well as that of your other passengers. The average adult weighs 136 pounds. If you had 10 friends or family members enjoying life on your travel trailer, the overall weight of people alone would be 1,360 pounds.
Hybrid travel trailers are rising in popularity. One such model is the Forest River Rockwood Roo, an expandable travel trailer. Many hybrid trailers are a combination of pop-up campers and travel trailers like we talked about earlier.
The softer expandable walls of these trailers can reduce the overall weight.
Speaking of expandable walls, many travel trailer manufacturers include hard slide-outs with the trailer that are made of the same material as the rest of the vehicle (more on that in just a moment).
Slide-outs do more than make a significant difference in the spaciousness of your travel trailer; they add significant weight too. The average slide-out is 800 pounds. If your travel trailer has four slide-outs, then your travel trailer already weighs 3,200 pounds extra.
The travel trailer material is the last factor that influences its weight. Some trailers are stick-built with corrugated aluminum siding for the exterior shell. This means of building trailers can add 900 pounds to the weight of the trailer.
Fiberglass trailers feature an aluminum skeleton with a fiberglass shell. These trailers weigh less.
Tips for Towing a Travel Trailer
If you have prior towing experiences with smaller types of trailers, towing a travel trailer is a whole different ballgame. This section is full of tips that will gear you up for towing your travel trailer to and fro.
Know How to Calculate Your Travel Trailer Towing Capacity
Every travel trailer has a rated towing capacity, which refers to the max amount of towable weight for your towing vehicle. To determine the towing capacity of your travel trailer, you need to know its GCVWR and its curb weight.
GCVWR is short for the gross combined vehicle weight rating. The GCVWR is the total weight of your travel trailer and towing vehicle when both are fully loaded. If you calculate the gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR of your trailer, the GCVWR will typically be higher.
A travel trailer’s curb weight is how much the trailer weighs with all the standard equipment loaded in but no cargo, gear, or passengers.
By subtracting the GCVWR by the curb weight, you get the max towing capacity. This weight limit is not a suggestion, but rather, a rule you must abide by. Hauling more than your towing vehicle can handle can cause instability to your rig.
Your travel trailer can become detached, or it can tip your whole rig over. You’d be a risk not only to yourself, but to other motorists who are sharing the road with you.
It’s perfectly fine if your towing capacity is under the limit, but it should never go over.
Choose the Right Towing Vehicle
Some types of trailers are so light that you can get away with towing them using a car or even a motorcycle. That’s far from the case with a travel trailer, even a small one. You’ll need at least an SUV but likely a heavy-duty truck.
If your towing capacity is between 7,000 and 8,000 pounds, then a full-sized SUV should have the capacity for towing.
Here is a list of the SUVs with the greatest towing capacities:
- Land Rover Discovery – 8,200 pounds
- Land Rover Defender – 8,201 pounds
- Cadillac Escalade ESV – 8,200 pounds
- GMC Yukon – 8,400 pounds
- Infiniti QX80 – 8,500 pounds
- Nissan Armada – 8,500 pounds
- Lincoln Navigator – 8,700 pounds
- Dodge Durango – 8,700 pounds
- Ford Expedition – 9,300 pounds
As for which heavy-duty pick-up trucks are the best for towing a travel trailer, here’s what we recommend.
- Ram 1500 EcoDiesel – up to 9,290 pounds
- Toyota Land Cruiser – 8,100 pounds
- Nissan Titan XD – up to 12,500 pounds
- Ford Expedition – 9,300 pounds
- Chevrolet Tahoe – 8,600 pounds
- Chevrolet Colorado – 7,700 pounds
- Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – up to 7,500 pounds
- Dodge Durango – up to 7,200 pounds
- Ford F-150 – up to 12,200 pounds
- Ford Super Duty – 26,500 pounds
Select an Appropriate Hitch
To connect your towing vehicle to your travel trailer, you need a hitch. With so many hitch types out there, how do you choose one?
We recommend a receiver hitch, which has several classes that allow the hitch to handle huge amounts of weight.
Class 1 is for crossovers and cars and Class 2 adds minivans; neither are applicable when towing a travel trailer. Instead, you want at least a Class 3 receiver hitch, which is for trucks, SUVs, vans, and crossovers.
A Class 3 hitch has a two-inch receiver. Its gross trailer weight or GTW is 8,000 pounds.
Class 4 hitches for SUVs and trucks are also two inches. Their GTW is 10,000 pounds. The fifth receiver hitch class is known as Xtra Duty is and is a heavier-duty SUV and truck class. This receiver can tow between 16,000 and 17,000 pounds.
The Class 5 Commercial Duty receiver hitches are intended more for chassis cab trucks than recreational vehicles, so they unsurprisingly have huge amounts of towing capacity. We’re talking up to 20,000 pounds.
If your receiver hitch is a Class 3 to a Class 5 Xtra Duty, you should be able to tow even a heavier travel trailer.
RV Weight Terms to Know
All these these terms and weight limits can be found in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.
What is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, GVWR?
GVWR stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and refers to how much weight allowed of both your RV and cargo. Cargo needs to include the weight of your belonging, camping gear, passengers, and anything in your tanks (fresh water tank, grey tank, black tank). I always recommend traveling with near empty, if not empty, tanks. The GVWR is determined by the manufacturer.
What is Unloaded Vehicle Weight, or UVW?
Dry weight is also referred to as UVW, which refers to the weight of the trailer or RV alone. This does not include cargo, propane tanks, or another upgraded accessories.
What it Cargo Carrying Capacity? (CCC)
Cargo Carrying Capacity refers to the most weight that you can pack into your RV. This includes all your personal items and any water in your tanks. The CCC is determined by subtracting the UVW from the GVWR.
What is Tongue Weight? (TW)
Tongue weight or TW is the amount of weight an RV puts on the towing vehicles’s trailer ball. It is calculated by subtracting the weight of the towing vehicle from the weight of your vehicle and the trailer combined.
Related Reading: Choosing the Proper Weight Distribution Hitch for Your RV
What is GAWR?
GAWR stands for Gross axle weight rating. It is determined by the manufacturer as the load-carrying capacity of a single axle system.
The average weight of a travel trailer is as little as 2,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds and up. The size of the trailer, its materials, whether it features slide-outs, and the amount of gear packed inside all determine whether your trailer is lightweight or heavier-duty.
With all this handy info, you should feel confident choosing a tow vehicle for your travel trailer, hitching the trailer, and exploring more of the open road!