How much weight do you add to a camper?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How much weight do you add to a camper? We will explain how much a camper weighs in reality, including all your useful (and less useful) equipment. 

How much weight do you add to a camper?

A good rule is to add an average of 1,500 lbs to the dry weight of your camper, that is the weight of the vehicle without any equipment, cargo, passengers or additional equipment. 

To better understand how much weight you can add to your camper, you must know the basic terms when it comes to the weight of a  camper or camper. We explain everything below. 

First, the weight of the car plays a very important role: The heavier it is, the better it can handle the camper. Or put another way: The more the difference in weight between the tug and the trailer in favour of the former, the better. 

These differences are especially important during braking, hills and slopes, or strong winds. The tugboat must dominate the trailer, never the other way around. 

  • What is a camper’s dry weight (tare)? Tare is the “unloaded” weight of the vehicle, that is, the minimum weight of the vehicle, ready to drive with its authorized fixed equipment: fuel, lubricant, brake fluid, spare parts, tools and other mandatory accessories. Without driver, passengers or cargo.
  • What is the MiRO (Mass in Running Order) of a camper? This is the same as Weight in Running Order. It is the Tare plus the weight of a standard driver of 160 lbs. Our personal belongings and/or extras from the camper that we add later do not enter the MiRO calculation.
  • What does MAM (Maximum Allowable Mass) mean? Maximum Allowable Mass. It is also called Maximum Authorized Weight. It is common for manufacturers to adjust it a lot. In other words, it is very common for the MMO (Mass in Marching Order) of the camper to be just a little lower than its MAM. For example, the MMM of the camper is 2545 lbs and its MAM of 2866 lbs.
  • What is a camper’s MTM (Maximum Towable Mass)? The Maximum Towable Mass concept is the same as the so-called Maximum Towable Weight. That is the maximum weight that a vehicle can tow.
  • What exactly is the camper useful load? This is a very important piece of information when buying a camper. Before acquiring our camper we must take into account that the Payload is sufficiently large for the extra equipment that, if necessary, we want to add as soon as we buy it or later.

Now that you are all caught up, let’s move to the weight that a camper can hold. 

How much does the camper’s equipment really weigh?

  1. Manufacturer options:
  • Passenger airbag 6 to 10 lbs
  • Multimedia car radio 2 to 18 lbs
  • Auto/robotized gearbox 20 to 80 lbs
  • Reversing camera + screen 4 to 10 lbs
  • Cabin air conditioning 40 to 45 lbs
  • Room air conditioning 40 to 80 lbs
  • Alloy rims less 10 to 20 lbs
  • Speed ​​regulator 4 to 6 lbs
  • Spare wheel 50 to 80 lbs
  1. Cell Accessories:
  • Satellite TV antenna 30 to 40 lbs
  • Hitch 50 to 180 lbs
  • Awning 50 to 140 lbs
  • Additional battery 40 to 48 lbs
  • Central heating 70 to 160 lbs
  • Microwave oven 24 to 40 lbs
  • Panoramic skylight 40 to 50 lbs
  • Cabin bed Approx. 100 lbs
  • Floor carpet 10 to 30 lbs
  • Motorization of drop-down bed 4 to 10 lbs
  • Bike carrier 20 to 30 lbs (+ the weight of the bikes!)
  • TV (flat screen) 14 to 22 lbs.

Be careful not to exceed the payload of your camper

Most of the recreational vehicles offered for sale have a GVWR of fewer than 3.5 tonnes (light commercial vehicles). Consider taking light materials on board, and renting accessories (such as bicycles or other sports equipment, for example) at your vacation spot, to avoid adding them to the payload.

If the actual weight exceeds the GVWR, you risk first a class 4 ticket, in other words, a fine of $100. If you exceed the GVWR by more than 5%, your vehicle may also be immobilized.

Last thing: keep in mind that your insurer may not appreciate an incident due to the overload and, therefore, increase your contributions significantly.

How do I estimate the weight of my camper?

Now that we have explained the basic concepts, we know that the maximum allowable weight is 3700 lbs. How do we know how much our vehicle weighs?

Well, it’s very simple: we prepare everything for the trip, fill the tanks (diesel and water), seat all the passengers and go to a public weighbridge.

If we go over the above figure, something will have to be given up.

It will be difficult to choose, we know, but the fines are often high, not to mention the risks that this entails for our safety and that of others!

The use of a hitch, the mass of which is calculated separately from the main body of the vehicle, could be a tip to consider, without prejudice to the larger dimensions and possible driving difficulties.

Another method not to make a mistake could be as follows: go to a technical control with a full tank of fuel and all the crew on board, before adding what we want with us for the specific trip we are going to undertake.

In our motorhome, therefore, everything that we never remove must be present because it is essential.

The difference between 3700lbs and the weight returned to us by the detector will tell us how much residual load margin we still have. This way, we won’t have to waste time unloading what we had previously stored.

Obviously, in all cases, before leaving, you must check that you have not missed the calculations, by visiting the weighbridge again.

Conclusions

Now you know the basic concepts when it comes to camper weight: Full load mass, empty weight (or tare) and capacity.

You understood that with a B license, you must not exceed the overall 3700lbs (tolerances included: the official value, we repeat, is 3500lbs) but that, if you go abroad, this value varies according to national regulations.

Before travelling, it is therefore always advisable to contact the consulates of the states where you want to go to know the traffic laws and not even risk criminal complaints (as is the case in Switzerland if the overweight is higher to 100 lbs and exceeds 5% of the permissible total weight).

No worries though, this whole process sounds very complicated, but overall, once we get started, getting our vehicle ready without exceeding its weight will be a lot easier than it looks!

If you have any questions or comments on the content, do not hesitate to get in contact!

FAQ on How much weight do you add to a camper?

How much weight can you put in a camper?

The weight that you can put in the camper should be either 10% of the ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass) or a maximum of 350 kg ( 770 pounds). The manufacturer should usually specify the maximum permissible ball weight, which should be between 8-12% of the weight of the camper.

What is the maximum weight for a single axle camper?

The maximum weight for a single axle camper is limited to 20,000 pounds, and axles spaced more than 40 inches and not more than 96 inches apart (tandem axles) are limited to 34,000 pounds. Gross vehicle weight is limited to 80,000 pounds. 

How is payload calculated on a camper?

To calculate the payload on a camper, subtract the Tare weight (the unladen weight of the van, as it left the factory, minus any dealer-added features) from the van’s Aggregate Trailer Mass.

How do you know if you tow too much weight?

You know you are towing too much weight when the rear of the truck will appear hunkered down and the front end will feel light.

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