With summer in full swing, most of you have already begun embarking on your camping expeditions and getaway adventures. And if you haven’t yet, don’t worry – you’ve still got plenty of time before the off-season to do so. But before you start packing up your belongings and loading your travel trailer or camper, it’s important to remember how to safely load your RV. In fact, if you’re new to the world of RVs, this is an essential practice that commonly gets overlooked.
You see, every RV has a maximum cargo carrying capacity (CCC) that must not be exceeded, and it's also essential to distribute the weight properly. Proper loading not only helps prevent swaying, bouncing, and tire blowouts but also avoids other potential issues. Fortunately, the experts at O’Connor RV have put together a comprehensive guide on how to safely load your travel trailer. Read on to learn more.
Understanding Your RV's Weight Ratings
First and foremost, you need to know your travel trailer's weight ratings. These are usually specified by the manufacturer and can be found in your owner's manual or on your VIN number tag. They are expressed through abbreviations such as GVWR, GAWR, GTW, etc.
- GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): This represents the maximum weight your trailer can handle, including the vehicle itself and its maximum payload capacity.
- GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating): This is the maximum weight that each axle can bear.
- GTW (Gross Trailer Weight): It refers to the actual weight of your trailer, including all the loaded items. You can determine this weight by driving over a scale once your trailer is fully loaded.
- Tongue Weight: This is the weight placed on the hitch ball when connecting your RV to the tow vehicle.
- Maximum Payload Capacity: It indicates how much weight you can safely load into your RV, calculated by subtracting the trailer’s dry weight from its GVWR.
- Towing Capacity: Although this is related to your tow vehicle, it's essential for safe towing. It represents the maximum weight your vehicle can tow and can be found on your vehicle's VIN label or in the owner's manual.
The Correct Way to Load Your Trailer
- Follow the 60/40 rule: Approximately 60% of the loaded weight should be placed in front of the trailer's center axle, with the remaining 40% behind it. Avoid placing excessive weight at the back of your trailer to prevent fishtailing at high speeds.
- Pack heavy items first: Place these items close to the axle, distributing them evenly across the trailer's length and width. Consider using the underneath compartments for heavier items and take into account the location of appliances, as they are typically the heaviest onboard.
- Monitor your septic tank: Throughout your journey, keep an eye on your grey and black tanks' levels, as they contribute to the overall weight. Empty them regularly to maintain an even payload distribution and reduce sway or bounce at high speeds.
Are you ready to hit the open road and explore the wonders of this great nation? Visit O'Connor RV today to explore our wide selection of travel trailers, campers, motorhomes, and more!