Originally Posted by wincrasher
Uh, how about to know what you are buying? How about to assure yourself that the weight quoted by the dealer or manufacturer is correct? How about knowing how much you have left for your stuff?
The way I was taught was to use the maximum the camper can weigh and to use the min max safe ratio of total weight to hitch weight to calculate if I have enough tow vehicle for the camper I am looking at. Anything LESS is my safety buffer and better fuel economy towing.
The example I stated before goes like this for a travel trailer:
DRY wt - 8000
DRY tongue wt - 800 pounds (10%) unloaded
Max gross weight 10,000 pounds
The minimum safe tongue weight is 10% of total travel Trailer
So when fully loaded the minimum tongue weight will be 1,000 pounds
The optimum tongue wt for handling (sway and control) is 13%
So I should target a fully loaded camper for a tongue wt of 1300 pounds
The MAXIMUM tongue weight is 15% so the maximum safe tongue would be 1500 pounds.
If my tow vehicle does not have the payload after I put my family and "truck gear" in the truck to carry 1300 pounds, I don't have enough truck to pull that camper.
Available payload is only ONE of many things you should look at when shopping for a new camper and you do not intend to replace your truck.
Combined weight and individual maximum gross weights are also very important. Wheel base is another factor; but there is only a "rule of thumb" for that.