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Old 09-11-2016, 10:48 AM   #1
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Cargo Carrying Capacity - How much is enough?

We are looking at purchasing a Rockwood A212HW. I was struck by the wide range of cargo carrying capacity of Rockwood A-Frames. Ranges from ~1500 lbs down to ~700 lbs on the bigger units, like the A212HW. The A212HW has great storage and we love the oven and the interior space. Once you have filled the water tank there is 563 lbs cargo capacity left. I don't have a good sense of how much extra weight a normal "pack" of such a trailer would be. What, if any, accommodations would we need to make to stay within this limit. Thanks in advance for your help!

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Old 09-11-2016, 11:30 AM   #2
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Forest River's brochures state that dry weight is based on units with popular options and propane, so their listed capacity should be fairly close. The sticker on mine from the factory was only about 150 lbs off.

Now, with water and battery (about 70 lbs), your calculations give you around 400-ish pounds to play with. Based on the limited space in an A frame, I think you'll be hard pressed to go over that. 400 lbs is a lot of stuff despite what the "everyone packs over 1500 lbs of stuff" crowd insists on. Yes, it's possible, but unlikely unless you've got a larger trailer and bring the entire house with you.

I don't think you'd run into any problems at all unless you started roof mounting multiple bikes, stocking your kitchen with cast iron, and things like that.

2012 Chevy Tahoe LTZ - HD tow package
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Old 09-11-2016, 12:20 PM   #3
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I have recently purchased a A213HW. If fact it has come it to the dealer, but I haven't picked it up yet.
When I had a Jayco hybrid TT, my wife and I didn't load more than 250 lb of extra load. (we towed with the water tank empty) Other than the water, we were not trying to keep the weight down either. You should have no issues with your A212HW.
Keep an eye on how you distribute the weight however heavy or light it may be. You don't want to overload the front and become tongue heavy. On the other hand, you don't want to overload the back and become tail heavy. These circumstances can effect sway and proper towing.
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:39 PM   #4
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Forest River A-frames seem to all use pretty much the same frame components, axles, wheels, tires, etc. So the max gross weight for the trailer is not going to be all that different between models, especially models with the same box size.

What does change between A-frame models is the amount of stuff built into the camper. More cabinets, storage areas, bigger fridges, gray and black water tanks, toilets and showers all build up the dry weight compared to the less basic models. Hence the reduced cargo capacity of the up-line models.

But I find the A-frames in particular very well equipped as they come. In fact, I ended up removing stuff we would never use - the Porta Potty, the RV-que. Others replace the dinette table with something better and lighter. Still others remove the microwave.

Things that are pretty common that add weight back are

1) mattress toppers. We find the A-frame mattress and the dinette delightful with a topper, and unsleepable without a topper. These are generally 30-50lbs each.

2) 2nd battery. The 2nd battery is sufficient for our needs, eliminating a generator or solar panels. But others would have to add on those weights if carried in/on the A-frame.

3) Add-on room and/or awning. We do without due to Colorado winds, others do not.

4) Cooking utensils, plates, cups, silver. We limit ourselves here, total is less than 50lbs. Normally use paper and plastic, but we have 4 piece sets for those special times. Frying pan, small pot, larger pot, stove top grill are sufficient for us. A 2 burner propane stove for the picnic table. 1lb propane canisters.

5) Portable grill. Just 2 of us (4 max) so table top portable is sufficient. Others want to grill big time.

6) Clothing and personal stuff. We have never spent more than a week camping in our A-frame so 1 large gym bag-size duffel per person is enough. We leave a coat and rain gear in camper.

7) Food in fridge. Fridge limits this to maybe 30lbs at most in the non-high wall. Dry and packaged food - maybe another 30lbs on a week trip.

8) Tools. Again, I am conscious to keep this at a minimum. Sockets and wrench to change tires (my tire cross doesn't work), and tighten WDH. Screw drivers, modest electrical tools and supplies are it.

9) Hose and bucket for gray water. Hose and pressure reducer for fresh water. Lego blocks for leveling. Heavy duty 20 amp extension cord in addition to 30 amp cord and 20 amp converter. 2ft level.

All told, we add about 450lbs to dry weight (actually use yellow sticker) plus water (170 lbs, often need to carry water out west). It's not hard to get higher if you have more storage space.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame (normally about 2800lbs ready to camp)
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:06 PM   #5
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Going to be hard to overfill an Aframe unless you pack cast iron skillets and etc. When my daughters traveled we would jump about 1100#. Just the 2 of us about 450 going out but if their are antique shops along the way we can return with 2000#. Wife likes to shop.
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:14 PM   #6
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The range of folks answers is 250 - 450 lbs. I did my own estimate and came up with about 350 lbs, without bikes (probably never) or solar panels (maybe). 350 lbs puts me at about 92% of the GVWR. At 450 lbs you are at 95% which is far as you should ever think of going surely.

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