Short answer: Look for a trailer with a GVWR of 2,333lbs or less to be safely within your ratings. 2,800lb GVWR is potentially
doable depending on your family and how you load.
You can estimate a number of ways:
- Calculate the weight of you and all passengers and cargo loaded in your Santa Fe. Be generous.
Subtract that weight from 3,500lbs.
That will be the max loaded trailer you can haul. Its GVWR if you will. You might still have issues with other ratings, however, using this method.
- Or, another way would be to just take 80% of 3500, which is 2,800lbs. That is only a fair estimate of the max loaded trailer that you could tow and doesn't assume your light hitch rating.
A trailer with a GVWR of 2,800 works with the TVs GCWR but might run afoul of the TVs 350 max tongue weight. 10% to 15% of 2800 = 280 to 420lbs.
- You could also work backwards from the max tongue weight...
350lb max hitch weight / 0.15 = 2,333lbs for your fully loaded trailer.Now for the Really long answer
: What you are facing is a balance between what you and your family need for your camping experience and what your vehicle will tow safely - that means within its ratings.
Small SUVs and especially crossovers run up against different weight issues than larger SUVs and half-ton pickups. Your Santa Fe's biggest limiter will be its CGWR of 7,522lbs and its 350lb max tongue weight. Although you, and any trailer owner, should also check the other ratings to make sure they are ok.
GCWR is the Gross Combination Weight Rating and is the maximum number that the tow vehicle's GVW plus the trailer's GVW should never exceed. In other words, this is the most that the entire setup should weigh. This includes the tow vehicle, trailer, you, passengers and all cargo inside and on top of your truck or trailer.
I am going to use the 2516G you mentioned as an example:
Since we don't know how you load, we will assume you will load to the max in the trailer, which is 800lbs, bringing the total weight to its GVWR of 3,292lbs.
Your truck's GCWR (7,522) less its curb weight (4,022) less a fully loaded camper (3,292) = 208lbs remaining for you, all passengers and cargo inside the truck.
So, the first question for you is: How much do you, all passengers and all cargo carried in the Santa Fe weigh?
Even if it is just you, the tongue weight on this fully loaded trailer would be close to or over your Santa Fe's 350lb maximum.
That's why Herk's calculations were correct. Unless its just you in the truck, this won't work. And, even with only you, you are very close to max. Trust me when I say it is not fun to be towing something that is close to your max. At best, your truck will struggle and experience undue wear and tear.
So, getting back to your question "what should you be looking for?"
Start with your family, estimate the weights and give yourself some leeway.
Trevor, I am glad you are asking these questions now. Plenty of campers never do ask until after the purchase. Plenty of others never care. You are doing the right thing.
Come back here for some help!