How much cargo weight should I really consider?

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thoffland

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Joined
Jun 22, 2019
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Location
Phoenix, AZ
I'm looking at the Micro Minnie 2100BH

UVW: 3760
GWVR: 7000

Which means I can carry ~3000# of cargo in the trailer... I just don't think I'll ever do that, but then again I've never owned a trailer before. What would you say is "average" for cargo?

If I pack 1000# in to the trailer that brings my hitch weight to 710 and my Durango is rated to 720. I've included 50# for a WDH but does that itself offset the actual hitch weight?

I've included in my estimates groceries, generator, 300# water (just in case), bbq, bedding, hitch, and 120# luggage. I know there will be dishes and silverware that will live in there permanently as well.

I'm really bad at estimates though... so if I ever run into you and say I caught a 5# fish, it was most likely 2#.

Are my estimates realistic? Or do I need to shop for a different trailer?
 
The UVW probably doesn?t include propane. It may not even include the bottle itself or even things like air conditioners. Take a really good look at the fine print. By adding 400-500 pounds of clothes, food, and water plus the items the manufacturer adds but doesn?t count, you can easily get that 1000 pounds.
 
The UVW in the sales brochure or webpage is for the most basic configuration, no options of any kind, and just an estimate.  But if you look at a specific trailer on the sales lot and its federal standard weight placard, the UVW and OCCC will be exact for that particular trailer and it includes full propane tanks.

Don't feel bad - everybody is terrible at estimating RV weight!  For typical weekend use and a relatively small trailer, 700-1000 lbs is a fair guess.  There simply isn't room to load a lot of stuff in it.  Larger trailers may run to 1200-1500 and fulltime RVers are often 2000+.  Water is a major item at 8.4 lbs/gallon. Remember there is water in the heater (probably 6 gallons) and several gallons in the lines and the bottom of the waste tanks.

The tongue (hitch) weight needs to be 10-12% of the actual trailer weight.  We usually estimate it at 10% of the trailer GVWR when making pre-purchase decisions, but once you have the trailer and can weigh it (loaded), an ideal hitch weight is about 12% of the actual loaded weight.
 
Look at that healthy list of options for that trailer, none of those will be included in the UVW weight as published.... and you will want several of them at least, like an air conditioner for example.
 
Thanks for the tips! I'm going to a show today to see it in person, I didn't know some of those items wouldn't be included in the weight. I believe one of the ones I'll see has the "Extreme Weather" package as well as the off-road package. Will be interesting to see the actual weight on that.
 
Forget everything except GVWR  that is worst case.  You will never ever tow a dry trailer.  Simply adding one battery and filling the propane tanks will add about 200 pounds on the tongue.  You might be able to get by towing the trailer, but you sure will never be happy doing it.
 
Don't forget the weight of the actual trailer hitch.  That could be substantial.  Especially if it is weight distribution hitch.
 
If I go off the GVWR and calculate 15% of that for the tongue weight, would that be the right number? Or is there another formula for getting the tongue weight?

The problem I'm having now is that if I take 15% of my GVWR tongue weight, then my payload capacity tends to go over on all the trailers I'm looking at. Then I'm shocked at how many people are towing the same trailer with smaller vehicles than mine. Makes me think I'm doing something wrong?

GVWR of 5000 X .15=750 lbs (which is over my 720 max tongue cap for me)

Or should I be taking the dry weight, and dividing it by the advertised tongue weight to get that percentage, then use that for my calculations? If so, then for 1 option I'm looking at, it's 11%.

3879 dry / 430 hitch = 11.09%

so then:

GVWR of 5000 X .1109=554.5 lbs (big difference)

Sorry for all the questions, but I'm having a hard time making the numbers work for me. Maybe I'm being too black and white on this, but it seems like I just wont be able to find a trailer that I can tow within my limits. Unfortunately, a new TV isn't in the budget right now with a trailer.  :-\
 
Senator said:
Don't forget the weight of the actual trailer hitch.  That could be substantial.  Especially if it is weight distribution hitch.

Thanks Senator, I've actually got 50lbs included for a hitch, 20g propane and 42lbs for a battery as well as  estimated cargo weight in the TT. And my family of 4 plus the dog and a full tank of gas calculated into my spreadsheet for the truck.

why oh why didn't I get an F250 instead....
 
Part of the problem is that so many people tow with too little tow vehicles, they may get away with it towing to the local lake on the weekend, they may even get away with it on a cross country adventure, or they may be like the people that held me up for 4 hours on I-10 driving my new to me coach home from Florida in 2016, by flipping it onto its side on a flat open stretch of highway, and blocking all west bound lanes. 
 
15% of GVWR is overly generous for estimating purposes.  The rule of thumb for decent trailer manners(avoiding sway) is that tongue weight must to be a minimum of 10% of the actual loaded trailer weight, but 12% is even better.    15% is better yet, but you don't need to have that much if it is impractical.
Estimate calculations simply are not accurate enough to try to fine tune, so don't bother to try.  Your estimate is close enough to the truck ratings that you know only an actual scaled weight is going to be useful.
 

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