How Much do RVs Weigh?
Knowing your RV inside and out is always a good idea. This allows you to know when something isn’t quite right, make your own repairs, and avoid potential issues. For this reason, we advise every RV owner to really get up close and personal with their rig, getting to know all of the vehicle’s quirks, its plumbing and electrical systems, and of course its size.
When it comes to knowing the size of your RV, you will want to know how tall it is in order to avoid scraping low bridges and tree branches. You’ll also want to know how much your rig weighs, as well as the various carrying and towing capacities of your setup.
Knowing these weights and weight limitations can help when going over bridges with weight limits. It’ll also help you make sure you are driving as safely as possible. It does this by ensuring your rig isn’t carrying or towing too much—something that can be a serious problem, especially when it comes to stopping quickly or driving on a windy day.
So how much do RVs weigh? Well, below we’ve gathered some averages for you to have a look at, as well as some explanations to help you better understand what these numbers mean.
Understanding RV Weight Specs
Before we get into the average weight of RVs, let’s talk a little bit about the various specs we are giving out. This is important because it isn’t just the weight of the vehicle straight from the factory that you need to worry about as an RV owner.
This is the weight of your vehicle straight from the factory without any cargo, people, or water in the tanks. This will vary from one RV to the next, even if they share the exact same make and model—they’re generally built by hand, so they’re bound to have slight differences—so be sure to know the weight of your RV specifically.
Tongue Weight or Hitch Weight
Tongue weight (also called hitch weight) refers to the amount of force a trailer places on a hitch. You want this to fall between 9 and 14 percent of the trailer’s total weight. To get there, you will need to measure the tongue weight and adjust cargo accordingly.
Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC)
This is the amount of cargo your RV is rated to carry. Keep in mind that water in the holding tanks, propane, passengers, and the tongue weight of anything you may be towing all count as cargo and eat into this capacity. Some RV models have a much higher dry-weight-to-CCC ratio than others, so pay close attention when shopping around.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The gross vehicle weight rating is the dry weight and cargo carrying capacity added together. This number is the highest number you should ever get when weighing your rig. Unfortunately, many people surpass their GVWR, meaning they have to unload a bit before they can safely drive down the road.
Loaded Vehicle Weight
This is just what it sounds like: the actual weight of your loaded vehicle. In the case of motorhomes, this number will be higher than the dry weight, but should always stay lower than the cargo carrying capacity as mentioned above. If you’re driving a truck towing a trailer, the loaded vehicle weight will be the weight of the fully loaded truck (including passengers) plus the tongue weight of the trailer.
The towing capacity is the amount of weight your vehicle can safely tow—not just in terms of pulling something along, but also being able to brake successfully with it.
- In a motorhome, you will need to pay attention to how much the RV can tow if you plan to pull a tow-car (aka “toad”) or a trailer of any kind.
- If you’ll be towing an RV trailer with a truck, you will need to know the towing capacity of that truck and ensure the loaded vehicle weight is within that range.
How Much Do Class A RVs Weigh?
Let’s start with the biggest and heaviest of the motorhomes to answer the question, “How much do class A RVs weigh?”
On average, these massive homes-on-wheels can have dry weights between 13,000 to 30,000 lbs. That said, there are some that weigh even more than that.
For instance, one floorplan from the Newmar Dutch Star line weighs in at 40,300 dry and has a GVWR of 51,000 lbs. The towing capacity of this vehicle is 15,000 lbs. That’s a lot of weight to be driving around, and some states might even require a special license to drive such a heavy vehicle.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is a 25½-foot Thor Axis floorplan that has a GVWR of only 12,500 lbs. This is a great option for those looking for the comforts of a class A without the crazy length and weight.
How Much Do Class B RVs Weigh?
How much do class B RVs weigh? Again, there is some variation from one RV to the next. That said, class B RVs do tend to be more standardized in terms of length and height, meaning they also tend to be closer to one another in terms of weight.
The average weight for a class B motorhome is between 6,000 and 11,000 lbs, with cargo carrying capacities of around 1,500 lbs or so. These lightweight RVs are perfect for driving where bigger rigs can’t.
One example of a heavier class B RV is the Winnebago Travato 59K. This RV weighs in at just under 10,000 lbs fully loaded. Meanwhile, smaller DIY campervan conversions can weigh a few thousands pounds less.
How Much Do Class C RVs Weigh?
Class C RVs are the middle ground in the world of motorhomes. They offer a happy medium between the enormous class As and the teeny tiny class Bs, giving users comfort and amenities while still offering some of the agility of a smaller vehicle.
So how much do class C RVs weigh? On average, you can expect a class C to come in around 12,000 to 20,000 lbs dry weight. Cargo carrying capacities tend to be lower for these rigs, so don’t be surprised if you only have 1,000 to 1,500 lbs of capacity to work with.
The Coachmen Leprechaun line of class C RVs offers some great examples of RVs in various sizes. The smallest of these motorhomes is the 210QB, which has a 14,200 lb GVWR. Meanwhile, the 319MB is the largest option, weighing around 22,000 fully loaded.
How Much Do Trailers Weigh?
Now that we’ve discussed motorhome RV weight, let’s turn our attention to trailers. There are all kinds of travel trailers out there. From the smallest and lightest (such as teardrop campers and pop-ups) to the enormous fifth wheels, this category has the widest range of weights.
An example of a super lightweight trailer is the Little Guy Mini Max teardrop style trailer, which weighs 2,320 lbs dry and has a 3,500 lb GVWR. Pop-up campers are also super lightweight, with the popular Jayco pop-up trailers starting at just 1,835 dry weight.
Bumper-pull trailers are a medium sized option and can weigh as little as the 2,900 lb dry weight offered by trailers such as the Coachmen Apex Tera 15T. Of course, you can also choose much bigger options such as the nearly 37-foot-long Prime Time Avenger ATI 29QBS, which weighs 9,720 when fully loaded.
Finally, there are the largest trailers: fifth wheels. These are almost always the heaviest camper trailers on the road. While there are some smaller options—such as the tiny Scamp 19’ Deluxe, which weighs only 2,400 lbs—the biggest trailers are much heavier. The DVR Luxury Suite 44 Memphis is an excellent example of this. This trailer comes in at 19,800 lbs dry and has a GVWR of 24,000 lbs.
Factors that Affect RV Weight
Now you know the answer to, “How much does a motorhome weigh?” That said, this isn’t really all the info you need. You also need to know factors that affect that weight, plus how you can influence the total weight of your rig and the way that weight is distributed in order to give yourself the smoothest and safest ride possible.
As mentioned above, it’s incredibly important that you don’t overload your trailer or motorhome. This means knowing your cargo carrying capacity and weighing your rig to ensure you stay under that number. Of course, in order to stay under, you will have to make an effort, especially if your RV has a lower CCC.
Carefully consider each item you pack, and pack only enough—as in, not too much of anything. Keep in mind that while most of what you pack won’t weigh a lot on its own, everything together can end up weighing much more than you might anticipate, so every item you’re able to offload counts.
Dump the Tanks
Water is incredibly heavy. For this reason, it’s best to drive with empty tanks if at all possible. This means always dumping your wastewater tanks before leaving a campground. It also means avoiding filling your freshwater tank until you reach your destination.
Not only will this help reduce your total weight and keep you under that GVWR, it’ll also help keep you more stable, as you won’t have so much concentrated weight in one area, nor will you be dealing with that weight sloshing from side to side.
Include the Fuel
It’s important to keep in mind that the dry weight of a motorhome does not include the weight of fuel for the vehicle. Likewise, no RV dry weight includes the weight of full propane tanks. This means you must include these weights when adding up the total weight of your cargo.
A gallon of gasoline weighs about 6 lbs, diesel fuel weighs about 7 lbs per gallon, and an RV might have anywhere from 10–40 (or more) lbs of propane onboard when the tanks are full.
If you’re driving a motorhome, and especially if that motorhome is a class C, you might find that you reach your cargo carrying capacity much sooner than you’d like. Adding people into your cargo weight total can be what pushes you over the edge and puts you into overweight territory.
To avoid this, consider driving two vehicles: the motorhome to carry your things and keep you comfy once you reach your destination, and a separate smaller car to carry your family and get you from one place to the next once you park. This will remove the weight of passengers as well as the tongue weight of a tow dolly or trailer if you were planning to pull a car.
Move the Cargo
Lastly, if you are weighing in under the suggested GVWR but you still feel bogged down or like you don’t have as much control as you might like, you could try moving your cargo around. Putting all of your cargo in one area can cause the RV to sway from side to side more easily. Try to evenly spread your items throughout the storage areas, making sure no one area has the bulk of the weight.
Still not sure which RV is best for you and how heavy you’d like to go? You could always rent a number of RVs to get a feel for how you like different sizes and types.
Want the RVing experience but don’t yet feel comfortable driving all that weight around? Another option is to still rent an RV and have it delivered, removing the need to know how to properly load the rig and/or hitch up the car or trailer.