How Much Weight do You Add to a Camper? (Explained)

How Much Weight do You Add to a Camper

Have you ever wondered how much weight do you add to a camper? Look no more. We´ve got you covered

Traveling in an RV is a great way to save money and add flexibility to your vacation. Travel trailers are a budget-friendly option. They are great because you can detach the trailer at a campsite and use your vehicle for day trips.

If your trailer weighs too much for your vehicle to manage, it can damage your vehicle and ruin your fun. Likewise, heavy motorhomes get terrible gas mileage.

How Much Weight do You Add to a Camper? You can expect to add about 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of additional weight when all of this is combined.

Travel Trailers vs Motorhomes

Travel trailers and motorhomes are both classified as RVs. For differing reasons, it is important to consider how much weight you add to these RVs.

Motorhomes are built like buses or vans. These vehicles have their engines. They do not require you to bring your vehicle to tow them, though some do have options for you to tow your small vehicle.

👉 Motorhomes are available in class A, class B, and class C. Class A motorhomes are the largest. They tend to be the most luxurious, with spacious kitchens and bathrooms with showers.

Class B motorhomes are closer in size to a panel van. Class C motorhomes are somewhere between the two. Though they are smaller, they often have sliding sides that allow for extra sleeping spaces.

Read also: How Much Do Pop-up Campers Weigh? (3 Small Pop Up Campers)

Adding too much weight to a motorhome can decrease your gas mileage. This can make an RV vacation less of a budget-friendly option. In addition to that, many of the items you bring that will add weight will also take up valuable space for sleeping or enjoying games and activities within the RV.

👉 Motorhomes tend to have full bathrooms, so they will have water tanks. You will also have to know that because they have their engines, the weight of gas will be added as well. That is not included in the dry weight of your camper.

Travel trailers come in a wide variety of options. Teardrop trailers are small options that are built to be aerodynamic. Pop-up campers have tent-like sides that pop up and are designed to be lightweight. There are also standard travel trailers that come in both long and short options.

👉 Not all travel trailers have full bathrooms (some do not even have bathrooms at all). The weight added in storing water is significant, so if you do not have water tanks in your camper, you can disregard that added weight.

👉 When towing any kind of travel trailer, you will need to be sure that your towing vehicle is rated to support the weight of the trailer. While modifications to the trailer and vehicle, such as a weight-distribution hitch can help, being aware of both the weight of your camper and the gear you will bring is crucial for protecting your vehicle and trailer.

Read also: Travel Trailer Rentals: Find The Best Deals And Save Money

What is Dry Weight? Why Does it Matter?

What is Dry Weight? Dry weight is the weight of a travel camper without gas, water, propane, or added gear. When you are looking at the weight of campers, you will most likely be given the dry weight.

The weight you add to a trailer will help make the gross weight of the camper.

Some items that may seem like a given for a camper are still not included in the dry weight of a camper. Considering them when you hope to look at the gross weight is important. Some of these items include water for the tanks, gas for the vehicle, propane, and bedding.

What Must-Have Add Weight to a Camper and How Much Do They Weigh?

Knowing what adds weight to your travel camper can give you a clear picture of how to minimize unnecessary weight and best manage the weight of your travel camper.

One of the most common (and necessary) sources of added weight in your camper is the water tanks. If your camper does not have amenities that use water, you can disregard this information. Water tanks are important for sinks showers, toilets, and other features in bathrooms.

Most travel campers can hold around 48 to 50 gallons of water at one time. A gallon of water weighs about eight pounds per gallon. This means that in having water in your camper, you are adding about 384 to 400 pounds to the weight of your camper.

Remember that after going down the drain, the water will enter either the grey or black water tanks, and therefore that weight is still stored in your camper until you drain it. You will also likely need to re-fill the fresh water at that point to keep everything running smoothly.

Read also: 55 Best Small Travel Trailers / lightweight Travel Trailers For Sale

Another very necessary addition to your camper will be gasoline. If you are driving a travel trailer, you will likely not need additional fuel, and you can disregard this information. However, if you are driving a motorhome, the dry weight of the vehicle will not include the gas.

Most motorhomes can hold approximately 80 gallons of gas. Gas weighs approximately six pounds per gallon. This means if your tank is fully fueled, you will add 480 pounds to the weight of your travel camper.

Motorhomes come in varying sizes. Class A motorhomes are larger and require more fuel. They will likely hold more than 80 gallons of gas (ranging between 100 and 150 gallons in total). Class B motorhomes are much smaller and will use much less than 80 gallons of gas (closer to 25 gallons). Class C motorhomes are in between and much closer to the average 80 gallons of gas.

👉 Propane is another hidden addition to the weight of your camper that is crucial for the standard camping experience. Furnaces, stoves, ovens, and refrigerators often run on propane. The average camper holds a 30-pound propane tank, and that propane should last for your entire trip.

Bedding may seem light, but if you are providing sleeping areas for eight people, pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, and mattresses can add up. Most campers only have room for one mattress, but that mattress will likely weigh between 50 and 75 pounds. Pillows, blankets, and sleeping pads for the other beds will add around 10 to 20 pounds. In total, bedding will add between 60 and 100 pounds.

👉 Often RV’s dry weights do not include air-conditioning units. If you are camping in warmer weather, air-conditioning can make the vacation significantly more comfortable. Some RVs also do not come with air-conditioning units, so you may need to purchase one. Most air-conditioning units that are compatible with campers weigh between 40 and 120 pounds.

Unless you plan on driving to a nearby town and eating take-out every day, you will want to bring food and drinks with you. Including drinks, you will likely have around 10 pounds of food per person, per day. Plan on about 100 pounds of food if you are trying to estimate the weight of your camper.

What Other Additions Will Add Weight to Your Camper?

Coming home from a long day of hiking, fishing, or sight-seeing, you will want something delicious to eat. A popular selection for many campers is something grilled. Grills allow you to grill vegetables and meat, so you can prepare healthy, delicious meals on the go.

👉 However, grills do add extra weight, which needs to be accounted for when planning for the weight of your camper. Most camping grills weigh around 20 pounds. You will also need to bring extra propane or charcoal. Propane and/or charcoal will likely add between 20 and 30 pounds. This will account for a total of about 50 additional pounds.

👉 Clothing is also necessary, and while you may not change your clothes as frequently as you would if you are working and spending time in the city, you will still need multiple pairs of clothes. Clothes will likely add an additional 10 to 20 pounds per person.

👉 The dry weight of a camper does not include the people who are using it. If you are concerned about weight limits for your camper, do not forget to add the approximate weights of the people on your trip.

Expect to add around 150 pounds per person, but remember that this number is only an estimate.

Bicycles, fishing equipment, walking sticks, lifejackets, and others will probably add another 50 pounds to the weight of your camper.

Minimizing the Weight You Bring Along

You cannot omit a water tank or gas, but there are small steps you can take to help conserve the weight you add to your travel camper.

  • Plan Ahead for Food- If you plan your meals, you will not bring broccoli that will ride to your destination and back home with you.
  • Carefully plan how much bedding you need- If you are camping in a warmer climate, you may not need to bring as many blankets and sheets for your vacation.
  • Let Items Serve Multiple Purposes- If you can sit on coolers or storage boxes, you do not necessarily need to bring extra lawn chairs.


There are several additions to your camper that you may not realize will add weight to the dry weight provided by the factory.

These include water, gas, and other necessities as well as gear like clothing and food. You can expect to add about 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of additional weight when all of this is combined.



Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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