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Old 05-21-2015, 10:20 PM   #1
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New to the TT world, confused about weight

My wife and I have started talking about getting a Travel Trailer for our young family to enjoy. We have a Chevy Traverse with the towing package, but the max towing capacity is only 5,200 lbs.

We're getting different reports from different sources (mainly dealers) about what weight we are o.k. to tow. I've heard a number of horror stories of dealers telling people that they can tow more than they actually can just to get the sale, so we want to make sure we do our homework.

How true is "As a general rule, you want to stay 1,000 lbs. under your max towing weight."?

We're looking in the 19-22ft range and most of the trailers are coming in between 3,500-4,000. Can anyone tell me if this is going to be o.k. or if this is a bit too heavy for us? Any help would be appreciated.

EDIT: I should note that we will only be traveling to parks with hookups so I don't see myself driving with water. Just clothes and food mostly. In case that makes a difference.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:27 PM   #2
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By the time you add your clothing, food, water, family, etc a 4,000# TT will put you over the weight limit let alone the comfortable weight limit.
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Old 05-22-2015, 07:41 AM   #3
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Just pay attention to the gross vehicle weight of the trailer which includes water and everything in it. Don't believe the sales people.
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Old 05-22-2015, 07:59 AM   #4
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GVWR and Hitch weight are the big things. If you are too close to the max you're going to have trouble. It will be a pain to tow and eat gas like a pig. Specs and salesmen are full of BS. Figure 1,000 lbs more than the dry weight (they don't count things like the gas tanks, stove, fridge, anything but the stripped box) and 100 lbs more for the hitch weight.

If you're a warm weather camper and not going into bear country, you might consider a pop-up.
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Old 05-22-2015, 08:17 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice.

The 1,000 lbs that most people say to add to the dry weight, what does that cover? Does that cover the items in the trailer itself (beds, fridge, tables)? Or does that cover the people in the car traveling, clothes packed, food packed, etc.?

If a dealership advertises the gross vehicle weight, do I still need to add 1,000 to that?

How far away from the max tow weight is the "comfortable" tow weight?
If my max is 5,200 and I find a trailer that is 3,300 dry, I have 1,900 to spare. Add 1,000 miscellaneous weight to that and I'm still 900 lbs under my max weight. Is that too close to max to be comfortable?

Sorry for all the questions. There are a lot of of different answers from different sources.
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Old 05-22-2015, 08:38 AM   #6
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The 1000 lbs will cover anything not already installed in your camper.
First look in the overhead cabinets in the kitchen, There is usually a sticker there with the actual weights of that trailer. The tag on the outside of your trailer is more or less generic to that make of trailer. IF it is a new trailer that weight tag should be in the kitchen cabinet somewhere.
Second, you can then add the 1000lbs for butane and water, clothes pots and pans food etc. That should be more than enough leeway.
Third and most importantly, DO NOT LISTEN TO THE SALESMAN ON HOW MUCH YOUR VEHICLE WILL TOW. Look at your vehicles recommended tow weights and go from there. If you max it out you will, as someone said above, use more fuel and work the tow vehicle harder but it can be done. Remember you also have to STOP that vehicle too! so make sure you have a good braking system etc. You always want to leave a little room when talking about maximum weights and towing capabilities.
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Old 05-22-2015, 09:05 AM   #7
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I will tell you about my Honda Ridgeline as it is probably similar to your Traverse.

With these very small tow vehicles the shape of trailer becomes more important as well as length and weight. My Ridgeline was towing a 5,000lb. trailer. It was great up to about 50 maybe 55mph. Then after that the air flow from semi trucks on the highway at 62mph was too scary. The Ridgeline also towed a 2,500 lb boat and trailer. It towed the boat great to 70mph. Boats are aerodynamic.

If I kept the Ridgeline I would look for a T@B, A-Liner, HiLo, Trail Manor.

So from my experience here is 'my' thoughts.

Small truck, SUV's - max 3,500lbs
1/2 ton trucks - max 6,000lbs.
3/4 ton trucks - max 9,000lbs
1 ton SRW - max 12,000lbs.
1 ton Dually - max 18,000lbs.

I view these weights as reasonable and safe for highway travel. On secondary roads at much lower speeds the weights would go up. Like I said I was happy with my Honda Ridgeline towing on secondary roads but not happy at highway speeds.

Now in many places the highway speed has been increased. The highways are flooded with semi-trucks. You have to be able to keep up and flow smoothly in the right hand lane. If not, you will have semi after semi passing you. With every passing semi you will feel the air push you to the right, then as it passes pull you to the left. It requires two hands on the steering wheel and continual steering corrections.

Good Luck
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Old 05-22-2015, 09:23 AM   #8
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I'm going to add a link to a sister site of irv2.com which has a lot of talk about tow vehicles from a group that tows TT's exclusively.

Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches - Airstream Forums

You might spend some time perusing there too.
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Old 05-23-2015, 10:46 AM   #9
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Don't forget the weight of your weight distribution hitch and accessories, my first one was very heavy.
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Old 05-23-2015, 04:26 PM   #10
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Look at the weight sticker on the trailer. All trailers have them. It'll show the weight as shipped from the factory with everything as ordered. It will also show the cargo capacity for the trailer.
This stuff about no stove figured in is nonsense. All standard items are included in the dry brochure weigh. On low end light weight trailers there's not much added as the option list is small. Most options are IPO items like recliners instead of sofa. A wash IMO.
Propane tanks are figured in as well, but not the propane. Add 60lbs for a battery.


Also how much you pack in it will depend on how much storage room you have. Smaller trailer obviously don't have as much storage as larger ones.
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