An important consideration when purchasing a travel trailer is the weight. Many times the manufacturer will list the weight in their parameters. The weight is usually directly related to the length.
On average a twenty-six-foot travel trailer will weigh between 4,000 – 5,000 pounds. This weight can vary though depending on the type of travel trailer. Special features, such as the number of slide outs, can also impact the weight.
When purchasing an old or new travel trailer, knowing the weight is vital. And don’t forget, your weight will increase as you load the trailer with your belongings.
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How Much Does a 26’ Travel Trailer Weigh?
Travel trailers can weigh anywhere from 12000 pounds to just over 8000 pounds. This is because the length of a trailer varies from about ten feet to almost forty feet. A trailer that is twenty-four to twenty-six feet, slightly larger than the median size, weighs about 3500 to 4200 pounds.
So on average, a twenty-six-foot trailer comes in at about 4000 pounds. However, the listed weight is not the only weight you should be paying attention to. Here are some examples of twenty-six-foot trailers.
- 2019 Coachmen RV Clipper Ultra-Lite 21BHS: 4552lbs
- 2020 Coachmen RV Clipper Ultra-Lite 21BH: 4464lbs
- 2012 Heartland Edge M219: 3946lbs
- New 2020 Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 212QB: 4330
- New 2019 Prime Time RV Tracer Breeze 22MDB: 4367lbs
- 2013 Coachmen RV Catalina Santara Series 212BH: 4235lbs
- 2017 Forest River RV Flagstaff Micro Lite 25BRDS: 5008lbs
Weight is important because you need a large and powerful enough vehicle to tow your trailer. For a twenty-six footer, you will likely be looking at a large SUV. If you have a heavy fifth wheel or toy hauler travel trailer, you may need a half-ton pickup truck.
Full-size SUVs and half-ton pickup trucks can generally pull 5000 pounds, therefore they should be able to easily pull a twenty-six-foot travel trailer. However, the towing capacity can vary with the exact model of your vehicle.
It is up to you to figure out the towing capacity to ensure that you can safely pull your trailer.
How To Understand Weight Terminology
There are a few terms that are often used when discussing weight and towing capacity. They may be used in reference to your towing vehicle or trailers specifications, or even regarding bridge weight limits.
Here is a breakdown of important terms:
- Dry weight: this is the weight of the trailer you will often see listed on the spec sheet. It is the weight of the trailer without gas, gear, or water.
- Trailer Gross Vehicle Weight: the weight of the trailer with all of your gear and essentials.
- Max Trailer Payload: this is how much weight your trailer can safely carry. This is essentially how much gear, gas, and water your trailer can accommodate. It can also be listed as your cargo carrying capacity.
These terms can be applied to your towing vehicle as well.
- Curb Weight: this is similar to the dry weight of your camper. It is the weight of your vehicle without any gear, fuel, or passengers (or payload).
- Payload: the weight of the gear and passengers in your vehicle in addition to the tongue weight of the trailer when it is hooked up for towing. The weight of your vehicle isn’t factored into this number.
- Combined Gross Vehicle Weight: this number is pretty close to the total weight of your entire rig, trailer and vehicle included. It is the weight of the vehicle, the attached trailer, and all gear, passengers, and fuel. Typically this will be a predetermined number that the manufacture sets as the total weight your vehicle can handle.
- Tongue Weight: how much weight your trailer tongue will place on your vehicles hitch.
- Max Trailer Weight: the max amount of weight your vehicle can tow.
- Max Tongue Weight: the most weight that can be put on your hitch. This number can change based on your type of hitch.
Knowing all of these terms and the corresponding numbers in relation to your trailer and vehicle will help to ensure a safe trip.
What Affects Travel Trailer Weight?
As mentioned above, a few different things can affect the weight of your camper. And by effect, we mean to add to.
- Water and Fuel
Many trailers have freshwater tanks, especially ones of the twenty-six-foot variety. The freshwater tank can be expected to add about four hundred pounds on average.
Fuel also brings additional weight to the picture. Diesel fuel, on average, weighs about seven pounds per gallon.
You may be surprised just how much weight gear adds. When you pack clothing, outdoor gear, kitchen supplies, and even home accessories, the weight can quickly add up. On average, expect around four hundred pounds of gear.
The type of trailer can also determine the type of gear. If you have a toy hauler with garage weight you can expect a heavy amount of gear. Instead of just packing skis or kayaks you may be bringing along dirt bikes or ATVs, all of which can tip the scales significantly.
- The Type, Construction, and Features
Slides can certainly add weight to your trailer. Just one slide out can increase the number on the scale by as much as eight hundred pounds.
Many trailers today are made of fiberglass. This is important because it is a light material and allows large campers to weigh less than their traditional counterparts. Trailers with aluminum metal frames and fiberglass shells are considered lightweight.
Trailers with aluminum corrugated siding are much heavier. An airstream is an example of an aluminum trailer. These trailers can be as much as 1000 pounds heavier than a fiberglass travel trailer.
The type of travel trailer you choose can impact the weight as well. Some have compact footprints and are built to be lightweight. Yet others, such as luxury models, may be heavier due to their lavish features and outfitting.
Why Is Travel Trailer Weight Important?
In order to safely tow your trailer and limit damage to your tow vehicle and trailer, you must know its total weight. You will need to compare the total weight of your fully-loaded trailer to its weight rating listed on the GVWR sticker.
So just how do you weigh your trailer? Perhaps the easiest way is to take it to a scale. Weigh stations are provided by the government and can usually be accessed by the public. They can be found on the exit ramps of certain highways and are primarily used by semi-trucks.
A second option is by using a private scale. Some business operations may have these available for use for a small fee. Scrap yards, granaries, and quarries will typically have them on-site and may allow you to weigh your rig if you contact them and ask.
You can drive onto the scale and weigh your rig. You may be able to take a few different measurements. You should weigh your entire set up, the trailer and the tow vehicle together, and weigh just the trailer without the tow vehicle.
It is important to weigh your trailer fully loaded with all your gear, water, and fuel in order to get an accurate number of how much weight you will be towing. If the number is greater than the GVWR listed on your sticker than you will need to remove some gear until you bring it down to an appropriate weight.
Just a Number on a Scale
Travel trailers are also referred to as lightweight RVs and they can be a great choice for anyone just getting into the traveling lifestyle. A travel trailer is really just a portable home in a container built on top of a traditional trailer frame.
“Travel trailer” may describe various trailers of different sizes and styles with a wide range of amenities. Smaller ones may like teardrop-shaped trailers, fiberglass trailers that resemble standard campers or RVs, and even the classic AirStream. Larger ones, like Jayco’s, are the epitome of a traditional “travel trailer”.
Like other RVs, they have an area for sleeping, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Twenty-six-foot travel trailers usually have their own freshwater tanks, a living room/lounge area, and extendable or pop-up sections for extra room, known as slide outs.
Travel trailers cannot be driven, hence the name trailer, but must use a ball hitch to attach to the towing vehicle. Though some RVs may be small and light, most twenty-six footers require a larger vehicle to tow them, such as a truck, SUV or van.
The length of a twenty-six-foot travel trailer can make it difficult to maneuver. Driving in reverse may be nearly impossible. How you distribute the weight in your trailer can make driving and setting up easier.
So even though the typical twenty six foot travel trailer weighs about 4000 pounds, this number can vary. It is important to know the weight of your trailer so that you can find a suitable towing vehicle and abide by any weight limit enforcements during your travels.