The first thing you want to figure out is just how much your truck can handle. Let's start with your vehicle's sticker. Check your vehicle's door jams for a sticker that states the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or a statement that says something like “The passengers and cargo of this vehicle may not exceed ...” followed by a specific weight. The GVWR is the full amount of weight your truck can handle. This includes itself, the passengers, any cargo, and anything it’s towing. This is going to be the most accurate way to find your towing capacity, but you’re going to need to get your truck weighed. Before having it weighed, load it up to the max with everything you’re going to want to have with you, such as a full tank of gas and all of your cargo. You also want to have your passengers in the car, or at least know their weight to add to it later. Head over to a truck stop or weigh station and have it weighed. Subtract the number on the scale from the GVWR to determine your towing capacity! Here’s an example of how it’s done:
Hitch weight is the amount of weight that is put on the hitch and the truck. This is how much of the RV the truck is going to be carrying. When you start looking at the RVs, whether online or in person, you’re going to see a lot of different numbers. One number you may see is hitch weight. Don’t count on this. This is for the empty camper and doesn’t account for any add-on options or cargo in the trailer. So you’re going to need to do a little math here too! The number you want to look for is the GVWR of the trailer. This is the max that the trailer can hold plus its own weight so this is the heaviest it will ever be (as long as you don’t overload it).
How Much Weight Can It Handle?
If you don’t want the hassle of calculating every trailer you see, you can calculate the max GVWR for each category. Here’s a little algebra lesson. Let’s say W is the GVWR we want to calculate. The basic calculations we’ve used look a bit like this: