RV Weight and Measurement Terminology

There are all types of weights and measurements in reference to RVs, and sometimes, it can be confusing. What does it all mean? Below, you will find some answers.

If you are curious about your weight, many truck stops have scales, and they may be willing to weigh you. Also, be mindful of “weight distribution” in your RV. You want to try and keep the weight of your load evenly distributed, with the heaviest items over the axles. Also, avoid collecting too much unnecessary junk, and make regular trips to a thrift store along the way, to donate unneeded “stuff”.

Curb Weight: The weight of a motorhome or trailer, including all standard equipment, with the fuel tank full, but with no passengers or gear.

Dry Weight: The weight of a motorhome or trailer without any fuel, fresh water, propane or passengers.

Cargo Weight: The weight of all the gear added to the Curb Weight of the motorhome or trailer.

Actual Weight: How much the motorhome or trailer actually weighs.

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) The manufacturer’s maximum load weight, to be placed on the axle. If an axle has a 3500 lb. GAWR and the RV has two axles, then the RV would have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 7000 lbs.

Gross Combined Weight (GCW) The combined actual weight of the tow vehicle and the trailer.

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) The manufacturers maximum load weight allowed for the tow vehicle and trailer together. This rating includes the weight of the trailer, the tow vehicle, fuel, water, propane, passengers and supplies.

Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) Gross trailer weight is the weight of the trailer fully loaded with gear and supplies, in it’s actual towing condition.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) The actual weight of a motorhome or trailer, fully loaded with gear, supplies, people and pets.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) The manufacturer’s maximum load weight allowed for the RV. This rating includes the weight of the motorhome or trailer, plus fuel, water, propane, gear, supplies passengers and pets.

Hitch Rating: The assigned weight, by the manufacturer, that the hitch is designed to handle.

Hitch Weight: The amount of a trailer’s weight that rests on the tow vehicle’s hitch. For a travel trailer, this weight should be between 10% to 15% of the total weight of the trailer. For a 5th Wheel, this weight should be between 15% to 20% of the total weight of the trailer.

Load: The amount of weight an object supports.

Net Carrying Capacity (NCC) The maximum weight of fuel, water, propane, supplies, passengers and pets, that can be added to a motorhome or trailer, without exceeding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

Payload Capacity: The maximum allowed weight, that can be in or on a vehicle, including all cargo and gear, fuel, fresh water, full holding tanks, propane, passengers, pets and hitch loads.

Pin Weight: The downward force exerted on the king pin, by a 5th Wheel hitch coupler. In most cases, this should be between 15 to 25 percent of GTW.

Tongue Weight: Tongue weight (TW) is the downward force exerted on the hitch ball by a travel trailer coupler. In most cases, it should be between 10 to 15 percent of GTW.

Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW) Also called Dry Weight. This is the weight of the motorhome or trailer, without added fuel, water, propane, supplies, passengers or pets.

Wet Weight: The weight of the RV with fuel, fresh water and full propane tanks.

Weight of Common RV Liquids measured in pounds per gallon:

Water: 8.3 lbs. per gallon
Fuel: 5.6-6.9 lbs. per gallon
Propane: 4.2 lbs. per gallon


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