How Do You Choose a Lightweight Travel Trailer That's Right for Your Vehicle's Towing Capacity?


Quick Answer

To choose the right lightweight travel trailer for your vehicle, find out the trailer's unloaded vehicle weight and then add the weight of all your cargo. If this total is less than your vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating, the trailer may be a good fit.

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Full Answer

When figuring out the weight of the loaded trailer, be generous in your estimates and be sure to include things like the weight of full water reservoirs if your trailer has them. If you add any optional utilities or appliances, be sure to add that weight too, as it usually is not included in the manufacturer's unloaded vehicle weight. If possible, weigh the trailer at a truck weigh station for an accurate number.

The weight of the fully loaded trailer should be less than your tow vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating or maximum towing capacity. Although many people manage to tow loads that are close to the GVWR, ideally the number should be quite a bit less. The manufacturer's ratings are often on the higher end of what the average driver can safely tow. Heavier trailers are harder to steer and stop safely.

Although this is the easiest way to make a determination, gross axle weight ratings, tow package add-ons, hitch ratings and other factors also may apply. It is best to work with a reputable dealer or mechanic to ensure your vehicle can safely tow the travel trailer.

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