How to Safely Load Your RV

By: Country Camping RV   |   31 Mar 2023

With spring quickly approaching here in Salmon Arm, BC, we know many of you are full of excitement about pulling your old RVs out of storage and embarking on your first big adventure of the season. But before your eager hands begin packing up your bags and haphazardly tossing all your cargo into that travel trailer, it’s important to remember how to load your RV safely. In fact, if you’re new to the world of RVs, this is an essential practice that commonly gets overlooked.

Every unit has a maximum cargo carrying capacity (CCC) that shouldn’t be exceeded. Additionally, you also need to load your RV to distribute the weight properly. A good loading strategy in place can help reduce swaying, bouncing, tire blowouts, and a host of other problems. Thankfully the team at Country Camping RV is here to help with our complete guide on how to safely load your RV!

Understanding Your RV’s Weight Ratings

First things first, you need to determine exactly what your RV’s weight ratings even are. The weight ratings are usually determined by the manufacturer, and you can find them in your owner’s manual or on your VIN number tag. This includes abbreviations like GVWR, GAWR, GTW, etc.

  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). This is the maximum amount of weight your RV can handle. It is the combined weight of the RV itself and its maximum payload capacity. 
  • GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating). This is the maximum weight you can place on each axle. 
  • GTW (Gross Trailer Weight). This is the actual weight of your RV plus all the stuff you load into it. The only way to determine this weight is to drive over a scale once it’s loaded. 
  • Tongue Weight is the amount of weight that is placed on the hitch ball when you connect your RV to your tow vehicle. 
  • Maximum Payload Capacity tells you how much weight you are able to load into your RV safely. You calculate it by subtracting your RV’s dry weight from its GVWR. 
  • Towing Capacity refers to your tow vehicle, but it’s still vital to safe towing. It is the maximum amount of weight your vehicle can safely tow, and it will be specified on your vehicle’s VIN label or in the owner’s manual.

The Correct Way to Load Your RV 

  1. Stick to the 60/40 rule. This states that approximately 60 percent of the loaded weight should be placed in front of the trailer’s center axle, and the remaining 40 percent should be placed behind. Putting too much weight in the back of your trailer can result in fishtailing at high speeds.

  2. Pack the heavy items first. These items should be strategically placed as close to the axle as possible, but they should also be distributed evenly across the length and width of your trailer. If your RV allows, store heavier items in the trailer’s underneath compartments to reduce the risk of them falling out. Be sure to consider your placement of items based on where your appliances are located, as these are the heaviest items on board.

  3. Monitor your septic tank. As you go along your journey, your grey and black tanks will contribute to your overall weight, and if they go unmonitored, they could shift your trailer’s payload unevenly, which will cause more sway or bounce at high speeds. Be sure to empty them regularly throughout your trip.

Ready to get out on the open road and discover all this great nation has to offer? Browse our extensive selection of fifth-wheels, toy haulers, travel trailers and more at Country Camping RV today!



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