New Year, New You! Well..... more like New Year, Same You with some lofty goals to make it a...
How Much Do You Weigh? What You Need To Know to Get Your RV Ready for Swimsuit Season!
Summer camping season is upon us! Have you weighed yourself lately to make sure you're ready? We don't mean getting the passengers bikini-ready for the pool..... we mean it's time to hit up a CAT Scale and check those GVWR, GCWR, and GAWR measurements! Not exactly confident you know what that means? No worries..... we'll help you get your rig weighed and ready for safe summer fun!
Weighing your RV will allow you to make sure you are safely within the limitations of your vehicle so you arrive safely! Whether you'll be measuring your truck/tow vehicle combined with your towable RV, or your driveable RV and 'toad' vehicle (towed behind your RV,) there are a few terms and numbers with which you'll want to become familiar. Here's the sticker from our new trailer.
GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
This measurement is the maximum permissible weight of (each) vehicle when fully loaded for travel. All RVs, tow vehicles and trailers will have a GVWR, and it includes the vehicle itself, all the cargo, liquids, fuel, passengers, and any towed vehicle tongue weight. Bottom line..... how much does your truck (or RV) weigh with all the stuff you're going to carry, including people, fuel and liquid?
GCWR: Gross Combined Weight Rating
This measurement is the maximum permissible weight of the tow vehicle and RV combined when both are fully loaded for travel. GCWR can apply to a truck and trailer, or a driveable motor home towing a vehicle or trailer behind it. Bottom line.... once you're packed and ready and completely hitched up and traveling down the road.... how much does the whole kit and caboodle weigh combined?
GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating
This measurement is for every axle, and represents the maximum permissible weight that the components (tires, wheels, brakes) of each axle are designed to support.
So how do we weigh this thing?
You've likely seen weigh stations along the highway that truckers use...... Yep. Keep driving. Those aren't for RVers; those weigh stations are for commercial vehicles. You'll want to find a CAT scale, which you can find attached to many truck stops and large gas stations. We are currently on a trip north from Florida into Georgia and North Carolina and hadn't weighed our rig since we upgraded to a new model. We took the opportunity yesterday to weigh in!
The first time we ever used a CAT scale, I remember feeling quite intimidated by the queue of truckers and being convinced I was making big mistakes and holding up the line. Don't be intimidated-- Turns out.... it's easy! Here's how it works:
- Pull up to the scale-- it's separated into three sections. Your truck tires (or front tires of your motorhome) will be in the front section. Here's how it should look:
Diagrams courtesy of CAT's weighmytruck.com
- You can either use the CAT app or push the intercom button at the scale to let the attendant know you're ready to get weighed. In the app, there is an area to type the CAT location, which is marked on each scale.
- You'll get weighed in about 3 seconds! If you use the app, your reading will be available on the next screen. If you pushed the button for the attendant, you'll park and then go to the counter inside to pay for your report. The cost is about $12 each time you weigh, which is definitely worth it!
- Your report in the app will look like this: (We actually just went in and got a print-out this time, as we were having internet connection issues. Don't worry-- this wasn't our reading!) You'll notice the truck's front and rear axles are listed, then the trailer weight, then the combined gross weight.
- Here's our actual printout. You'll want to make sure that your Gross Weight is less than your GCWR and that your axle weights are below your GAWR. The GVWR of our truck is 10,000lbs, and for our trailer is 7,995lbs. This means our combined towing GCWR is nearly 18,000 lbs. We thought we would be pretty close to our limit, but were pleasantly surprised to come in at 15,740 lbs combined weight.
So.....What happens if you're a little pudgy? Here are a few ways to cut weight so you can travel safely!
- Empty your black and grey tanks before travel, and don't keep excess fresh water in your tank beyond a small amount you'll actually need in transit. If you plan on boondocking, fill up when you're close to your final destination instead of lugging heavy water down the highway unnecessarily.
- Make sure your cargo is distributed equally if your axles aren't measuring appropriately.
- Take inventory periodically of what you're hauling across the country. Do the items in your space still suit your needs? Are you carrying heavy tools that aren't necessary, or bulky kitchen appliances you simply don't use? We just went through this exercise and purged more than we thought we could simply by asking ourselves, "When is the last time I used this?"
- Stock up on cases of water, a pantry full of groceries, cases of beer, ice, etc. when you arrive near your campsite. No use weighing down your rig for hundreds of miles with groceries.
- When considering modifications, including furniture and mattress changes, keep your weight in mind. Manufacturers choose stock materials based partly on how much they weigh, so understand that if you're bringing in an oak table where a plastic table once stood, or replacing your (terrible) RV mattress with a heavy luxury model, you'll need to compromise elsewhere.
Obtaining your accurate RV weight a few times a year will help you stay safe on the road and also achieve better gas mileage. Knowledge is power! What are some ways you keep your rig at fighting weight? Have you made any modifications that have helped you stay below your max weight limits? We would love to hear from you in the comments! Consider subscribing in the green box below so you never miss a post!