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What does RV dry weight mean?  

What does RV dry weight mean?  

Owning an RV comes with a lot of information that is crucial to know or to take the time to learn. Your RV’s weight is perhaps the one of the most crucial pieces of information to know before you take it on the road for a weekend full of fun. 

The dry weight of an RV is the total weight of the RV as shipped from the manufacturer.

This means the dry weight is calculated without any belongings/gear, passengers, liquids in the tanks or any additions made after the manufacturer shipped the rig.

Together, we’ll discover why knowing the dry weight of your RV is important and what it means for your future RV adventures.

What is dry weight?

As discussed previously, the dry weight of an RV is the total weight of the vehicle as it left the factory, excluding any people, items, liquids in the tanks, and any additional items or options that the dealer may have installed (or previous owner).

Although the aforementioned definition of dry weight is the accepted industry standard, it’s important to realize that various manufacturers may use their own definition. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand how your RV’s manufacturer determines the dry weight. 

Certain optional pieces of equipment are included in the dry weight by some manufacturers but not by others. Depending on the manufacturer, an RV’s dry weight may or may not include its batteries. 

Additionally, some RV manufacturers also include weight of fuel, coolant, and oil in their dry weight calculations even though by definition, dry weight excludes fluids.

Including the fluids in the dry weight makes sense for motorized RVs since you can’t even operate them without all of those fluids being included in the calculation.

Why is it crucial to know the dry weight?

The appropriate tow weight, cargo carrying capacity, passenger carrying capacity, and other calculations depend on understanding the dry weight of a camper.

An overweight rig can be extremely dangerous in addition to it adding extra strain on the rig itself. We start by figuring out a camper’s dry weight before working out other crucial figures.

For instance, tires are designed to support a specific number of pounds at a specific PSI.

If you exceed the weight limits of some transmission coolers, which are fitted predicated on weight ratings, you risk seriously damaging the transmission of one’s camper or the truck towing it.

In order to stay within safe weight limits while traveling, for not only the safe operation of your RV but also for your safety on the road, it is therefore helpful to know the dry weight of a camper.

How Do You Find the Dry Weight of a Camper?

A sticker that lists the dry weight of your RV (along with other information), according to how the manufacturer calculated, is typically located on the chassis or inside the door to the entry of your RV.

If it’s not there, you might be able to find it displayed on the camper’s side or hidden inside a cabinet or storage space. 

Since this is such crucial information, if you can’t find it displayed anywhere on your camper, you can either get in touch with the company that made your RV or, if it’s a recent enough model, look for it on their website. 

Even if you own an older RV, you might be able to easily find dry weight data by performing a quick online search, but if you can, make sure to find out what the manufacturer considered when calculating the “dry weight”.

Is Hitch Weight Included in Dry Weight of a Camper?

Hitch weight is often calculated in the dry weight of the RV, but this may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Aside from being included in the dry weight, it is important to know what hitch weight means and what the individual hitch weight is.

The weight that a travel trailer’s tongue puts on the hitch it is positioned on is known as the hitch weight. The added weight will load down on the back of the tow vehicle because the hitch is connected to the tow vehicle’s frame, leaving insufficient weight on the front axle.

When this occurs, the camper’s tongue weight as well as additional vehicle weight from the vehicle sagging in the back and insufficient load on the front axle are transferred to the rear axle.

Lack of weight on the tow vehicle’s front axle can impair steering, degrade performance, cause traction to be lost, and make stopping much more challenging.

Is GVWR the same as dry weight?

Another measurement of weight in terms of an RV is something known as the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR for short. This is not the same as the dry weight measurement.

The GVWR of an RV is a number set by the RV manufacturer that dictates how heavy the rig can be and still remain safe. It is almost the exact opposite of the dry weight in that it includes the dry weight along with the weight of any passengers, cargo, and liquids.

It is extremely important to know the GVWR as it determines the overall safety of your rig and everyone in it.

What other weights do you need to know in RVing?

RV weights don’t stop at the ones we have already mentioned. There are a few more that are important to know so you can be informed when going to purchase an RV.

Gross Cargo Carrying Capacity (GCCC)

Max cargo carrying capacity is referred to as GCCC. GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) less UVW is equal to GCCC (Unloaded Vehicle Weight).

The weight of occupants, personal belongings, propane gas, fresh water, waste water, and dealer-installed accessories will all lower the GCCC.

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)

The maximum weight that every axle assembly is intended to support is known as the GAWR. This is crucial to understand because, contingent upon how you load the RV with your personal belongings, you could be under the GVWR and yet still exceed an axle rating. 

Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)

GCWR means the value stipulated by the motorhome manufacturer as the maximum possible combined weight of a motorhome for use as a tow vehicle and the attached tow vehicle. This pertains to each vehicle’s cargo, passengers, and liquids.



Now that you know what dry weight is and why it is important, you can feel more confident going into the RV buying experience. With this knowledge, you will also ensure your safety as you venture out with your new RV!


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