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How to make my RV weigh less is a common problem most RVers have. If you own a travel trailer or fifth wheel then you know the importance of overall weight of the trailer.
There are lots of weight terminologies that you should know and follow. Your car or truck will have hard time pulling that trailer or fifth wheel if the weight is high.
Heavily loaded RV will consume more fuel and overall efficiency will be reduced. This will result in increased costs.
So, how do you limit the RV weight?
Getting a lighter RV is a great option but even then you need to work on a solution to reduce the weight. When packing for your trip, you end up getting things that make absolutely no sense and that’s why you follow a checklist.
There are dozens of clever modifications you can do to make a difference. Not all of the below tips or mods will be practical for all of you but many of them are great at reducing weight and easy to execute.
Here are your tips to lighten a travel trailer or RV.
1. Replace old and heavy furniture
This one thing can make a lot of difference specially if you own a old RV that has heavy sofa or recliner. Replacing furniture can be hard in RV but this is one thing that will make the highest difference for sure.
Getting a futon in place of a heavy sofa will make the RV lighter. It can be a small compromise but will reduce the weight. Explore futons that are light weight and slick in design.
Head out to Ikea store and figure out what can fit in best and also has a low weight.
Next is to ditch recliners and get a poang chair. Poang chairs are great and comfortable. Once you are used to them you will not miss the recliners that are heavy, and with time become outdated as well.
This tip of getting new furniture may not apply to many of you who have bought new RV. If you have bought a used RV and want to change things or furniture do consider these two tips of getting futon and poang chair instead of recliner and sofa.
2. Get rid of unused exterior items
Next RV weight reduction tip is to remove unused exterior items. I cant tell you how much we have been carrying on our RV that was going unused for months. A ladder, bike rack that was lying unused until one day i thought about the weight it was putting in on the travel trailer.
Have a close look around your RV and check for all those items that you haven’t been used for months. A satellite antenna, roof rack anything that has gone unused need to be put aside.
An air conditioner lying at the roof that isn’t working or a roof top storage with kayak or any other item, just go ahead and keep it in your home garage. There’s always a limit on how much weight you can add on to a camper, therefore getting rid of unused items is the best thing to do.
3. Reduce the amount of water you bring
Do not underestimate the weight of water. It does weigh and will go unnoticed. Just to be clear before we list out this tip, Water is necessary while camping and getting less water is more bad then packing extra water. Key here is to get exactly what you will need.
On an average while boondocking you will need around 40-50 gallons of fresh water per day. Your usage will vary and you are in best position to identify this. So, next time you pack for the trip just have a close look at what you are carrying.
4. Make use of aluminum for repairs
Aluminium is a unique metal you can use for structural repairs or remodeling inside the RV. Aluminium is light and yet provides good support.
For repairing windows or sliding make sure you utilize aluminum and avoid other heavy counterparts. While getting your RV at the repair shop stress on this point and make sure light weight metals are used.
Your job is to makes sure minimal weight gets added on the already heavy RV.
5. Replace unnecessary sliding door with curtains
Next is to replace heavy metal or wooden door and rods with something light. What else can be more lighter than curtain?
Unless you really need privacy, go ahead and replace the metal rod with something light like pvc and attach a curtain that will be weightless. This can work great specially in old RVs which have heavy doors that may not serve better purpose.
Specially sliding doors made of glass or other metal can be heavy and makes not much difference.
This will apply only to rooms that don’t need privacy. Its going to be a project that will need some time. A lot things here in my lists will need some time to implement. Get going on these in winter or spring before you hit the road in summer.
6. Replace shelving, cabinet that are heavy or wooden
Storage in your RV can at times fall short. But, you need to pay close look at whats lying in there. Are all your shelves having things that you use often?
Apart from removing unused things from shelves and cabinets pay a closer look to their own weight?
Wooden cabinets and shelves look great but are heavy. Get rid of them and replace with something light and compact.
Go, get plastic cabinets and drawers that store exactly the same and weigh less than half of the wooden ones. If you haven’t had a look at new design cabinets or drawers just have a glance at the nearest store. You will definitely find something that is light weight and space saver.
7. Take online delivery help
With online deliveries you can save a lot of weight. If you plan to get lots of items, food or anything else juts check if you can get it delivered directly at the camping point. May be a post office delivery or store delivering the stuff to you can be a great idea to avoid all the weight.
If you plan on camping at a location for longer period then you obviously will be taking lot of goodies. Online deliveries can also save you on money.
8. Pack what is needed
While you are packing the clothes, cooking utensils or other items just think twice. Having a checklist can help a lot. Make sure you are carrying things that you will absolutely need.
Getting extra clothes or cookware can quickly become overhead and increase the weight. Packing clothes alone can get wrong and you may end up bringing a whole lot more than needed. It all depends on the season and what kind of activities you will be doing.
Same goes with cookware as well. You have to decide on whats needed and whats going to go unused. The checklist that you have should be updated every time you come back from a trip. This kind-of helps in striking off things that went unused or less used.
9. Replace window treatments
RV treatments that you get originally with new RV can be great in blocking the sunlight. But, one thing with them is that, they are heavy. Get a lighter shade that can do similar job and put less weight on RV. This is smart hack to customize your RV and reduce the weight.
You will find lots of option online. You should definitely try this for the next season.
Such roller blackouts can protect from UV and are also waterproof. They come in different colors, try getting white as the sunlight will be reflected.
10. Leave behind kitchen items that you hardly use
You will have kitchen items, gadgets and appliances that will be great at home but will not be suitable inside your RV. Try to avoid all those convenient gadget and stick to something that can do double the duty.
Get a mug that will be used for coffee as well as for mixing and serving. Get seasoning inside plastic bags rather than jars. Go for innovative cookware that can quickly turn themselves to serve other purpose.
There’s lot happening in the RV kitchen cookware world and you will find ton of items that will reduce the weight and space they take.
Same goes with other kitchen and bathroom supplies. Dishwasher, soaps, towels; get them only as much you will need. Don’t bring those massive quantity items from Costco and fit inside the RV. Go easy and pack as per your need.
Also, your RV kitchen organization is key that helps you in deciding on what to bring and what to not.
11. Avoid heavy generators and Go solar
Portable Generators can be heavy and if you can avoid it, then go for it. Avoiding heavy generator is possible with solar. Get solar panels and install on the RV. Its also green way to camp.
Even though solar may not be your full alternative to generator, they do can come good to run a lot of items in your RV. A lot depends on the way you camp.
Most popular generators however are not that heavy and weigh less than 80 lbs. If you cannot avoid the generator completely then go for a one that isn’t heavier.
Read : Solar or Generator for RV?
The weight of the generator is directly proportional to its watts rating. Higher the watts, higher is the weight and noise. So, get a generator that exactly meets your need. Don’t simply go for a 4000 watts when you could be doing okay with 2500 watts.
Also, if you are going to camp only at campground with shore power then generator may not be needed.
12. Get lightweight Lithium batteries
Traditional or agm batteries are heavy and certainly make a good point for replacement. Lithium batteries are light weight. They also last longer and need less maintenance. They definitely make a case for your attention.
A lot RV veterans talk about lithium batteries as the way to go.
Deep cycle batteries can weigh anything around 60 lbs, that’s a lot if you compare it with a portable generator. Batteries look small but are heavy. Generally, you will have two batteries inside the RV. One to power all your smaller appliances and other to power motothome engine.
13. Upgrade the travel trailer suspension
Your travel trailer suspension works to make sure the ride is smooth. Even when the trailer isn’t fully loaded the ride can become a tough one if the suspension isn’t great.
Upgrade the suspension to increase your RVs load handling capacity. With this upgrade overall wear and tear will reduce and your ride will be smoother.
Such an mechanical upgrade has to go through a proper RV professional and the decision has to be based on your travel trailer current condition. A trailer that does not have proper suspension will give you hints here-and-there and that’s the time you consult a RV repair consultant.
14. Leave behind the heavy tools and maintenance toolkit
Your RV will have tools that are both necessary and heavy. Leave behind tools and toolkit that are heavy and not much used. It all depends on the kind of trip you have. A month long trip will need better preparation and you cant keep maintenance items at home.
For small trips its better to have a toolkit with some basic things for maintenance and repair of the RV.
A small vaccum, duct tape, sealing tape, broom, screw drivers are some of the things you may need. It all depends on what you want to do, do have a small checklist and pack it in tool kit box.
15. Leave behind the Spare tire
Tires weigh a lot lot more than anything else and keeping that extra spare tire at home is an option.
But, all of you will not agree on this and probably you shouldn’t leave it at home. Just if you are on a normal known road to a campground then this is an option where in you can get the AAA service if needed.
You may have never used the spire tire previously but its there for a reason. If you are on your very familiar road that isn’t that bad then you can give a try but make sure you will have the AAA service for this.
16. Get a light weight mattress
Heavy mattress and a plywood under it will make the bed assembly heavier. You can get rid of it if its old enough and get a mattress that is light weight. Go to ikea and look for a smaller piece that will put less weight.
Or just browse through amazon to find your best option. Your RV is home away from and you definitely need comfortable mattress and bed. Get a mattress with memory foam that will mold into your body shape.
17. Reduce the electronics
You can surely keep the extra entertainment system and electronics at home. While going on a camping trip you need to enjoy the outdoors. Limit the electronics you carry with your RV. Leave that laptop at home unless you have to do the work or stay connected on email.
Camping is all about going closer to nature and enjoying the outdoors.
Weight Terminology to understand
Before concluding with this article lets look at the RV weight terminology that is important to understand. This is very important for travel trailer owners as they will be puling it using a car or truck. Same goes for fifth wheel or pop up tent trailer owners.
GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) : This is most important weight rating for your travel trailer or fifth wheel RV. This is the maximum weight your RV can go to. You cant exceed this weight and it includes all things like cargo, passengers, water and all other things you can pack inside the travel trailer or RV. Remember your RV as well as your towing vehicle will have its own GVWR rating specified.
(UVW) Unloaded Vehicle Weight : This is the weight that you would generally see at the dealer or showroom. Its the weight of the trailer or RV without any extra things put in. Unloaded meaning without putting an load on it or with any people inside it. Many people are confused about the unloaded weight and the actually weight that you would be towing behind your car or truck.
(GCWR) Gross combination Weight rating : This is specific to the towing RVs. It is the combination of weight with your RV as well as you towing vehicle.
(CCCC) Cargo carrying capacity : This is the maximum weight that can you can add to your rv or travel trailer. This will include all your belonging and accessories.
(NCC) Net carrying capacity : This rating specifies the weight of all things including fuels, accessories, food, and other equipment that you would be carrying inside the RV or travel trailer.
(GAWR) Gross Axle Weight Rating : This rating is the maximum load the axles can take. It depends on the weakest link and it is based o wheels, axle and tire.
Implementing these customization and tips will surely make your travel trailer or motorhome much more lighter. Do not underestimate the benefits of towing a light RV. Do let us know about your experiences on reducing weight in RV.