Before we began looking for a truck, I first looked at what the camper weighed dry, and then added in tank capacities and the weight of all the options we elected to add. We also had to try and estimate what the weight of all our supplies, clothes, cookware, etc. was going to add.
The Lance Camper website has a Build Yours tab that lets you pick the options you want. It also estimates the approximate final weight of the camper. With all those numbers roughly calculated, I then looked at payload numbers. Now, there are a whole bunch of numbers that can confuse people who aren’t familiar with hauling and towing. To keep it simple, we are going to focus on the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and payload. The GVWR is the maximum combined weight of the vehicle and anything you put on it or in it. It is illegal and unsafe to go beyond GVWR as the vehicle was designed and engineered for that limit. The payload is the GVWR minus the weight of the truck rolling off the assembly line with a full tank of fuel.
I ran into some conflicting information related to GVWR while speaking with a gentleman that designed truck campers for a big RV company. He told me that truck manufacturers automatically figure in 150 pounds for each seat and that weight doesn’t count against your payload weight. However, I called Ford to confirm this, and they told me this was incorrect. I then called our insurance company to find out what would happen if I were to have an accident and it was determined that I was over my GVWR. I was told that they have never had that happen and would need to look into it further for a more detailed answer. We opted to go with Ford’s definition.
Our trucks payload sticker tells us we are rated to hold 3,868 pounds. Our campers placard tells us that the camper weighs 2,760 pounds when full of water, full of propane, and standard equipment. Add in roughly 275 pounds for optional equipment, and we are at 3,035 pounds, which gives close to 850 pounds for our bodies and our stuff. My point here is to be aware of your camper’s weight when in use as well as the load your truck was designed to handle. Once I started looking at how much some models of campers weigh, I began to realize that there are several overloaded trucks on the road.