Toy haulers equal fun! And let's ensure that the good times keep rolling by making sure you load up the garage of your toy hauler evenly so that it travels smoothly down the road. Even when you are under the weight rating of your toy hauler, you have to pay close attention to how you are loading your cargo in the garage. Let’s take a look at some rules of cargo loading and what the weights mean to ensure proper toy hauler weight distribution.
What the Weights Mean
When you purchase a toy hauler, pay attention to a few numbers so that you don’t overload it with cargo that is too heavy. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the total amount of weight the trailer can handle including itself, occupants, and any cargo. This is the number you never want to exceed. The next weights will depend on the method you want to use. If you’re still shopping for a toy hauler, then you want to look for a number that is called Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW), or sometimes called Dry or Ship Weight. This is how much the trailer weighs when it rolls off the assembly line and before you add options or cargo to it. Calculate how much your passengers and cargo weigh altogether. Add this total to the UVW and then subtract that sum from the GVWR. This lets you know how much weight you can still add to it with toys.
If you already own a toy hauler and are wondering if you can add an ATV or other fun outdoor toy to it, simply weigh it while it is packed with everything in it. Then take that number and subtract it from the GVWR to determine how much capacity you have left, or the residual weight capacity (RWC).
Here is an example of how this will work:
We have a 2016 XLR Nitro toy hauler. This RV has a GVWR of 15,500 lbs., so anything over that could cause damage. We weighed it and it came in at 13,987 lbs. (we have a lot of stuff in it). We subtract this number from the 15,000 GVWR and we get 1,513 lbs. Now we know that our toys cannot weigh more than that.
Now that we know how much weight our toy hauler can handle, let’s make sure we know how to load it up safely and securely.
Most manufacturers want you to put 60% of the weight in front of the center axle line. With our XLR Nitro, we know that the majority of the weight is already up front because of the large living portion of the RV. If you are looking at a smaller toy hauler that isn't as significant in size and amenities, this may not be the case. The first thing you need to determine is where your center axle line is. If it’s a small single axle trailer, then that’s the center. If you have two axles, the centerline is going to be right in between them. When you load your toys into the garage, you want to ensure that the heaviest part of them is in front of the axle. So load them up with the engine in the front of the rig since generally this is going to be the heaviest part. You also want to ensure that your weight is evenly distributed from side to side. Let’s say you are able to fit two toys in there side by side if you turn them. If you do this, alternate where the engines of them are so that the engine weight of one is on one side and the other engine weight is on the other. This way you’re not throwing the entire trailer off balance.
Why Does It Matter?
The front-to-back weight distribution of your cargo can really change the way your tow vehicle pulls the RV. If you have too much cargo weigh up front, too much weight will be riding on the tongue and it will be putting too much pressure on the tow vehicle. Even with stabilizing bars, you may find the rear of the vehicle being pushed down. This can affect steering as it pulls up on the front wheels, making it hard for them to grip the road. If you have too much weight in the rear of the trailer, it will pull up on the hitch and cause the back of the RV to sag. Having the weight unevenly distributed from side to side can cause some serious steering issues and could even cause a roll over.
Ensure that you and your toy hauler stay safe by making sure you have proper toy hauler weight distribution. Always check your RV's manual for manufacturer loading recommendations.