Trailer weight limits - question from chubby folk! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-10-2014, 01:51 PM   #1
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Trailer weight limits - question from chubby folk!

I am looking into possibly purchasing a 13' Scamp or similar travel trailer for my family of 4 - kids are preteen / young teens.

Since the kids are getting closer to adult size/weight, and the adults in the family are on the "chubby" side , I'm wondering about the maximum total weight that can be loaded into the trailer. (The kids will probably sleep in a tent outside much of the time, but I want the option available for them to sleep inside in bad/cold weather.)

Most of the info I see about trailer weights are discussions of what can be towed. But what are the maximum loading weights for the trailers themselves? Is there a thread or charts anywhere that list the maximum loading weights of different trailers? And I suppose that we need to count the weight of the human/pet occupants into that limit, correct?

For example, I've seen stats that the 13' UHauls weighed around 1,250 lbs and could be loaded with a max of 500 lbs cargo, but what is the max weight of occupants on top of that?

ETA: My husband thinks that the weight of the occupants doesn't matter when the unit is stationary. He thinks the weight only really matters when you're towing. So maybe my question is moot. Never having owned a trailer before, I am just trying not to make any assumptions.
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Old 08-10-2014, 06:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by songsparrow View Post
...I suppose that we need to count the weight of the human/pet occupants into that limit, correct?

...My husband thinks that the weight of the occupants doesn't matter when the unit is stationary. He thinks the weight only really matters when you're towing.
In a way, you are both right.
Weight limits generally are about how much weight a particular Tow Vehicle is rated to tow. Your husband is correct about the stationary part and it's the going-down-the-road part that matters. You are correct that the weight of the humans and pets, in addition to the weight of the rocks and jars of piccalilli you hide from him count as part of that limit.
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Old 08-10-2014, 06:20 PM   #3
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Also keep in mind that the front bunkbeds In most 13' trailers are designed for "Smaller" children. In most cases I believe that the top bunk is limited to about 80 lbs weight.

Just to move the discussion along a bit, what will you be towing with? That can have a surprising effect on what trailers you can select from.
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Old 08-10-2014, 06:52 PM   #4
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Agreed. Weight of people counts when towing. My Pilot's owner's manual has a chart showing how the tow rating is decreased according to the number of 150# passengers (each toting 15# of personal effects, per the fine print):
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When the trailer is parked the weight of the trailer, contents, and occupants is partially supported by the tongue jack and rear stabilizers, so it shouldn't be an issue… as long as the floor and supporting frame members are sound. Some people do add additional stabilizers at the front corners. However, even then, most of the weight should remain on the axle and wheels. You risk damaging the frame if you try to raise the entire trailer onto the stabilizers.

The upper bunk is not designed for full-size adults. There is no published weight limit (at least for Scamps). I was told verbally by a Scamp representative that it would hold 150#, but the general consensus on this forum is more like 100#, especially if the trailer is older. The front edge of the bunk is supported by a piece of wood fiberglassed into the wall just under the window. In older trailers, that piece of wood can be weakened by water seepage from the window.
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:13 PM   #5
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Thank you for the replies! I will be towing with a Honda Odyssey minivan. It's the same as for your Pilot, Jon - the amount that we can tow decreases as the number of 150# people riding in the car increases. We can tow up to 2,900 lbs even with up to 900 lbs worth of people in the car (which should be more than adequate on both counts). So I understand that our weight factors into the overall tow limit of the car + passengers + trailer + cargo (in both the car and trailer) grand total.

I was more wondering if there was a maximum limit that the trailer could handle when it was stationary. For instance, I didn't know if these trailers were designed to have two 150# people sleeping on the back bed, and if it would be a problem if we weigh more than that. I didn't know if it would affect the axle or tires, for example. It sounds like that shouldn't be a problem, which is great!

Thanks for mentioning the weight limit of the top bunk. I definitely intend to reinforce it so that it can safely support the higher weight. I saw posts where people added supports made from PVC, wood, or aluminum and thought I'd do something similar. If anyone thinks that would not be sufficient to support the top bunk, please let me know! The last thing I would want to have happen is for the bunk to collapse while someone was sleeping below it.
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
In older trailers, that piece of wood can be weakened by water seepage from the window.
Or as I recently discovered (and repaired) in mine, the tabbing for that piece of wood can actually separate from the fiberglass shell. Thankfully in my case, that wood seems to be just fine... no water damage that I could see or feel. The tabbing just broke free at one edge of the shelf, and about an 18" length of it was peeled back from the shell. I carefully peeled back the ensolite after removing the front window (for better access, plus I was replacing the rubber seal anyways, so it was just easier to do everything with the window out) and was able to trim away the old tabbing, then sand down to clean fiberglass and repair everything without any issues... I just glued the ensolite back with spray adhesive when I was done. My repair seems rock solid - it may even be stronger than it was new from the factory

In any case, I would suggest that it's wise to double check the condition of the support shelf and fiberglass tabbing from time to time - until I got a close look at mine after removing the top bunk, I wouldn't have suspected it had any problems, but I also hadn't climbed up on top to try it out myself (and I wasn't going to).
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