RV Trip Prep

Loading 101
By Brent Peterson
  |  Gorp.com
Page 2 of 5   |  

Yes, there's a right way and wrong way to load an RV. Too much weight on one side, and your RV might lean like my dad after a 48-ounce sirloin. Load heavier items near the floor to avoid a top-heavy condition and to prevent unnecessary falls from lofty storage compartments. Towable owners should review the weight requirement for the trailer hitch. Distributing approximately 10 to 15 percent of the cargo's weight in the front is the best thing to reinforce the tongue-and-hitch connection. Too little weight here and expect some fishtailing; too much and the added weight buckles the hookup.

The key thing to remember is that overloading your vehicle is dangerous. Although your motor home or towable might look unstoppable, nothing places your family at risk like an RV that has exceeded its weight limits, also known as the GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) for motorized vehicles and the GCWR (gross combined weight rating) for tow vehicle and trailer combinations. Exceed this number (usually found in the owner's manual) and you compromise the safety factor. It's also against the law. After loading, take your RV to a truck scale to see how you did.

Packing Tips

As for what to pack, a lot depends on where you're going, what time of year, and for how long. You'll pack differently for a weekend at the local RV park than for a two-month sabbatical through the western states; full-timer RVers have much different packing criteria than weekend warriors.

You might have to play the foil when it comes to packing. Some of us just can't leave home without every little thing. Start by allowing every passenger one suitcase for clothing, toiletries, medication, and "must-have" items. As for the rest of the provisions, the following recommendations should stimulate a little thought. Consider it the mother of all checklists. Until you've nailed down your own, go ahead and use ours.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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