When the great outdoors start calling, and you want to hit every campsite you can in comfort and luxury, that means it’s time to get a travel trailer. These RVs are a great way to discover the RV experience, but they’re not as hard to drive around as a class A motorhome or larger fifth wheel. However, if you’re not used to hauling trailers, you’ll have to make quite a few adjustments to your driving practices. There are also some loading techniques that you’ll have to be aware of before even purchasing your travel trailer, so after reading this guide, come on into Get-Away RV to pick out the RV that’s right for you. If you need any maintenance to ensure safer towing, you can also bring your trailer in for repair at our service and parts department. We’re in Abbotsford, BC, proudly serving the areas of Langley and Surrey, British Columbia.
Like we said, you should consider weight restrictions before actually buying the travel trailer. This will really depend on your tow vehicle, which is assigned a gross combined weight rating (GCWR). The GCWR dictates how much total weight your tow vehicle can handle, including what’s supported in the cab and what’s held in the trailer. For this reason, select a travel trailer that won’t push your total load over this number, or else you’ll be facing a hefty fine.
If you already have a travel trailer make sure you stay below the GCWR when loading it. You can check this at a weigh station before you head out for your trip, and the best weight to keep weight down is by cutting down on unnecessary stuff. For instance, completely empty your gray and blackwater tanks before leaving. Also, opt for plastic dishes and utensils, since these aren’t just unbreakable, but they also weigh much less than ceramic dishes.
Keeping your trailer below the max weight is pretty tricky, but distributing all that weight properly is yet another challenge. Trailers behave strangely when they aren’t loaded properly—if too much weight’s on the tail, you’ll lose control easily, and if too much weight’s in the front, your tow vehicle’s front tires will lose traction. Because of this issue, start by loading 10-20% of the total weight in the nose, or front, of the trailer. Doing so will put more weight on the hitch, which holds the travel trailer in place while driving. From there, balance the rest of the weight evenly throughout. Remember that there’s a lot of pre-existing weight from your appliances and storage space, so factor these in when balancing it all out. Also remember to store all of your heavy stuff close to the floor. You don’t want to put too much weight higher up, because this will throw off the center of gravity.
Every Time you get a new toy, you have to learn how to drive it. Although a travel trailer isn’t the same as, say, learning to ride a motorcycle or boat, driving one still requires a very particular skill set. You’ll still be using your same tow vehicle, but with how much an RV affects driving, there are a few techniques you’ll need to learn. First, driving on the highway gets more difficult because of the wind. The higher profile on a travel trailer catches a lot of extra air, which push you off center if you’re driving too fast. Braking’s also a new trick, because trailer brakes don’t slow down as fact as your tow vehicle’s do. In fact, they only accumulate stopping power the longer you hold down the brake, so make sure you allow plenty of following distance when driving.
So there’s definitely a few new things you’ll want to keep in mind when towing a travel trailer. They’re easier to handle than a large motorhome or fifth wheel, but you still need to pack them carefully and drive safely. If you have any other questions though, or simply need some repairs, come visit our dealership, parts, or service department at Get-Away RV. We’re in Abbotsford, BC, and serve customers from Langley and Surrey, British Columbia