When purchasing a Truck Camper, there are a few important factors to consider:
1. The payload capacity – sometimes this rating is posted in the glove box of your truck, if not, another way to determine payload capacity would be to weigh your truck, full of fuel, people and of course the dog and then subtract that weight from the (GVWR) posted on the door of your truck and that difference would equal your payload capacity (weight of camper you can carry). Example, your truck weighs 6800lbs and the GVWR on the door reads 9900lbs your payload would be 3100lbs (9900lbs-6800lbs=3100lbs).
2. GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) – is the maximum weight the manufacturer rates that truck to carry, including weight of the truck and all people. Cargo, fuel etc.
3. GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) – is the maximum rating the manufacturer rates the axles to carry. To determine these ratings on your truck with cargo (camper) weigh your truck again with just the front and then just the rear axle on the scales, this will give you your axle ratings on your truck with your camper. These ratings are usually posted on the driver’s side doorpost.
4. Tire capacity (rating of your tire) – This is the tiny fine print on the sidewall of your tire, usually just behind the tire inflation number, this will usually be a direct correlation to the axle ratings and GVWR on new truck. This will always be your weak link in your weight carrying capacity and should always be checked before carrying any load, including a passenger car for that matter. SAFETY ALERT – Always make certain you choose tires with the proper load capacity to handle whatever load you are carrying with your vehicle!
5. COG (Center of Gravity) – also known as Center of Balance is the point that the weight of your camper is balanced, ALP notes the COG on every camper with a large red arrow, this is determined as it is weighed and balanced as it goes out the door. Your camper COG should fall into the “Load Range” of your truck (see owners manual) for this measurment. See example below;
As you can see in this example the COG of this camper easily falls into the load range of this truck.
As the owner, it is your responsibility not to exceed the weight or COG specifications of your truck when purchasing a truck camper. Always think safety first before loading a camper on your truck. Please consult your dealer, who can help you select aftermarket items designed to aid in proper use of your truck and camper combination.