trailer loading/packing

How you load your trailer is extremely important.  Putting too much weight in front of the axle will make the tongue weight heavy and put additional strain on the tow vehicle's chassis and suspension and cause expensive damage.

Too much weight behind the axles makes for a very light tongue weight which can send the trailer into an out of control sway situation.

The best loading technique is to place heavy items low down and near the axle, light items high near the ceiling and medium weight items evenly across the length of the trailer.


Some people are tempted to pack as much as possible under the bed space.  Don't fall into this trap.  Beds are typically near the rear of the trailer and as explained above, this can cause instability. 

Load the trailer evenly from side-to-side. Don't put all the heavy items on one side of the trailer.  Take note of where the manufacturer has fixed the permanent items of the trailer (fridges, microwaves, toilet/shower etc) and balance your packing to compensate.

Don't fall into the trap of overloading your trailer just because you "have the room".  Be aware of how much weight you are adding with each item and always keep in mind the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).  See article on Weight Ratings.  The weight limits imposed by the manufacturer of your trailer are there for a reason.  Exceeding these may not only lead to an accident, but can void your insurance.

It is a good idea when taking delivery of your trailer to have a set of bathroom scales handy as you pack.  Step on them yourself and take a note of your weight.  Have someone hand you each and every item you intend to pack into the trailer (smaller light weight items can be held in groups) whilst you are standing on the scales and take a note of the new weight.  Subtract your original weight from this new figure and this will give you the weight of each item.  Write it down !  You will be surprised when you add them all up, just how much you are packing into your trailer.  Writing it down will assist later when you decide "something's got to go" to get back under your GVWR limit.

It is a good idea to repeat this process at regular intervals before setting out on your vacation as you will be surprise just how quickly those souvenirs and extra bits and pieces from your last trip add up.

Avoid dynamic loads. Dynamic loads are anything that can move while you are towing. A half gallon of milk isn't going to make you sway, but a half filled water tank or grey water tank might contribute to a problem. So would a slide out that breaks loose, or a large object that could roll or slide around inside the trailer.

Never rush the loading of your trailer as it can literally mean life and death.  It is one of the most important aspects of trailer towing.

other articles that may interest you
towing terms
tow hitch
weight ratings
sway prevention
trailer tires

tow vehicle
weight distribution
scale weights
trailer wiring
trailer towing
tongue weight
trailer sway
backing up
general maintenance



javascript hit counter