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Thread: Camper tongue weight

  1. #1

    Camper tongue weight

    Just bought a Roll-A-Home camper and am starting to put together a list of camping needs. First question that comes to mind, is there an ideal tongue weight I should strive for as I load up the camper?

  2. #2
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    Re: Camper tongue weight

    Rule of thumb is 10% of total weight of trailer .

  3. #3

    Re: Camper tongue weight

    10% is a good starting point. A test ride will also help figure it out.

    Jeff
    2005 Yamaha RoadStar 1700 * 2006 Neosho Starlight Model 19 Tag-Trailer * 2009 Kompact Kamp Mini-Mate

  4. #4

    Re: Camper tongue weight

    Quote Originally Posted by almosthere View Post
    Rule of thumb is 10% of total weight of trailer .
    I never really understood the 10% rule of thumb. A Roll-A-Home wide bed model weighs 385 lbs empty. So, if one is towing this trailer empty from one location to another, the recommended tongue weight is approximately 38 lbs? Should one not tow the trailer empty? The reported empty tongue weight is 30 lbs.
    2011 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic, 1993 HD FatBoy
    2014 Aspen Sentry
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  5. #5

    Re: Camper tongue weight

    Keep in mind ~ MOST ~ motorcycle trailer hitches are rated for approximately 50 pounds maximum tongue weight at the rear of the motorcycle ...

    G

    I've done so much with so little for so long ... Now I can do nearly anything with almost nothing.

    .

  6. #6

    Re: Camper tongue weight

    The distance from the ball or pin to the axle of the towed vehicle is a factor as well. The longer distance can allow for lighter tongue weights, but be very cautious when playing with the tongue weights.
    Richard

  7. #7

    Re: Camper tongue weight

    Our loaded TimeOut was often 600+ lbs loaded up for a month+ long trip. We never did 10%, usually 40, maybe 50 lbs. More important is balanced loading, side to side and front to back. Too light a tongue weight will cause swaying. Swaying can bring trucks with large RV trailers to the ditch, so think what it will do to you. If in doubt about your weight, start out slowly and increase speed gently to your highway speed plus some for passing speed. If swaying starts slow down gently until it stops. Shift the load and try again.

    Something else to watch is the hitch will bounce up and down as the bike and trailer move over the undulations in the road surface. This is not a problem on a straight line. If you are leaned over in a curve and the trailer bounces it will push down vertically, which is at an angle to the lay of the bike. Then it will bounce up vertically. Because you are leaned over this can cause the rear of the bike, at the hitch, to rotate in a circle. This is not sway but can be unnerving at highway speeds.

    Also keep the tires at a proper pressure. This will not be the sidewall recommendation. That is for maximum tire load, not what you have on board. Have the tires the same on both sides, tread and pressure. My Timeout was in the low to mid 20's and my Leesur-Lite is at 18. This gives even tire wear across the tread.

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  8. #8
    Gordon's Avatar
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    Re: Camper tongue weight

    Quote Originally Posted by lqqk_out View Post
    I never really understood the 10% rule of thumb. A Roll-A-Home wide bed model weighs 385 lbs empty. So, if one is towing this trailer empty from one location to another, the recommended tongue weight is approximately 38 lbs? Should one not tow the trailer empty? The reported empty tongue weight is 30 lbs.
    Reported manufacture tongue weight is usually pretty low. Once you add on a cooler, spare tire, it adds up.

    My Leesure-Lite is advertised at 17 lbs. I have a hard time trying to keep it at 50 lbs (my hitch is rated for 50 lbs max) with only putting light things in the front storage.

    --
    Gordon

  9. #9

    Re: Camper tongue weight

    That 10% is a great starting place.. but load distribution is where it's at. A lot of guys will have a dynamic load balance in the trailer they can move around to adjust the distribution, like a cooler, or a water bottles or something. I had a Thule bag I carried on top of my trailer that I could slide forward or aft to make it ride better. My first time pulling I took it out on the highway and it seemed fine till I hit some bumps, that caused the trailer to 'porpoise'.. very unsettling. In just a few minutes I was able to slide that bag forward a bit, like maybe 6" and that made all the difference in the world. I doubt my tongue weight changed significantly, but the weight over the axle changed quite a bit.

  10. #10

    Re: Camper tongue weight

    There are other threads on this. It is a highly debatable issue! McHitch will not give me a rating on their hitch. Harley only says putting a hitch on voids the warranty. So, I am on my own! I will say I have had about 75 lbs of tongue weight when fully loaded. That is the sweet spot where it does not sway. I prefer it not sway rather than set some arbitrary weight amount. I know 75 is more than it should be, but it is what works best!
    -- Jeff
    2014 H-D Limited
    2005 H-D Dyna Trike
    2008 Roll-A-Home Camper

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