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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My head is spinning from all the reading, I don't understand how to put it all together. I want to buy a trailer next year, I bought a Forester last year which I love, now I have to get a bigger car. At first I was hesitant to even consider the Ascent being a 4 cylinder turbo to pull 5000lbs, not even sure if its the right vehicle to do so, looking to travel around the US with it. If I buy the Ascent what is the most dry weight I can buy? From what I am reading I add the hitch weight onto to dry weight. Axle weight, is it something I must consider. Any info that you feel would be helpful I would truly appreciate. thank you
 

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Your maximum trailer weight is 5000 lbs and your maximum tongue weight is 500 lbs. That 500 lbs as well as the weight of your ball mount come out of the cargo capacity of the vehicle which includes people and luggage. The simple net of all of this is that you do not want to push the limits with a travel trailer...it's a best practice to have some margin. So-called "dry weight" can be deceiving because you still have to figure out the weight of your stuff as well as how the weight of your stuff affects your tongue weight. The published numbers are not always totally forthcoming and different options and where they live in the trailer will provide a deviation in the weight for a given trailer model. And with Ascent, you cannot use a WDH. (see the sticky thread at the top of this towing forum area) Stay shorter; stay lighter; stay aerodynamic for best results.

There are lots of examples of travel trailers that folks are happily towing with their Ascents here. Robert also just posted about an interesting variety of travel trailer that compresses down for pulling and expands upward when you are at a destination with similar space and features to standard travel trailers that are appropriate for the Ascent. If you want something that's larger than what you already can see folks are pulling safely with their Ascents, then you probably want to consider a heavier and longer pick-em-up truck as your tow vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Your maximum trailer weight is 5000 lbs and your maximum tongue weight is 500 lbs. That 500 lbs as well as the weight of your ball mount come out of the cargo capacity of the vehicle which includes people and luggage. The simple net of all of this is that you do not want to push the limits with a travel trailer...it's a best practice to have some margin. So-called "dry weight" can be deceiving because you still have to figure out the weight of your stuff as well as how the weight of your stuff affects your tongue weight. The published numbers are not always totally forthcoming and different options and where they live in the trailer will provide a deviation in the weight for a given trailer model. And with Ascent, you cannot use a WDH. (see the sticky thread at the top of this towing forum area) Stay shorter; stay lighter; stay aerodynamic for best results.

There are lots of examples of travel trailers that folks are happily towing with their Ascents here. Robert also just posted about an interesting variety of travel trailer that compresses down for pulling and expands upward when you are at a destination with similar space and features to standard travel trailers that are appropriate for the Ascent. If you want something that's larger than what you already can see folks are pulling safely with their Ascents, then you probably want to consider a heavier and longer pick-em-up truck as your tow vehicle.
ok thank you I didn't know the tongue weight came out of cargo capacity. So if I stayed around 3000-3100 dry weight would that be pushing it or is that within reason?
 

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As someone with a larger travel trailer I would encourage you to make a list of must haves in your travel trailer first and foremost. Then shop for a trailer that is the smallest and lightest that meets your criteria. You may find with the number of options on the market you could be well under your max weight. Long trips and those with long grades will significantly reduce the weight you want to pull. And as pointed out above consider the fully loaded weight as well, you never know when water may sneak into a tank and get forgotten about.

If you look solely based on weight, chances are you will end up with more trailer than you need, and you may regret it when it comes to taking a long trip. We thought we wanted a bunkhouse for the kids, but as it turns out they would have slept on a dinette with ease. The bunkhouse alone put us in a much longer/heavier trailer than we really needed, luckily we only camp around Florida so the ground is nice and flat, it can still be a chore dealing with crosswinds and vehicle wash when traveling the highways though, so do a long test pull with your candidate trailer to ensure it is what you want.

For reference, we are pulling a jayco jayfeather 22bhm roughly 26 feet long and weighing 4400lbs estimated, slightly under 500lb tongue weight according to the weigh safe hitch we use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As someone with a larger travel trailer I would encourage you to make a list of must haves in your travel trailer first and foremost. Then shop for a trailer that is the smallest and lightest that meets your criteria. You may find with the number of options on the market you could be well under your max weight. Long trips and those with long grades will significantly reduce the weight you want to pull. And as pointed out above consider the fully loaded weight as well, you never know when water may sneak into a tank and get forgotten about.

If you look solely based on weight, chances are you will end up with more trailer than you need, and you may regret it when it comes to taking a long trip. We thought we wanted a bunkhouse for the kids, but as it turns out they would have slept on a dinette with ease. The bunkhouse alone put us in a much longer/heavier trailer than we really needed, luckily we only camp around Florida so the ground is nice and flat, it can still be a chore dealing with crosswinds and vehicle wash when traveling the highways though, so do a long test pull with your candidate trailer to ensure it is what you want.

For reference, we are pulling a jayco jayfeather 22bhm roughly 26 feet long and weighing 4400lbs estimated, slightly under 500lb tongue weight cording to the weigh safe hitch we use.
Thank you Ruben, for taking the time out to answer, I have so much to learn. I am reading a lot of post that say you can’t rely on the numbers, I guess this is where I am really getting confused on how to figure it all out. As for the tongue weigh I have to research more, i don’t understanding it or how to apply it. All I know is I really have to educate myself before shopping for a trailer. If your at 4400 aren’t you over the 5000lb weight limit when all the people get in the car?
 

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If your at 4400 aren’t you over the 5000lb weight limit when all the people get in the car?
People in the vehicle are not towed load... ;)
 

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If you have not already purchased a tow vehicle, my advice is to first determine exactly which travel trailer you want/need. Don't go out and buy an Ascent and then try to match a trailer to it afterward, that can be a costly mistake.

What you'll find is that the Ascent is capable of pulling only "ultralight" trailers (i.e. 2500-4000 lbs Gross Dry Weight range) and not even all ultralights, as they can run very close to or over 5,000 lbs loaded. Although there are some excellent ultralight trailers, you may not find one suited to your specific needs, and all have compromises over larger trailers including space, amenities, towability (single axle vs dual axle), and even cost. Ultralights cost proportionally more than larger trailers in many cases because they require more expensive materials to make them lighter.

Be absolutely certain that a suitable ultralight trailer meets your needs before buying an Ascent. If it doesn't, then you need to find a tow vehicle that can handle the weight of the trailer you require. It's much better to match the tow vehicle to the trailer than the trailer to the tow vehicle.
 

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Jim ???see I don't understand this whole concept yet. good thing I can laugh at myself!!
There are 3 restrictions independent of one another:

1. Trailer weight <= 5000lbs
2. Hitch weight <= 500lbs
3. Vehicle weight <=6000 lbs

Don't exceed any of these and you will be within the vehicle limits. However, for comfort and a pleasurable towing experience select a minimum set of offerings you want in your camper and find the lightest and smallest camper that meets those requirements. If you can't do that under 5000 lbs trailer weight or 500 lb hitch weight then you are indeed selecting the wrong tow vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you have not already purchased a tow vehicle, my advice is to first determine exactly which travel trailer you want/need. Don't go out and buy an Ascent and then try to match a trailer to it afterward, that can be a costly mistake.

What you'll find is that the Ascent is capable of pulling only "ultralight" trailers (i.e. 2500-4000 lbs Gross Dry Weight range) and not even all ultralights, as they can run very close to or over 5,000 lbs loaded. Although there are some excellent ultralight trailers, you may not find one suited to your specific needs, and all have compromises over larger trailers including space, amenities, towability (single axle vs dual axle), and even cost. Ultralights cost proportionally more than larger trailers in many cases because they require more expensive materials to make them lighter.

Be absolutely certain that a suitable ultralight trailer meets your needs before buying an Ascent. If it doesn't, then you need to find a tow vehicle that can handle the weight of the trailer you require. It's much better to match the tow vehicle to the trailer than the trailer to the tow vehicle.
Thank you, your right, I do know I don't want a v8 or truck. When I am not camping it will be my everyday car. I don't want anything large its just me and the dogs. I been looking at a lot of trailers leaning toward 14-17ft.
 

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Thank you, your right, I do know I don't want a v8 or truck. When I am not camping it will be my everyday car. I don't want anything large its just me and the dogs. I been looking at a lot of trailers leaning toward 14-17ft.
I understand completely, this is the exact reason I purchased the Ascent, I wanted something which was an excellent daily driver, yet had decent tow capabilities. I didn't want a truck or something with a V8 either.

After I purchased the Ascent, I then went to find a suitable travel trailer. I thought this would be easy with 5000 lbs towing capacity. I thought I'd have plenty to choose from. This turned out to be only partially true. Like you, I started looking at trailers in the 14-17ft., 2000-3000 lbs. range. These were ok, but much more limited than I preferred, as my usage is not just for weekend trips but to live in it for several months at a time. This pushed me up to the 18-22 ft, 3000-4000 lbs. range. This is where things get tricky because you then start hitting the Ascent's limits. Currently, I'm like Rubin Marin, the trailer I want is around 4,000 lbs gross dry weight. When loaded, it will be close to the Ascent's limits. I'm now hesitant to purchase it because, while still within the Ascent's limits, I don't know how well it will practically tow and none are available to test. This problem has been holding me back for months. After seeing how great the trailer was, I don't want to have to go back to a lighter trailer with far fewer features and amenities.

When I started, I was all too certain that I would find the trailer I wanted well below the Ascent's limits, so I went ahead and purchased the Ascent. After seriously looking into trailers I now find I either have to push the limits to the upper end or purchase a bigger tow vehicle. This is why I advise anyone to first select the exact travel trailer they want, and then select the tow vehicle.
 

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So I tow a lot. I do have a large high-sided pop-up camper that runs in the 3,500 to 3,800lb range depending on how much gear I put in it. The Ascent tows it up the mountains here around Phoenix with ease.

I also tow my Mustang on a trailer with a total weight of 4,500lbs with about 450lbs of that on the tongue. Again the Ascent will tow that just fine even up the mountains.

I do agree with a previous poster that you should look at your "must haves" in a camper and then see which campers fit within your weight category.

And rather than dry weight, use the GVWR of the trailer. If it's under 5,000 lbs and the tongue weight is under 500lbs and if you pack light (don't take tons of gear), you'll be fine. If you like to take tons of stuff, then I'd keep the GVWR under 4,500 and the tongue under 450.

Basically the closer you get to the GVWR, the more careful you have to be with what goes in your trailer and WHERE. If you put too much weight in the front of your camper, you'll exceed the tongue weight. Too much in the back and you won't have enough tongue weight (which is dangerous under braking).

BTW, GVWR is the maximum a vehicle is meant to carry including the weight of itself. So for example my pop up is 3,300lbs dry with a GVWR of 3,800lbs. So I can put 500lbs of gear in it.

My flatbed trailer is 1,500lbs, with a GVWR of 7,000lbs. But obviously with the Ascent I have to keep that under 5,000lbs. So my Mustang at 3,030 lbs puts me right at 4,530 lbs. I can also move the Mustang forward or backward on the trailer to get my tongue weight correct.

I love my Ascent and I love all the stuff I can tow with it. I've had a GMC 2500 pick up (14,400lb towing capacity) and a GMC Canyon (7,000lb towing capacity). I have to be more careful when towing with my Ascent, but it is soooooo much nicer to drive the other 95% of the time! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I understand completely, this is the exact reason I purchased the Ascent, I wanted something which was an excellent daily driver, yet had decent tow capabilities. I didn't want a truck or something with a V8 either.

After I purchased the Ascent, I then went to find a suitable travel trailer. I thought this would be easy with 5000 lbs towing capacity. I thought I'd have plenty to choose from. This turned out to be only partially true. Like you, I started looking at trailers in the 14-17ft., 2000-3000 lbs. range. These were ok, but much more limited than I preferred, as my usage is not just for weekend trips but to live in it for several months at a time. This pushed me up to the 18-22 ft, 3000-4000 lbs. range. This is where things get tricky because you then start hitting the Ascent's limits. Currently, I'm like Rubin Marin, the trailer I want is around 4,000 lbs gross dry weight. When loaded, it will be close to the Ascent's limits. I'm now hesitant to purchase it because, while still within the Ascent's limits, I don't know how well it will practically tow and none are available to test. This problem has been holding me back for months. After seeing how great the trailer was, I don't want to have to go back to a lighter trailer with far fewer features and amenities.

When I started, I was all too certain that I would find the trailer I wanted well below the Ascent's limits, so I went ahead and purchased the Ascent. After seriously looking into trailers I now find I either have to push the limits to the upper end or purchase a bigger tow vehicle. This is why I advise anyone to first select the exact travel trailer they want, and then select the tow vehicle.
Its a catch 22. I haven't camp in years and back then I used a tent with my kids. I know the basic stuff I want in a trailer, but i have a feeling I won't really know all that i want and need until I am I am out on the road for a while. I am hoping to find a used one to start out. Just started looking into the Safari condo that someone mentioned, very light not sure how easy to find a used one. I will be paying more for my car then my trailer, to me it makes more sense to get something i like, rather find a trailer and buy a 40k car that i am not happy with. I probably will be in my car more then my trailer. I want to travel the US so it more of a place to sleep and eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I tow a lot. I do have a large high-sided pop-up camper that runs in the 3,500 to 3,800lb range depending on how much gear I put in it. The Ascent tows it up the mountains here around Phoenix with ease.

I also tow my Mustang on a trailer with a total weight of 4,500lbs with about 450lbs of that on the tongue. Again the Ascent will tow that just fine even up the mountains.

I do agree with a previous poster that you should look at your "must haves" in a camper and then see which campers fit within your weight category.

And rather than dry weight, use the GVWR of the trailer. If it's under 5,000 lbs and the tongue weight is under 500lbs and if you pack light (don't take tons of gear), you'll be fine. If you like to take tons of stuff, then I'd keep the GVWR under 4,500 and the tongue under 450.

Basically the closer you get to the GVWR, the more careful you have to be with what goes in your trailer and WHERE. If you put too much weight in the front of your camper, you'll exceed the tongue weight. Too much in the back and you won't have enough tongue weight (which is dangerous under braking).

BTW, GVWR is the maximum a vehicle is meant to carry including the weight of itself. So for example my pop up is 3,300lbs dry with a GVWR of 3,800lbs. So I can put 500lbs of gear in it.

My flatbed trailer is 1,500lbs, with a GVWR of 7,000lbs. But obviously with the Ascent I have to keep that under 5,000lbs. So my Mustang at 3,030 lbs puts me right at 4,530 lbs. I can also move the Mustang forward or backward on the trailer to get my tongue weight correct.

I love my Ascent and I love all the stuff I can tow with it. I've had a GMC 2500 pick up (14,400lb towing capacity) and a GMC Canyon (7,000lb towing capacity). I have to be more careful when towing with my Ascent, but it is soooooo much nicer to drive the other 95% of the time! :D
Thanks Kevin, nice to hear the Ascent is towing with ease. Yeah I really have to read up on this tongue weight thing because I don't understand how it works or use it. I just read yesterday about not have enough tongue weight is dangerous. So does tongue weight of 500lbs mean 500 of stuff in the trailer and then I have to spread it out so not all in front or all in back? How would I know how to pack it? they are dumb question for sure, but i am learning. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There are 3 restrictions independent of one another:

1. Trailer weight <= 5000lbs
2. Hitch weight <= 500lbs
3. Vehicle weight <=6000 lbs

Don't exceed any of these and you will be within the vehicle limits. However, for comfort and a pleasurable towing experience select a minimum set of offerings you want in your camper and find the lightest and smallest camper that meets those requirements. If you can't do that under 5000 lbs trailer weight or 500 lb hitch weight then you are indeed selecting the wrong tow vehicle.
thank you Ruben, that helps a lot! just one question, vehicle weight, i am guessing that is weight of vehicle plus what is in the vehicle?
 

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Thanks Kevin, nice to hear the Ascent is towing with ease. Yeah I really have to read up on this tongue weight thing because I don't understand how it works or use it. I just read yesterday about not have enough tongue weight is dangerous. So does tongue weight of 500lbs mean 500 of stuff in the trailer and then I have to spread it out so not all in front or all in back? How would I know how to pack it? they are dumb question for sure, but i am learning. :)
Think of your trailer like a teeter totter. You need weight on the tongue (where the trailer connects to the hitch). As you move stuff forward/backward in your trailer, the weight on the hitch end of the teeter totter changes.

Basically your trailer will come with the factory spec tongue weight, which is how much weight will go on your hitch with nothing in the trailer.

To keep that the same, when you add stuff in to the camper, you can either put it near the center axle (so no teetering happens). Or you can spread it evenly front to back. Put pots up front, you need to put sleeping bags, clothes, spare water in the back to offset it. Basically you don't want the fat kid on one end and the skinny kid on the other :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Think of your trailer like a teeter totter. You need weight on the tongue (where the trailer connects to the hitch). As you move stuff forward/backward in your trailer, the weight on the hitch end of the teeter totter changes.

Basically your trailer will come with the factory spec tongue weight, which is how much weight will go on your hitch with nothing in the trailer.

To keep that the same, when you add stuff in to the camper, you can either put it near the center axle (so no teetering happens). Or you can spread it evenly front to back. Put pots up front, you need to put sleeping bags, clothes, spare water in the back to offset it. Basically you don't want the fat kid on one end and the skinny kid on the other :D
thank you make sense.
 

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So I tow a lot. I do have a large high-sided pop-up camper that runs in the 3,500 to 3,800lb range depending on how much gear I put in it. The Ascent tows it up the mountains here around Phoenix with ease.

I also tow my Mustang on a trailer with a total weight of 4,500lbs with about 450lbs of that on the tongue. Again the Ascent will tow that just fine even up the mountains.

I do agree with a previous poster that you should look at your "must haves" in a camper and then see which campers fit within your weight category.

And rather than dry weight, use the GVWR of the trailer. If it's under 5,000 lbs and the tongue weight is under 500lbs and if you pack light (don't take tons of gear), you'll be fine. If you like to take tons of stuff, then I'd keep the GVWR under 4,500 and the tongue under 450.

Basically the closer you get to the GVWR, the more careful you have to be with what goes in your trailer and WHERE. If you put too much weight in the front of your camper, you'll exceed the tongue weight. Too much in the back and you won't have enough tongue weight (which is dangerous under braking).

BTW, GVWR is the maximum a vehicle is meant to carry including the weight of itself. So for example my pop up is 3,300lbs dry with a GVWR of 3,800lbs. So I can put 500lbs of gear in it.

My flatbed trailer is 1,500lbs, with a GVWR of 7,000lbs. But obviously with the Ascent I have to keep that under 5,000lbs. So my Mustang at 3,030 lbs puts me right at 4,530 lbs. I can also move the Mustang forward or backward on the trailer to get my tongue weight correct.

I love my Ascent and I love all the stuff I can tow with it. I've had a GMC 2500 pick up (14,400lb towing capacity) and a GMC Canyon (7,000lb towing capacity). I have to be more careful when towing with my Ascent, but it is soooooo much nicer to drive the other 95% of the time! :D
This is mostly good advice. However, technically, you can choose a travel trailer with a GVWR over 5,000 lbs for the Ascent, you just can't use all the extra capacity. For example, the trailer I want has a Gross Dry Weight of 3980 Lbs. This is at the upper end, but still acceptable as long as you don't exceed 5000 lbs total gross weight. Adding 500 lbs of total cargo (including everything) would bring it to 4480 lbs gross for example. Toward the upper end, but still within the Ascent's limits with another ~500 lbs of a safety margin.

However, this same trailer has a GVWR of 5500 Lbs. With your advice alone, this would appear to be too much and would rule it out. However, just because a trailer has a GVWR exceeding 5000 Lbs, does not mean you could or should use the extra capacity. It simply means the trailer itself could handle it, which is actually a good thing because then it has a built-in extra safe margin of load well above what you would ever use it for sticking to the 5000 lbs max towing weight of the Ascent. And remember, extra safe margins are what we all want. You don't ever want to select a trailer based upon a lower GVWR alone thinking it's better, that's simply incorrect. What if, on this advice, you selected a trailer with a GVWR of 4000 lbs for the Ascent because it was well under the Ascent's 5000 lbs tow rating, and then inadvertently loaded it to a gross weight of 4100 lbs thinking you're ok because you were well under the Ascent's weight limit? In this case, if they had similar Gross Dry Weights, you would have been better off selecting the trailer with the 5500 lbs GVWR giving you a safety margin of 1400 lbs for the trailer rather than a deficit of 100 lbs, even though it was against the advice to select a trailer with a GVWR over the 5000 lbs tow limit.

So a trailer's GVWR exceeding the tow vehicle's gross towable weight rating does not rule it out simply because the trailer itself can handle more weight than you would safely load it when towing with the Ascent. If you used this premise to rule a trailer out, you may well rule out the better, safer trailer.

Technically, the greater the trailer's GVWR the better (up to practical physical limits), as long as you never exceed the maximum gross trailer weight allowed by the tow vehicle and the Gross Dry Weight is acceptable. For example, a trailer with a Gross Dry Weight of 3500 Lbs and a GVWR of 5500 lbs would have better specs and probably would be better built than a trailer with the same Gross Dry Weight but a GVWR of only 4500 lbs. Both would be acceptable to use with the Ascent as long as you never exceeded 5000 total gross weight. Even if the Gross Dry Weight was more, a trailer with a higher GVWR could well still be much better. It's a numbers game and you need to literally balance them all for your particular needs.

It's completely up to the owner to properly stay within the limits of either the tow vehicle or the trailer whichever is the smaller. You could select a trailer with a GVWR well above 5000 Lbs for the Ascent just as long as you fully understand that the maximum you could ever load it must stay below 5000 lbs. total gross weight.

So this is why I disagree with any advice that states not to purchase a trailer with a GVWR of more than the tow vehicle's maximum towing capacity. It simply does not make sense as long as the owner is smart enough to know the limits of the tow vehicle. It's merely failsafe type advice that should be given only to people who are incapable of understanding what all the numbers involved mean. It may help keep unknowledgeable people safe, but it may also likely put them into an inferior trailer. It's much better to go a few steps more and try to teach them what the numbers actually mean so they can select the best and safest trailer available within their needs and budget. Why rule out a better-made trailer on a misleading premise?

I've discovered that there is no good general-rule type of advice. No shortcuts, you have to carefully consider the trailer's Gross Dry Weight, your expected trailer load weight including everything, the tow vehicle's weight limits, and then run all the numbers to see if they work together. The trailer's GVWR is only significant if your trailer's total gross load causes it to be exceeded which is the case with some trailers. The GVWR alone does not ever rule out a trailer if it simply exceeds the tow vehicle's towing capacity, which again, can actually be a good thing.

To be absolutely clear, weight considerations apply to both the trailer's gross weight and the tongue weight. Both must be carefully considered and measured. A heavier trailer or one with a greater GVWR does not necessarily mean a greater tongue weight, it's all about front to rear balance. But that's yet another discussion.
 

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One more point to reiterate, there are a lot of trailers that fall well under 5000 lbs but have tongue weights in excess of 500lbs. This is why you cannot go by one weight alone, it must pass all 3 requirements. In our search there were a lot of sub 4000lb trailers with tongue weights near or over 500 lbs. And most trailers are weighed without a battery or propane which sits almost directly over the hitch. So be careful when shopping and give yourself a safety margin everywhere.

And yes vehicle weight includes you, your passengers, and everything you would take with you on your trip.

And as an added example our trailer does have a 5500 lb GVWR, but we would never load it that heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This is mostly good advice. However, technically, you can choose a travel trailer with a GVWR over 5,000 lbs for the Ascent, you just can't use all the extra capacity. For example, the trailer I want has a Gross Dry Weight of 3980 Lbs. This is at the upper end, but still acceptable as long as you don't exceed 5000 lbs total gross weight. Adding 500 lbs of total cargo (including everything) would bring it to 4480 lbs gross for example. Toward the upper end, but still within the Ascent's limits with another ~500 lbs of a safety margin.

However, this same trailer has a GVWR of 5500 Lbs. With your advice alone, this would appear to be too much and would rule it out. However, just because a trailer has a GVWR exceeding 5000 Lbs, does not mean you could or should use the extra capacity. It simply means the trailer itself could handle it, which is actually a good thing because then it has a built-in extra safe margin of load well above what you would ever use it for sticking to the 5000 lbs max towing weight of the Ascent. And remember, extra safe margins are what we all want. You don't ever want to select a trailer based upon a lower GVWR alone thinking it's better, that's simply incorrect. What if, on this advice, you selected a trailer with a GVWR of 4000 lbs for the Ascent because it was well under the Ascent's 5000 lbs tow rating, and then inadvertently loaded it to a gross weight of 4100 lbs thinking you're ok because you were well under the Ascent's weight limit? In this case, if they had similar Gross Dry Weights, you would have been better off selecting the trailer with the 5500 lbs GVWR giving you a safety margin of 1400 lbs for the trailer rather than a deficit of 100 lbs, even though it was against the advice to select a trailer with a GVWR over the 5000 lbs tow limit.

So a trailer's GVWR exceeding the tow vehicle's gross towable weight rating does not rule it out simply because the trailer itself can handle more weight than you would safely load it when towing with the Ascent. If you used this premise to rule a trailer out, you may well rule out the better, safer trailer.

Technically, the greater the trailer's GVWR the better (up to practical physical limits), as long as you never exceed the maximum gross trailer weight allowed by the tow vehicle and the Gross Dry Weight is acceptable. For example, a trailer with a Gross Dry Weight of 3500 Lbs and a GVWR of 5500 lbs would have better specs and probably would be better built than a trailer with the same Gross Dry Weight but a GVWR of only 4500 lbs. Both would be acceptable to use with the Ascent as long as you never exceeded 5000 total gross weight. Even if the Gross Dry Weight was more, a trailer with a higher GVWR could well still be much better. It's a numbers game and you need to literally balance them all for your particular needs.

It's completely up to the owner to properly stay within the limits of either the tow vehicle or the trailer whichever is the smaller. You could select a trailer with a GVWR well above 5000 Lbs for the Ascent just as long as you fully understand that the maximum you could ever load it must stay below 5000 lbs. total gross weight.

So this is why I disagree with any advice that states not to purchase a trailer with a GVWR of more than the tow vehicle's maximum towing capacity. It simply does not make sense as long as the owner is smart enough to know the limits of the tow vehicle. It's merely failsafe type advice that should be given only to people who are incapable of understanding what all the numbers involved mean. It may help keep unknowledgeable people safe, but it may also likely put them into an inferior trailer. It's much better to go a few steps more and try to teach them what the numbers actually mean so they can select the best and safest trailer available within their needs and budget. Why rule out a better-made trailer on a misleading premise?

I've discovered that there is no good general-rule type of advice. No shortcuts, you have to carefully consider the trailer's Gross Dry Weight, your expected trailer load weight including everything, the tow vehicle's weight limits, and then run all the numbers to see if they work together. The trailer's GVWR is only significant if your trailer's total gross load causes it to be exceeded which is the case with some trailers. The GVWR alone does not ever rule out a trailer if it simply exceeds the tow vehicle's towing capacity, which again, can actually be a good thing.

To be absolutely clear, weight considerations apply to both the trailer's gross weight and the tongue weight. Both must be carefully considered and measured. A heavier trailer or one with a greater GVWR does not necessarily mean a greater tongue weight, it's all about front to rear balance. But that's yet another discussion.
Would you be able to show me with examples with numbers, I am getting a little lost in some of it
 
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