We have the van and Airstream almost fully packed for our big trip, so today I took the rig to our local Cat Scales (truck stop) to find out how much we weigh.  The weight is important to know in-case we run into bridges with weight limits, but I was also concerned that we might be over our light-duty van’s capacity..

This wasn’t my first trip to the Cat Scales, so I knew roughly the weight of our van and trailer.  However, since this is by far the longest trip we’ve ever prepared for (this is 6-months, our longest has been 2-weeks), I was worried about how much heavier we might weigh with all our extra gear.

I also hadn’t weighed in since installing the Lift Kit and wasn’t sure if I’d need to adjust the weight-distributing hitch.  As it turned out, I did.  I weighed in twice.  The first measurement had the weight on the rear axle at 4,120lbs which is 8% over the rated limit of 3,800lbs.  The good news was that the gross weight (the combined weight of both the van and camper) was 11,420lbs which is just barely within the rated limit for our van (the rated limit for the van is 11,500lbs).

After the first weigh-in, I pulled over and adjusted the weight-distributing hitch, tightening it by 1 chain-link.

Load Distributing Hitch

In-case you haven’t heard of them, a load distributing hitch is used to distribute some of the trailer’s tongue weight, which usually all sits on the rear axle of the tow vehicle, back to the trailer wheels and forward to the front steer axle.  With the particular model I have, pictured above (EAZ-LIFT), spring bars are tensioned by a chain that is levered into place.  When I weighed in the first time I had 2 chain links dangling freely– for the second weigh-in I had 3 chain links dangling (as in the picture above).  This means there was 1 less chain link between the trailer A-frame and the spring bar, putting more tension on the bar.

Here’s our two weigh tickets (plus our awesome trucker card that comes free with each use of the scale!).  If you’re curious, it costs $11.50 for the first weigh and $2 to re-weigh within 24-hours.

Weigh Tickets
Steer Axle3400 lbs3280 lbsJust barely!
Drive Axle3800 lbs3880 lbsEek, a tad over.  However, I had 100 lbs of water in the back of the van– we don’t necessarily need to travel with the van water tank full.
Trailer Axle4500 lbs4260 lbsRoom to spare here– this is with a full water tank.
Gross Weight11500 lbs11420 lbsJust barely!

In reality, we’ll probably be a few pounds over capacity, as Sarah was at home packing rather than weighing down the passenger seat, and the refrigerator wasn’t packed either.

I wish our van was a medium or heavy duty (E-250 or E-350) instead of light duty (E-150) so that we had more spare capacity.  It definitely makes me nervous traveling at or slightly above our weight capacity.  We’ll be a slow moving vehicle for sure, but that’s ok– we’re not in a real hurry.