Weight - Or "how Much Crap Can We Put In Our Td?"

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by AlCat, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. AlCat

    AlCat Junior Ranger Donating Member

    I am curious what people's thoughts are on how much stuff we can put in our TD galley storage. For example, cast iron. I know we all like it, but if weight is a concern, you can get almost all the functionality of cast iron with a LOT less weight. Do I have to be concerned about weight?

    Plastic dishes weigh much less than ceramic, and plastic glassware weighs less than glass. Does it matter?

    I mostly focus on how much "room" we have (for storage) rather than how much items weigh. Do I need to be concerned about weight, at all? (I realize it would be problematic to add hundreds of pounds to the TD, but do I need to be worried about adding a pound here and a pound there, in the galley?)

    If there is already a thread on this, I am happy for someone to point that out.

    When we camp, we bring lots of food and drink. Almost all of that is carried in the tow vehicle, not the TD. We also bring firewood (usually), but that is also in the tow vehicle, not the TD. So it's really only galley stuff that adds significant weight. (and the fresh water, I suppose)

    Thanks for your guidance.

  2. Little Patriot

    Little Patriot Junior Ranger Donating Member

    I held back purchasing a Lodge iron skillet the other day because of that question. I have a couple of nice ones here at home that belonged to my mom and mother-in-law. The one I saw was not too big, and it had a cool motif on the bottom; that of the American eagle. Since I've named my trailer 'Little Patriot'...I thought it would be a neat addition to my teardrop. When I picked it up, all I could think was it was HEAVY, and was the added weight justifiable?

    I'd sure like to read other CI owners and enthusiasts weigh in (sorry about the pun) on this.
  3. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    I suspect unless you are adding lead bars in the deep storage that it would be difficult for you to add enough extra weight for it to be a serious problem. Somewhere on the forum I've seen a picture of a deep storage filled with canned goods (I think it might have been a post by Bear). I don't how many cans that was, but every can would weigh a bit more than a pound (16 oz of water = 1 pound, plus the can and possibly the contents are heavier than water).

    A quick calculation shows that you can get about 60 1 pound cans in the passenger side deep storage, probably a hundred or more on the driver side. Sixty pounds would be roughly equivalent to 5% of the total trailer weight, and that weight will be located fairly low and close to the axle (the balance point of the trailer). So you'd really have to go overboard and load a lot of heavy stuff in the deep storage before you'd start affecting the tongue weight of the trailer.

    If you will carry the cast iron with you regardless of where it is stored (either in the TV or the trailer), then your total weight will be unchanged. So it'd be best to store the cast iron where it makes the most sense (after all, they do provide a space for storing a cast iron skillet in the deep storage).

    We don't use cast iron, but use heavy gauge stainless steel. A full set of pots and pans doesn't add up to a lot of weight, and probably only takes up about a cubic foot of space.
  4. Jim and Sue Lambly

    Jim and Sue Lambly Junior Ranger

    One cast iron (Griswold) deep fryer with lid is all I need when camping. From eggs and bacon to beans to stews, this one does it all. Even holds enough Courtland applesauce for the CICO crowd (though maybe I should pack another one this year...that applesauce vanished pretty fast).

    Really, I don't think you can pack so much stuff that you'd cause any major problems towing, except maybe gold bars. Those are darned heavy, but I'd be willing to help you with them...I digress.

    I had plastic plates an such, but ended up using paper - no washing and you can start your fire with them. Still use real cutlery - hate plastic forks. They drive me nuts...digressing again.

    Anyway, pack it with what you think you'll need and use the painter's tape method. When you use an item, remove the tape and at the end of the trip, whatever still has tape, you don't need. Simple.

    But most of all, just have fun. Don't worry about the weight. You'll figure it out.

    Camp on,

    Sue and Jim
  5. AlCat

    AlCat Junior Ranger Donating Member

    One thing I should have added is that we don't use much/any paper plates, disposable stuff. I also prefer to eat off real stuff. That's not a way that I want to save weight. I am not ethically opposed to the stuff. To each his own. But I'd rather use the real stuff.

    I'm glad to hear that the early consensus is, you can't likely add enough weight to make a difference.

    Obviously I am not a trailering expert, as this question is likely a pretty "basic" one.

    My cast iron is in the deep storage in the galley. Perfect place for it. And it gets used all the time. Every meal, pretty much. So I am happy that we are carrying it. (I think we also have our cast iron Dutch Oven in there...)(and maybe a few gold bars. I dunno what my wife has put in there, frankly.)

  6. Little Patriot

    Little Patriot Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Ok then. I needn't feel any anxiety over the weight of a cast iron skillet.
    Thanks, Jenn, for mentioning Craig's advice about the water tanks and ballast.
    I'm going shopping!

    Al and Sue, I don't mind paper plates, but I do prefer real cups and utensils.

    Steve and Alea, I haven't bought any cookware yet, although I like the Magma nesting set. I'm holding off on that until I've actually camped in my 550 and know more about my wants and needs.

    My initial concern about weight was gas mileage.
  7. Little Patriot

    Little Patriot Junior Ranger Donating Member

    See, there you go... Another pearl of wisdom I didn't think about; cast iron needs time to cool down before packing up. We didn't use cast iron when we tent camped, and it was not an issue with my mom because the skillet was stored in the oven. She used it mostly for fried potatoes, eggs and bacon, and pineapple upside down cake. Omgosh, what nice memories!

    Thanks, Jenn. And no, our teardrop isn't finished yet. But that's not CI's doing; sentimental me asked for a particular build number. Don't ask, you don't want to know, lol :)
    Anyway, I did go out and get that skillet. It has the National Great Seal on the bottom.
    I thought it would compliment Little Patriot.

    Please keep sharing your experience and insight.
  8. Little Patriot

    Little Patriot Junior Ranger Donating Member

    image.jpeg Here's my first attempt at including a picture, so I'm sharing the image on my Lodge skillet.
    Thought it fit with my teardrop's name, Little Patriot.

    Attached Files:

  9. adrianneross

    adrianneross Novice

    We've had good luck with our Corelle plates/bowls. Nothing broken yet - they're easy to replace if they do - and they wash up very nicely. I had a coffee cup that cracked (from the World's Best Donut shop in Grand Marais - so sad!) but I replaced them with vintage heavy-duty diner mugs and so far, so good. And that's after a trip on the I-96, I-69 rattle trap through Michigan that completely pulverized a dozen eggs more thoroughly than a garbage disposal.

    I have one of these (Amazon.com | DINNER PLATE CRADLE BY JUMBL: Dinner Plate Crade: Dinner Plates) to hold our Corelle in the under-counter bin next to the sink - they were out of stock for a while, but they're available again. I like it because it nice-and-sturdy (I can move it fully loaded), it holds a full set of corelle (we swapped out the included bread & butter plates for larger luncheon plates), and it's easy to slide the plates back in place after washing.

    Lesson learned - if you put your fry pan in the fry pan slot, get (or make) a handle cozy and keep it on the pan handle - besides losing a dozen eggs on that hellish trip through Michigan, we've now got a mashed spot where our cast iron griddle handles vibrated against our gorgeous wooden frame. Aargh!

    p.s. I made double-layer wool cozies for my cast iron griddles so I could pack them back in the galley if they're still a bit warm. I had one for my cast iron aebelskiver pan, but I replaced it with Nordic Ware aluminum (removable handle & easier to wash). Believe it or not, the aebelskiver pan has passed the blue tape test....
    Jenn likes this.
  10. Bear

    Bear Junior Ranger

    Well Steve, I can state that the Stagecoach has never been filled with a bin full of cans. First of all, it would weigh too much, and secondly, I don't enjoy food that much. So the photo you recall wasn't this buckaroo's. ~BEAR
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  11. Bear

    Bear Junior Ranger

    Deb "Little Patriot",

    I'll add my four cents for whatever it is worth.

    For a full-timer weight means everything, whereas for the casual camper (weekender) focus should be placed more on comfort. After all, the weekender deserves it. The casual campers spend their week slaving away making others rich, and come the weekend they should be spoiling themselves.

    For every item I (a full-timer) bring on board something else has to go. For every item I bring on board, I have to ask Self: "How many times am I going to pay for that item over and over again in the way of fuel costs, tires and auto maintenance?" A jar of peanut butter that never gets eaten may cost a $2.39 initially, but what will it cost having spent time on the road after three or four outings? Four sets of eating utensils (when two sets is all that is needed) may cost $24, but how much is it costing a full-timer to lug around the added weight of two extra sets of utensils, if they are not being used? Wood polish may cost $3.78 today, but what will it cost tomorrow if that extra pound of weight continues to hibernate in the cabinet? It may seem like pennies in the beginning but over time it quickly adds up to dollars.

    Deb, if your average camping adventures is somewhere between 2-4 days and close to home, I would encourage you to not put too much emphasis on weight---unless it is snowing. However, if your average camping adventure requires hundreds of miles to pass beneath the tires over an extended period of time, weight will become a factor but it should not be to the point of sacrificing great comfort. Now, if your plans should change and you're entertaining becoming a long-termer or full-timer weight should be an important factor, but it doesn't mean you have to sacrifice comfort. It might mean that in order to lighten the load, while still maintaining comfort, it will cost a bit more as that is the way of camping equipment. In the world of camping and backpacking we get what we pay for; meaning the less it costs the shorter the shelf-life of the product. In this world, the lighter something weighs the more it costs.

    Again, there is my four cents for whatever it is worth.

    Walk in Beauty,

    Jenn, Brian & Lucy and Evan like this.
  12. AlCat

    AlCat Junior Ranger Donating Member

    When I started this thread my concern was over safe towing, not conserving fuel. Though energy conservation is important (and I appreciate Bear making note of it), my only real concern here is safety. I guess I assume that we all know that the more weight our TV engine is pulling, the more fuel we will use. I do not feel that we all know how much weight we can put into our TD and remain "safe." (I know that I wasn't comfortable that I know this.)

    Just clarifying - not criticizing. :)

    For example, it would aid fuel economy to tow a TD that has no clean or gray water in the tanks, but having water in the tanks improves safety. Towing an EMPTY TD would be good for fuel economy, but bad for safety.

    Camp on!
  13. Little Patriot

    Little Patriot Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Sorry AlCat, that the rest of us interpreted your thread differently. Perhaps the title of the thread and your original post is what led us on another tangent. After reading your first post again several times, I still didn't get the impression you were talking about saftey.

    Thank you for clarifying.
  14. Little Patriot

    Little Patriot Junior Ranger Donating Member


    Your four cents is always welcomed!!!
  15. lorieandkeith

    lorieandkeith Novice

    Other forum contributors are more experienced than I am. But I would love to have them challenge my hypothesis:

    1. Depends on the tow vehicle in part, as you want the TV to be able to pull and stop the weight so that you can be nimble and predictable in traffic.

    2. Depends on whether you have electric brakes to help stop the weight.

    My inclination is if the TV can handle the weight, and if you have electric brakes, and if you follow Carey's distribution of weight guidelines, there is no reason whatever to worry about safety of loading the teardrop up with any reasonable volume of weight of items. I personally never worry about the weight of items I have in the tear. As Bear stated above, economy will be impacted. Reasonable?
  16. AlCat

    AlCat Junior Ranger Donating Member

    No problem and no need to apologize. My first post wasn't clear. Not a big deal, at all.
  17. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    I suspect your hypothesis is correct. And I would add that even then the electric brakes are really only necessary on steep descents, though they could also be handy on a long descent if the driver was riding the brakes too much. We have electric brakes and the only time that we really felt that they were a GREAT idea was coming down a very steep, long descent into the Mohawk Valley in New York. That was probably at least a 9% grade. Other shorter 9% grades in Vermont and New Hampshire were not nearly as troubling.
    lorieandkeith likes this.
  18. AlCat

    AlCat Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Maybe the point of this thread is to remind some of us (ME!!) to "follow Carey's distribution of weight guidelines"

    I know I haven't looked at those for quite some time.

    But since we have the electric brakes and don't plan to strap a dead caribou to the rear of it, we are probably safe!! :)
  19. There is an option for a rear tow hitch to add a bicycle rack. This puts additional weight further back from the Trailer axle. I wouldn't worry about weight in the galley, because the design recognizes some folks want to carry a couple bicycles behind the trailer.

    The key to pulling a trailer is keeping proper distance behind the vehicle in front of yours and to drive at a safe speed to keep you "reaction distance" within safe practice. (Note that I believe everyone has similar reaction time to emergency events, but the faster the speed, the greater the reaction distance.)
  20. I have stainless steel plates that match the TD that I purchased from Academy. We do not use paper products. We generate very little trash and I do not mind hand washing them. I store mine in the new trays that CI began making. I love those trays as my husband purchased them for my birthday a year ago. I store my Dutch Oven in the TV. My cast iron skillet is wrapped in a thin kitchen towel in the storage area CI made. We use the Yeti's coffee cups for all drinks and usually those are in the TV with us or on in our cup holder of our chairs, filled with our favorite drink (tea or ice water). I have a few extra in case we have visitors. I use the NuWave cook tops for when we are on grid and save the propane for off-grid since we are already paying for electricity most of the time. My cast iron skillet works well on the NuWave. My husband won a big Yeti cooler so I use the Coleman cooler in the galley to store other things such as the table cloths, our small coffee grinder, extra containers for left overs, etc. The Yeti is in the TV when traveling.
    Also, if you are a person that loves to set out the welcome flag like me, my husband took a piece of split wood and drilled two holes in it for the small flag holder and then put an old trunk handle on the back side and wood burned a design on each end, polyurethane the out side. I love it and now I do not have to try to pound it into the ground.
    Tom & Diana P likes this.

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