What light truck has appropriate payload capacity for a slide-on camper?


Asked by bambooer Feb 13, 2019 at 08:12 AM about the 2019 Ford F-150 Lariat SuperCrew 4WD

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

Hello, I am looking to buy a new truck and am quite confused with the
payload calculations.  Dealers have been helpful, but I still feel like I'm not
getting a "simple number" (I know nothing is ever really simple) I can work

PROBLEM: I have an old slide-on camper that weighs just under 1000lb.  I
added up the conservative weights of passengers, bicycles, camping
equipment, food, water, and came up with roughly 2000lb.  That's the total
passengers+cargo weight if our entire family takes the camper and our bikes
for a weekend trip.

Right now I use a 2006 Tundra, and the brochure claims ~1650 payload
capacity for it -- so at times I am exceeding that limit.  I installed air bags
which smooth out the ride, lift the rear, and the truck seems to handle the
weight well.  But I'm not comfortable exceeding the weight limit, since air
bags don't increase the GVWR.

I am considering a 4WD Ford F-150 SuperCrew with a 7050lb payload
package.  It seems to have 1800lb payload capacity, so still not quite
enough to properly carry all this weight.  But it seems to be the "best in
class" that I've seen so far.  We like how it drives, the size is right, the
features are right.  But that max-payload is a sticking issue for me.

I have two questions:

1. Here, in Colorado, I see a *lot* of light trucks that carry slide-ons, and I
suspect they too exceed that number.  E.g. Tacomas with a 6' camper...
loaded with gear.  Is there some kind of assumption in what "payload"
means that doesn't include passengers or something like that?  Or are they
just all overloaded and OK with it?

2. I don't want to buy a 1-ton truck (e.g. F250), because I only use the
camper max 15-30 days out of the year.  We take other longer drives with
the family, drive up to the ski resort, or on biking trips.  An F250 seems so
huge, and the low mpg...  I still want reasonable fuel efficiency, comfort,
safety, etc.  What trucks should I look at?

I'd appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.  Thank you,


3 Answers


How I calculated the F150's payload -- took the 2,050lb from the brochure (accounts for driver weight), added 150lb driver, substracted 350lb in options (calculated from the official "option weight" document), and ended up with roughly 1850lb max passenger+cargo. There is a "max payload" package that would bump that number up by some 500lb, and maybe I need to consider that...


Sounds like you need a 3/4 ton truck like a F250 HD. An F350 is a 1ton, might be overkill. Just remember these rigs love fuel so don’t expect good fuel mileage.


Went to the dealership today, and then to my trusted mechanic. Both told me I'm overthinking it. My mechanic was a bit nicer about it :) Seems like with my calculations the max payload is 1850, and my conservative max load requirement is 2050. Pretty close. But my calculations don't factor in the load spread over front and rear axles, with the passengers in front and the camper over the bed and some of the cab. Ford numbers are conservative too, so I was told that 400-500lb over is fine and "designed for in". As it stands, I'm comfortable with those answers, and am likely to purchase the F-150. The F-250 is just too much of a truck for my needs...

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