vintage camper

Here is the second post in our Choosing What You Want series! Let’s refresh our questions that need asking:

  • What kind of camper are you looking for? (Linked HERE)
  • What is the towing capacity of your vehicle?
  • How many people do you need to sleep?
  • How much time will be spent in the camper?

Now that you’ve chosen your Glamper Category, you’ll need to know what your current vehicle can handle. As I mentioned in my previous post, my HHR could NOT handle the type of camper I needed for my family (again, more on this later). For those of you who don’t know, the HHR is Chevy’s newer-ish take on the old-fashioned panel van. It also kind of looks like Chrysler’s PT Cruiser, but with marginally more cargo space:



The towing capacity—that is the maximum weight a vehicle can hold with the hitch, camper, family, and all gear (food, water, toys, clothes, etc) that a vehicle can haul without damaging your car—for my HHR is basically nothing…at least nothing that would work for my family.

*Note: I am getting a Bumper Pull camper that is NOT a pup tent style. Everything in the next few “choosing” posts will be based on my own vehicle, and the bumper pull. You will want to research further if you have chosen a truck bed style or 5th wheel*

No, I’m not really just all-knowing. In fact, I know next to nothing about cars, so this is a HUGE deal for me. I broke down in tears midway through trying to figure it all out….Just another “I should have asked my dad before he was gone” moment (one of many, and I’m sure more to come). I actually used numerous websites and blogs in my research, as well as my Owner Manual, and the sticker on the driver door (GO ME! Haha).

Google and Pinterest are my best friends in the digital world. Some links, like finding out my HHR’s capacity, have been long lost. But THIS POST warns of over-packing, setting me on my journey to ensure my F-150 could handle what my family needs. First, I needed to know what all these crazy terms meant. GVWR? UVR? GCWR? Axle Ratio? My brain hurt. But, I found an awesome post on Pinterest, from Trailer Life. It really lays out the terms and how to do the math. Bottom line is, you need to know your vehicle’s GCWR–Gross Combined Weight. My next challenge was putting numerical figures that matched my particular truck. My main search on Google yielded a less than helpful “2,200 to 9,500 lbs.” That’s a HUGE degree of capacity. But lucky me, after several hours of searching, I found this helpful hint! (I will SO be loading my truck up to weigh it before buying! SUCH an awesome idea!!)


I did what Mr. Mike said to this other user and found the sticker on the door. There was a lot of information on that sticker. But nothing for the GCWR. More research. Yay (boo). Another hour of hunting and I discovered Blue Oval Trucks, which not only had a labeled guide for the door sticker, but also a key for the axle ratios for the different key. (According to my sticker, the axle is an H9; their chart says the ratio was a 3.55).


I circled it in red for you other auto-challenged readers (please tell me that I’m not the only one who knows NOTHING about cars!)! This information took my options from 8 down to 2. And I can live with 2!


And, because it’s now 1a.m., and I am exhausted, I’m going to end this by saying that I’m going with the lesser weight, for safety sake (13,500) and not even checking my tire size (what’s 500lb less packing in the grand scheme?).


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