Whether it’s your ass or your RV: the weight of that thing behind you matters

You know how it is when you’ve put on a little weight. Jeans don’t fit, hips bump into things they didn’t necessarily hit before, things just feel bulgy, and you notice.

But you don’t get ticketed or fined.

Those of us who pull fifth wheels have to pay attention to a number known as our GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating): the maximum weight for the BFT and the Toad combined. That includes fuel, food and water stores, and we three sentient beings, in addition to all our belongings onboard, and of course the two vehicles themselves.

In most states, including the one in which we’re licensed, titled and registered, that magic number is 26,000 pounds. If you hit 26,001, that puts you in CDL (Commercial Drivers License) territory, and may subject you to the aforementioned consequences.

This is our most recent weight reading, from March 12. You can see we have no wiggle room here.

This is our most recent weight reading, from our March visit to Castroville.
You can see we have no wiggle room here.

In other words, even if we have the space for a new thing, we might not have the weight allowance, and that’s why it’s so important to keep up with our “new thing in, old thing out” method of owning less. And it’s why we request that if you must give us a gift, that you make it something consumable. Like wine. Or a box of tacos.

Item in: I found this book in the RV park library. I read it more than a decade ago, but I was so damn happy to find something other than the usual bodice-rippers and Reader's Digest condensed novels, that I brought it home.

Item in:
I found this book in the RV park library. I read it more than a decade ago, but I was so damn happy to find something other than the usual bodice-rippers and Reader’s Digest condensed novels, that I brought it home.

Items out: These two things went to the library.

Items out:
These two things then went to the library to make up for it.

That said, sometimes we are given an item so heartfelt and endearing that we must keep it, and adjust our accumulated possessions accordingly. Last weekend, we received our Christmas present from my nephew (long story involving a different auntie), and even though it weighs less than a pound, it prompted me into a highly productive and cathartic Flurry of Purging.

Item in: An adorable Airstream-esque bank, hand-painted by my nephew, Cole, at his mama's shop. We're using it for laundry quarters!

Item in:
An adorable Airstream-esque bank, hand-painted and personalized by my nephew, Cole, at his mama’s shop. We’re using it to store our laundry quarters!

Items out: Three bags of stuff we thought we'd use but haven't since we started full-timing in August. They're on their way to the nearest donation box.

Items out:
Three bags of stuff we thought we’d use, but haven’t, since we started full-timing in August. They’re on their way to the nearest donation box.

Item in: Sassy silver and purple ear cuff, the purchase of which supported a local artisan. There is no corresponding item out, but I've lost another pound this week, and that more than makes up for it!

Item in:
Sassy silver and purple ear cuff, the purchase of which supported a local starving artist here in San Antonio.

There is no corresponding item out, but I’ve lost another pound this week, and that more than makes up for it!