5th Wheel Hitch Weight vs Payload | Difference Between Them

It’s a common confusion among many RVers whether the hitch weight and payload are the same. Yes, both are related to weight capacity, but they aren’t the same. Basically, the hitch weight refers to the weight a trailer only put on the truck’s hitch. On the other hand, the payload is the total weight carried by the truck bed. 

This post contains all the information about a 5th-wheel trailer’s hitch weight and payload that can clear this confusion and helps to get the entire concept. So, without any further ado, let’s get into them, shall we?

5th Wheel Hitch Weight vs Payload

Comparison Between Hitch Weight and Payload of a 5th Wheel

Before getting into the detailed information, let us clarify that the 5th Wheel hitch is especially known as pin weight. Now, we’ll dive into the detailed comparison between them to know their similarities and dissimilarities.  

Pin Weight (5th Wheel Hitch Weight)

To state straightforwardly, pin weight is the weight put on the hitch placed on the truck’s bed given by the kingpin of the 5th wheel trailer. This weight isn’t counted in the trailer’s total weight but in additional. Pin weight is important in case of determining a truck’s capability of pulling a 5th wheel trailer. Basically, the pin weight is around 20% of the 5th-wheel trailer’s gross trailer weight. 

Pin Weight

For example, if a 5th wheel trailer’s gross trailer weight is 1900 pounds, its pin weight will be around 380 pounds. So, it can be said that pin weight is actually a portion of the trailer’s total weight given by the 5th wheel trailer’s front end that vertically put down force on the truck’s hitch. Yes, it’s changeable. You can increase or reduce the pin weight by moving things to the trailer’s front or back end. 


The payload is the total weight that a towing vehicle is capable of carrying safely. And when it comes to a truck, it’s the maximum weight that the truck bed can safely carry. All the people and additional accessories inside or carried by the vehicle are counted as the payload. Pin weight isn’t included in the payload but it’s the additional weight that gets attached with the payload. 


There’s one thing to keep in mind – the merged weight of the pin weight and the hitch’s own weight mustn’t exceed the truck’s payload capacity. Otherwise, there’s a high chance that the truck may squat, making it harder to control the truck along with the 5th-wheel trailer. Additionally, it can also make the back-end tires lose traction, which can cause a severe accident. 

Are 5th Wheel Hitch Weight and Payload the Same?

It’s clear by now that even though both terms are quite related to weight capacity, they’re entirely different by definition. Payload is referred to the maximum weight carried by the towing vehicle, while 5th Wheel Hitch weight or pin weight is referred to the weight only carried by the hitch. So, pin weight and payload are definitely not the same.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does hitch weight matter on the 5th wheel?

Yes, it highly does matter. As you know, the hitch weight is the amount of weight given by the trailer’s front end that forces down on the hitch or axle of the towing vehicle. So, if you know the hitch weight, you’ll also know whether it’ll affect the towing vehicle’s payload capacity or not. 

What happens if the hitch weight is too high?

If the hitch weight is too high, or in other words, there’s too much weight exerted on the hitch; a tremendous downforce will cause overload on the towing vehicle’s back tires. As a result, it can force the tires to lose traction or sway the trailer unfavorably, which can be pretty dangerous. 

What is the weight limit on a 5th-wheel hitch?

According to the manufacturer, a 5th-wheel hitch can usually carry up to 20000 pounds, especially that are designed for pickup trucks. But there are some exceptional 5th-wheel hitches capable of carrying a maximum of 27000 pounds. But it’s always better not to put excessive weight on the hitch that exceeds its weight capacity.

How is hitch weight calculated?

Calculating your hitch weight is essential at some points, especially to determine whether it’ll affect the towing vehicle’s payload capacity or not. The theory is very easy but the process can be slightly difficult sometimes. All you need to do is find out the weight of your towing vehicle and subtract it from the weight of your vehicle when it’s attached to a trailer. 


That’s all about clarification of the confusion based on whether the pin or 5th wheel hitch weight and payload indicate the same thing. Now that you read this far, you know that they aren’t the same thing. And we would like to recommend that whenever you’re up to towing a trailer or cargo with your towing vehicle, don’t forget to calculate the hitch weight and compare it with your vehicle’s payload capacity. It’s better for your own safety. Let us know if you find this post informative along with any other queries you have. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *