Dump Trailer WEIGHTS– How Much Can You Carry?

Dr Stu is back, and this time he's dissecting DUMP TRAILERS. For a long time landscapers have wondered about the extent they can push their Dump Trailers to, before it breaks down due to the weight of the load it's carrying!

In this episode of 'Stu Minutes', Dr. Stu calculates the weight a Dump Trailer can take in terms of different material, including Water, Wood, Stone, Mulch and much more.

Understanding Dump Trailer Capacities: Calculating Weights and Loads

Hey everyone! Thanks for tuning in. It's Stu here, and today we're diving into a fascinating and crucial topic for anyone dealing with dump trailers: understanding capacities, weights, and loads. While I'm not a scientist—more of a business degree holder with a mower shop—I am well-versed in all things related to lawnmowers and trailers. Today, we're breaking down dump trailer capacities, doing some hands-on discovery, and crunching numbers to make sense of it all.

Popular Dump Trailer Models and Their Dimensions

If you're in the market for a dump trailer, here are some popular models you'll encounter. These dimensions are pretty standard across most manufacturers:

  • 6x12 with a 2-foot side
  • 7x14 with a 2-foot side
  • 7x16 with a 2-foot side
  • 7x14 with a 4-foot side

These are some of the most common dump trailers you'll find worldwide. To understand their capacity, you first need to know their volume. For instance, a 6x12 trailer with a 2-foot side has a volume of 6 x 12 x 2 = 144 cubic feet.

Since our industry uses the American standard and yards are the unit of measure used at dump yards, we need to convert cubic feet to yards by dividing by 27. This will give us the yard capacity of each dump trailer.

Visualizing Yard Size

To give you a better idea of what a yard looks like, imagine a cube formed by dimensions 3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet, equating to 27 cubic feet. You might think that’s quite substantial—similar to the size of a large washing machine box. For a better visual, I built a yard-sized cube, which I can comfortably sit in (for reference, I'm 6’3”).

Weight of Materials in Dump Trailers

Different materials have different weights, so I grabbed a bucket and a scale and ventured to a construction site and a feed store to measure various substances including dirt, rock, lime rock, mulch, and split wood. Here are the weights:

  • Lime Rock: 69.19 lbs for a 5-gallon bucket
  • Dirt: 67 lbs for a 5-gallon bucket
  • Pea Gravel: 56.9 lbs for a 5-gallon bucket
  • Larger Rock: 54.46 lbs for a 5-gallon bucket
  • Split Wood: 23.28 lbs for a 5-gallon bucket
  • Pine Bark Mulch: 9.97 lbs for a 5-gallon bucket
  • Cypress Mulch: 14 lbs for a 5-gallon bucket

Calculation Time: How Much Can Your Dump Trailer Handle?

Now let’s dive into the math! Considering the standard 7x14x2-foot dump trailer, which has a capacity of 7.25 cubic yards, we aim to find out the load weight for different materials if filled to the brim.

Crushed Concrete

  • Weight per 5-gallon bucket: 69.19 lbs
  • Buckets per yard: 40.39
  • Weight fully loaded: 20,000 lbs


  • Weight per 5-gallon bucket: 67 lbs
  • Buckets per yard: 40.39
  • Weight fully loaded: 19,000 lbs

Pea Gravel

  • Weight per 5-gallon bucket: 56.9 lbs
  • Buckets per yard: 40.39
  • Weight fully loaded: 16,000 lbs

Larger Rock

  • Weight per 5-gallon bucket: 54.46 lbs
  • Buckets per yard: 40.39
  • Weight fully loaded: 16,000 lbs

Split Wood

  • Weight per 5-gallon bucket: 23.28 lbs
  • Buckets per yard: 40.39
  • Weight fully loaded: 6,800 lbs (you can fill it completely)

Pine Bark Mulch

  • Weight per 5-gallon bucket: 9.97 lbs
  • Buckets per yard: 40.39
  • Weight fully loaded: 2,919 lbs (very light)

Cypress Mulch

  • Weight per 5-gallon bucket: 14 lbs
  • Buckets per yard: 40.39
  • Weight fully loaded: 4,099 lbs

Water (for fun)

  • Weight per 5-gallon bucket: Approximately 41.64 lbs
  • Buckets per yard: 40.39
  • Weight fully loaded: 12,000 lbs

Key Insights and Trailer Capacity

Understanding your trailer's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is essential. For instance, a 14 LP trailer from Big Tex has a GVWR of 14,000 lbs but the trailer itself weighs 4,000 lbs. This means you have a payload capacity of 10,000 lbs that you can safely fill.

Beware of the temptation to fill a 4-foot side dump trailer fully—doubling the volume would easily exceed the allowed payload, especially for heavy materials like dirt or crushed concrete.


So there you have it, folks! A comprehensive dive into the world of dump trailer capacities, weights, and the importance of knowing your limits. Whether you're hauling dirt, rocks, mulch, or split wood, understanding these numbers helps you stay within safe and legal limits.

If you have any questions or thoughts, drop them in the comments. Be sure to check out our other videos for more insights, tips, and advice. And as always, like and subscribe to stay updated. Thanks for watching and happy hauling!

Legal and safety note: Always ensure your trailer loads are within the recommended limits to avoid accidents and legal issues.


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