How Much Gravel, Sand, or Stone Can the Dump Trailer Carry?


Our sales team gets asked all the time, “how much gravel can I haul in this dump trailer?” Instead of gravel you could substitute *dirt, sand, stone slabs, pebbles, concrete, branches, trash, etc.* into the phrase “How much __ can this dump haul?” And I guarantee you we’ve been asked it about our dump trailers! Though it may seem simple enough, it is actually a pretty LOADED question that ends up revealing the reality of just how easy it is to overload a dump trailer! We’ll explain why below! Keep reading to learn how to determine how much the dump trailer you already own, or the one you may be considering purchasing, can actually haul.

How much *?* can I haul in this Dump Trailer?

In order to answer this question you’ll need to consider several other questions to determine your unique hauling needs before you can make sure the dump trailer will meet them. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but every dump trailer user has different hauling needs that need to be considered in order to guarantee they invest in the proper size and capacity dump trailer for their job’s needs.

Some Questions to Consider:

  1. What will I be hauling in the dump trailer most of the time?
  2. Will my dump loads be dry or wet?
  3. What might I haul (that I want to make sure the dump trailer can accommodate)?
  4. How much does the type of cargo I’ll be hauling weigh?
  5. How much space does my cargo need inside the dump-bed?
Innovative 5′ x 10′ 10K Scissor Hoist Dump Trailer, Stock#4436

What will I be hauling in the Dump Trailer Most of the Time?

What you will be hauling in the dump trailer most of the time needs to be considered before you buy to ensure you invest in a dump trailer with adequate construction for your needs. Knowing whether your trailer will primarily haul equipment, refuse, slabs of very heavy stone, fill dirt or sand, etc. will help you choose a dump trailer built with the options and features that will help you save time and money on your jobs.

Purchasing a dump trailer with some extra features such as a gravel spreader will save you both the time and effort of spreading your load around the property with a shovel! In fact, we order our dump trailers with a 3-way rear gate (gravel spreader, tail gate, and double door combo); Plus all of our 6’ wide or wider dump trailers are also always ordered with Equipment ramps and D-rings in the bed so our trailer is already set up to accommodate nearly any future hauling needs you may have.

Click here to check out the dump trailers available now at our CA Norco Trailers stores!

Will my dump loads be wet or dry (or both)?

When you’re used to only hauling dry cargo you may get used to max load size you can load into your trailer, then when you try to load the same amount of cargo that’s wet instead of dry you can easily accidentally overload the trailer! The many different types of cargo that are typically hauled in a dump trailer not only vary widely in weights between cargo types, but also between the same cargo when it’s wet or dry. If you’ll be hauling moist cargo for the first time, it’s better to be safe than sorry so you should weigh a small portion of your load and calculate how much can be loaded into the trailer safely before reaching its capacity (before you start loading up the trailer).

What might I haul (that I need to make sure the trailer can handle)?

Sometimes your business’s hauling needs at the moment are different than the hauling needs you see in your coming future, that means you need to look ahead to make the right investment in your dump trailer. For instance, perhaps a new tractor purchase is in your future, so you’ll want to ensure your dump-bed is large enough and equipped with the necessary options to haul it safely and easily. We always think it’s a good idea to buy more trailer than you think you need right now (whenever budget allows you to do so), which is why we tend to order all the dump trailers we sell with bells & whistles that maximize your potential use for the trailer such as: equipment ramps, d-rings, tarp kit, stake pockets, tarp hooks, spare tire mount, 3-way gate: gravel spreader, double doors, tail gate, steel encased all LED lights, etc. Click Here to View Pictures & Prices of our currently available Dump Trailers in SoCal

How much does the cargo I’ll be hauling weigh?

Whether you’re a contractor, landscaper, or anyone with construction materials to haul you’re likely familiar with either the amount of space your cargo needs, or with how much your usual loads weigh. It’s always wise to err on the side of caution and weigh 1 cu ft of your cargo to determine just how many cubic feet can be loaded into the trailer before hitting its payload capacity.

If you’re unsure how much weight will potentially be put into your dump trailer, visit this handy guide created by Harmony Sand & Gravel that offers cargo weights of various construction materials typically hauled in a dump trailer. This handy guide lets you know how much 1 cubic yard of various construction materials weighs. Armed with this info you’re able to do a simple calculation to figure out how much of the particular cargo you need to haul can actually be hauled in the dump trailer you’re considering. Follow the steps below to determine how many cubic yards of your cargo will fit into the dump trailer.

How much space does my cargo need in my dump-bed?

If you’re planning to haul equipment, you’ll need to consider the length of the equipment as well as the lengths and weights of any attachments you might bring with you to each job. Some business owners opt to buy a larger dump trailer than necessary for most jobs, so they’re ready to handle the big jobs needing the most equipment. Others may need to consider how many large heavy stone slabs can fit into a given trailer bed, so they can choose one large enough for all future loads. Perhaps you sell and deliver construction materials and need to know how many tons of dirt or gravel can fit into the dump trailer (so you can determine the best price you can charge per trip), or maybe you charge by the cubic foot or cubic yard?

However, you determine how much you need to haul, we’ll help you figure out how much the dump trailer you’re considering can haul!

First you’ll need to determine the Dump Trailer Bed’s Cubic Yard Capacity:

  1. Multiply the Height, Length, and Width (in feet)
  2. Divide the answer to #1 by 27 to get the number of cubic yards the trailer can haul.

Say you’ll be hauling wet sand, which our resource states will weigh around 3186 pounds per cubic yard. You’ll need to determine how much sand you’ll be able to haul in the dump trailer (we’ll pretend we’re considering this option: a 5’ x 10’ 10K dump trailer with 2’ high sides we currently have in stock). Because it’s been de-rated so anyone without a Commercial Driver’s License can tow it, this trailer’s Payload Capacity is 6490 lbs and its total bed capacity is 3.7 cubic yards.

Now that we’ve determined the payload capacity and the Bed Capacity size, we need to determine how many cubic yards of wet sand will be able to go inside this trailer:

  • Simply Divide the Payload Capacity (6490) by the weight of a single cubic yard of your cargo (in this case wet sand= 3186). 6490 / 3186 = 2.037

This tells us you can haul 2.037 cubic yards of wet sand in this trailer without overloading the frame or axles.

When Things Get Dangerous…

If you make the mistake of filling this dump trailer up to the brim with wet sand, you’ll have overloaded the trailer with 11,788 pounds of cargo when the trailer was built to haul 6490 (or 6900 if it wasn’t de-rated from 10,400#)! You’ve almost doubled the maximum payload capacity and will easily encounter issues with the trailer caused by overloading (frame stress and broken welds, axle bowing, improper tire wear, and hoist system issues are the most common symptoms of a trailer that’s been overloaded). You’re much more likely to be injured while hauling or dumping a load that’s too heavy for your trailer; it’s always better to be safe than to be sorry, so keep your trailer’s cargo under it’s payload capacity!

If you want your dump trailer to last the longest, and to always fully dump all of the cargo you load into it (so you won’t have to manually unload it to assist your trailer), then you’ll need to always be mindful of your cargo weights and your trailer’s payload capacity when loading, and make sure you invest in a high-quality dump trailer that was over-built to last (rather than minimally built for the cheapest price-point).  To compare sizes, capacities, and see pictures of the highest quality Innovative 10 GA. steel, premium scissor hoist dump trailers we have in stock now, visit Norco Trailers southern CA stores in Escondido or Norco, CA.

Pictured from Right to Left: 5×10′ 7K, 6×10′ 10K, 83″x10′ 10K, 83″x12′ 12K, 83″x14′ 14K Innovative Dump Trailers in stock at Norco Trailers Escondido