To prepare yourself for the road, the more you understand about the weight of your caravan and payload distribution will help you to avoid incidents whilst towing. The main causes of issues while towing are due to overweight caravans or poor payload distribution.
The recommendation is for you to weigh your caravan, you can do this at a public weigh bridge, these can be found using the government website or your local council, the page is called “Find a weigh bridge”.
If you are a member of the Camping and Caravan Club or The Caravan and Motorhome Club, they both have useful guides on this subject and tools to help you match your car and caravan outfit, as it is not alway practical of possible to take your outfit to your local weigh bridge.
Below is an example we came across, when matching our tow vehicle with our caravan, using the tool from the Camping and Caravan Club website.
This showed that our outfit was not a match, so we changed our tow vehicle, to comply with these rules.
A number of caravans now have a rear fixed bed, so you should think carefully about what to use the space under the bed for, i.e. bedding and other bulky light weight items. Awnings or other heavier items should be placed as near or over the axle. Heavy items should not be placed in your nose locker or front of the caravan as this will be detrimental to your balance and nose weight. You should also take into consideration the layout of your caravan as additional drawers in the front of the lounge area can also affect the nose weight. Keep in mind the limitations of your tow vehicle before you commit to a certain layout.
Remember you can also use the free space in your tow vehicle for luggage and equipment.
To help you choose an outfit you can use the 85% rule. The formula to work this out is divide the kerb weight of your tow vehicle by 100, then multiply this by 85.
To work out what payload allowance you can carry in your caravan, you should subtract the MiRO from the MTPLM.
MiRO - Mass in Running Order
This is the weight of your caravan with all factory fitted equipment, as it left the factory. This doesn’t include any items i.e. Solar Panels, Motormovers etc that are fitted as extras or you have fitted at a later date.
MTPLM - Stands for Maximum Technically Permitted Laden Mass
This is the absolute maximum weight that the caravan must not exceed to be legal and safe, including the weight of item carried in the caravan (payload allowance)