How Much Does a Caravan Weigh?The average weight of smaller 2-4 berth caravans usually ranges from 800kg to 1300kg whereas larger caravans rated at 4-6 berth will typically weigh between 1300 and 1800kg, or beyond. However, the actual weight will vary depending on the producer, as well as the year of production. The smallest caravans such as the Adria Altea weigh approximately 900kg with a MTPLM (Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass) of 1100kg. Usually, caravans below this weight are more of camping trailers, especially when you consider what a standard caravan can offer. On the other hand, the heaviest caravans on the UK roads will be something like the Airstream International. Typically, their unladen weight is around 2000kg while the MTPLM is about 2400kg.
How Do You Determine the Weight of a Caravan?
What Does MiRO Mean for Caravan Weight?The MiRO of a caravan refers to the Mass in Running Order. It represents the standard weight of an empty or unloaded caravan. You can consider it to be the least tow weight of the car. Depending on when your caravan was manufactured, the MiRO may also include onboard water- you’ll be able to verify this by checking the manual.
What Does MTPLM Mean for Caravan Weight?MTPLM represents Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass. Typically, each caravan comes with a metal label (mostly located at the door) that provides you with all the details about the caravan. This will display the MiRO or the weight of the caravan when it’s unladen (how it leaves the factory).
The MTPLM is simply maximum the weight of the caravan once it is loaded. This should be within the legal-to-tow limit and in compliance with your insurance policy.If you happen to get involved in an accident and the insurer finds a reason to believe the weight of your caravan had a part to play in it, you may not receive your claim. For this reason, it is essential to avoid overloading your caravan by always considering the MTPLM. This value covers the chassis weight, as well as the loaded goods, gas, water, and equipment. The last value you should be interested in is the caravan’s payload capacity. Although this is not displayed on the door plate, it is easily worked out. All you need to do is subtract the MiRO from the MTPLM. The payload capacity, therefore, refers to how much extra equipment and supplies you can carry while towing the caravan.
What’s Included in the MiRo Ratings?Although MTPLM ratings have remained the same over the years, MiRO rating calculations may vary depending on the year your caravan was manufactured, even if it is the same model. For caravans built before 2010, the MiRO is essentially worked out based on dry weight. This means there is no allowance for water or gas on board. Furthermore, the weight of any leisure batteries on board is factored into the calculation.
On the other hand, caravans manufactured from 2011-2014 use a different set of criteria when calculating the MiRO value. Caravan companies had to account for 90% of the potential weight of gas and water on board and not only the dry weight.For instance, if the caravan carries a 20-litre water tank, this means 18kg has to be added to the MiRO calculation. However, leisure batteries are not part of this total. Still, the criteria for calculating the MiRo was again altered in 2015; this time allowing caravan makers to detail how much water has been accounted for in the value. Nowadays, most of them don’t include a water allowance in the MiRO.
What is Noseweight in Caravan Weight?
The ideal figure for caravan noseweight is between 5 and 5% of the MTPLM. The majority of caravans in the UK have a max noseweight of around 100kg.In many cases, the towcar’s noseweight rating is displayed on the plate. The noseweight limit of the car should be detailed in its handbook. Additionally, you shouldn’t exceed the moseweight of your vehicle, although the closer you get the noseweight to its limit, the more stable your caravan will be. To achieve optimum stability for your caravan, you have to start by measuring the noseweight. This you can do by investing in a noseweight gauge. A good option would be the Milenco Precision Noseweight gauge 130kg, which can cost you anything between 34 and 39 pounds.
CalculationsGenerally speaking, the tow car must always weigh more than the caravan. The important figures when comparing the tow car and the caravan are the caravan’s MTPLM and the manufacturer’s car kerbweight. It is recommended that kerbweight is always greater than the MTPLM while the MTPLM is not greater than 85% of the kerbweight. Nevertheless, some experienced tow car drivers push this to 100%. Another thing to note is that you shouldn’t confuse a car's max tow weight with its kerbweight. These are totally different and the maximum towing weight will usually be greater than the kerbweight.
How Can I Avoid Overloading My Caravan?If you are worried that you might overload your caravan, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure this is not the case. For instance, you can start by emptying the water tanks and wait to refill them when you get to your destination.
If possible, load the heavier items in the tow car and go for lightweight versions of any gear you plan to bring along. The same is true if the leisure batteries are heavy and any unnecessary clutter inside the caravan should be done away with.Ultimately, you will need to weigh your caravan at a weighbridge if you’re towing it on the UK roads. Also, you might want to contact them well before you arrive and note that there is a fee charged for the service.
What is the Correct Way to Load My Caravan?Optimal weight distribution is a key factor to consider when loading your caravan. Make sure that heavier items are loaded at the bottom and secure everything you stack at the top. A sliding payload is always a recipe for disaster. With the bulkier and heavier items at the bottom, the center of gravity is kept low to prevent overturning.
Can My Car Tow a Caravan?There is no absolute answer to this question. To a large extent, it will depend on the size of your car, your engine capacity, and whether the caravan comes with an over-run braking system on board. Usually, bigger cars with larger engines will have a greater towing capacity compared to smaller ones.
For instance, a Ford Focus with a 1.8-litre turbo diesel engine offers unbraked towing capacity of 685kg, as well as a braked capacity of 1500kg, which makes it a suitable option for small to medium caravans like the Compass Capiro 462.
Elsewhere, a larger vehicle such as the Land Rover Discovery with a 3-liter V6 diesel engine, you can expect a braked capacity of 3500kg and an unbraked capacity of 7500kg.Roughly speaking, larger hatchbacks will be able to tow most small to medium caravans while pickups, SUVs, and other bigger-engined types of diesel will be in a position to tow most caravans available on the market. But just to be sure, you want to consult the manufacturer for recommended caravan models.
What is the 80% Towing Rule?When contemplating whether you can pair a caravan with a towing vehicle, it’s crucial to ensure you aren’t going beyond the vehicle’s towing capacity. Remember to consider the car’s maximum towing capacity when you’re loading your caravan.
It is always safer to use the 80% towing rule. This simply means that you should only carry up to 80% of the tow car’s towing capacity.There are various reasons why this is important but the major one is that it is safer when braking and accelerating. If you decide to tow at maximum capacity, you need to note that your stopping distance will also increase significantly when you want to break suddenly. In the same way, your acceleration will also be sluggish when the towing capacity is maxed out.