Load Your Caravan the Right Way

Thursday, 27 August 2020  |  Katie

Before you head off on your holiday, one of the most important tasks is to pack your caravan. This can be for a number of reasons, some not as obvious as others. Other than needing all of your vital baggage (check out our caravan essentials holiday checklist blog) the way you load your caravan can have a major effect on the towing stability when driving. You also need to keep to the legal requirements of your individual van unless you want to start your holiday with a hefty fine. By over loading your van this can make the insurance invalid, leading to a huge cost if anything were to go wrong. Lastly travelling light can help you to save fuel, and in turn of course help the environment. 

How do I weigh my van?

The easiest way to check your caravan is the right weight is to use a local weight bridge.

Alternatively you can buy your own caravan weight control however, they can have a hefty price tag and may be better for more experienced caravanners.

Before you start loading, make sure your caravan is level when packing to avoid miscalculations. Park the caravan on level ground, using a spirit level should do the trick!

 Calculations

A well matched car and van will be able to tow with ease, as a general guideline you should keep your fully packed caravan at 85% of car's Kerbweight. This is a great guideline for beginners, if you are more experienced at towing you could play around with the numbers if you are struggling to hit your targets as long as you do not exceed the towing limit of your car or overload the van.

Make sure you do not exceed  MTPLM (max weight safe to load caravan to) whatever the kerbweight calculation may be as this will effect the towing stability. 

 

For example, if you had a 2012 Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 with a kerbweight of 2583kg, you would calculate 85% of this number to ensure safe towing. 

85% of 2583kg = 2195.5kg

However, you have a 2016 Swift Challenger 580  which has an MTPLM of 1523kg. Therefore you should not exceed 1523kg when loading your van.

 

The MIRO (mass in running order) of a van is the weight of the van with all essentials for function not including any personal items. The definition of MIRO has changed over the years so be careful to check the specifications of your own van.

You use your payload for additional personal items, this is calculated by simply minusing the MIRO from the MTPLM. 

 

For example, for the 2016 Swift Challenger 580:

MTPLM 1523kg - MIRO 1362kg = 161kg

Therefore you have 161kg to pack whatever you want to bring on your camping holiday!

 This may help you to work out how much you can pack without having to run back to the weight bridge!

How to load your caravan 

Now you know what you want to put in by following your holiday checklist and how much you are allowed, lets talk about the best way to load your baggage.

 

As in the picture above, heavy items should be packed low down over the axle to aid stability. Put you heaviest or most important items in first e.g. bikes or awning. 

Try to evenly distribute the weight as much as possible as seen in the picture, medium weight items should be spread across the van. Keep an eye on the noseweight of your van to ensure stability, distribution of your items can help with this. 

Lighter items such as clothing, bedding or crockery should be placed in the top cupboards.