Have you considered buying a touring caravan? Or perhaps you’ve recently bought one? This isn’t surprising as owning a caravan can give you a great sense of freedom and the ability to enjoy a mini-break that isn’t expensive.
But before you set off there’s some important information you need to know about loading a caravan safely. It’s vital that you load your caravan correctly to ensure it’s safe and to reduce the chances of something going wrong whilst you’re on the road.
As providers of caravan insurance, we have put together this handy guide to help you safely load your caravan.
Firstly, do you have the right driving licence?
If you’ve obtained your driving licence after January 1997 then this won’t include categories B&E for towing. As a legal requirement, you’ll need to take a practical test before you can even consider towing a caravan. You can book your B&E test here.
Important caravan loading terms you need to know
There are a few important terms associated with loading a caravan. Here are some of the terms and what each of them means:
Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM) – This is the maximum weight allowed when your caravan is fully loaded. You’ll need to be careful not to surpass the 85% guideline, and this means you shouldn’t pull a caravan that weighs more than 85% of the kerbweight of the towing vehicle.
Mass in Running Order (MIRO) – This represents what weight your caravan is when it leaves the factory. It’s minus any additional fittings that you or a dealership may have added.
User Payload – This is the weight of all your luggage and accessories added to your caravan. The total allowance signifies the difference between the MTPLM and the MIRO.
Noseweight Limit – This indicates what the maximum force is that you can exert onto the towbar of your towing vehicle. If you’re unsure as to what the limit is, you can find out from your vehicle’s manufacturer.
If you do have concerns about overloading your caravan, then you can visit a weighbridge. This’ll help you to find out the actual weight of your unit and give you peace of mind. As good practice it would be worth checking this on a regular basis.
Safe loading tips
Your items can be categorised into heavy, medium and light. Here’s how you can safely store your belongings for these three weights:
- Keep your heavy items low e.g. awning, chairs and electrical cables. Don’t store heavy belongings in the gap beneath a fixed rear bed, this has the potential risk of causing snaking.
- Medium-weighted belongings can be spread a bit further than the axle. However, try to keep heavier items near to the axle.
- Place your lightest things to the top this includes t-shirts, vests etc. If you store heavy items up top you can affect your caravan’s centre of gravity.
Additional loading tips
To keep your loading weight to a minimum, here’s some additional tips on what you could do:
- Only take plastic cutlery.
- Obtain your water when you reach your destination.
- Do your food shopping when you arrive.