You don’t even want to think about it: a holiday that ends before it even really started. It may even happen to you if your caravan jack-knives or overturn. In order to prevent this problem, we are glad to help with advice about correctly loading your caravan.
With a proper weight balance, your steering is better and you are less susceptible to the suction of trucks overtaking you. In addition, your combination is less prone to snaking. It is recommended that the loaded caravan is not heavier than 85 percent of the kerb weight of the car. You should therefore first use the space in your car before loading up your caravan.
Checking tow weight
Before you start loading your caravan, it is very important that you know how much weight your car is allowed to tow. This is listed on the registration certificate of your vehicle or on the VIN plate. A Brink towbar can always tow the maximum tow weight as listed by the car manufacturer. Our towbars have gone through extensive testing for this. Read more about maximum tow weight.
Loaded caravan with a new car
Are you considering purchasing a new car and are you curious about the maximum tow weight? The tow weight is usually listed with the technical details of the car in question. If you are buying an imported car, it may be that the maximum tow weight is not mentioned on the registration certificate. In that case, you can request a statement concerning the maximum tow weight from the importer of your car.
Measure weight accessories
Before you load your caravan, it is advisable to first measure the weight of the caravan accessories. The canopy or awning, the groundsheet, the stairs; they all count towards the maximum weight and together soon weigh some 100 kilos. Write down the total weight of all accessories and keep this with the caravan papers. That saves time during future holiday preparations.
Room for heavy items
Preferably place heavy items in the car, between the axles. Meaning the best location for an awning is between the front and back seats of your car. If that won’t fit and the items have to be in the caravan, place them on the ground right before the axle. Please make sure that you properly distribute the weight over both wheels. Dividing the weight is of the utmost importance in order to increase stable road holding.
Weight at the back
Never load too much into the back of the caravan. Don’t fill up the fridge in the back kitchen with heavy bottles of soda or cartons of milk. The more weight you have at the back, the higher the chance the caravan starts to sway. Don’t put too much water in the fresh water tank either; about ten litres is enough for a day’s drive.
Packing the upper cabinets
Do not transport heavy items in the upper cabinets. For example, if the caravan is about to tilt due to heavy gusts of wind, a top-heavy caravan will only strengthen this effect. Only light items such as clothing are suitable to be loaded in the upper cabinets. Please ensure that the cabinets are properly closed and the load cannot shift.
Loading the front storage locker
The front storage locker is a popular storage spot. If the storage locker is intended to contain both the gas bottle and the spare tire, it might be better to store the spare tire in a different spot, such as the car, to decrease pressure on the drawbar.
Are you taking bikes with you on holiday? Place them on the roof of the car. It is possible to load them onto the drawbar, but please keep in mind that you might not be able to open the drawbar box. Caution, do not overload the drawbar either. We also discourage loading items on the roof of the caravan, as the centre of gravity would be higher, and proper and stable road holding is helped by as low a centre of gravity as possible.
Check after attaching the caravan
Once you have loaded the caravan and attached it to the car, it is best to perform several checks.
Measure towbar height
Check whether the back of your car doesn’t dip too low. Proper towbar height is at least 35 centimetres in loaded condition, measured from the road surface to the centre of the ball. Is the distance less? Take heavy items from the boot of your car. Please do not try to ‘lift’ the towbar by placing heavy items in the back of the caravan. This is very detrimental to stability. Also see: measure nose weight.
Measure individual wheel weight
The weight under each wheel should be as even as possible. Caravan dealers sell practical caravan scales that allow you to measure this. This helps you check whether you properly loaded your caravan. If necessary, you can still rearrange the load. It is always better to do it beforehand instead of on the road.
Measure total weight
You can use the caravan meter to measure the total weight as well. Naturally, it is important that you not exceed the legally permissible weights. These details can be found on the registration certificate of the caravan and the car. Naturally, it is important that you not exceed the legally permissible weights.
Pay attention to hidden weight
Realise you forgot to pack something after performing all the checks? Don’t just put the crate of drinks or that extra suitcase in the caravan. Redistribute the weight.