Preparing for your next holiday or a weekend break with your caravan? You might have done it a hundred times before but it’s probably a good idea to remind yourself about packing the trailer.
Here are our top tips on packing your caravan so that you remain street-legal while on the road and to make sure you pack all you need – but no more.
Keeping it legal
When towing a caravan, the latter is restricted to a legal maximum weight. The welter of different measures may give rise to some confusion but the main ones to keep in mind are:
Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM)
- this is the key weight to bear in mind and represents the total weight of your caravan and the maximum load it may legally carry – you might also see the same weight referred to as the Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM);
- not only is this the legal maximum it also gives a guide to the type of vehicle needed to tow it – the MTPLM should not be more than 85% of your car’s kerb weight;
Mass in Running Order (MIRO)
- yet another weight you need to be familiar with is that of the Mass In Running Order (MIRO) or the weight of your caravan (including its fixtures and fittings) as it left the factory – so that you can calculate the maximum permissible weight of everything you load into your caravan simply by subtracting the MIRO from the MAM; and
- your caravan’s manufacturer will also specify the maximum nose weight – the maximum load exerted on the towing bar of your car.
With the legal niceties riding so heavily on the laden weight of your caravan, it clearly pays to keep your packing as light as possible, suggests a thread on Caravan Talk – it doesn’t necessarily mean leaving useful kit at home so much as choosing lightweight gear whenever possible.
Equally important – given that there is a critical nose weight – is the distribution of the load. Try to place heaviest items on the floor – so they do not have space to fall – in the middle of your caravan, more or less over the wheel axle.
And, of course, the lighter the load, typically the less fuel you’ll consume.
Another weight-saving tip is to only partly fill your caravan’s water tank and cistern rather than weighing it down with unnecessary water on the journey – you can easily fill the reserves to capacity once you reach your campsite.
Similar considerations go for the gas cylinders stowed in your caravan. You are likely to have a shrewd idea how much gas you are likely to consume – depending on the length of your holiday and the time of year (whether you will be firing up the heating system, for example). So, if you are away for a relatively short time or touring in the height of a warm summer, think about leaving one of the cylinders at home or travelling with only a spare empty cylinder which you can refill if needs be.
Your caravan might be your home away from home, but you can go easy on the provisions you need to take with you. Even if you’re headed somewhere off the beaten track, you’re still likely to pass shops nearby.
Stocking up once you get there saves you valuable space and weight for the journey – and promises extra fun when buying the produce from foreign parts in a language that’s probably not your own.