CHECK WEIGHT - Five things that will make your caravan overweight or unbalanced.
Updated: Jan 28
In the last year, Check Weight Mobile Caravan Weighing
have weighed just over 200 caravans
These are the
Five things that will make your caravan
overweight or unbalanced.
There’s many things that we take in a caravan that we probably don’t need.
Then there are things we have to take but may never use (snatch strap – recovery gear)
Then there are things that we take but probably shouldn’t.......
And there are lots of things we take – that increase our weight – and / or unbalance our caravan.
Here’s Five things that we at Check Weight have seen that put caravans overweight or unbalance the load.
At Check Weight we get asked all the time “where’s the best place to put our pushbikes? “ Well the best place is probably at home (LOL) but for many people, that’s just not an option.
There are really only a few options.
* In the caravan – not very practical and a pain if they are adult pushbikes – maybe OK for toddlers bikes
* On top of the vehicle – OK if you tall enough to get them on and off – but if your short or older then probably not all that practical. If you only use them every now and then – then maybe a good option
* On the rear of the caravan. NOT the best option in the majority of cases. Any weight on the back of the caravan reduces your tow ball weight by at least 50% (of the total). So if the bikes weigh 40 kgs – then you reduce your tow ball weight by 20 kg
Doesn’t sound much but if your tow ball weight is light already – then another 10 kg off the tow ball can mean the difference of experiencing some sway at a lower speed.
REMEMBER - The lower the tow ball weight, the more potential there is for the caravan to sway and become unstable. And the lower the road speed at which a rig may attempt to change ends – i.e. to jack-knife.
If you are putting a bike frame on to the rear bar – then that’s even more extra weight – the frame, the brackets, the bolts. Also at the back they tend to wobble and if not fitted securely – they can break and fall off. Just follow a few caravans with push bikes on the back and you will see what I mean.
* On the A Frame – From a weight perspective on the Frame is probably the best place to put bikes. However the proviso here is that you don’t have too much weight already on your tow ball. We have seen bike racks that weigh around 25 kgs plus the weight of the bikes. (2 @ 15 kg – 30 kg) That’s 50 kg. Which can add around 70% -80% of the total weight (depending on location ) to your tow ball – so that’s another 35 kg on your tow ball mass. That's a lot!
So if you’re taking bikes (or adding them ) to your caravan, be fully aware of what they weigh. The bike holder, brackets, bolts and the bikes themselves. And be aware on the effect they will have on adding weight to your caravan and the difference it will make to your tow ball weight.
There’s only really one place to put a generator. In a box on the a frame. Putting that much weigh on the rear of a caravan is potentially dangerous. We have weighed many caravans and many owners struggle with generators. Make sure you need one – as a lot of National Parks won’t let you use them. But if you do a lot of free camping – especially in summer then you will need one. But be very careful where you place it. And know how much it weighs and what effect that will have on the balance of your caravan.
3. Big Boxes
A lot of caravan manufactures are putting massive boxes on the front of the caravan – for generators and a lot the other essential “stuff” we have to take. But these big tool boxes weigh a bit – as well as humans we tend to want to fill these spaces with stuff – because we can.
With these boxes on the A Frame you’re adding around 70% of the weight of the contents to your tow ball. So be aware. Just because you have the space, doesn’t mean you have to fill it !
4. Jerry Cans of fuel and water
Jerry Can holders on the back of caravans are another thing that manufacturers “add in” as an extra. But they can also be very bad. Like the bikes above – If you put weight on the back – you will take around 50% of the weight of the object off the tow ball – so 20 litres of water – will take 10 kg off the tow ball (NOTE Diesel is slightly lighter – (10 litres is approx 8 kg.) Put two 20 litre containers on and you have taken 20 kg off your tow ball.
If you must have the jerry can holders there – travel with them empty until you are going free camping or remote and then fill them up at the last town. At least when you're off road and going much slower – the effect of that weight negatively impacting you vehicle is less. But going down the freeway, highway or main roads- keep them empty !
5. Extra Batteries
It’s normal now for batteries to be placed under the caravan and on the driver’s side – usually just in front of the axles. If you’re running two AGM’s then that’s around 64 kg worth of weight. On one side. So know what your weight is side to side – and then you can compensate (in need) by loading extra weight on the passenger’s side.
Batteries placed behind the wheels on one side tend to upset the balance of the caravan putting too much weight on the rear, so is not recommended.
There’s a move away from putting batteries under the bed. I’ve seen comments that it’s now not legal but have not seen legislation to that effect.
If you can afford them (especially when upgrading batteries) consider Lithium – much lighter (but more expensive).
That’s Five common things that Check Weight sees on a regular basis that upsets the balance, or overloads a caravan.
There’s many more – Send us an email with your weight saving tips and we may include in a future blog! firstname.lastname@example.org