Understand the weight limits of your caravan

Here at Club Care we have collated a handy guide to help you make sense of caravan weights.

While this might seem like quite a bland subject, knowing the correct weight limits of your caravan is paramount for your safety, your family’s safety and the safety of other road users. Not only this, but if your caravan is overloaded, and an insurance company is able to obtain proof that this was the case then it would invalidate your touring caravan insurance and your claim would be invalidated.

To ensure that you are towing safely it is extremely important that you understand the weight limits imposed on your caravan. In this guide we have explained the different caravan weight statistics, helping you to stay safe and road legal while towing.

  • Mass in Running Order (MIRO)

    The MIRO is your caravan’s weight as it comes off the production line - i.e., before it is loaded with all of your personal effects. This weight includes gas cylinders, electric hook-up cables, flush water and water in the heating system.

  • Maximum Technically Permitted Laden Mass (MTPLM)

    The MTPLM is the maximum your caravan is permitted to weigh once it is fully loaded - this weight should not be exceeded under any circumstances.

    Unless you are a very experienced caravanner, it is recommended that the weight of the loaded caravan is no more than 85% of the towing car’s kerb weight (you can find this figure in your car’s handbook).

    Many caravanners find it difficult to stick within the limit set, as it is surprising how much day to day items weigh. If you do find yourself in difficulty, and need to reduce the load to stay within your caravan’s MTPLM, here are some useful tips:

    1. Replace heavy kitchen utensils with lightweight camping versions
    2. ‘Edit’ your holiday clothes - put together everything you think you will need, then a few hours later go through your clothes again and remove non-essential items. 
    3. Use refillable travel bottles for your toiletries.
    4. Empty all water containers - this will help to lighten the load and improve safety, as water sloshing around in the tanks can cause the caravan to become unstable.
    5. Buy tinned food and other provisions on the campsite.
    6. Only take what you need!
  • Noseweight

    The noseweight is the greatest amount of weight that you can place on the towball of the car. Too much weight could lift the front of the car reducing traction on front-wheel-drive vehicles and place increased pressure on the rear tyres, plus the headlights at the front of the car could be raised too far above the legal limit. Conversely, if there is not enough weight on the towball of the car, the caravan will ride with a nose=up attitude which increases the likelihood of instability.

    Generally, the noseweight should be around 7% of the caravan’s total weight. Have a look at our  loading a caravan advice to ensure that you are safely distributing the weight in your caravan.

  • Towing weight

    You will find the towing weight of your vehicle in the car’s handbook. For safety reasons the towing weight is very important and should be strictly adhered to, otherwise your insurance will be invalidated.  

    Caravan and towcar matching:

    If you are a member of the Camping and Caravanning Club, you can use the towing match service available via their website. Matching your towcar to the unit being towed is vital to preserving the safety of you, your family and other road users.