Here’ll we’ll share with you 7 tips to answer the question: how do you properly load a caravan?
In particular, we’ll focus on how to pack a caravan for towing safely.
Here they are:
- Start by making a list so you only take what’s needed
- Pack heavier items in your lower caravan cupboards
- Pack as much weight as you can above the caravan’s axles
- Load your caravan evenly on both sides
- Pack everything away and secure it before towing
- Find out your caravan’s weights before you put water in the tanks
- Fill your tanks if you have spare weight
After a little more detail?
1. Start by making a list so you only take what’s needed
This might sound pretty basic… but here’s the reality: You can take less stuff than you think.
A couple of hundred kilograms of weight sounds like a lot. But caravans can get overloaded pretty quickly.
You’re over the legal weight limit that your caravan can handle.
So to make it easy: make a list of stuff that you will need for your trip and pack accordingly.
2. Pack heavier items in your lower caravan cupboards
When something has a lower centre of gravity it’s more stable. Caravans are no different.
So in the caravan kitchen cupboards: place the tinned foods low.
If you insist on taking books? Place books in low cupboards too.
This is even more important in if you have a big air conditioner on your caravan roof. You want to offset this as much as you can. It’ll make your towing easier and safer.
3. Pack as much weight as you can above the caravan’s axles
The simple answer to how do you properly load a caravan is to put most of the weight over the axles. This is followed by the front of the van… then lastly the rear.
Sure, it can be annoying moving things on and off the caravan floor every time you drive. But it’s much safer.
If you have too much weight up front it increases your caravan’s ball weight… which increases stress on your tow vehicle and reduces steering and braking ability. Too much weight at the rear of the caravan leads to a ball weight that is too light.
This can cause towing instability… which can lead to crashes.
If you’re interested check out our article: How To Work Out Caravan or Camper Tow Ball Weight [3 Options]
4. Load your caravan evenly on both sides
How you pack each side will depend on the layout of your caravan.
Our caravan has a fridge on one side, and an oven on the other. The weight that is going through the axles is pretty even. So we just pack our gear evenly on each side.
But if all your appliances are on one side?
You might want to consider packing the heavier items on the opposite side to balance it out.
5. Pack everything away and secure it before towing
This might sound like common sense… but it’s easy to forget.
We use a checklist so we don’t forget things like putting away our wine (amongst other things).
You can read about it here: Caravan Towing Checklist: 16 Things To Check [Every Time You Tow]
One of the key things to remember: you might need to stop suddenly (because someone else makes a mistake).
So even if something doesn’t move during normal towing, to properly load a caravan everything should be secured with octopus straps, tie downs, etc. Otherwise things might get smashed!
We love velcro! We stick things like remote controls, soap dispensers, and alcohol hand gel to the wall. This means there’s less things to get out and put away for travelling.
We have a few more caravan storage ideas here.
6. Find out your caravan’s weights before you put water in the tanks
This is one of the most important steps… because: if you’re overweight it’s:
- Puts a lot of stress on your tow vehicle, and
- Can void your insurance.
It’s important to note:
Even if properly load a caravan so that you’re not exceeding your van’s maximum weight… it might exceed your car’s legal towing capacity.
The last thing you want is to be pulled over and weighed.
Or worse: have a crash.
And, even if it’s not your fault?
If you have a crash then one of the first things your insurance company will do is weigh your van. So even if you’re not hurt, you might have troubles with your cover.
7. Fill your tanks if you have spare weight
It’s important to know your weights before you fill your tanks… because you might be already overweight!
If you have 40-50 kg spare?
Remember: 1 Litre of water weights 1 Kilogram.
So if you have a 90 L tank? That weights 90 kg when filled and will put you overweight.
So in this scenario… how do you properly load a caravan when it comes to water?
- Tow with your tanks empty, or
- Lose some weight elsewhere so you can fill your tanks.
The main thing is to try to avoid towing with tanks that are half full.
For more information on this one you can check out our article: Should You Tow a Caravan With Full Water Tanks?
It’s important to properly load your caravan for towing. It puts less stress on both your van and car, it’s safer, and may help you a void a fine.
Want to know how to properly load a caravan to have the correct ball weight?
Then check out another article we put together: How To Work Out Caravan or Camper Tow Ball Weight [3 Options]