When it comes time to packing your van to head off on your next adventure, unfortunately it is not as simple as loading everything into the van. Yes, packing your van with all the necessary items is part of the packing process, but it is important to be aware of your weights and meeting or coming in under the specifications set out by your caravans compliance plate, your tow bar and your tow vehicle. Being over any of your weights is illegal and if you are pulled up and weighed and are found to be overweight you are in for a big fine. It is also very dangerous for both you and other drivers on the road and in the event you are involved in an accident, your insurance will be void. So take the time to get it right.
Know your important caravan weights and how they impact loading on your van.
Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM): This is the maximum total weight that your caravan or camper trailer can weigh.
Tare: the weight of your van when it is empty or not loaded.
Payload: Is the difference between your ATM and tare weight. Essentially, this is the amount that you can pack into your empty van before you reach your maximum weight limit.
Ball weight: Is the pressure that the caravan hitch places on the tow ball of the car. You want to aim for approx. 10% of your ATM.
VIN Plate: you may also see this referred to as your compliance plate. It should contain your VIN and all the necessary weights relating to your van including ATM, TARE and tow ball weight etc.