First time Caravanner, Packing & Storing advice

Apr 19, 2019
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Being new to caravanning we have spent the past few days buying equipment such as bedding, pans, plates, toiletries etc with the intention of leaving these in the caravan throughout the summer.
Whilst putting these things away I am acutely aware of the loading issues regarding weight and weight distribution.
We have packed things like (melamine) plates, dishes, cups etc in the top cupboards along with tea, coffee etc. Am I being over cautious in worrying about these type of things being stored up there whilst towing? We have an awning which we intend to carry in the caravan over the axle but that will be the only thing of weight.
Whilst on the subject of items we intend to keep permanently in the caravan I was wondering what useful other things people keep packed away all the time.
 
Dec 6, 2013
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We do the same as you with respect to plates, tea & coffee etc and have never had any issues.

A mattress topper might just prove to be the single best thing you buy, particularly if your caravan doesn't have a fixed bed.

Don't forget there's also a fair bit of weight in a leisure battery, gas bottles, fresh and waste water containers, food and drink etc.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi GrinningGrandad,

I presume from the nature of your comment that you have read up about good loading practice. :) The general idea is to keep as much weight low in the caravan and as close to the axle as is reasoably possible. This minimises the yaw and pitch inertia that can be generated which is a good thing.

Despite the impression the advice gives that its a cardinal sin to put some things at the extermeties, sometimes its inevitable, but there is usually quite a modest capacity to do so without causing towing instability. As you gain towing experience you may find that moving some things towards the carava extermities is perfectly satisfactory.

As always its worth remebering that the faster an outfit is towed the more likely instability will start, so at the first signs slow down. When convenients and safe stop and readjust your loading to try and improve things.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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What is the payload on the caravan as awning and battery can eat into quite considerably before you even get to other things. If the combined unit is over 3500kg hopefully you got your driving licence before 1996?
 
Feb 23, 2018
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You would be surprised at how quickly the weight of your items mounts up. For example, the (empty) Aquaroll & Wastemaster are 5KG each; carry 2 Aquarolls and that's 15KG gone already. I have weighed everything that lives in the caravan, including all of the plates, bowls, cutlery, pots and pans etc. (Even a tennis ball we keep in there for the dog). Plates and cups on their own are very light, so are stored in the cupboards over the sink (we carry old Ikea china plates in the rack and they have been fine).

We don't keep toiletries in the caravan, we prefer to pack these things as needed for a trip; we also keep no food items in the caravan. All tinned/ambient food is packed into a storage box and travels in the car or over the axle. Same for clothes, we pack some clothes on hangars and some into the over-axle drawers. I do keep a spare set of towing mirrors in the van at all times and my Crocs live in the caravan! I don't wear them at home.

I keep a second storage box with all the 'set-up' items (security, steady winder, torque wrench etc) in the caravan and transfer to the car before travelling - EHU cable lives under the fixed bed with the wastemaster, outside chairs and the lightweight canopy awning.

Only other items kept in the van is a small fire extinguisher, first aid kit and tub with a screwdriver, nitrile gloves and some other odds and ends.
 
Jan 19, 2002
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I keep a small tool-kit - a couple of screwdrivers, gaffer tape, insulating tape, some zip ties, Stanley knife and small adjustable spanner. Also small bottles containing pink and blue loo fluids - no need to cart the whole 5lts for a weekend away!
As mine is a 2 berth made into a double I would endorse the mattress topper, light to carry, stow, and launder when needed, and helps to iron out the bumps and joins between cushions.
Don't forget the Cadac or similar and a cheapo lighter if your doesn't have piezo!
If a mover is also fitted that has to be subtracted from the payload.
Can be quite a conundrum keeping within the payload!
Good luck and enjoy
 
May 7, 2012
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I would agree with the Prof on the loading point. You should try to load heavy items as low down as possible and as near the centre for the best towing performance but you will find it is not totally possible, A few things higher up like some clothes in the lockers can be safely stored there and if your crockery is Melamine then that will not be a problem.
Until you get the hang of it i would take it easy for the first few miles and see if the outfit runs true. If so you are alright, if there is any movement, stopping and moving a few things might be worthwhile.
 
Sep 26, 2018
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We have a bundle of matching plastic boxes which we stick everything in the caravan for when we tow, (we only have about 40kg left of our load after mover, battery etc...) the boxes travel in the car, and when we get to site they get properly unpacked. When we leave, the boxes are packed and moved to the car. When we get to storage, the boxes are put into the caravan again...
 
May 24, 2014
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Poor guy. He forgot the cadac which as we all know is an essential item. Wish they made square cadacs as they are a pig to load in the car due to shape.

Also forgot multimeter, bottle opener, TV, purple or lime green crocs and the beer.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I keep my come in handy bits in them caravan. Ie o rings for pump, fuses, tie wraps, fridge door catch, road light bulbs, interior bulb(s), insulating tape, a few terminal connectors and some lengths of wire. The sort of bits that help you get by and are best kept in the van. That way they are always available.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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With all the commenets about the bits we take with us when caravanning, it becomes more important than ever to ensure you do not exceed the caravans MTPLM. These are both legal limits, so it really does pay to be careful.

It is wise to load the caravan and the car just as if you are setting off on holiday with all luggae and people, and take the outfit to a weighbridge.

Get the Axle loads for the car with caravan and a second set for just the car without the caravan, and from that data or by some simple calculations you can check:-
All the axle loads against their limits
[ol]
[*]The weight of the outfit against the cars Gross Train Weight limit
[*]The weight of the car agaianst its Gross Vehicle Weight Limit
[*]The towed weight of the caravan against the cars towed weight limit
[*]The weight of the caravan against its MTPLM
[*]and the real nose load the caravan exerts on the tow hitch.
[/ol]

When you have done that once, you will have a much better idea of whats involved.
 
Apr 19, 2019
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I am certainly finding the weight situation confusing and arbitrary, especially when it comes to the definitions and what is and isn't included in the MIRO & Optional Equipment Payload for example. It could be these are defined in more detail in the manual but I haven't come across it yet.
My caravan has a MIRO of 886kg and a Plated MTPLM of 1043kg. (a difference of 157kg). The 'Optional Equipment Payload' is 22kg and the 'Max User Payload' is 135kg (a total of 157kg). From this I deduce I can add a total of 157kg of equipment/personal effects, what I am unsure about is whether the gas & battery is included in the MIRO, the OEP or the MUP, then on top of that there are things such as the security devices (OEP?), Aqua Roll, Wastemaster (OEP or MUP?).
For our first trip we are certainly going to err on the side of caution but as the Prof says, the only sure way is to find a local weighbridge (Ironically I'm currently sat at work at a Recycling Plant looking at 3 weighbridges through my office window but it's 25 miles in the opposite direction we are heading).
 
Oct 12, 2013
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We have the light plate sets that you can buy from IKEA and then if we are on a site but there is no washing up and we are just doing BBQ we have a pack of paper plates which we use and then just chuck . Tv , Awning & BBQ stay in the caravan at all times along with the folding chairs , if the van is on the drive it gets packed on the drive clothes wise and bits and bobs go into the car after a bit of shuffling about with stuff but like ray says after a trip or two you'll get the hang of what has to go where for stability wise .

Good luck .
 
Nov 11, 2009
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GrinningGrandad said:
I am certainly finding the weight situation confusing and arbitrary, especially when it comes to the definitions and what is and isn't included in the MIRO & Optional Equipment Payload for example. It could be these are defined in more detail in the manual but I haven't come across it yet.
My caravan has a MIRO of 886kg and a Plated MTPLM of 1043kg. (a difference of 157kg). The 'Optional Equipment Payload' is 22kg and the 'Max User Payload' is 135kg (a total of 157kg). From this I deduce I can add a total of 157kg of equipment/personal effects, what I am unsure about is whether the gas & battery is included in the MIRO, the OEP or the MUP, then on top of that there are things such as the security devices (OEP?), Aqua Roll, Wastemaster (OEP or MUP?).
For our first trip we are certainly going to err on the side of caution but as the Prof says, the only sure way is to find a local weighbridge (Ironically I'm currently sat at work at a Recycling Plant looking at 3 weighbridges through my office window but it's 25 miles in the opposite direction we are heading).

Mines a Swift and I contacted them for details. Included in MIRO were 1 x 6kg gas bottle (10kg weight), step, water connection pipe, all manuals, power hook up cable. No water in tanks or toilet. Everything above that comes out of payload. So a battery at 24 kg and mover at 35 kg are payload, as will be optional extras not included in MIRO or fittings by previous owner.

I ignore Essential habitation etc. The key thing is payload is the difference between MIRO and MTPLM. Some vans can have the payload increased by the maker costs around £30-50 fir a new weight plate and registration documents. Look in your front locker for the affixed weight plate. If the axle weight is above MTPLM you could possibly get an upgrade. This won’t be large but would counter the mover weight.

I removed my bunks and rarely carry the OEM table which is heavy. This gave a but extra to play with.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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GrinningGrandad said:
I am certainly finding the weight situation confusing and arbitrary, especially when it comes to the definitions and what is and isn't included in the MIRO & Optional Equipment Payload for example. It could be these are defined in more detail in the manual but I haven't come across it yet.
My caravan has a MIRO of 886kg and a Plated MTPLM of 1043kg. (a difference of 157kg). The 'Optional Equipment Payload' is 22kg and the 'Max User Payload' is 135kg (a total of 157kg). From this I deduce I can add a total of 157kg of equipment/personal effects, what I am unsure about is whether the gas & battery is included in the MIRO, the OEP or the MUP, then on top of that there are things such as the security devices (OEP?), Aqua Roll, Wastemaster (OEP or MUP?).
For our first trip we are certainly going to err on the side of caution but as the Prof says, the only sure way is to find a local weighbridge (Ironically I'm currently sat at work at a Recycling Plant looking at 3 weighbridges through my office window but it's 25 miles in the opposite direction we are heading).

Hi again,

The critical (and legally importantly) figure is the MTPLM. That is an absolute and must not be exceeded.

,The MIRO is not a precise figure, because the actual weight of an empty caravan will vary by a several kg simply because the structure will absorb more or less moisture depending on the weather conditions and manufacturing tolerances of the materials used. The MIRO is a best guess by the manufacturer, and should not be taken as an absolute.
 
Apr 19, 2019
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My apologies but I am still mightily confused with all the different weight figures. It is probably very simple and I have just made it a lot more complicated than it really is. But could someone explain what I am doing wrong here….

This is the specification taken for our caravan from the web site. The difference between the MTPLM and MIRO is 157Kg. The total of the OEP and MUP is 157Kg, so either this is co-incidence or I am led to assume we are allowed a total of 157Kg made up of optional equipment AND our own equipment .
The gas is included in the MIRO (I rang the manufacturer) and we have had no optional equipment or motor mover added.

Mass in Running Order 886kgs / 17.44cwt
Optional Equipment Payload 22kgs / 0.43cwt
Maximum User Payload 135kgs / 2.66cwt
Plated M.T.P.L.M 1043kgs / 20.53cwt


This is taken from the manual. The specification above doesn’t mention the PEP but the manual gives a ball park figure of 50Kg for the PEP which includes kitchen utensils, bedding, wastemaster, Aquaroll and battery. .(basically all that we have added)

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT PAYLOAD (OEP)
This is an amount of weight provided for factory fitted options.
Please Note: Any options fitted by he retailer will reduce the overall payload available to the customer.
User payload is the sum of the PEP and the OEP


So, using the ‘User Payload is the sum of the PEP and the OEP’ statement above, this will be approximately 50Kg. This means I have 85kg to play with (MUP of 135kg – 50kg).

BUT, going back to the first set of figures if the OEP is 22Kg and the MUP is 135Kg then I have 107Kg to play with (157Kg – 50Kg).

I am quite obviously missing something here but can’t figure out what.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Look just keep it simple. MTPLM minus MIRO equals your allowable payload. Whoever decided to sub divide it into categories such as essential or personal should go out and get a life. How you utilise your payload is up to you. Just concentrate on finding out what constitutes MIRO and start from there. It’s quite straightforward then.
 
Apr 19, 2019
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Right, so my original thought of " I am led to assume we are allowed a total of 157Kg" which is MTPLM - MIRO was the correct assumption. I now know what is included in the MIRO so everything else, be it personal or optional extras just needs to be less than 157Kg. I knew there would be an easy way of looking at it!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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GrinningGrandad said:
Right, so my original thought of " I am led to assume we are allowed a total of 157Kg" which is MTPLM - MIRO was the correct assumption. I now know what is included in the MIRO so everything else, be it personal or optional extras just needs to be less than 157Kg. I knew there would be an easy way of looking at it!

Essentially yes, but as the quoted MIRO is not a guaranteed figure it could be 900kg not 886 a difference of 14kg, but the MTPLM does not change (Its an absolute limit) so your payload capacity has to be reduced by the same difference as you must not exceed the MTPLM.

That is why checking the all up weight is so important.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Grinning Grandad, all this weights are totally confusing, The Prof, My self and others can come to loggerheads about it all, the best way is to load your caravan with "your essentials" take the van to a weigh bridge, and the see how much loading you have upto your MTPL of your caravan. You might be surprised how little weight you will have.

Hutch.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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EH52ARH said:
.... the best way is to load your caravan with "your essentials" take the van to a weigh bridge, and the see how much loading you have upto your MTPL of your caravan. You might be surprised how little weight you will have.

Hutch.

That is exactly what I have suggested!
 
Oct 12, 2013
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.... and when travelling back and forth don't forget to take the glass microwave dish out so it doesn't come flying out when you are driving ; we wrap up ours in a tea towel and put it in a drawer .
 
May 24, 2014
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If I am right, they changed the way payload was defined fairly recently. Something about MIRO didnt include a battery but the payload allowed for one. Try checking the very front of your manual, there may be a list, there is in mine, and this list could vary depending on the age of the caravan. Its a bit odd really, because changing it didnt alter the payload one iota.

This is an article regarding this
http://www.caravantimes.co.uk/news/industry/miro-and-payload-allowance-changes-for-2011-caravans-$21378052.htm
 

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