Why we weighed our caravan before leaving onboard the Spirit of Tasmania?
We are always being asked why we weighed our van before we left to go on our trip around Australia. We found most people assumed it had everything to do with going on board the Spirit of Tasmania. When in fact, it didn’t.
It’s taken many, many times for Gibbo to explain all the caravan weights to me to get to a point of ‘basic understanding’ as it gets extremely technical with so many different weights to take into account so here’s my ‘simplified version’ of explaining caravan weights without getting ‘too technical’. All these weight specifications are a legal requirement set by manufacturers for everyone’s safety!
Tare Mass- When you buy a caravan empty (no water onboard, no kitchenware, no clothes, no equipment etc). Your empty weight is your tare mass (eg. 2400kg)
ATM (Aggregated Trailer Mass)- The most your van can ever weigh (eg. 3000kg)
Payload- the difference between those^ two weights is the amount of weight that can be added (clothes, food, equipment, water, gas etc) so in this case, it would be 600kg worth of ‘stuff’ allowed – a very generous payload in most cases. *Most new vans we looked at were a 400kg payload.
Tow Ball mass- When you hitch/connect your van to your car some of the weight is then transferred to your tow Ball which makes it part of you cars weight. Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) is the most load you can have on the wheels of the caravan when hitched to your car.
You then have to look at your car/utes Tare Mass and GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass- same as ATM but for a car/ute)
Your Car can’t be over its GVM –
Your Van can’t be over ATM –
and then it also can’t be over the Gross Combined Mass (GCM) – the overall weight of the car and the van together
This is why it was so important for us to weigh our car and van before we left.
*There’s a bunch of other weights to take into account such as your vehicle maximum tow rating, aggregated trailer mass, tow ball weight, towbar capacity, maximum axle group ratings but that’s when it all starts going over the top of my head and I leave it up to Gibbo