To cut a long story short, an average caravan weighs around 1300 kg MRO or unladen weight, which means the weight of the caravan before it is filled with gear and everything you need for your holiday. You can expect to add several more Kilograms of gear to get a “real world” example.
Obviously, this depends dramatically on the berth of your caravan and the construction type of your caravan, so I’ll include a bunch of examples later in this article. As a general rule, you can expect your caravan, filled with necessities and essentials, to weigh about 100 kg extra including the caravan weight.
I’m assuming you googled average caravan weights because you’re trying to figure out how big of a caravan you can buy and successfully tow with your Car. In general, a car that advertises it can tow 3,250 kilos is adequate for towing most caravans under 7 metres.
MRO weight the MRO is the Mass in Running Order. This is the unladen weight of the caravan before loading any personal effects into the caravan.
Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM) this includes all your personal effects, necessities and the caravan total weight.
These are a few examples of popular Caravan models and how much they weigh:
• 1203kg MRO Weight – Bailey Unicorn Seville 2 berth (2018) (4.67m internal length)
• 1232kg MRO weight – (2018) Sprite Major 4 EB, 4 berth, (5.83m internal length)
• 1335kg MRO weight – (2017) Bailey Unicorn Cadiz, 4 berth,(5.829m internal length)
• 1532kg MRO weight – (2016) Swift Elegance 570 4 berth(5.93m interior length,)
• 1791 kg MRO weight – (2017) Buccaneer Schooner, 4 berth, (6.39m internal length)
• 1761 kg MRO weight – 2017 Swift Conqueror 645, 4 berth, (6.36m internal length)
• 1544kg MRO weight – 2016 Sterling Continental 570, 4 berth, (5.93m internal length)
• 1276kg MRO weight – 2017 Bailey Pursuit 570-6, 6 berth, (5.71m interior length)
• 1249kg MRO weight – 2017 Swift Sprite Major 6 2018, 6 berth, (5.6m interior length)
When we add in gear to the tourer, extra camping items can add to your weight. You’re likely to add another 100 Kg of, food, and kitchen supplies–even if you aren’t going crazy.
How Construction Type Affects Weight
There are basically two ways to build a caravan. The first way is with ABS plastic construction. This is the type where your camper has smooth exterior side walls. This type of camper has aluminium metal structuring which is significantly lighter weight than traditional “wooden built” caravans with wooden 2×4’s.
Wooden built caravans are the type with aluminium siding on the outside. They sometimes have the bumps along the bottom exterior of the trailer. Since you’re adding the weight of a large load of lumber, these caravans are usually about 400kg heavier if all else is equal.
Understanding the Listed Numbers
It can be confusing to see all of the different numbers listed for caravans. When I was out on the dealers forecourt, I was really confused when the salespeople would give me the MTPLM, and others would give me the MRO weight and some the User Payload. I learned that the best policy was to take the unloaded vehicle weight and add 100kg to it for items we need to take.
Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM)
(Maximum Authorised Mass)
As stated by the caravan manufacturer on the caravan weight plate (usually mounted close to the entrance door) – the absolute maximum weight that the caravan must not exceed to be legal on the road. It includes the allowances for the user payload – all fluids (water etc) and personal belongings that you may wish to carry (clothes, food etc).
Mass in Running Order (MRO)
(Weight inclusive of the manufacturer’s tolerances, Unladen Weight)
Mass of the caravan equipped to the manufacturer’s standard specification stated on the caravan weight plate. This now includes those items required for the safe and proper functioning of the caravan (e.g. gas cylinder, fresh water and hook up cable). Note: Dealer fitted items must be taken into consideration if it is a dealer special.
User Payload (Caravan Allowable Payload)
Payload relates to the weights of all items carried in a caravan and is the allowance you have for:
The total allowances represent the difference between the MTPLM and the MRO.
Braked or Unbraked
Most caravans are braked which means they have their own brakes fitted, however some trailers are unbraked, which means they do not have their own brakes independent brakes fitted.
Don’t Max Out Your Towing Vehicle
My recommendation is that you take the MRO weight of the caravan you are wanting to buy and add 100kg. Take that number and make sure that it isn’t more than 80% of the total weight your towing vehicle says it can tow.
There are lots of good reasons not to buy as much caravan as your vehicle can possibly tow. First of all, it means you’re likely to burn out your transmission over the long term. Secondly, it means you likely won’t be able to drive anywhere near the speed limit when going up hills–if you can make it up hills at all. Last, for safety, you want to leave a little margin of error in case either the caravan company or your towing vehicle are giving “overly hopeful” numbers to you in the advertising materials.
One last suggestion is that you open the door to your tow vehicle (or look at the Parkers guide) and look at the sticker that is on the inside of the driver door. It will tell you the amount it can tow, and it’s important that you go by that number and NOT the number you see when you google your vehicle and the tow weight. The amount the vehicle can tow will depend dramatically on what options and packages were purchased with the vehicle when it was new, and the only way to know for sure what your specific model can use, is to check the sticker.
My tow vehicle is an x type Jaguar. It tows 1500kg. My caravan weighs 1071kg MRO weight (1281kg MTPLM weight when full of gear and personal effects). Even though that’s nearly 200kg under what my tow vehicle can tow safely, I still can only go about 50 miles per hour when going up a steep hill.