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Towing – Size and weight

With the trend towards smaller and lighter cars, compatibility of tow vehicle and caravan in regard to weight and size has become more important.


Most vehicle manufacturers provide recommendations as to the maximum load that can be safely towed. These should not be exceeded. The recommendations always refer to the loaded weight of the trailer. Contents like water, gas, food, clothing and camping equipment will usually add at least another 300kg to the weight of an empty van. With larger tandem axle caravans this is likely to be 400-500kg.

Newcomers to caravanning will find it beneficial to not tow more than the empty weight of the towing vehicle.

When a van is towed at a constant speed along a level road, weight is not an important factor. However, even a small, heavily loaded trailer can tax the available engine power when travelling through hilly terrain.


The smaller the frontal area of a caravan the less wind resistance is created. Therefore, less power is needed for towing. A camper trailer will be more economical to tow than a conventional caravan. Some well designed hardtop caravans will be just as easy to pull as a pop-top.

Many experienced caravanners prefer a conventional height van due to the convenience of being able to walk in without having to raise the roof or pull out bed-ends as with a camper trailer. The deciding factors are probably the size of the towing vehicle, how often the van or camper is used, where it is stored and personal taste.

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