By Simon Barlow,

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It does not matter if you have a single axle or twin axle caravan, there are four things that need to be checked:-

  • The manufacturer of your vehicle will have specified a maximum nose weight that can be applied to any towing hitch installed on the vehicle. 
  • The manufacturer of the towing hitch will have specified a maximum nose weight that can be applied to the tow bar. 
  • The manufacturer of the hitch fitted to your caravan will have specified a maximum nose weight that can be applied through the hitch. 
  • The manufacturer of your caravan will have specified the maximum nose weight that can be applied. 

For some vehicles, the recommended nose weight loading will be the same as the tow-bar loading as they are usually manufactured as “OEM” parts for the vehicle manufacturer. Sometimes though, the tow-bar might have been an after market fitting and will carry the relevant EU approval, BUT might have a different nose weight loading to the original equipment fitted tow-bar. It is essential therefore you check both. In most 4 x 4’s (Land Rovers for example) the maximum nose weight can be as high as 150Kg, but most of the popular hitch types the limit is 100Kg. Some caravan manufacturers recommend a maximum nose weight of 80Kg.

It is imperative that you check the limitations of the vehicle, tow-bar, hitch and caravan, before going any further. Write your figures in the following table :-

Weight limitation table

In the examples, I will use typical figures, these may NOT be suitable for your vehicle and caravan combination! Once you have obtained the four values, you can now work out what is the maximum nose weight limit you can use. Here is an example:

Pre-populated weight limitation table.

In this case, the maximum nose weight that can be used is 85 Kg. It is always the lowest weight in the table!

With the caravan perfectly loaded and all the weight in the middle, it should balance on its main wheels...

Perfectly weighted to the centre is not ideal...

But this is not an ideal situation. The caravan is not stable and the slightest force acting on it will tip it one way or another. To stop this happening, an off set in the centre of gravity is used, simply by loading the caravan with the weight slightly forward. For single axle caravans, this is already done to some extent by the manufacturer when he designs the caravan. It will have been designed with a slightly forward “C of G” or Centre of Gravity. 

Download the full beginners guide to towingDownload the full beginners guide to towing.

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