The Top 7 Most Important Things to Remember About Caravan Weight Requirements for Towing Purposes

Australia makes caravanning fun and exciting because of all the beautiful sites and scenery throughout the countryside. You could spend days and weeks driving and experiencing incredible views the entire time.

If you have never been caravanning in Australia, you may wonder which type of caravan you need for your trip across the country. There is certainly no shortage of caravans to choose from in the marketplace. The primary differences between each caravan pertain to their unique specifications and towing capabilities.

You’ll first want to focus on the various weight measurements of the different caravans. For instance, a small-sized caravan with up to four berths could weigh anywhere from 800 kilograms to 1.3 metric tonnes. But a larger-sized caravan with up to six berths could weigh anywhere from 1.3 metric tonnes to 1.8 metric tonnes.

Knowing these various weight measurements is vital when attempting to tow a caravan with a car. After all, you need to ensure your vehicle can effectively pull the caravan without getting damage inflicted upon it.

Below are the top 7 things you need to understand about tow vehicles and caravan weights.

1) Research the Legal Requirements

Different Australian states have specific laws about caravan weights. However, most state laws require you to follow the caravan manufacturer’s weight recommendations and the towing vehicle’s weight recommendations.

In some states, a caravan with a gross trailer mass of at least 750 kilograms must have its own functional brakes installed. With this much gross trailer mass, the caravan cannot rely on the towing vehicle’s brakes to stop it when needed.

The average caravan should already have 10-inch brakes installed in it. However, if you’re using a heavy caravan with an independent suspension system, you may need to replace the 10-inch brakes with 12-inch brakes. This upgrade will ensure the brakes can stop a much heavier load.

2) Tow Ball Weight

The tow ball weight refers to the maximum amount of weight pressure that can be applied to your caravan’s tow ball before it becomes unsafe on the road. Since the tow ball connects your caravan to the towing vehicle, you need to consider the weights of the caravan and towing vehicle. They both have an impact on the tow ball weight.

The manufacturer will set a maximum tow ball weight without factoring in the additional load that could get added later. Because of this, it is crucial to load your caravan in a way that takes more pressure off the tow ball and axles.

3) Maximum Ball Loading

Maximum ball loading is the maximum tow ball weight allowed for your caravan or the maximum force that can be safely applied to your caravan’s tow ball. The caravan’s manufacturer will specify the maximum ball loading allowed, so don’t exceed this amount.

Tow ball weight tends to fluctuate based on how you load your caravan with items. In addition, the tow ball capacity of the caravan is not the same as the tow ball capacity of your towing vehicle. So you need to ensure you don’t exceed the tow ball capacity of both, or it could create an imbalance between the vehicles. Then you’ll have unsafe driving conditions while towing the caravan.

The chances are that your caravan’s manufacturer will set different towing requirements than your towing car’s manufacturer, especially concerning weight capacity. The rule of thumb is to go with the lowest weight capacity between the two to maintain the highest level of safety on the road.

4) Tare Mass

Tare mass is the dry or empty weight of the caravan. In other words, it is the total weight of the caravan without any load added or attached. The caravan’s manufacturer promotes the tare mass because it is how much the caravan weighs as soon as it comes out of the factory with nothing else inside it.

The tare mass measurement doesn’t factor in the weight of personal items, people, cargo, water, gas, luggage, or accessories. Anything that was not part of the original caravan design won’t be factored into the tare mass.

5) Aggregate Trailer Mass

Aggregate trailer mass is the maximum weight you can make your caravan before it becomes unsafe to use on the road. The manufacturer is the best equipped to set the aggregate trailer mass for the caravan.

This measurement factors the caravan’s actual weight and the weight of all the load added to it, including gas, water, people, luggage, and accessories. If you add more weight than the manufacturer-recommended aggregate trailer mass, your caravan won’t be safe to pull on the road anymore. It could damage your car and possibly cause an accident.

Your auto insurance company may not approve an insurance claim if your aggregate trailer mass exceeds the recommendations of the caravan’s manufacturer. Therefore, keep the caravan’s weight between the maximum recommended aggregate trailer mass and the caravan’s tare mass.

6) Gross Trailer Mass

The gross trailer mass measures the total weight the caravan can transmit from its axles to the ground. It isn’t the total weight of the entire caravan like the aggregate trailer mass.

Knowing the gross trailer mass is critical because the tow ball absorbs some of the caravan’s weight. That is why the gross trailer mass is less than the aggregate trailer mass under normal circumstances. But if the aggregate trailer mass exceeds the gross trailer mass, you would be unsafe once you take the caravan out on the road.

7) Load Carrying Capacity

The load carry capacity is the total weight your caravan can haul. It is separate from the tare mass amount, which is the factory weight of the caravan. All the cargo load and items added to the caravan will affect the load-carrying capacity.

Avoid exceeding the gross trailer mass and aggregate trailer mass when adding load to your caravan. The manufacturer may not always specify the load-carrying capacity of the caravan. If that’s the case, subtract the caravan’s tare mass from its aggregate trailer mass to discover its load-carrying capacity.


Now you understand more about caravan weight requirements regarding towing. Of course, no one expects you to be an expert in loading caravans to comply with the weight requirements of the law and manufacturer.

If you still have questions, you should contact a professional caravan company to discuss your concerns. They can help advise you on choosing a quality caravan and how much load you can add to it.