19 Ways To Reduce Caravan Weight
Caravan weight is a hot topic of conversation in Facebook groups. ATM, GTM &Tare. So how do you go about getting your packed weight down to where you are legal?
Below I will outline some of the things we have done to reduce the weight of our caravan so that we are comfortably legal when we hit the road. I won’t go in to an explanation of ATM, GTM and Tare as this has been well covered before. Put simply you need to remove anything from your caravan that you don’t need. I’ll repeat that for you in a different way, if you don’t need it don’t take it.
Cull and Rationalise Cooking & Kitchen Equipment
- Cooking and kitchen equipment can eat up a lot of your payload.
- Only carry a large cooks knife and a smaller cooks knife. Don’t carry a whole knife block full of knives you can get by without
- Reduce the number of saucepans you take. A big one and a medium will probably do the trick. Consider getting some of those silicone saucepans as they weigh less
- Cut down on serving and mixing bowls. Carry a few plastic mixing bowls, they can double as serving bowls
- Use plastic utensils such as spatulas and stirring and serving spoons
- Carry only one set of tongs. A good long pair can double for both kitchen and BBQ use
- Get a plastic chopping board instead of a big thick wooden one
Reduce Plates, Bowls, Glasses & Cutlery
- Carry the number of plate settings for the number of people in your caravan plus a spare
- Carry the number of cutlery sets for the number of people in your caravan plus a spare. You’ll probably want a few extra teaspoons though.
- Instead of heavy china plates go for lighter steel, plastic or melamine alternatives. As an added bonus they’re less prone to breakage
- Replace all of your coffee mugs, drinking glasses and wine glasses with a double walled insulated stainless steel cup. Your drink tastes the same out of it, don’t kid yourself otherwise! We managed to remove a couple of kilos from our van by rationalising our drinkware in this way. As a bonus your drink will stay hotter or colder for longer and you won’t be able to break it after after a few too many (a former problem of ours)
Ditch The Heavy Roll Out Awning for a Tarp on a Sailtrack
We saved ourselves almost 60kg in weight by removing our roll out awning and replacing it with a tarp that slides in to a sailtrack along the side of our caravan. We purchased ours online from an Aussie company Econotarps and the quality is excellent, the price was great and shipping was fast. As a bonus we have a sailtrack on both sides of our caravan so can set up with the awning on either side. As an even bigger bonus if it gets smashed in a storm just like the roll-out awnings are very prone to do the replacement cost is about $125. So far the one we are using has been up for a total of around 50 days and has survived about six very decent storms with no ill effect.
Our old roll out awning complete with arms and everything else required to make it work weighed in at a hefty 65kg. I weighed it after removal. Our new set up that includes the tarp, three poles, three ropes and three pegs only weighs 7kg.
Set up time is only 5 minutes absolute maximum and that includes about two minutes of Amanda telling me that I haven’t got the roofline level and getting me to adjust a pole or two a couple of times and ending back where we began.
Spun Steel Camp Oven Instead of Cast Iron
Spun steel camp ovens weigh about a third of an equivalent sized cast iron one. We carry two camp ovens and we use them a lot. We saved well over 10kg by going to spun steel ones. They do cook slightly differently but if you can cook with a camp oven then adjusting to spun steel will be easy for you. Honestly it tastes just as good out of a spun steel camp oven!
Spare Tyres for Your Caravan
- If you mostly travel on road or never stray too far the main population then one spare is plenty.
- Make sure you have the right kind of tyres for where you are going and that they are in top condition. This mitigates the chances of a blowout in the first place.
- Carry a puncture repair kit and know how to use it. A puncture repair kit weighs 1kg compared to a caravan rim and tyre that can weigh about 30kg.
- Change the hubs on your caravan to match the tow vehicle. Your car spare tyre is then also a spare for your caravan and vice versa.
Change Your AGM Batteries to Lithium for a Massive Weight Reduction
Changing from two 120ah AGM batteries to a single 120ah lithium battery will give you about the same number of usable amp hours of supply but will save you about 40kg. We have not done this yet as our current AGM batteries are in good condition but as soon as their performance begins to drop off BOOM they’re gone done and dusted for a lithium.
Rationalise Shoes & Clothes to Reduce Caravan Weight
- Shoes can really pile up if you aren’t looking and add a lot of weight. A single pair of boots can weigh as much as 1.5kg. A pair of boots each, a pair of thongs each and a pair of runners or hiking shoes is really all you need.
- Have a look through your drawers, wardrobes, under the bed and in overhead lockers and pull all out all of your clothing and lay it out on the bed. Be reasonable and reduce what you have down to just what you need. If it’s summer do you really need that big leather jacket?
Being sensible and only taking what you need and use is the easiest way to reduce caravan weight. Don’t let your holiday be ruined by a big fine or unnecessary extra wear and tear on your caravan or vehicle by being overloaded. If you follow the simple tips outlined in this article you can easily strip 100kg from your caravan weight.