So you’ve loaded the van, camper or trailer, calculated your essential weights but it’s still not towing as comfortably as you’d expect? Perhaps it could be way you’re storing gear. While we can develop a rule of thumb for loading your gear, it’s important to remember every caravan or camper trailer design differs. Which means, so too does the way it reacts to extra weight being placed at different locations around its structure.
Ultimately, to ensure towing stability the deciding factor is balance. Think of your towable as a seesaw, with the axles and wheels being the centre pivot point. Adding too much weight to the rear of your caravan or camper is basically leveraged to reduce the weight on the tow ball. This can result in the trailer becoming unstable, especially at higher speeds.
Excessive weight at the front places weight to your vehicle’s tow ball, which can result in decreased braking capability, reduced steering quality and poor overall stability.
In most cases, it’s best to position any extra weight directly over the axles of your trailer, which is where the weight receives the least amount of ‘leverage’ and is at its most centred.
CENTRE OF GRAVITY
The centre of gravity is equally as important as the positioning of the weight. In general, the higher the centre of gravity, the less stability is achieved. This is true for both on and off-road situations. For example, leading all of your heavier items such as the annexe poles, gas bottles and the tinnie up on top will raise the centre of gravity, so the negative side effects should be considered.
OTHER USEFUL LOADING TIPS
- Place bulkier items either directly over the axle or in front of it. Your trailer is much more likely to track straighter and maintain its stability
- Rear mounting points on trailers are often not designed for supporting heavy loads or for recovery use. Ensure you research their weight limits before relying on them
- As the front of your trailer is anchored to your tow ball, the rear of your caravan is subjected to harsher movements especially on rough terrain. So, if you’ve got fragile items on board, they safer up the front