When I started caravanning 10 years ago, I didn’t realise the importance of Caravan weight distribution.
As I did research as a New caravaner, I realised nose weight is quite important.
The first way that I used to check, is my Caravan nose weight, was with a pair of bathroom scales, more on that in a moment.
The next incarnation of choice to test my Caravan knows weight was when I sold my first caravan and bought my second caravan (Avondale Rialto ).
This caravan came equipped with a jockey wheel that had a collar around the neck of the jockey wheel, just below the winding handle. By sliding the collar down, I could easily read my Caravan nose weight.
This was much better and less hassle than the bathroom scale method.
Recently, if I’m honest, I’ve been less concerned about Caravan’s nose weight mainly because I am towing with a massive Nissan Navara.
I did recently find, at the Caravan show at the NEC, a handy little gadget made by Al-KO that made reading the nose weight of your Caravan breeze
So stay with me as I dive into why caravan nose weight is important and what is the best way to measure it.
So what is a Caravans nose weight?
If you’re a beginner, you may not even know what this means.
When the corner studies or legs of your caravan are all up and your jockey wheel is in the up position then, like a seesaw, your caravan rests on the middle axle of your two-wheel Caravan.
If you were to lift the caravan at the front where it talks onto the car, the weight of the caravan at this point is called the nose weight.
And like a seesaw, if you put more weight at the back of your caravan, then the nose weight would decrease if you moved items to the front of your Caravan, then the nose white would increase.
The reason that weight distribution inside your caravan is important can be seen in the video below.
Caravan Caravan Weight distribution can destabilise or stabilise your Caravan when towing.
So what should your Caravan nose weight be?
As I intimated earlier in this article this depends on the vehicle that you are using to tow the caravan. You should check your vehicle handbook under the towing section.
What is the best way to measure your caravan nose weight?
There are three main ways in which you can check the nose weight of your caravan
- Bathroom scales
- A nose, weight gauge
- A jockey wheel with a nose weight gauge
How to measure your nose wait with bathroom scales
Using the bathroom, scales for the task of measuring the nose weight of a caravan is not the best way as it can be inaccurate and tricky to perform
Using this method is better than not checking the nose weight at all.
Bathroom Scales Method One – towing vehicle present
- With the caravan, hooked onto the car slide the bathroom scales under the jockey wheel.
- Lower the jockey wheel onto the bathroom, scales.
- Turn the handle until the Caravan lifts off the towbar
- Read the weight on the bathroom scales.
Using this method remember, that if you should you want to go into the Caravan to adjust the weight distribution then you must either secure the caravan back onto the car or lower the corner steadies to prevent the Caravan from tipping.
Bathroom Scales Method Two – towingSvehicle not present
- start with all four corners steadies (legs) on the ground
- Sliding the bathroom scales under the jockey wheel. (make sure there is nothing on the ground to cause the bathroom. Scales to rock such as grit or small pebbles)
- Lower the jockey wheel onto the bathroom scales. Lift all four corner, steadies, or legs.
- Read the display
Again as above make sure the Caravan is secure before entering to re-distribute weight.
How to measure Caravan nose weight using a gauge.
As you can see from the image below a gauge slots in below the hitch in the same place that the tow bar would sit. Make sure all steadies or legs are off the ground before reading the gauge.
- Milenco Calibrated Nose Weight Gauge Caravan trailer
This second type of gauge is more reliable than the bathroom scales but still can be problematic. This is because you have to lift and lower the corner steadies of the caravan to slot the gauge in and this can be time-consuming!
How to measure, Caravan nose weight using a specialised nose weight jockey wheel.
This is the simplest method and easiest to set up.
As you can see from the image below, at any time that you’re jockey Wheel is on the ground and under load you may read the nose weight of the caravan.
This type of jocky wheel is available on ebay
Always remember that before entering the caravan to move items, that the caravan is secure to save the Caravan from tipping.
Adjusting your Caravan’s nose weight.
This is as simple as moving items in your Caravan from front to back or vice versa. Weight in your caravan is best positioned over the axle and adjustments are made by moving items towards the front or rear of the caravan.
Common mistakes with weight distribution.
Not emptying water tanks
It’s worth remembering that water is quite heavy. Leaving water in the tank of the toilet at the back of the caravan or in the drinking water tank at the front of the caravan will make a significant difference to nose weight.
the weight of full gas bottles in the front cupboard, should also be considered, as LPG in its liquid form is quite heavy.
Overloading the front cupboard
It’s tempting to fill your front cupboard with all sorts of stuff and use it like a shed on wheels. If your front cupboard is overloaded, and your nose is too heavy, then you may take this as an opportunity to have a clear out.
Legal and insurance considerations
As with everything that we do on the road, it’s worth remembering that you are responsible for not overloading your vehicle and that a lack of due care and attention could result in prosecution or insurance companies avoiding payouts should the worst happen.
Conclusion on Caravan nose weight
There are several methods to checking the nose weights of your caravan from bathroom scales to specialised equipment.
I like the idea of the jockey wheel best as it makes it easy to check your Caravan nose weight and therefore you will be more likely to do it. Caravan nose weight is an important step in towing your caravan and Any check that you can make even if it is the bathroom scales method is better than making no checks at all.
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