Caravan Towing Weights

A Guide to Caravan Towing Weights

With our range of hybrid campers, small caravans and on-road touring caravans, Fantasy Caravans are great for towing all over Australia. But before you get your heart set on one, it’s essential to ensure the caravan weights match your tow vehicle weights. If you’re new to caravanning, these can seem confusing, so we created a guide to explain caravan weights and towing weights in greater detail.

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The consequences of overweight towing can be life-threatening. Be sure you know the weight limits on your car and caravan so as not to put yourself or others at risk. Improper loading can cause your caravan to sway uncontrollably or make it hard to stop, and if you’re involved in an accident, you won’t be covered by insurance no matter who’s at fault.

Write down your current or intended tow vehicle weights and keep them somewhere easy to find, like in your owner manual or saved on your phone. Make sure you have them with you to compare with your intended caravan weights because if you can’t tow it, you’ll need to either look at a different caravan or a new tow vehicle.


Caravan Weights

The key caravan weights to note and understand are the Gross Trailer Mass (GTM), Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM), Tow Ball Weight, Tare Weight, and Payload.

You’ll find these weights and everything you need to work out the maximum payload on the caravans compliance plate.

Tare Weight

Once it’s finished being built, the caravan is weighed with its water tanks and gas bottles empty. This is the caravans tare weight.

Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM)

Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) is the maximum weight of your caravan loaded up. This includes its tare weight and anything else carried by the caravan, including water and gas.


The caravan’s payload is the difference between its Tare Weight and ATM, which tells you how much weight can be loaded into the caravan.

Tow Ball Mass

(TBM)Tow Ball Mass is how much downward weight there is on the caravan’s coupling. This will vary depending on whether you’re loading weight in front of or behind the axle, so you should always check your TBM with a ball weight scale.

The empty ball weight on the caravans compliance plate does not include water in the tanks or gas in the gas bottles.

Gross Trailer Mass (GTM)

Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) is the weight limit on the caravan’s axles when towing. This is different from the ATM because the weight from the coupling is on the car, not the caravan.

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Tow Vehicle Weights

The key weights to note and understand for your tow vehicle are Tare Weight, Kerb Weight (KW), Maximum Payload, Towing Capacity, Tow Ball Mass (TBM), Gross Combination Mass (GCM), and Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM).

The tow vehicle manufacturer sets these weights, and you’ll find this information in your owner’s manual or online.

Tare Weight

A vehicle’s Tare Weight is its total weight as it was built with nothing in it except 10 litres of fuel and all necessary fluids, like oil.

Kerb Weight (KW)

Kerb Weight (KW) means the car’s total weight as it was built with nothing in it except a full tank of fuel and all necessary fluids, like oil.

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is the maximum total weight of a car. It’s best to start with the Kerb Weight (KW) and add anything inside the vehicle, like people and luggage.


A car’s payload is how much weight it can carry. The difference between the Kerb Weight (KW) and the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is a tow vehicle’s maximum payload with a full fuel tank.

Towing Capacity

The maximum weight your tow vehicle is rated to tow is its Towing Capacity. There are two kinds, braked and unbraked towing capacity.

Braked Towing Capacity

Braked Towing Capacity is the maximum overall weight the car can tow with an electric brake controller. Installing an electric brake controller is how you work the electric brakes on a caravan.

Make sure your tow bar is rated to tow as much as your car. Otherwise, you’ll need to keep under whichever limit is lower.

Unbraked Towing Capacity

The Unbraked Towing Capacity is the amount a tow vehicle can tow without installing electric brakes. It is illegal to tow anything over 750kg without electric brakes and an electric brake controller. Therefore, you will need one to tow a caravan.

Gross Combination Mass (GCM)

Gross Combination Mass (GCM) is the overall weight limit of your tow vehicle and caravan together when towing. Make sure you factor in people in the car and water in the fuel tanks as everything is counted.

Tow Ball Weight

A tow vehicle’s maximum tow ball weight is its weight limit on the tow ball.

Make sure your tow bars tow ball weight limit is as much as your car. Otherwise, you’ll need to keep under whichever limit is lower.


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