Calculators for travelling loads

Car and Trailer Weights – Introduction of The Words (and Letters) We Use

One thing in the world of camping and travel that attracts a lot of interest and opinion on social media is discussions around weights and loads, where they’re placed and what affect they have.

There’s also some who just don’t care.

The Need for Some Words on Loads

So, I’ve put my mind to breaking these things down as a series of blogs I hope you will find of interest and value.

I appreciate that some may be all over these things like ‘red on desert sand’ but I also know that this stuff is somewhat left field for many. But it shouldn’t be…

Travel the world and Australia with camp and travel.

Understanding the basics of Car and Trailer Weights

Fully appreciate the three (or more) tonnes you’re dragging down the highway behind your three tonne car at about 90+ kilometres per hour, two three times a year, with your family on board, you need some understanding of the basics – along with maximum capacities and capabilities.

In this series of blogs we’ll start by looking at the bare bones of Tare Mass and then we’ll move on to Gross Vehicle Mass, Axle Loads and then Trailer Loads and much more.

A handy table of the ‘Car and Trailer Loads Explained’ to be discussed can be found here.

But First – What’s Mass?

Before we take one step further and to show you that we ought not over complicate things – unnecessarily.

In physics (not one of my strong subjects at school) they teach that Mass is different to Weight in that the Mass of an object is determined by the force that it would take to change its path and that a body’s Mass doesn’t change. Scientifically, Mass is measured in kilograms.

And Weight?

Weight, on the other hand, is the measure of the gravitational force acting on a Mass. Weight is measured in Newtons.

Got that? Great… because many of the definitions we’re about to explore quantify the Mass in Kilograms (Correct) BUT then the measurements associated with the Mass are found by putting your car and/or trailer on a set of scales that measure gravitational forces (Weight) with no mention of how many Newtons your rig weighs.

Car and trailer weights

It’s for this reason and to keep things simple, when you see the word Mass think Weight. The people in white coats may object but you’ll keep your sanity.  Car and trailer weights 101.

Read related articles

Tare Mass


Tow Ball Mass

Gross Trailer Mass

Car Axle Loads

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