Currently, all caravans sold in Europe today are classified as special M1 motorhome-type vehicles, regardless of their weight, length, height or width.
“A caravan is therefore a category M1, not a lorry, regardless of its weight”
So you can take it into the city centre and the same rules apply to them as to cars in most cases.
The maximum gross vehicle weight of the caravan is the important thing you need to focus on when buying a caravan. You can only drive a motorhome up to 3,500kg with a Group B licence. For motorhomes between 3501kg and 7500kg you need a Group C1 licence and for motorhomes over 7500kg you need a Group C licence.
“Almost all motorhomes or rental vans can be driven with an ordinary category B licence.”
Road, ferry, bridge or motorway tolls vary from country to country depending on the maximum gross weight of the motorhome. However, I don’t want to go into that in this article as this information can change at any time without my knowledge.
Caravan availability is something that all caravan manufacturers and sellers try to hide from you. Now I’m not kidding, it’s true.
Almost 99% of all caravans sold and used in this country are under 3.5 tonnes. This means that the caravan with everything you are carrying must not exceed this weight. Some Ducat or Transporter motorhomes even have a maximum gross weight of 3.3 tonnes.
And here’s the stumbling block. Take a huge 7 metre integrated caravan. It’s got a huge fridge for 30 beers, a garage for 5 bikes, sleeping for 5 people, more lockers than you have at home, but the caravan’s endorsement is only 300kg. What does that mean?
“The carrying capacity is, in simple terms, the calculated number of kilograms you can load into the caravan to keep it under 3.5 tonnes.”
How is the endorsement calculated? It is based on the operating weight of the motorhome, which only includes the driver’s weight of 75kg, 60 litres of diesel, 20 litres of drinking water and 20kg of gas cylinders which are virtually empty gas cylinders
No cargo or other crew members are included in the operating weight. Fitting a family of four into 3.5 tonnes is almost impossible. Try going fully loaded sometime to weigh yourself.
“Try to get a realistic endorsement before you buy a caravan”
They often check the registration, for example on the motorway in Austria or at border crossings. It’s only a matter of time before they figure out that measuring the weight of a motorhome is a pretty good business here, too.