“So how much does a shirt weigh? Or a shoe?”
“Damned if I know”
“Well how do we know if we’re overloaded….?”
And thereby the can of worms is opened!
After exploring many blogs (thanks Julie & Jason for oodles of info) and forums (fora?) the thorny question of how much stuff to take away with us has many answers. We have checklists of essentials coming out of our ears – “Don’t forget we need… and what about..?” It’s a complete change from Ken’s annual motorcycle trips abroad when all he takes is his bike kit, two sets of underwear & socks, two T-shirts and a credit card!
We’ve had to get to grips with a whole new world of Acronyms and mysterious terms: Gross Vehicle Weight, Gross Train Weight, Front & Rear Axle Loads, MTPLM, MIRO and OMG! The long and short of it is that Vince’s total weight including us mustn’t be more than 3500k, or his plated weight.
We decided the simplest weigh to deal with this issue (do you see what I did there?) is to fill up with diesel and LPG and go to a local weighbridge to find out exactly what Vince weighs and go from there. Fresh and waste water is easy to calculate as one litre equals one kilo. We won’t travel with waste water as we can empty before we move on but we might need fresh water if we’re wild camping or if the place we plan to stay at doesn’t supply fresh water.
Unfortunately this is where we pay for the little luxuries installed in Vince – an awning, a full size fridge and freezer, an oven grill and hob, a microwave, a satellite dish and two (yes two!) TV’s mean Vince is carrying a few extra pounds, much like Ken. Vince originally had a tow bar fitted so we ditched that as Gill won’t let Ken take the bike away with us. That saved us 50k or so but there’s not much else we can do to reduce the load.
The weighbridge doesn’t lie – and it gave us a gross weight of 3240k. The axle weights were well within their limits but that only gives us a payload of 260k – and that doesn’t allow for Gill who strangely insists on not being left behind. On the positive side, all the kitchen equipment, water hoses and electric hook-up cables were included in that 3240k. If we estimate a working payload of 200k – that equates to ten 20k suitcases and we usually only take two on a flight abroad. SURELY that’s enough? Oh hang on, what about the bicycles…? And the wine! Don’t forget the wine.
We’ll swing by the weighbridge again in February when we plan to do a one week tour and make our minds up then whether or not to re-plate Vince to 3700k. There’s a paper exercise we can do via the DVLA to increase our payload but it comes with downsides. We don’t need to modify tyres or suspension but Vince would become a Private/Heavy Goods vehicle and as such we’d have to adhere to restricted speed limits, and avoid roads with a >3.5T weight limit. Toll charges abroad would increase too so we’d like to avoid that if we can, never mind the practicalities of braking a twenty-three foot 3700k behemoth on the way down an Alp! Ironically if we do it, our road tax (sorry, Vehicle Excise Duty) will reduce considerably. Go figure!
As always, we’ll keep you posted 🙂