Pack, discard, re-pack

This week has been a challenge. We’ve been deciding what we need to take with us on our big trip. Not as easy as it sounds. We need all sorts – the list is endless.

The problem for us isn’t so much limited space in the ‘van, but more the payload weight that the ‘van is rated to carry. You see all vehicles have a Maximum Technical Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM). This basically comprises the weight of the empty vehicle + fuel + driver and passengers + luggage. This total weight must not exceed the MTPLM. I bet that you’ve probably never thought about this for your car – I certainly never did – even when it was full carting bags of cement! Who even really checks anyway?

However, the MTPLM for motorhomes, vans and lorries is really important because these are the types of vehicles that get pulled over from time to time by VOSA (the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) and weighed (the total weight and individual axle weights). If your vehicle is found to be over its MTPLM weight limit then you’re fined and your licence endorsed. More importantly, vehicles like motorhomes can become less stable if over-weighted beyond their MTPLM: so it is for your own safety to observe these limits. It will also affect your insurance if you have an incident and your ‘van is too heavy!

Storage capacity and more importantly payload allowance were two key factors in our choice of ‘van back in 2009. Our ‘van is rated (MTPLM) at 4005 kg, with a payload of approximately 550 kg. Within this limit we have to account for the passenger weight (Elaine in this case … but I couldn’t possibly disclose how much she contributed to the payload … I’m sure it was minuscule!), clothing, electrical “stuff”, food, water, gas, bedding, mountain bikes, climbing equipment, wine, beer and whisky, etc. etc. For example, our ‘van can hold ~120 litres of water (that’s 120 kg) straight off the payload weight and our two bikes weigh in at about 14 kg each. It is silly me saying “weigh in at about” as I know precisely how much every single item weighs in the ‘van because I’ve weighed everything, and its on a spreadsheet.

A few weeks back I took the ‘van full of diesel and gas to our nearest public weigh-bridge where I was able to establish exactly what amount of payload we had left to accommodate all of our possessions. All that remained for us to do was to decide what we needed and weigh the lot!

Our total weight is the MTPLM for our ‘van – which is obviously very good news! To get to this weight we’ve have to agonize over what to take: what exactly is “needed” compared to just “wanted”?

We’re now so close to our departure date.

About Cameron Speirs

Born and brought up in the Scottish Highlands, Cameron, has been interested in outdoor pursuits since he was a wee lad. Over the last few decades he has climbed extensively in the Italian Dolomites as well as summiting the Matterhorn and several other 4000m alpine peaks. Closer to home he has spent many wonderful weekends mountaineering and biking in Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Skye and Lochaber.
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