1: Use the instructions for use electronically.
Search for your device type in the manufacturer and save the relevant document. You can do this locally on your laptop or in the cloud. You won't lose the printed instructions, but you can leave them at home.
Unfortunately, not all manufacturers offer a download option. Simply scan these instructions for which the electronic version cannot be found. All you need is a smartphone with the Google Drive app.
You can find manufacturer's manuals at the following links:
Truma operating instructions
Thetford does not have a download page, instead instructions for use can be found directly on the respective product page.
We save the instructions in a separate folder in Dropbox. We then mark this Dropbox folder as "available offline" on at least two devices. We do not need internet access and are not dependent on a device to access our instructions on the go.
Weight saving: 2kg.
#2: E-books instead of print books and magazines
Books and printed magazines are very heavy. Almost any magazine can be subscribed electronically and read on a tablet or e-book reader.
A single paperback book weighs around 400 grams, underscores this at 350g including a Kindle leather cover, and holds enough literature for a month's journey. You can even buy new books on the go with the 3g version. Once you get used to it, you won't miss a printed book because the content and reading experience remain the same after all.
In our experience, magazines work less well on e-readers because they put more emphasis on graphic design, and e-readers are optimized for text because of their technology. This is where a tablet shows its advantages: The image on modern tablets is very sharp and there is a color on it. However, the eyes tire more quickly from the screens of the e-book reader.
Weight Savings: Depends on how much you read. But 5-10kg is already there.
#3: Light containers instead of household items
It is recommended to use special camping utensils instead of ordinary, heavy utensils from home.
Weight saving: 3-10kg (depending on kitchen equipment quantity)
#4: Light bedding
You can't even think of it when you're looking for heavy objects in the trailer, but when it comes to beds, most things come together quickly: With heavy pillows, blankets and covers, you can quickly reach 10-20 kg for two. people. Half of that can be saved if you pay attention to your weight. You have to be mindful of what's called the "fill weight" with down duvets, and even a light down duvet with a fill weight of around 300g can suffice from spring to autumn. If you hit the road in the summer, you can manage on your own with a blanket cover.
Weight saving: 5-10kg
#5: awning instead of awning
The awning is a standard component on most RVs and dealers are pressing for this accessory to be ordered. What is not mentioned here is that the awning is also a huge weight factor. Small campervan's awnings start with most 15kg rootstock mobile homes, when carrying around 20-30kg (eg Thule 5000 series) or even 40-60kg (Thule 8000 series).
But not everyone needs an awning. Anyone who is outside in the spring and fall needs almost no shade. If you're standing on windy shores, most of the time you won't be able to use an awning. We used the awning on our Pössl ourselves so sporadically that we couldn't justify the weight of Knaus.
It is already possible to construct a solar sail with a total weight of less than 5 kg. Of course, it's not as easy as flipping the awning. But if you're doing this three times a year rather than every day, you should consider a solar sail!
Weight saving: 10-50kg.
#6: Lithium instead of lead batteries
Conventional batteries are heavy. As an alternative, lithium batteries have recently been offered. These have two major advantages in terms of weight:
They are lighter at the same capacity
Capacities are almost fully usable
For example, if you installed 2x95Ah, in practice you cannot use more than 95Ah, since conventional batteries only need to be half-discharged without reducing their service life. Almost the full capacity can be used with lithium-ion batteries. Therefore, you only need to build half for the same usable capacity.
#7: breakdown kit instead of spare wheel
How often have you had a flat tire? That was probably a long time ago, because statistically this only happens once every ten years. However, for ten years you have been carrying around 35 kg in the form of a spare wheel in your caravan. Does that make sense, even in times of breakdown kits and towing services from auto clubs?
The question can only be answered individually. When we roll on a gravel road in the hinterland of a Greek island, I don't want to test how long it will take to get a towing service there and then arrange a tire suitable for the campervan.
However, more and more caravan manufacturers are starting to stop installing spare tires altogether. And to the next campsite only good food in Central Europe
If you go with them, you can actually do without them. The solution to the problem is not far away, after all, many cars now drive around without a spare wheel.
However, the difference from caravans is that in the event of a flat tire, the tire almost always needs to be replaced. A breakdown kit can't do anything here.
Weight saving: 25kg
#8: weigh in and waive
Less is more in a trailer. While the generous storage space may tempt you to take your entire wardrobe with you, it usually returns home after the trip more or less unused. When traveling, you often need less than expected. Should there be three jackets or is one enough? Functional underwear is also easy to wash on the go and you may only need 3 shirts instead of 15. Demands differ (and clothes for cold weather are often heavier than for summer temperatures), but savings can be made through deliberate packaging. .
Weighing each piece before packaging is also very effective. So you automatically worry more about whether the fourth pair of shoes is really necessary. More information on weight in caravans can be found here. You can find our motorhome cradle list here.
Weight savings: 5-30 kg (very individual)
#9: Froli instead of slatted frame
A wooden slatted frame is very heavy. If you do not want to give up on sleeping comfort, you should take a look at the Froli system: the spring rubber plates offer good sleeping comfort with a weight of approximately 3.5 kg per mattress. A wooden slatted frame weighs 6-12 kg.
#10: Save gas
Gas has a tremendous energy density, so a gas cylinder is enough for a very long time in the summer when it is not used for heating. Getting on the gas too much is too much weight loss.
If you have a two-bottle gas cabinet, you don't need to take both bottles with you. A full bottle used only for cooking is enough for weeks. Savings: 11-20kg.
Anyone who goes on their third journey with the same gas bottle may therefore wonder whether a smaller gas bottle will suffice. With a 5 kg bottle you save 6 kg compared to an 11 kg bottle.
In addition, it is a good idea to use lightweight bottles made of aluminum or plastic, because here, too, a saving of several kilograms is possible.
Weight saving: 5-25kg
#11: Buy groceries locally
Someone who stores groceries at home at Lidl before leaving to avoid having to shop at the resort not only misses out on an essential part of the travel experience, but also loses weight. Transporting goods across Europe is the job of transport companies, not caravan passengers. Take with you what you need in the next few days, but not the full supply for four weeks!
Weight saving: 5-30kg.
#12: Fill water on the field
Caravan dealers' favorite advice: If you're complaining about the weight of the car, you'll be advised to leave the water at home. That's why we have water tanks to avoid using them, right?
As self-sufficient campers, we depend on our water supply and need it on the go. Losing weight without using water? Not likely. However, to ask whether you really need to go to the holiday country 120 liters is, of course, justified. Maybe 40l is enough on the go. This saves 80 kg in one go.
But before you set up your house, you will want to refill the tanks. And then, if you were already within the weight limit before, then at the latest you go back to illegal.
Pure campsite vacationers can actually refuel on site.
Waste water tanks should always be emptied before leaving, as driving around this weight is really completely useless. Unfortunately, unloading is not possible everywhere.
Weight savings: up to 200 kg. (Water + sewage)
#13: Don't fill fuel tanks completely
If you have a 120 liter fuel tank, you don't always have to fill it to the brim. For short trips, 60 liters is definitely enough, which means a potential savings of 60 kg. But you're particularly full on long trips, and that's where the 120-litre tank really comes into its own. It's a dilemma that makes this tip pretty theoretical, and not a viable way to lose weight, at least for many long-distance travelers. But you might at least consider filling the fuel tank in scheduled, long stages, but leaving the water tanks half empty.
#14: save tools
The inclined do-it-yourself loves to travel with a full set of workshop equipment, but the tools are largely made of metal and are correspondingly heavy. If you limit yourself to basic needs, you can lose a lot of weight.
#15: Flexible solar panels
Those who rely on flexible solar modules can potentially save a lot of weight. The metal frame of the modules has been removed, the flexible modules are attached directly to the caravan roof.
Weight savings: 5-20 kg (depending on system size)