Caravan Measurements – How Do They Work? (Length, Awnings and Ball Weight)

Many new caravan owners find the different measurements confusing.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll look at how to measure the length, ball weight, and awning size of your camping vehicle. You don’t have to be a mathematician to work it out either!

Let’s get started.

How to Measure Caravan Length

Caravan length is one of the trickiest aspects to decipher. That’s because it can refer to two different things.

Firstly, it can mean the length of the body. Usually, when a manufacturer or seller describes the size of the van, they refer to this. It doesn’t include the rear bumper or the drawbar.

You can also subdivide body length into internal and external measurements. However, they are easy to figure out with a standard tape measure. For the latter, simply extend the tape along the bottom of your caravan between the two longest points.

Meanwhile, measure the internal length at the bed box height inside your caravan. Extend your tape measure from one side to the other.

Finally, it may be necessary to know the total caravan length if you’re concerned about the size of a parking space. In this case, simply measure from the two furthest points on the camping vehicle.

These will be the tow hitch and the rear bumper.

For more info, check out this guide from the Australian government.

Note that it's good to get this right, as you'll probably be asked about it if you decide to store your caravan at a facility one day.

Measure Caravan Length

How to Measure a Caravan Awning

There are unique methods for measuring different styles of caravan awning.

Newcomers may be surprised to learn that roll-out awnings are measured from the middle of the front arm to the middle of the rear arm. In short, do not measure the length of the roller tube.

Tent-style awnings are trickier to measure. First, you’ll need to find the A-measurement. This is the ground to the top of the awning rail and then back down to the ground on the other side.

Follow these steps:

  1. Hammer the tent peg into the ground. The rear edge of the awning should be directly beneath the caravan.
  2. Tie your twine to the peg. Then feed it along the length of the awning rail to the other side.
  3. Cut the twine away from the peg. Remember to cut it as close as possible for a more accurate reading.
  4. Extend the string along the ground and measure using regular tape. Take the reading in both centimetres and inches for convenience.
Caravan Awning

How to Measure Caravan Ball Weight

The caravan ball weight is usually about 8% to 10% of the total weight and payload of your caravan.

There are two main ways to measure this. Firstly, you can bring it to a caravan servicer but this will cost time and money.

Secondly, you can get your own ball weight measuring scale, which will give you an accurate reading. Simply fix it to your caravan and the scale will automatically take a reading.

The benefit of this is that you can take readings whenever you like, regardless of where you are.

Measure Caravan Ball Weight

Final Thoughts

Caravan measurements aren’t the most exciting part of travelling but they are important.

Remember to keep any instruction or product manuals when you buy accessories like awnings. This will save you time as well as the tedium of trying to produce an accurate reading.

Stay patient when you’re taking measurements and be careful when you’re checking the towball weight. As previously mentioned, some accessories will make life easier so consider them as an investment.

If you’ve any questions about caravan measurements, please leave a comment below!

This article may contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product or service after clicking on my link. This helps pay for the cost of running the website. You will not be disadvantaged in any way by using my links.

Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.


While Louis does most of his trips near his home in south-east Queensland, he has been camping as far afield as South America and Africa. He loves researching, testing and experimenting with camping gear whenever possible.

  • How do you measure the width of a Jayco Journey? Does the total width as advertised include the awning struts/poles on the side of the van?

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