When people think of slide-outs, they always tends to think that, given the amount of space they creat, that they can create a weight problem.

And, being more accustomed to only seeing them on large North American recreational vehicles or maybe a European “liner”, is also certainly misleading. On the other hand, the United States and Canada do not have the same size and weight limits as in Europe, where, in many countries, if a total laden weight is greater than 3.5 tonnes, a higher category driving license is required.

At Lippert Components (LCI), we had to deal with this issue immediately when we started to develop a suitable solution for smaller vehicles in the European market.

Everything in a Smart Room 2 slide-out is designed to minimise the total weight as much as possible, from the electric motors, to the tracks on which the slide-out flows.

It is assumed that the weight of a Smart Room is added to the vehicle, but when working on compact vehicles this point of view must be slightly different. For example, a six-metre campervan with a mass in running order (MIRO) of 2,600 kg has an available space is about 8 m²; therefore it has a weight/m² (habitable) of 325 kg.

When adding a slide-out, the weight increases by about 150 kg, but the usable space, once the extendable element is opened, changes to 10 m²and the weight/m² (habitable) drops to 275 kg.

Basically, you can use a six-metre long vehicle when driving or parking, which can become seven-metres long when camping or in a rest area.

Obviously, this is only a theoretical calculation, but it gives a good view of the potential benefits that come from designing a compact vehicle with a slide-out from the beginning. In short, in the end, those who design well earn a lot: space yes, weight no.