New to Caravanning? Part 9 – Glossary


Below is a list of common phrases that are used in and around caravans:


A frame – The triangular shaped section at the front of the caravan. The Hitch, handbrake, electric cable and Jockey wheel can be found here

AL-KO ATC – An electronic stability device that can be fitted to caravans to help prevent snaking, this is an optional extra on some caravans(Assisted Trailer Control).

Awning – A tent like structure that fits to the side of a caravan and extends the living space of the caravan. Awnings use either poles or air beams to hold them up.

Awning rail – The rail on the side of the caravan into which the awning slides.

Awning skirt – A long piece of plastic that is used as a draft extractor between the base of the caravan and the awning.


Bed boxes – The storage space under the seats of a caravan. Heaters and water tanks can usually be found under these.

Berth – The amount of people that a caravan can sleep.

Blown Air – A modern caravan heating system in which warm air is distributed throughout the cabin by a fan through ducting.

Body length – The inside length of the caravan at bed box height, it is also referred to as internal length.

Breakaway cable – A thin steel wire normally coated in a coloured plastic that attaches to the caravan and then to the car.  In the event of the caravan becoming detached from the car whilst towing, the breakaway cable will apply the caravans brakes. This piece of equipment is a legal requirement.


Caravan mover – A remotely controlled device used to manoeuvre caravans whilst not attached to a vehicle.  Also known as a motor mover, this device uses rollers that are pushed against the tyres to operate.

Cassette toilet – A toilet built into a caravan that has a separate cassette in which the “deposits” are collected. Most modern caravans are fitted with cassette toilets.

Certified Location – (or CL sites) limited to 5 caravans or motorhomes or less for exclusive use of Caravan & Motorhome Club members.

Certified Sites – (or CS sites) limited to 5 caravans, motorhomes or tents for exclusive use of Camping and caravanning members.

CRIS – A national organisation who maintains an ownership database of all caravans (Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme)

CRIS number – The unique 17 digit reference number that belongs to a caravan, you will find this on the corner of most of the windows and on a plate near the door. This is also referred to as a serial number, VIN number and chassis number.

Control panel – A panel of switches that control various things within a caravan such as; mains power, 12V power, water pump and lighting.

Corner steadies – Each caravan is fitted with 4 corner steadies, one on each corner, they wind down to steady the caravan when pitched up. Also referred to as stabiliser legs.


Dinette – A combination of seats that allow people to dine in the caravan, these can normally be converted into beds. Can also be referred to as a side dinette.


EHU – Electric Hook up. This can be the EHU cable, the post in which you plug the cable or the socket on the caravan.


Fresh water carrier – A container positioned outside the caravan from which fresh water is drawn to supply a caravan’s taps and shower. A well-known brand is Aqua Roll

Front locker – Refers to the locker outside at the very front. Normally used to store gas bottles among other things. Can also be referred to as Gas Locker


Gas BBQ point – An externally mounted point of a caravan into which you can connect a gas BBQ that will run from the caravan’s gas supply.

Grab handles – Located on all four corners of a caravan and used to manually manoeuvre it.


Hitch head – The device on the front of a caravan that attaches to the towball of a car, also referred to as hitch head coupling.

Hitch lock – A security device that is used to lock onto the hitch head of a caravan to help prevent theft. This device prevents a tow ball being connected to the caravan.

Hookup – This refers to being “hooked up” to the mains electricity supply. Can also be Electric Hook up or EHU



Jockey wheel – The small pivoting wheel located through the A frame of a caravan.


Kerb Weight – The total weight of the towcar as it stands, without luggage or passengers.


Layout (or floorplan) – The configuration of fittings and furniture inside the caravan.

Leisure battery – A 12V supply battery that is required to operate the caravan’s electrics if not on hookup.


MTPLM – Maximum Technical Permissible Laden Mass is the maximum weight the caravan can be. This is the weight of the caravan, plus belongings and accessories. This value can be found on the side of the caravan, near the door.

MiRO or MRO – Mass in Running Order caravan mass as equipped to the manufacturer’s standard specification.


NCC – An organisation that represents the supply chain in the caravan industry and governs it’s policies.

Noseweight (caravan) – The weight of the caravan at the hitch head.

Noseweight (car) – The maximum recommended noseweight the tow car can cope with.

Noseweight Gauge – A device that can measure the noseweight of the caravan.


Outfit – The name given to the combination of a caravan and tow car.


Payload – The weight allowance the user must work with when packing a caravan. The weight difference between the MRO and the MTPLM.

Pre Delivery Inspection – The check each caravan goes through before it leaves the workshop to be sold.

Pitch – The space in which you park your caravan on a site.

Porch awning – A tent like structure that attaches to the side of a caravan. Unlike a standard awning a porch awning covers only part of the caravan.




Seasonal pitch – A pitch on a caravan site that is reserved for a caravan for the caravanning season.

Shipping length – The maximum external length of the caravan, also referred to as external length.

Snaking – Unstable caravan motion when it is being towed, caused by high winds, vehicles overtaking, erratic driving.

Stabiliser – A device fitted either to the hitch head of a caravan or to the A frame cover that helps to minimise snaking while towing. In modern caravans this will be a hitch head stabiliser where friction pads grip the tow ball.


Tyron Bands – Flat tyre protection for cars. A band fitted to the wheel well to prevent a deflated tyre from dropping into the recess, so the wheel can still be steered in event of a blow-out.


Unladen weight – The empty weight of a caravan, also referred to as kerb side weight or mass in running order (MRO).



Waste water carrier – A container positioned outside of a caravan that stores all waste water (or grey water as it’s also known). A common brand is Waste Master.

Water ingress – Refers to water infiltrating the body of a caravan, a damp problem.

Wet Central Heating – there are 2 types of heating in a caravan, the other is blown air.  Alde produce the wet central heating systems.

Wet locker – Storage space on a caravan that is designed to accommodate wet items, this area is isolated from the rest of the caravan.

Wheel lock – A security device that is used to lock onto the wheel of a caravan to help prevent theft.

Window stays – Catches or telescopic poles that are used to hold a caravan window open.