A - Z Glossary

We hope our caravan A-Z Glossary helps you.  Are you confused by all the caravan terms and jargon?  We  certainly were but learnt as we went along. 

'A' Frame
The triangular frame which is at the front end of the caravan, which is usually covered by a piece of moulded plastic. It usually also houses the handbrake and the electrical leads.

Most caravans are now built using ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) as it is light, shiny and repairable.

A roll-along container for fresh water which connects to your caravan water inlet using a submersible pump. A caravan term which you will hear used alot.

An awning is like a three-sided tent which attaches to your caravan through the awning rail, which is located on the side of the caravan. You can buy either a full awning, which runs the whole length of the caravan, down to a porch awning which fits over the caravan door.

Awning Annexe
Attaches to the end of your awning (in place of one of the side panels) to provide extra space, usually for sleeping.

Awning Rail
The rail which the awning threads into which runs along the sides and top of the caravan.

A very important caravan term - the number of people the caravan will sleep.

Breakaway Cable
A steel cable which is permanently fixed to the lower end of the handbrake lever and which has a clip on the other end which you attach to your towbar. This cable would apply the caravan brakes if, for instance, the caravan became unattached from the car.

Butane Gas
The gas sold in blue cylinders. It burns at a slightly slower rate so it is a more efficient heat provider, which usually makes it the preferred choice of caravanners. It cannot be used in freezing temperatures and is heavier than propane. If you switch from propane to butane you will need to switch regulators.

Short for "Caravan Storage Site Owners Association".

Corner Steadies
The legs which wind down from the corners of the caravan which ensure the stability of the caravan when pitched.

Coupling Head
Also referred to as the "hitch" - the part of the caravan which couples to the towball on your car and locks on.

Stands for "Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme" and is the national register for touring caravans in the UK.

When the adhesive bonding the caravan floor layers become unstuck, allowing the floor layers to start to creak and become spongy.

Full Service Pitch
A pitch which has a water and electricity supply on the pitch, as well as a connection to the waste system. You may also have a direct TV aerial connection. Can also be known as a multi-service pitch.

Part of the caravan, usually bunks which fold up when not in use, that opens from the outside so that you can put in large items for storage, e.g. bikes.

Gross Train Weight
The combined maximum allowable weight of the loaded caravan and car, which the law states should not be exceeded.

Glass Reinforced Plastic used for the construction of the caravan panels (not used on newer caravans).

Hitch Head Stabiliser
A stabiliser which is built into the caravan hitch. It works by applying friction to the tow ball, therefore stabilising the caravan.

Hitch Lock
The hitch lock is a metal lock which fits over the caravan coupling head. This will prevent a car being hitched up to the caravan, therefore preventing the caravan from being stolen.

Hook-Up Lead
The lead which connects the caravan to the site mains electrical supply.

Jockey Wheel
The small wheel at the front of the caravan 'A' frame which you can use for manouvering the caravan and which supports the front end of the caravan.

Kerb Weight
The empty weight of the car which will be shown in the car's handbook.

Maximum Towing Weight
The maximum weight that the manufacturer will allow the car to tow under any circumstances and which must NEVER be exceeded.

Maximum Train Weight
The total weight of both the laden tow vehicle and the laden caravan (including occupants). This is the weight given by the vehicle manufacturer.

Stands for "Mass in Running Order" - This is the weight of the caravan when equipped to the manufacturer's standard specification (before being loaded with all your equipment).

"Maximum Technically Permissable Laden Mass" - This is the manufacturer's top limit for what a caravan can weigh when it is fully loaded with all your caravanning gear. Make sure you understand this caravan term.

Motor Mover
An electric device which is fixed to the caravan which allows the caravan to be moved when not hitched up. It uses a remote control to move the caravan and works using the caravan battery.

The maximum amount of downward force which the car manufacturer will allow to be exerted on the towball.

The car and caravan are known together as an "outfit".

Propane Gas
The gas sold in red cylinders. Can be used all year round - in all temperatures. If you switch from butane to propane you will need to switch regulators.

Roof Light
A window in the roof which can be opened.

Single Axle
A caravan with just one set of wheels, usually a smaller caravan than a twin axle (two sets of wheels).

Sold Secure

An independant and non-profit making scheme which is dedicated to reducing the risk of vehicle theft by testing vehicle security products employing the same methods of attack used by criminals.

A stabiliser helps to keep the caravan stable when being towed. It uses friction to damp down movement around the tow ball and will help to correct any excess movement. Do not rely on a stabiliser alone to keep the caravan stable - you must still load the caravan correctly and keep the caravan tyres in good condition.

Steady Locks
These lock the caravan steadies (legs) in the down position, which makes it difficult to tow the caravan away.

A safety device which is wound down from the caravan's floor when you are parked which will prevent the caravan being towed away, as the more the caravan is pulled the more the supermule digs in to the ground.

Hiding an electronic tag somewhere in the caravan so that the police can scan the caravan and immediately identify the owner.

A measure of the pulling power of the engine of the tow car.

Twin Axle
A caravan which has two sets of wheels (as opposed to one set on a single axle).

Tyron Bands
A safety device fitted to the caravan wheels by a caravan dealer or tyre-fitting specialist. It comprises of steel sections which are bolted into the well of the wheel which will prevent a deflated tyre from dropping into this recess, therefore in the event of a tyre blow-out the caravan can still be controlled and steered to a safe place.

User Payload
The total weight of the accessories you can carry in the caravan.

Wastemaster (or Waste Carrier)
A container with wheels which holds your waste water until you need to empty it at a service point on site. It connects to your caravan's waste water outlet, and will slide under your caravan.

They fit around the caravan tyres and wheels to prevent the wheel rotating, which therefore prevents the caravan being stolen.

These are some of the most commonly used caravan terms - but there are many more! If you are unsure of any caravan terms, please contact us.

If there are any caravan terms which we have omitted from our Caravan A-Z Glossary or you would like to comment about this list, please contact us.

We hope that the above A-Z of caravan terms helps you to understand more of the "caravan jargon". 

Your caravan dealer or manufacturer will always be able to help you - or even ask another caravanner (we always like to help!).

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