Caravanning and camping glossary of terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

A Frame

The "A" shaped metal frame at the front of the caravan that is attached to the chassis and which has the towing hitch attached at the other. The A Frame is used to house your handbrake and jockey wheel as well as the hitch

Affiliated sites (Caravan Club)

Independently owned and managed campsites that have been checked and selected by the Caravan Club to be affilated with them, allowing more choice for members of the CC

Alu-Tech body shell

Developed by Bailey Caravans and shares many similarities with the monocoque production designs currently used in the automotive industry.

It incorporates a system whereby the individual body shell components all contribute to the overall strength of the structure rather than solely relying on the floor and chassis

Aquaroll

A cylindrical container for holding water with top and side inlets, the side inlet enabling you to fill the aquaroll without removing the handle which is detachable.

The design allows you to easily pull a full container from the tap to your pitch

Rolling Water Carrier The Aquaroll comes in 29 ltr and 40 ltr sizes

Awning draught skirt

Awning draught skirt or caravan draught skirt, fitted to the skirt rail on a caravan to stop draughts in the awning. Some draught skirts can are similar to wind breaks being lower but serving the same purpose to prevent draughts.

See also awning wheel draught cover

Awning Rail

An Awning Rail is made from Aluminium channel which is fixed permanently to the side or sides of a caravan and some motorhomes which allows you to securely fix an awning to. Awnings come with a strengthened seam that slides through the awning rail.

Awning wheel draught cover

A cover used in-conjunction with an awning skirt to prevent draughts from the wheel arch into an awning. Single and twin axles types available

B

Breakaway Cable

A cable attached to the caravan brake and secured to the tow car when travelling. The Breakaway Cable is designed to break (or snap) and turn on the caravan brakes in the event of the caravan coming away from the tow ball

C

Caravan

A 2 or 4 wheeled trailer that is towed by a car or van and that can be lived in for short or long periods. Caravans comprise normally of a livings/sleeping area, kitchen and washing areas. Modern caravans are equiped with gas/electric heating, mains and battery lighting, mains power, hot water systems, microwaves and much more

Caravan Essential Habitation Equipment

Similar to Personnel Effects Payload but for water and gas, is part of the User Payload

Caravan Optional Equipment

Items such as sparewheel, bike rack, stabiliser and battery fitted by the dealer or owner, is also part of the User Payload.

Caravan Personnel Effects Payload

A standard allowance for the weight of personnel items such as clothes bedding, food, crockery and cooking utensils. The standard is based on the number of beds and caravan length, the intention is to make for easier comparisons. Is part of the User Payload

Caravan User Payload

Found by subtracting the MRO from the MTPLM. Is the total amount of equipment, clothing. food etc the user can put in, or on, the caravan

Caravanners

A term used for people that own and use a caravan or touring caravan

Cassette Toilet

A toilet used in caravans and motorhomes that is fixed permanently and collect soil and waste water is a "Cassette" that can be removed and emptied in a chemical disposal point.

Cassette Toilets also have a tank for holding fresh flushing water and have either an electric or manual flush, plus a handy indicator light to show when the cassette needs emptying. (Normally this will come on just before going to bed)

Chemical can be added to the cassette to reduce odour, normally this is blue or green.

A pink chemical can used in the flush tank to perfume the water

Certificated Locations - CL

Certificated Locations are small 5 caravan or motorhomes sites approved by the Caravan Club for Caravan Club members only

 See Certificated Sites for the Camping and Caravanning Club equivalent

Certificated Site - CS

A Certificated Site or CS is a campsite that can take upto 5 caravans or motorhomes. Certificated Sites are approved by the Camping and Caravanning Club

 See Certificated Locations for the Caravan Club

Chemical Disposal Point

Or sometimes called an Elsan disposal point and is used to empty your chemical toilet into.

Corner steadies

These are wind down legs that are used to steady a caravan or motorhome once it is level

Note that they are not designed to be used to level a caravan or motorhome. Doing so can cause damage

CRIS

The NCC Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme

CRiS is the NCC's official national database for touring caravans. Introduced in 1992, CRiS holds important information on all UK caravans manufactured since that time, as well as many older caravans registered by their owners under the CRiS facility. CRiS is also the ONLY database that contains details of caravan keepers, as well as identities of the caravan itself.

Based around the international 17 digit VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) system, CRiS ensures all registered caravans can be identified through this single number. Since late 1996, CRiS marked caravans have also been fitted with an electronic tag that also contains the same 17 digit VIN.

Police and other regulatory organisations, when covertly checking suspect caravans, use this tag. Caravan owners can enhance the integrity of their caravans by adding additional tags and markings.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that both the Caravan AND the Current Keeper are registered with CRiS. Many insurance companies are now requiring customers to provide a valid CRiS number before providing adequate cover.

D

Decals

Self-adhesive vinyl lettering or logos that are used to add style to caravans and motorhome exteriors.

Delamination

Delamination is a mode of failure for composite materials. Modes of failure are also known as 'failure mechanisms'. In laminated materials, repeated cyclic stresses, impact, and so on can cause layers to separate

E

Electronic Stability Control

system that improves a vehicle's safety by detecting and minimising skids. Since its introduction in the mid-1990s, ESC has become more and more commonplace. It is expected to become mandatory for new vehicles in Europe before too long. The Department for Transport has carried out research into ESC which indicates that ESC-equipped vehicles are involved in 25% fewer fatal road accidents.

ESC is known by a variety of names, depending on the make of vehicle, with ESC and ESP being the most common. A variant of ESC is Trailer Stability Programme

F

Fifth Wheel Trailer

Originally from the USA the Fifth Wheel Trailer is a kind of caravan except that is coupled to the tow car by way of a Fifth Wheel. In most cases the tow car is large pickup eg the Nissan Navara

Folding Caravan

A clever design as they are often lightweight and can be stored in a garage and towed behind smaller cars.

The folding caravan has collapsable side and end walls that "fold" down into the trailer

G

Glamping

Glamorous camping (glamour camping) EG camping with a bit more style, comfort and luxury

 Yurts, wigwams and the like have all become more popular

Grey waste water

Waste water from your sink or wash hand basin is often called grey waste water on campsites. Most campsites will provide an area for you to empty grey water. You can collect grey waste from in a waste hog, wastemaster or similar container.

Gross Train Mass

The maximum permitted total combined weight of the laden car and laden caravan.

* Not available for many cars although now required under European law. Currently these are seldom, if ever, checked by authorities.

Gross Vehicle Weight

The absolute maximum the car and all that it carries may weigh

* Not available for many cars although now required under European law. Currently these are seldom, if ever, checked by authorities.

H

Hitch Lock

A device for aiding security, the hitch locks prevents cars from being attached to the caravan.

Hitch Cover

Basically a cover that goes over the A Frame and protects the hitch lock etc from the weather.

Hitching up or Hitch up

A term used for connecting the caravan to the car before a journey

I

Inverters

An inverter is an electrical device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC); the converted AC

J

Jockey Wheel

A small wheel at the front of the caravan that is used when the caravan is not connected to the tow car to provide support and allow the caravan to moved by hand and/or by motor mover

K

Kerbweight

The basic empty weight of the car in running order. The kerbweight includes the sparewheel, jack, battery and all necessary fluids plus a tank full of petrol, but not the towbar. Recent changes to European regulations require kerbweight to include 75 kg for the driver and his luggage. Some manufacturers are stating the revised kerbweight in their 2004 brochures.

L

LED (Light-emitting diode)

LED (Light-emitting diode) less power consumption and heat generation which improves the life of the battery, they can also be retrofitted

Legs down

A term used by caravanners to say that the caravan is sited and ready to use. EG All done, legs down lets have a beer

M

Mass in Running Order (MRO or MIRO)

The empty weight of the caravan as delivered when new but excluding dealer fitted equipment and extras such as gas cylinders, bike rack and sparewheel carrier. Is used when calculating the user payload. Manufacturers have been known to be somewhat negligent with this figure in the past, omitting to include items such as the refrigerator and heater. May be called Unladen Weight on older caravans.

Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM)

Maximum Gross Weight (MGM) or Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) The maximum a vehicle is allowed to weigh when it Is fully loaded.

Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM)

The absolute maximum the caravan may weigh as specified by the manufacturer. The caravan plus everything carried in- and outside must not exceed the MTPLM. It is an offence to tow a caravan weighing more than the MTPLM. Was previously known as the Gross Vehicle Weight.

Maximum Towball Weight

The maximum weight that may be applied to the car towball. Is an important safety limit specified by the vehicle manufacturer. If the towball weight is too high, braking, steering and roadholding will be seriously impaired because excess weight on the rear will tend to lift the front wheels off the ground.

Maximum Trailer Weight

The maximum weight of a caravan or trailer the car may tow as specified by the manufacturer. It is an offence to tow more than the stated limit.

Micro motorhomes

Very small motorhome conversions based on cars or people carriers. A good example of Micro motorhomes are those made by Wheelhome based on Fiat Fiorino's and Fiat Doblo's. Most Micro motorhomes offer 2 berths and a kitchen area

Motorhome

A leisure vehicle that has the living area permanently attached, unlike a caravan which detaches from the tow vehicle. Motorhome layouts are very similar to caravan layouts and come in various types such as

Conversions or panel van conversions

Low profile coachbuilt motorhomes

Coachbuilt motorhome

A class motorhomes

Tag axle motorhome

When coachbuilt or A class motorhomes get very large and long they can be fitted with a third wheel on each side. This is known as a tag axle

Motorhome Service Point

An area on some campsites that motorhomes can use to fill up with fresh water and empty waste (or grey) water

N

Noseweight

The weight of the caravan on the tow ball of the tow car and which must not be exceeded. The maximum noseweight is set by the car manufacturer.

A Noseweight gauge can be used to check your noseweight as it can change depending upon the equipment stored in the front of the caravan

Noseweight guage

A gauge or device that is used to measure the caravans noseweight, these can be purchased from many caravan accessory shops

O

Omni-Vent

Fitted to most uk caravans the Omni-Vent can be fitted with a 12v fan or not, to provide extraction over cooking areas. Other makes are available.

Outfit 

Slang term: Not what you are wearing today but a term for the car and caravan combined or in the case of motorhomes the motorhome being used.

P

Pitching up or pitch up

A term used for when you arrive at a campsite and set up your pitch

Polarity tester

A simple bit of of kit to check the polarity of your caravan or motorhome electrics when travelling abroad

Q

R

Recreational vehicle - RV

More widely used in the US the term Recreational vehicle or RV means a vehicle used for holidays or short breaks which is equipped with sleeping, eating and cooking facilities. The term caravan, motorhome or camper is more widely used in the UK

Reverse Polarity

Normally found on European campsites but has been found in the UK Reverse Polarity is when the live is wired to the netural and netural wired to the live. Everything will still work but it can be dangerous if there is a fault on an appliance as the applance could still be live.

Reverse Polarity Tester

These are simple to use and cheap devices to test the electrics in your caravan or motorhome when connected to a bollard at a campsite. They can be purchased locally for under £15

S

Seasonal pitches

A term used to describe a pitch that is used by one touring caravan or motorhome for a full or part season. It is sometimes a requirement for the caravan to be moved off site or onto a storage pitch for a set amount of days each year. other campsites offer seasonal pitches throughout the year

Single axle

A term used to describe a caravan with one axle (2 wheels) See also "twin axle"

Solid Construction

The method is the brainchild of chemical bonding specialist Henkel and introduced to Elddis caravans this year in their "solid construction" process which takes away around 90 per cent of the screws and bolts used to create a caravan or motorhome. Substituting these items is a chemical bonding solution which is a first for the industry.

Storm Strap

See also Tie down

Storm strap, used to anchor an awning during heavy wind, some awnings have clips for storm straps to be connected to. Generally storm straps and tie downs are slung over the awning and anchored into the earth by large pegs

Submersible pump

A water pump that is connected to the caravan or motorhome water inlet at one end and inserted (submersed) into the water container, (aquaroll or similar) at the other providing pumped water to the taps and shower

T

Tent

Tents are made out of many fabrics, supported on poles and anchored to the ground with guy ropes and tent pegs and are used as temporary shelters and are popular for family holidays, festivals, hiking and many hobbies. There are many, many types and sizes to choose from ranging from a small 1 person tent to large 6-8 person tents. Family tents come with separate bedroom areas and living areas

Tie Down Kit

Awning Tie Down Kit also called a storm strap, used to anchor an awning during heavy wind

Tourer

Another name to describe a caravan EG Touring Caravan as opposed to a static caravan that remains in one place

Towing service

A term connected with campsites that offer storage. eg if you store your caravan at a campsite, they may offer, as part of the service to tow the caravan onto and off of the pitch for you.

Trailer Tent

A trailer tent is basically a tent contained within a trailer and being light and low can be towed by most vehicles. The trailer tent onsite is opened up from the trailer with the trailer often forming the living or kithen area with the bedrooms opening up to each side, often elevated above the ground.

Tug

Slang term: A term used for the tow car eg My tug is a Sorento

Twin Axle

Term used to describe a caravan with 2 axles (4 wheels)

U

Unladen Weight

See Mass in Running Order (MRO or MIRO). The empty weight of the caravan as delivered when new but excluding dealer fitted equipment and extras such as gas cylinders, bike rack and sparewheel carrier. Is used when calculating the user payload. Manufacturers have been known to be somewhat negligent with this figure in the past, omitting to include items such as the refrigerator and heater. May be called Unladen Weight on older caravans

User Payload

Caravan User Payload. Found by subtracting the MRO from the MTPLM. Is the total amount of equipment, clothing. food etc the user can put in, or on, the caravan

V

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Based around the international 17 digit VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) system, CRiS ensures all registered caravans can be identified through this single number. Since late 1996, CRiS marked caravans have also been fitted with an electronic tag that also contains the same 17 digit VIN.Also see CRIS

W

Wastehog

A sturdy plastic waste water carrier comes complete with all necessary accessories and has a large holding capacity of 45 litres. Includes a level to check when full and a carrying shelf for carrying items like a toilet cassette

Wastemaster

The wastemaster is made of strong plastic with a moulded handle and inlets for waste water at both ends, The top inlet allowing it to be filled to it's maximum of 38 litres and the lower inlet allowing the lighter 30 litre option.

The wastemaster has 2 sturdy wheels which allow you to pull the full container easily to a waste water point. You can also strap your cassette to it with bungies to save having to carry a full cassette

Water Hog

Similar to the Aquaroll the Water Hog Is a strong and durable water carrier has a large 50 litre capacity with side and top filling options. It also has a large opening in the top that

will accommodate the biggest of submersible pumps. The heavy duty tyres give good ground clearance

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