A Quick Guide… Cover4Caravans Touring Caravan A to Z


  • ‘A’ Frame – At the front of your caravan you will find a triangle shape normally covered by plastic and has the handbrake and electrical leads.
  • ABS – Can be ‘anti-lock braking system’ which is used on most vehicles or ACRYLONITRILE-BUTADIENE-STYRENE which can be used to make panels for caravans.
  • Actual Laden Weight (ALW) – This is the total weight of the touring caravan or Motor Home, and its contents when being towed, can be measured on a weigh bridge.
  • Aqua-roll – This is the container that holds fresh water and rolls along the ground for convenience, this connects to your caravan water inlet.
  • Awning – A tent like structure which attaches to the side of the touring caravan to the awning rail for more sleeping space and storage. This can be the full length of the caravan or less common a porch awning.
  • Awning Rail – A rail which is attached to the side of the touring caravan and the awning is then threaded on to provide the main support for the awning.
  • Awning Carpet – This is a groundsheet for the awning usually referring to those which are absorbent this is less damaging for the grass underlying.
  • Annexe – This is attached to the end of the awning, normally used for extra sleeping space.


  • B & E Driving Licence – The licence required to tow large caravan outlets.
  • Base Vehicle – The base of the caravan on which it is built also known as the chassis.
  • Battery Charger – Required to keep the leisure battery charged, which can be charged when either towing by the vehicles alternator or when hooked up to a mains supply.
  • Berth – A sleeping area. Eg. 4 Berths = 4 sleeping areas.
  • Bunk – A form of sleeping area which is usually higher than the usual bed, or can be used as a pull out option.
  • Breakaway Cable – A steel cable which is permanently fixed to the lower end of caravan’s handbrake, this device would apply the brakes if the caravan becomes detached from the towing vehicle.
  • Butane Gas – A type of liquefied petroleum gas which is sold in blue cylinders, these burn at a slow rate to provide efficient heat.
  • Blown Air Heating – More common in recent caravans, warm air is circulated through the caravan by means of a fan.


  • Caravan – A trailer used for holidays and leisure purposes, normally consists of a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping areas. So practically a house on wheels!
  • CASSOA – Abbreviation of ‘Caravan Storage Site Owners Association’, we give great discounts if your caravan is stored at one of these.
  • Corner Steadies – The legs which wind down from the corners of the caravan which ensures the stability of the caravan.
  • CRIS – Abbreviation of ‘Caravan Registration and Identification scheme’ this is the national register for UK caravans over the age of 1992.
  • Caravanning – Activity associated with a touring caravan holiday.
  • Cassette Blind – A blind fitted as part of the window assembly often along with the fly screen which gives neat installation.
  • Cassette Toilet – A form of chemical toilet fitted in modern caravans, the holding tank is outside the caravan so the waste can be disposed of easily.
  • Chemical Toilet – A nicer version of ‘Bucket-and-chuck it‘ its self contained toilet which is sealed and holds a chemical which prevents odours and breaks down waste.
  • Chassis – The structural frame which the caravan is built on also know as base vehicle.
  • Coupling Head – Also referred to as the ‘hitch’ – this attaches the caravan and the car tow ball.
  • Construction and Use – The law which determines how vehicles used on the road must be built in order to be legal.


  • Drinking Water – Fresh water for drinking usually contained in aqua-rolls.
  • Delamation – When the adhesive bonding the caravans floor layers become unstuck which makes the floor creak and spongy. Usually due to poor binging during manufacture.
  • Damp – otherwise known as water ingress, this means penetration of damp from outside into the interior of the caravan. This is a generally operation cause and is not cheap to rectify, to prevent this happening have regular services.
  • Dinette – Usually a small dining area which can be converted into a sleeping space.
  • Drop Plate – A fixture which allows the height of tow ball to be lowered to be compatible with the caravan.


  • Elevation Roof – Sometimes on smaller motor homes and folding caravans this is when the roof heightens which provides greater headroom.
  • Ex-works Weight – the weight of the caravan with fixtures and fitting, mainly used for newer models.


  • Fibre Glass – a form of plastic commonly used for the caravan exterior panels.
  • Fifth Wheel Trailer – A type of caravan common in America, the caravan is attached to is towing vehicle by a fifth wheel. (Similar to an articulate lorry)
  • Full Service Pitch – A pitch which has all the services – waste disposal, water, electricity, and sometimes the TV aerial point.
  • Folding Caravan – A type of caravan which has hard/rigid folding sides which can be folded flat which is easier for storing and towing.
  • Fly Screen – A mesh screen which can be pulled down over the window or doors, to prevent insects and flies getting in.
  • Fixtures and Fittings – The caravan will come with certain fixtures and fittings such as carpets, sofas, kitchen, bathroom, beds, and other items can be included.


  • Gas Bottle – pressurised gas container for the storage of gas, used for the caravan heat and cooking.
  • Gas-assisted Handbrake – A type of handbrake which has a degree of power-assisted application through the use of a gas strut.
  • GRP – Abbreviation for ‘Glass reinforced plastic’ used for the panels for older caravans.
  • Garage – Part of the caravan which can be used to store large items such as bikes, this opens from the outside.
  • Gas Bottle Locker – Compartment for the storage of gas bottles, which is usually found on the exterior of the caravan.
  • Ground Sheet – a lining for the base of a tent or awning, otherwise known as an awning carpet. This protects the occupants from the ground.
  • Gross Vehicle Weight – GVW the weight of the vehicle laden to its maximum, this is advised and tested by manufactures.
  • Generator – Mainly used by caravanners when the site has no hook ups, it provides mains electricity.
  • Gross Train Weight – Also known as combined weight, it is the maximum permitted weight of the caravan.
  • Guy Lines – Cords to stabilise the awning or tents.


  • Habitation Area – The part of the caravan which is the living and sleeping area of the touring caravan.
  • Hardstanding – A type of pitch which is hard such as concrete, gravel, or asphalt. This does not include grass pitches.
  • Hitch – This attaches the caravan to the car via a tow ball.
  • Hitch Lock – the hitch lock is a lock that fits over the caravans coupling head. This will protect the caravan from being stolen as the caravan cannot be towed.
  • Hook-up – A facility on a pitch which allows connection for mains electricity, via a hook up lead.
  • Hitch Head Stabiliser – A form of stabiliser which is built into the caravan hitch which works by the applying friction directly to the tow ball.


  • Instability – Snaking and swaying, not stable due to poor manufacturing or high winds.


  • Jack – A device used for raising the vehicle so a wheel can be changed or replaced.
  • Jackey Wheel – Small wheel at the front used to support the front end of the caravan whilst not hitched up, also allows the caravan to be manoeuvred.


  • Kerb Weight – the empty weight of the caravan as specified by the manufacture.


  • Layout – The design of the caravan fixtures and fittings.
  • Leaf Spring Stabiliser – This help prevent instability consists a large spring between the tow bar and the a-frame.
  • Leisure Battery – A 12V battery similar to a car battery, powers light, water pumps etc.
  • Levelling – This is important when the caravan is in use, this can be helped by the corner steady’s. This can make sure the caravan is comfortable and all functions are being used at its best ability.
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas LPG – the fuel used when mains electricity is not available and the battery power is not sufficient.
  • Load Index – A number marked on the side wall of the tyres which advises of the maximum carrying load.


  • Mains Electricity – Modern caravans are equipped with a facility which can connect to a mains supply,
  • Maximum Authorised Weight – The maximum weight for which the touring caravan is designed for normal use whilst being on the road fully laden. This should not be exceeded.
  • Maximum Towing Weight – The maximum weight that the manufacturer will allow the car to tow under any circumstances and must never be exceeded.
  • Miniature Circuit Breaker – A resettable fuse used to protect the mains electric circuits.
  • MOT – The annual test that motor vehicles require after 3 years in age, currently caravans do not require this.
  • Motor Mover – An electronic device for manoeuvring a caravan when it is not hitched up.


  • National Caravan Council – The trade association for manufacturers, supplier and dealers. They are responsible for certifying that new caravan comply with European norms and other relevant standards.
  • Nose Weight – the maximum amount of downward force which the car manufacturer will allow to be exerted on the tow ball.
  • Number Plate – The touring caravan, trailer tent or folding caravan must show the legal number plates as per the towing vehicle.


  • Outfit – the car and caravan together are known as an outfit.


  • Pitch – Designated area on a caravan site which allows a caravan, motor home, folding camper or trailer tent to be placed and used for the duration of their stay.
  • Pigtail – This is intended as an attachment point for a breakaway cable, it is a metal spiral shape.
  • Pop Top – a caravan with an elevating roof.
  • Porta Potti – Trade name of a particular make of chemical toilet.
  • Pre-delivery inspection – an inspection carried out by the dealer ensures that any problems with the caravans are found before being delivered to the customer.


  • Rear Suspension Aids – Additional or enhanced suspension components which may be required to assist the standard suspension of a towing vehicle. Not commonly required on modern cards.
  • Regulator – Safety device fitted between h gas cylinder and the gas system which controls the amount of gas pressure and this then controls the amount released.
  • Residual Current Device – Safety device which automatically disconnects the mains electricity supply in the event of an earth leakage fault.
  • Road Tax – Caravans do not currently pay road tax.
  • Roof Light – A transparent panel in the roof which can be opened to allow further ventilation and add more light to the caravan.


  • Sandwich Construction – A method of making body panels where the inner and outer skins are bonded to a core of insulation foam, to form a light and rigid structure. Used for most side floor panels on caravans and motor homes.
  • Seasonal Pitch – A pitch that is reserved on a caravan park exclusively used to the caravan owner for a period of time (normally referred to as a seasonal pitch).
  • Single Axle – A caravan with just one set of wheels attached to the axle, one wheel on each side.
  • Stabiliser – a safety device which help prevent instability by controlling the ease with which the caravan hitch can pivot about the tow ball.
  • Static Caravan – A larger version of the touring caravan which can not be towed. Stays on a pitch on a site all the time.
  • Secondary Coupling – a safety device which act in the event of the caravan becoming inadvertently detached from its towing vehicle.
  • Self-Levelling Suspension – a feature found on some cars which prevents the rear of the car sinking under heavy loads, such as might otherwise occur when towing with the car laden with full holiday paraphernalia.
  • Service Description – The designation of a tyre which includes its size, its load index and its speed ratings. This information will be found marked on the tyres sidewall.
  • Sidewall – The part of a tyre between the thread and the wheel trim.
  • Snake – A severe form of instability.
  • Storage Site – A large area for the storage of caravans or other vehicles.
  • Sway – A mild version of instability.
  • Sold Secure – An independent and non-profit making scheme in which is dedicated to reducing the risk of vehicle theft by testing vehicle security products employing the same methods of attack used by criminals.


  • Tagging – Hidden electronic tag somewhere in the touring caravan so when the caravan is stolen. The police can screen the tag and find out who owns the caravan.
  • Tow Ball – The part of tow bar which the hitch attaches.
  • Tow Bar – The framework added to a towing vehicle to support the tow ball, and to distribute the loads resulting from the towing safely throughout the towing vehicle.
  • Towing Mirrors – Additional rear vision mirrors added to a towing vehicle to provide a better view.
  • Tracking Device – A security device which enables a caravan to be located if it was stolen.
  • Twin Axle – A caravan with two pairs of wheels, on two axles which are close together.
  • Tread – The part of a tyre which contacts the road surface.
  • 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 deflated tyre from dropping into recess, therefore in the event of a tyre blow out the caravan can still be controlled.
  • Trailer Tent – A towable vehicle which has a solid base, but a canvas top which is made into a tent like shape.


  • User Payload – the total weight of the accessories you can carry in the touring caravan.


  • Van – Abbreviation of Caravan, motor home.
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – the manufacturer’s unique serial number for an individual vehicle. Cars and motor homes also carry a VIN. This is not a requirement for caravans but most new vans do include this.
  • Ventilation – All forms of caravans must have ventilation in order to be safe for their occupants.


  • Warden – Most caravan storage sites or caravan parks have these they are in charge of the caravan site, and are part of the security at the site.
  • Waste Master (or waste carrier) – A container with wheels for convenience that holds your waste, makes it easier to empty at a service point.
  • Wheel Clamp – This is a security device that fits round the caravan wheel to protect it from being towed away from unauthorised persons.
  • Water Heater – Gas and electricity powered device to provide hot water for washing.
  • Water Filter – A mechanism that removes impurities from the water system.
  • Water Ingress – The penetration of damp from the outside into the structure and interior of the caravan. Have damp checks when the service is due to prevent this.
  • Water Pump – Since the caravan water tank has a low level of fluid the pump is used to circulate the water.
  • Weigh Bridge – A device capable of weighing a vehicle, frequently operated by local authorities.
  • Wheel Base – The separation between the front a rear axles of the vehicle.


  • Xenon – Type of head light found on some modern cars, can be useful for towing as they have a self levelling facility.


  • Yaw – The tendency of a caravan to pivot horizontally about its hitch.


  • Zig-Unit – The trade name of a popular brand of electrical control panel often fitted to caravans.