A type of motorhome where both the cab and habitation area bodywork are integrated.
The triangular part of the chassis at the front of the caravan between the hitch and the bodywork. This is typically covered by a moulded fairing on modern caravans.
May refer to 'Anti-Lock Braking System' on vehicles. May also refer to 'Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene', a type of plastic sometimes used for exterior body panels on caravans and motorhomes.
Actual Weight
The weight of the caravan loaded as you tow it on the road is called the actual weight. This must not exceed the MTPLM or MAM.
An addition that extends a living or storage space.
Approved Workshop
A caravan or motorhome service agent and repairer who has been assessed and approved under the terms of the Approved Workshop Scheme, a joint venture administered by The Caravan Club, the Camping and Caravanning Club and the National Caravan Council.

A tent-like structure of fabric over a supporting framework, which can be attached to the side of a caravan or motorhome. Provides shade, as well as additional living, sleeping or storage space. 'Full Awnings' cover the length of the vehicle, whereas shorter 'Porch Awnings' typically cover the area surrounding the door, neither are free-standing. Motorhome awnings are usually either retractable into a container attached permanently to the side of the vehicle or are free-standing to allow the vehicle to leave the awning on site while out for the day.

Awning Carpet
A term used to describe the groundsheet in an awning - usually referring to those which are porous, and hence less damaging to the underlying grass.
Awning Rail
The extruded slot around the caravan wall into which the awning is threaded to attach it to the body.
Awning Size
The dimension which determines the size of awning required to fit a particular caravan. Usually stated as the total length of the roof and the sides, as measured around the awning rail.


Base Vehicle
The vehicle used as the platform on which a motorhome is built.
Refers to the number of people which can be accommodated for sleeping.
BHP or Brake Horse Power is a measure of an engine's horsepower before the loss in power caused by the gearbox, alternator, differential, waterpump and auxiliary components.
Blown Air Heating
A type of heating found on more recent caravans and motorhomes. Warm air is circulated through ducting to all parts of the habitation area by a fan.
Breakaway Cable
A type of secondary coupling found on caravans. This is a thin steel cable which links the caravan handbrake to the tow bar. In the event of the caravan becoming detached from the car, this cable will operate the caravan handbrake before the cable breaks thus bringing the caravan to a rapid halt. Both the fitment and use of this device is a legal requirement on modern braked trailers.
A type of bed, typically one of two or more arranged one on top of the other.
A type of liquefied petroleum gas commonly used in caravans and motorhome. Typically stored in blue gas cylinders.


A fibreglass awning frame reinforced with carbon fibre.
Cassette Toilet
A form of chemical toilet where the waste holding tank can be accessed from outside the caravan, and can be removed for emptying without having to transport the whole toilet.
The structural frame on top of which the habitation area of a caravan or motorhome is built.
Chassis Cab
A common type of base vehicle on which a motorhome may be built. The vehicle manufacturer builds a complete, driveable chassis with enclosed cab area, but no bodywork behind the cab. The converter then adds a habitation area to this.
Chemical Toilet
A self-contained toilet, where the waste material is held in a sealed tank for periodic emptying. Special chemical fluid added to the tank helps to break down the waste and keeps the system free of unpleasant odours.
A type of Motorhome where the habitation area is built onto a chassis cab.
Corner Steady
Adjustable legs built into the corner of a caravan and used to stabilise the body of the vehicle on a pitch. This helps the structure withstand the weight of people moving around inside, and prevent it rocking in the wind.
Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme - the UK's official database of caravans and their owners.


A display model used to demonstrate the vehicle on site.
Dinette - A seating area consisting of a pair (or more) of facing seats.
Do It Yourself, a vehicle where a customer has to undertake any servicing and repairs.
Drinking Water
Fresh water for drinking and washing etc is stored in an internal tank or external container.


Elevating Roof
A feature of smaller motorhomes. The roof can be elevated to provide greater headroom when on site.
Essential Habitation Equipment
Those items and fluids required for the safe and proper functioning of the equipment for habitation as defined by the manufacturer of the caravan or motorhome. This includes items such as the leisure battery and gas cylinders, plus water contained in the water heater etc.


A form of plastic material commonly used for exterior body panels. Also known as GRP or Glass Reinforced Plastic.
Flame Failure Device
Gas-powered appliances should be equipped with such a device which minimises the escape of unburnt gas into the habitation area, should the flame accidentally go out.
A mesh-screen designed to allow an airflow but prevent insects from entering.
A waterproof fabric membrane typically found on the outside skin of a tent.
Folding Camper
Similar to a trailer tent, but with a more sophisticated folding mechanism which requires no guy lines to tension the fabric, and is hence easier to erect.
Folding Caravan
A caravan where the upper parts of the walls can be folded flat and the roof lowered to give a trailer which is easier to tow and to store.
All modern caravans, motorhomes, folding campers and some trailer tents contain a refrigerator which can usually run off mains electric, 12V electric or gas.


A storage area inside a motorhome, usually to store bicycles and other large objects.
Gas Bottle Locker
Compartment for the storage of gas cylinders.
Gas Cylinder
Pressurised container for the storage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas.
Gas-assisted Handbrake
A caravan handbrake which has a degree of power-assistance through the use of a gas strut.
A small portable generator to provide mains electricity.
Gross Train Weight (GTW)
Gross Train Weight (GTW) - The maximum a car and caravan combination is allowed to weigh when fully loaded.
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) - The maximum a vehicle is allowed to weigh when it is fully loaded is called the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or Maximum Gross Weight (MGM).
A waterproof barrier between the ground and the floor of a Tent, or Awning. The walls of a groundsheet may extend up the lower part of the walls to prevent water seepage between the groundsheet and walls, known as a 'bathtub' style groundsheet. The groundhseet may be sewn in or separate, either being pegged out or zipped in to the walls.
Guy Lines
A guy-wire or guy-rope (also known as simply a guy) is a tensioned cable designed to add stability to structures. Typically used on fabric structures such as Tents, Trailer Tents and Awnings.


Habitation Area
The parts of the vehicle which comprises the living space.
A form of motorhome where the base vehicle manufacturer or converter has added a (fixed) raised-height roof to a panel van as part of a van conversion.
The mechanism which allows a Caravan, Folding Camper or Trailer Tent to be attached to a tow ball.
Hitch Head Stabiliser
A form of stabiliserbuilt into the caravan hitch which works by applying friction directly to the tow ball.
Hitch Lock
A security device which prevents the caravan hitch being connected to (or in some cases, removed from ) a tow ball.
Hire Purchase Information - Standard check that verifies a vehicle's history.


A type of fibreglass used in awning frames.


Jockey Wheel
Small wheel at the front of a caravan used to support the forward end of the caravan while it is not hitched up. Allows the caravan to be manoeuvred.



The Mass in Running Order (MIRO) of a car is called the kerbweight. You will need to look in your handbook for what the manufacturer includes in their kerbweight calculations.


The arrangement of furniture and fittings within the habitation area.
Leaf Spring Stabiliser
An add-on device which can help prevent instability by controlling the ease with which the caravan hitch can pivot about the tow ball. Usually consists of a large spring connected between the tow bar and the caravan A-frame, and a friction pad.
Leisure Battery
A 12V battery, which powers the 12V electrical elements such as lighting, water pump(s) etc in a vehicle.
Load Index
A number marked on the sidewall of a tyre which indicates its maximum load carrying capacity.
Low Profile
A form of coachbuilt Motorhome which does not have an overcab bed.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas - The fuel used to power the cooking facilities, fridge, water heater and space heater in most Caravans, Motorhomes, Folding Campers & Trailer Tents. Two types of LPG are commonly available; butane and propane.


Mains Electricity
The facility to connect to the 240v mains.
Manufacturer's Braked Towing Limit
A statement by the manufacturer giving the maximum weight of braked trailer the vehicle will tow, when restarting on a gradient of, usually, 1 in 8 (12%), or less commonly, 1 in 12 (8%).
Manufacturer's Unbraked Towing Limit
A statement by the manufacturer giving the maximum weight of unbraked trailer the vehicle will tow is permitted to tow.
Mass in Service
The mass in service is the Mass in Running Order (MIRO), or kerbweight including a 75kg driver, of a car as it left the factory. You can find this information in the car's Vehicle Registration information.
Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM)
Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) - The maximum a vehicle is allowed to weigh when it is fully loaded is called the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or Maximum Gross Weight (MGM).
Maximum Gross Weight (MGM)
Maximum Gross Weight (MGM) - The maximum a vehicle is allowed to weigh when it is fully loaded is called the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or Maximum Gross Weight (MGM).
Mass In Running Order - Mass of the Caravan, Motorhome, Folding Camper or Trailer Tent equipped to the manufacturer's standard specification. i.e. The condition in which it leaves the factory. Note that this does not include any part of the user payload, including the essential habitation equipment.
The annual test required for motor vehicles. Motorhome require the same MOT as a car ('Class IV').
Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass - The Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of a caravan; The heaviest condition at which the vehicle should ever be operated.


That weight of the caravan which is supported by the rear of the towing vehicle via the tow ball.
Noseweight Limit
The value of noseweight which must not be exceeded. Towing vehicles, tow bars and caravan hitches all have noseweight limits, and the lowest figure from any given combination is the one which is the limiting factor.


Optional Equipment Payload
Items made available by the manufacturer over and above the standard specification for vehicle.
Outfit Matching
It is recommended that the weight of the caravan with its contents should not exceed 85% of the car's kerbweight, or unladen weight. This is called "outfit matching" and we can help you with this. It is very important to find a good match between car and caravan. Some people work with their existing car, and some people might time buying a new car and caravan at the same time.
A motorhome with a bed above the cab driving area.


Pre Delivery Inspection - The inspection procedure carried out by our Approved Workshop to ensure that any problems with the vehicle are identified prior to delivery to the customer.
Personal Effects Payload
The weight of any personal items the owner wishes to place in the vehicle.
A type of steel awning frame with an external zinc coating for longer life
Private Heavy Goods Vehicle
A vehicle excise duty classification which applies to Motorhomes with a gross vehicle weight in excess of 3,500kg.
A type of Liquefied Petroleum Gas commonly used in Caravans, Motorhomes, Folding Campers & Trailer Tent. Usually stored in red gas cylinders. Preferred for all year round use, since it can be used at lower temperatures than butane.


Safety device fitted between the gas cylinder and the gas system which controls the pressure of gas being released from the cylinder.
Residual Current Device
Safety device which disconnects the mains electricity supply in the event of an earth leakage fault. Also known as residual current circuit breaker or earth leakage circuit breaker.
Roof Light
A transparent panel in the roof which can be opened to provide additional ventilation
Roof Vent
A feature which provides fixed (i.e. permanent) ventilation at a high level in the caravan.


Secondary Coupling
A safety device which acts in the event of the caravan or trailer tent becoming inadvertently detached from its towing vehicle. Smaller trailers, including lighter trailer tents and especially those without brakes, may use a sturdy chain which keeps the trailer attached and under control. Heavier trailers, including almost all caravans use a breakaway cable instead. The fitment and use of a secondary coupling or breakaway cable is a legal requirement on all modern trailers.
Service Description
The designation of a tyre which includes its size (e.g. '165R13'), its load index (e.g. '82') and its speed rating (e.g. 'T'). This information will be found marked on the tyre's sidewall.
Single Axle
A caravan with a single pair of wheels on one axle.
The number of people who can sleep in it but not transported in the vehicle
Space Heater
An appliance to heat the habitation area of a Caravan, Motorhome, Folding Camper or Trailer Tent.
Speed Rating
The maximum speed at which a tyre may be used, as marked on its sidewall.
A safety device which helps prevent instability by controlling the ease with which the caravan hitch can pivot about the tow ball.


The turning force produced by an engine, its 'pulling power'. A high torque output will give relaxed driving characteristics and better towing performance.
Total Seatbelts
The number of seats in a motorhome with seatbelts, therefore defining the maximum number of people that can be in the motorhome during transit.
Total User Payload
MTPLM - MIRO = User Payload. It is the total weight of all personal items and essentials the vehicle can hold.
Tow Ball
The ball onto 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 towing safely throughout the towing vehicle's structure.
Towing Limit
The Towing Limit is the maximum weight a vehicle is designed to tow up a 12 per cent hill (1 in 8).
Towing Mirrors
Additional side mirrors added to a towing vehicle to provide a greater field of view to see past a caravan.
Trailer Tent
A tent which can fold down into a trailer for towing.
Twin Axle
A caravan with two pairs of wheels, on two axles which are located close together. These are usually the larger, heavier caravans, where the second axle helps carry the greater weight more easily, and also makes a longer caravan more stable to tow.


Unladen Weight
The weight of a vehicle when not carrying a load and excluding fuel or batteries.
User Payload
The difference between the MTPLM and the MIRO. Payload includes essential habitation equipment, personal effects and optional equipment.


Van Conversion
A type of Motorhome based on a panel van.
The manufacturer's unique serial number for an individual vehicle. Cars and motor caravans should carry a VIN.


Waste Water
Water which has been used in the kitchen or bathroom area. This should be collected in an internal tank or external container for later disposal at a designated emptying point on the site.
Water Filter
A device to remove impurities from the water system.
Water Heater
Gas and/or electrically powered device to provide hot water.
Water Ingress
The penetration of damp from the outside into the structure and interior of a Caravan or Motorhome.
Water Pump
Since caravan and motor caravan water tanks and containers are kept at a low level, a pump must be used to circulate water around the system.
The material will resist liquid, but is not watertight and liquid will leak through under extreme conditions.
No liquid can penetrate through a the material.
The separation between the front and rear axles of a vehicle. Motorhomes are sometimes available with a choice of wheelbase options to give different interior layouts.
A security device intended to stop one of the road wheels rotating.