Jargon Glossary

Confused by corner steadies? Muddled by MIRO's? Check out this page for explanations of some of caravanning's more trivial matters!

'A-Frame'                     This is the point where the two sides of the chassis meet. The 'A-Frame' is where the
                                  hitch is located and is named due to the 'A' shape it forms - simple!
'Aqua Roll'                    This is a manufacturer of the original circular water carrying cylinders. These store
                                   water outside the caravan which is pumped into the caravan via the water system to
                                   the taps.
'Awning'                       This is a kind of tent that can be attached to the side of the caravan. It doubles the width
                                  of the caravan, creating more space and can be used as a canopy.
'Awning Light'               You may have noticed a light fitted on the outside of your caravan near the top
                                  of the entrance door - this is an Awning light. Awning lights light up the
                                  awning space at night when switched on but also allow you to clearly see your
                                  way into your caravan at night even if there's no awning fitted.
'Bed Base'                     This is the term to describe the underneath part of the seats/bunks/beds. It's the
                                   wooden frame that supports it and encloses the storage area underneath.
'Brake-away Cable'         This is a small cable located underneath the hitch, and is attached to the handbrake. It is
                                   usually black, silver or red and features a small clip on the end. This is a safety device
                                   which should the caravan become detached from the car by accident, the brakes are
'Chemical Toilet'             Fitted toilets in caravans are known as chemical toilets. The reason being that
                                   they use chemicals as opposed to water (unlike a household toilet). These
                                   chemicals absorb odours and bacteria to make the toilet safer and cleaner.
                                   Usually one chemical is needed for flushing and a different one used for lining
                                   the bottom of the holding tank.
'Corner Steady'              These are four inbuilt 'jacks' on the corners of the caravan. They are attached to the
                                   chassis and can be lowered to stabilise the caravan when it is inhabited.
'Coupling'                      This is another term for the tow hitch, that "couples" onto the car's towball.
'External Locker'             This is a small hatched door whereby you can gain access to a space inside
                                   the caravan. These are usually found at the front on the nearside of the
                                   caravan. Some allow access into the bed bases for storage, and some are more
                                   specialised such as battery compartments that only serve a purpose in housing
                                   the 12v leisure battery.
'Front Locker'                 This is an incorporated feature on the exterior of some caravans to allow storage of
                                    accessories and gas bottles. Some caravans have one built into the front and some
                                    have 'gas boxes' mounted on the A-Frame.
'Grab Handles'                These are the handles located on the exterior of the caravan for manoeuvring
'GRP'                            Stands for Glass Reinforced Plastic and is a common material used in the
                                    manufacture of touring caravans, used mainly for front and back panels, side trim,
                                    wheel arch covers and occasionally roofs.
'Hitch Lock'                    This is an anti-theft device fitted to the tow hitch.
'Jockey Wheel'                This is the device with the wheel and telescopic tube mounted on the A-Frame that
                                    allows the caravan to be moved and leveled on a pitch an raised and lowered onto
                                    the towball.
'Mains Hook Up Lead'      This is the orange cable that connects your caravan to a 230v power supply.
'Marker Lights'               The equivalent of side lights for cars. These are on the front of all caravans and are
                                    usually in line with the front windows. Some caravans have them located on the sides      
                                    at a high level
'MIRO'                         This stands for Mass In Running Order and is the weight of the caravan as it leaves
                                    the factory ie, empty without any accessories or personal effects.
'Motormover'                  This is a chassis mounted device that engages a roller to each wheel of the caravan
                                    to manoeuvre it using a remove. It is powered by the leisure battery.
'MTPLM'                        This stands for Maximum Technical Permitable Laden Mass and is the maximum
                                    weight that the caravan can accommodate. This is based on the capabilities of the
                                    chassis. This is the figure you use when you are checking if your car will tow your
'Noseweight'                    This is the downward weight that the caravan places on the back of the car. You
                                    measure it from the tow hitch and it can be measured with a set of bathroom scales.
                                   The ideal noseweight is 75kgs for most caravans and 50kgs for caravans under a
                                    maximim weight of 750kgs. Most cars have a limit of 75kgs. Noseweight is a major
                                    factor in stability whilst towing
'Outfit'                           In this case, it is the term used to describe car and caravan as a unit - not something
                                    you wear!
'Payload'                        This is the weight allowance for accessories and personal effects. You can work out
                                    this figure by subtracting the MIRO from the MTPLM. The payload can be reduced
                                    to reduce the over all weight of the caravan and if exceeded can make the caravan
                                    unstable whilst towing.
'Porta-Potti'                   This is a brand of portable toilets. The name has now been accepted as a
                                    generic term for non fitted toilets in caravans. These are very common in
                                    vintage caravans as no toilet would have been fitted as standard (unless one
                                    was later retro-fitted) and Porta-Potti's offer a cheap and practical alternative to
                                    fitting a chemical toilet.
'Pump'                           This external device pumps fresh water from a water carrier to the caravan taps.
                                    Some are operated via a 12v system and others on older caravans are based on
                                    water pressure.
'Regulator'                      This is a device that allows the gas in the gas bottle to be fed to the gas appliances
                                     inside the caravan.
'Rooflight'                       This is a small plastic 'window' in the roof. It opens by about an inch or so to allow
                                    ventilation. Some are transparent and some are half opaque. All allow some light in.
'Stabiliser Bar'                This is a metal bar mounted on the A-Frame and connected to the back of the car to
                                    improve the stability of the caravan whilst towing.
'Towing Mirrors'              These are mirrors that clip onto your car wing mirrors to allow you to see around
                                    the caravan whilst towing.
'Wastemaster'                 This wheeled container stores water from the drains of the caravan, so called 'grey
'Window Catch'               Fairly simple, the catches that hold the windows shut.
'Window Stays'                These teloscopic tubes or ratchets attached to the windows hold them open via a
                                     tightening screw.
'12N socket'                     This is the black socket located on the A-Frame that attaches to the tow vehicle. It
                                    controls the road lights on the touring caravan.
'12S socket'                      This is the grey socket located on the A-Frame that attaches to the tow vehicle. It
                                    allows 12v functions to run on the caravan during towing and should the caravan
                                    need back up power on site. Older caravans may not have a grey socket as they
                                    were not a standard feature until the 1970's.