The Motorhome Glossary: Key Motorhome Terms and What They Mean

The Motorhome Glossary: Key Motorhome Terms and What They Mean

You’re considering your first campervan holiday, you’ve had a quick look at the our website and you’re now planning to rent a motorhome from us for your first adventure. Maybe you’ll holiday in Cornwall, maybe Scotland, heck, maybe you’ll drive your rental motorhome across to Spain for a couple of weeks. You love the idea of hitting the open road. The trouble is, you’ve no idea what all these motorhome terms mean.
Why on earth would you take your garage with you? Should you listen to 80s music in your cassette toilet? Isn’t it a bit rude to talk about a hook-up and inverter? And what on earth is homologation all about?

We’re here to give you a run down on common motorhome terminology

We know we’re all about the nerdy motorhome terms and, actually, many of our customers have never heard of a lot of them or other features you’ll find in our motorhome hire fleet. So, we decided to put together our very own glossary to explain all the important motorhome terminology and features you might hear or read during your hire journey.
You’ll find a more complete list at the bottom of our FAQs page but, in the meantime, here are a few to start you off.

Cassette toilet
Motorhomes have a flushing toilet where the waste drops into a unit called a ‘cassette’. The cassette can be removed and emptied into a sewer or toilet.

A lounge layout that features a forward and rear-facing seat. Often they have seatbelts. A table forms part of the layout. Ideal for maximising the number of travelling seats and for eating. A less lounge-like area for stretching out.

Double floor
Some of our motorhomes are fitted with a floor containing heating resulting in under floor heating. A double floor results in a warmer living and sleeping environment. Hence the term double floor.

Drop-down bed
A number of our motorhomes feature a double bed that is stored in the ceiling. It comes down electronically on the press of a button. It maximises space and keeps the motorhome more aerodynamic. You can leave your duvet and pillows on the bed and raise it out of the way to create a lounge space in seconds.

The Motorhome Glossary: Key Motorhome Terms and What They Mean


The area at the rear of the motorhome usually under the rear bed. It can be used for storing bikes, chairs, table etc. It’s like a naughty step. But darker! Please note: There is a weight limit on what can go in the garage and it must be offset with any bikes on a rear rack or weight on a tow bar if fitted and in use. The limit is typically 150kg – 200kg.

Grey water
A term used for wastewater that has left the sinks and shower. A grey water tank is under the motorhome and can be emptied in the UK in any gutter or drain. It is common to drive with the drain tap open allowing the dirty water to empty on the ground whilst moving. This is not permitted in France and some other European countries. Grey water can start to smell after a few hot days. It commonly contains body fat from hand washing and showering, soap, food waste and liquid waste, particularly milk that starts to go off. It is therefore advisable to empty the grey waste regularly.

The living area of the motorhome.

The process a motorhome goes through prior to registration when new. It determines the number of seats for travelling and number of seatbelts.

A term used when plugging the motorhome into the mains electricity. Doing so allows the batteries to charge, the sockets to work and the appliances to use the electricity rather than the gas.

A unit that allows the 12v batteries to power a 240v appliance e.g. powering a hairdryer from a battery.

This is the type of gas we use on the motorhomes. Usually a Calor bottle(s) is included. LPG is in a red coloured bottle and has a lower freezing point than the blue bottles known as butane. The gas valves are different for each type of bottle.
Levelling ramps/chocks
Plastic ramps that allow you to drive on and achieve a level motorhome. Very useful to ensure a good night’s sleep, that the sinks drain properly and that you don’t spill the wine!

This refers to the bed over the cab.

There you have it, you’re now well on your way to becoming an expert in key motorhome terms and features.


Found other terms not included in our list?

We’re constantly updating our website, so if there are any other names or terms you’re not sure about, email us at and we’ll explain them and add them to our ever-growing glossary.

+44 (0)117 290 9000
A370, Hewish, Bristol, BS24 6RT

Motorhome Holiday Company; your (technically correct) adventure starts here.