RV GLOSSARY


ARCTIC PACKAGE / POLAR PACKAGE
An optional feature on an RV that adds additional insulation, storm windows and heat pads/strips for the holding tanks and water lines, to enable the RV to be used in cold weather.

 

AXLE RATIO
The ratio between the pinion and ring gears in the differential that multiply the torque provided by the engine. It is the number of driveline revolutions required to turn the axle one time. As an example, with a 4.10:1 axle the driveline turns 4.1 times for each full axle revolution. The higher the number, the more torque and thus more towing power. However, the higher the number the slower your vehicle speed.

 

BACKUP MONITOR
A camera in the back of a motorhome, with the monitor positioned somewhere on the dashboard for the driver, which aids in safely backing up the motorhome. It also adds an extra measure of safety when driving as whatever is being towed can be seen and frequently checked as you operate the RV rig.

 

BALL MOUNT
The part of the hitch system that supports the hitch ball and connects it to the trailer coupler. Ball mounts are available in load carrying and weight distributing configurations.

 

BASEMENT
The storage area below the floor of the RV, accessible from the outside. Basement storage usually refers to storage in a Class A or Class C motorhome.

 

BOONDOCKING
Also known as dry camping, boondocking refers to camping without any ‘hook-ups’, specifically no electric, sewer or water. You will rely on your RV batteries and generator and your potable water and bathing water will come from your freshwater holding tank.

 

BLACK WATER TANK
Black water is the waste from the sewer/toilet system. Your RV has a tank for this purpose, and it must be periodically emptied. The tank has a specific gallon capacity.

 

BRAKE CONTROLLER
A control unit mounted inside the vehicle that allows the electric brakes on the trailer to become activated in harmony with the braking of the tow vehicle. The controller can also be used to manually activate the trailer brakes.

 

BREAKAWAY SYSTEM
A system designed to automatically lock the trailer brakes in the event of a hitch failure, where the trailer may break away from the tow vehicle.

 

BRITISH THERMAL UNIT / BTU
A measurement of heat that refers to the quantity required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree F. (Fahrenheit). RV air conditioners and furnaces are BTU-rated.

 

CONVERTER
An electrical device for converting 120-volt AC power into 12-volt DC power. Most RVs with electrical hookups will have a converter, since many of the interior electrical components, such as lights run on 12-volt DC.

 

COUPLER
The part of the trailer that attaches to the ball of the hitch.

 

DIESEL PULLER
The term for a motorhome with the diesel engine mounted in the front of the vehicle. Also know simply as a Puller.

 

DIESEL PUSHER
The term for a motorhome with the diesel engine mounted in the rear of the vehicle. Also know simply as a Pusher.

 

DINGHY
The term for a vehicle that you are towing with your RV. Another slang term for the dinghy is a ‘toad’. The term is also used in the boating world to denote a small boating vessel used to reach shore, while the larger vessel stays anchored or in deeper water.

 

DOLLY
A type of towing device that causes the front tires and axle of a car to sit on the dolly, elevated from the road, with the rear tires and axle meeting the pavement. You often see this style of towing when an improperly parked car is being ‘towed away’ via a conventional tow truck.

 

DRY CAMPING
Also known as boondocking, dry camping refers to camping without any ‘shore’ hook-ups. It is, for the most part, camping without hooking up to any electric, sewer or water facilities. You will rely on electricity from your RV batteries and generator and water from your freshwater holding tank.

 

DRY WEIGHT
The weight of the RV without any fuel, freshwater, propane or passengers.

 

DUALLY
A pickup truck, or tow vehicle, with four tires on one rear axle, thus the term dual, which is referring to dual wheels on each end of the axle. Dually’s are manufactured with a wide array of towing capability and capacity.

 

DUMP STATION
A facility for dumping or emptying your black water and grey water holding tanks.

 

EQUALIZING HITCH
A hitch that utilizes spring bars that are placed under tension to distribute a portion of the trailer’s hitch weight to the tow vehicle’s front axle and the trailer’s axles. This hitch is also known as a weight distributing hitch. This type of hitch is designed and manufactured for greater load carrying capacity.

 

FIVER
Another name for a fifth-wheel RV trailer, which is a towable RV, where the hitch weight is distributed to the rear axle of the towing vehicle such as truck or dually.

 

FMCA
Family Motor Coach Association

 

FRESH WATER TANK
This is the storage tank for potable water that is used for drinking, cooking, bathing, and the toilet/sewer.

 

FULL HOOKUP
Often referred to as ‘shore power’, the term refers to the ability to connect to electric, water, sewer, and sometimes cable/internet.

 

FULL-TIMERS / FULL-TIMING
This term refers to people who live in their RVs full-time, or those who spend the vast majority of their time living and/or traveling in an RV.

 

GENERATOR
An electrical device powered by gasoline or diesel fuel, and sometimes propane, for generating 120-volt AC power.

 

GENSET
An abbreviation and slang term referring to a ‘generator set’ or ‘generator setup’ or ‘generator configuration’.

 

GREY WATER TANK
The tank in your RV that holds, in gallons, your semi-foul waste water. Grey water comes from the sinks and shower.

 

HITCH RATING
The weight, assigned by the manufacturer, that the hitch is designed to handle.

 

HITCH WEIGHT
The amount of a trailer’s weight that rests on the tow vehicle’s hitch. For travel trailers this weight should be 10% to 15% of the total weight of the trailer. For fifth wheels this weight should be 15% to 20% of the total weight of the trailer.

 

HOLDING TANKS
This refers to water tanks, fresh, grey and black.

 

HOOKUPS
Also referred to as ‘shore power’ this denotes the ability to connect to electric, water, sewer and sometimes cable/internet.

 

HULA SKIRT AKA MUD FLAPS
A skirt, device, or flap, attached to the rear bumper of a motorhome, so as to stop road debris thrown up from the rear wheels which can become a projectile which can then damage your tow vehicle, or trailer, or any other vehicles and motorists behind your motorhome and/or RV rig. On tractor trailers you will almost always see ‘mud flaps’ as they prevent road debris from becoming a projectile.

 

INVERTER
An electrical device for converting 12-volt DC power into 120-volt AC power.

 

LP GAS / PROPANE
Liquefied Petroleum Gas. LP gas is also known as propane. It used to fuel appliances in the RV, such as the stove, oven, water heater and sometimes the refrigerator. Newer RVs are using battery systems rather than propane fueling/energy systems. Propane tanks are usually rated in pounds or gallons.

 

MOTORCOACH
A motorhome that is built on a bus-type chassis, and designed to carry greater weight capacity.

 

NADA
National Automobile Dealers Association

 

PART-TIMERS
A term used to describe or refer to people who spend part of their time in an RV and some of their time in other locations, such as a home-base, but less than a full-timer who lives in their RV all of the time.

 

POP-OUT
This term generally refers to pop-out and pop-up campers and tents, however, it can sometimes refer to a slide-out which is a reference to an RV/motorhome that has a section that slides out when the unit is parked, thus adding to the overall living space in the unit.

 

POP-UP CAMPER
The Pop-Up is a classic style of folding camper/tent situated on a trailer, it’s not quite a tent and its not quite an RV, in the style of a motorhome, but is still, in the strictness sense of the words or words, an RV or a recreational vehicle.

 

PORPOISING
A term used to define the up and down motion, or bounce that sometimes occurs in an RV while traveling.

 

PULLER
A slang term for a motorhome with a front-mounted diesel engine.

 

PULL-THROUGH
A camping site that allows the motorhome to be driven to its parking site, parked, and then continue on its journey, when the stay is completed, while never having to back the unit up; all forward motion.

 

PUSHER
A slang term for a motorhome with a rear-mounted diesel engine.

 

RECEIVER
The part of the hitch that permits a hitch bar to be inserted.

 

REFER or REEFER
An abbreviation for refrigerator, which started out as refrig, which was probably over time shortened to ref..er, which has now become known as refer or reefer, which refers to the refrigerator. Often, on detailed floorplans it becomes necessary to abbreviate the very long word for refrigerator, so refer evolved likely due to this need.

 

ROUGH CAMPING
A term used to describe camping with no RV, and generally using only a tent, or no tent and minimal camping supplies. Think cowboys traversing the width of a state on horseback.

 

RVDA
Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association

 

RVIA
Recreational Vehicle Industry Association

 

RVRA
Recreational Vehicle Rental Association

 

RV TYPES – 1.) TOWABLE RVS
“Towable RVs must be mounted on or towed by a motorized vehicle to be moved from place to place. Some towables are small and light enough to be towed by the family car, while others require an SUV or pickup truck. Always verify your vehicle’s towing capability and allow for the added weight of personal belongings loaded on board.” – http://gorving.com/compare-rvs/towable-rvs

 

RV TYPES – 2.) MOTORIZED RVS
“Motorized RVs are vehicles designed as temporary living quarters for recreational camping, travel or seasonal use that are built on a motorized chassis.” – http://gorving.com/compare-rvs/motorized-rvs

 

RV TYPES – 3.) SPECIALTY RVS
“RVs complement a wide variety of lifestyles and needs. But when demand for special features continues, new units are produced to better meet those needs. From hobbies to accessibility challenges, RVs can meet a wide range of needs and wants.” – http://gorving.com/compare-rvs/specialty-rvs

 

RV TYPES – 4.) PARK MODEL RVS
“Park Model RVs are unique units that provide temporary accommodations for recreation, camping or seasonal use. Park Model RVs are designed to look like a home, but they need to be hooked up to site electricity, sewer and water like any RV.” – http://gorving.com/compare-rvs/park-model-rvs

 

RV TYPES – TYPE “A” RV – MOTORIZED
“Type A or conventional motorhomes are constructed entirely on a specially designed motor vehicle chassis. Home-like amenities abound, and generally these motorhomes have kitchens, bathrooms, living areas with entertainment centers and centrally controlled heating and air conditioning.” – http://gorving.com/compare-rvs/motorized-rvs/type-a-motorhome

 

RV TYPES – TYPE “B” RV – MOTORIZED
Commonly called van campers, Type B Motorhomes are built using automotive manufactured van or panel-truck shells. Van campers drive more like the family car, but offer the comforts and conveniences of home on the road.” – http://gorving.com/compare-rvs/motorized-rvs/type-b-motorhome

 

RV TYPES – TYPE “C” RV – MOTORIZED
Type C Motorhomes are built on an automotive van frame with a wider body section attached to the original cab section. Many Type C Motorhomes are easily recognizable by the over-the-cab area that is often an optional sleeping area. Amenities are similar to those in conventional motorhomes.” – http://gorving.com/compare-rvs/motorized-rvs/type-a-motorhome

 

SAFETY CHAINS
A set of chains that are attached to both the trailer A-Frame and the tow vehicle while towing. Safety chains are intended to keep the trailer attached to the tow vehicle in the event of a hitch failure, preventing the trailer from completely separating from the tow vehicle.

 

SCREEN ROOM
A term for a screen enclosure that attaches to the exterior of an RV for a bug-free living area outside the RV, also called the patio area, just as you would have in a brick and motor house setting.

 

SHORE POWER
This term is borrowed from the boating community refers to a direct electrical hookup provided to the RV through an external source of electrical power.

 

SLIDE-IN or SLIDE-ON
A term for a type of camper that mounts on a truck bed. The camper slides into or onto the the truck bed.

 

SLIDE-OUT
A term describing the section of the RV that literally slides out from the main chassis assembly to create additional living space in the RV.

 

SLIDES
Also a reference to the slide-outs on an RV, there may often be more than one slide-out.

 

SLIDER
A slang term for a slider-hitch.

 

SLIDER HITCH
A sliding hitch used on short bed pickup trucks to enable them to tow fifth wheel trailers. It allows them sufficient vertical height and clearance to make turns without having the trailer hit the sides of the truck bed.

 

TIP-OUT
A term describing an area or room in an RV that tips out to create additional living space. This design concept was the predecessor of the present day slide-out. The tip-out is found in older RVs.

 

TOAD
A term for a vehicle that is towed behind a motorhome. It probably evolved from the word towed, which also sounds like toad. In the boating world we call the smaller vessel towed behind the larger vessel a Dinghy. A Toad can be a Dinghy and vice versa.

 

TOW BAR
A bar used for connecting a towed vehicle to the motorhome for towing with all four wheels on the ground. The bar keeps the towed vehicle at a fixed distance from the motorhome, via the lenghth of the tow bar itself.

 

TRAILER BRAKES
Brakes that are built into the trailer and are activated either by electric impulse or by a surge mechanism.

 

TRANSMISSION COOLER
A heat exchanger similar to a small radiator through which automatic transmission fluid passes and is cooled.

 

TRIPLE TOWING
A term used to describe three vehicles in a tow configuration, daisy chain style. A typical example would be a motorhome, with an additional let’s say storage trailer, then a boat or car. The storage trailer could possibly house a car, and there are even double-stack trailers available nowadays.

 

WEIGHT CARRYING HITCH
A hitch designed to accept the entire hitch weight of the trailer. This hitch is also known as a dead weight hitch.

 

WEIGHT DISTRIBUTING HITCH
A hitch that utilizes spring bars that are placed under tension to distribute a portion of the trailer’s hitch weight to the tow vehicle’s front axle and the trailer’s axles. This hitch is also known as an equalizing hitch.

 

WET WEIGHT
The weight of the RV with fuel, freshwater and propane tanks at full capacity.

 

WIDE BODY
A term for an RV exceeding the normal eight feet width. ‘Wide Bodies’ are usually 102″ or 8′ 6″ wide.