Ready to hit the road in an RV or just curious about the lifestyle? There’s a whole lingo to get your head around, from different RV types to the ins and outs of campsite hookups.
We’ve put together a “Glossary of RV-Related Terms” to help break down the basics and some not-so-basic terms you’ll come across.
This guide is here to clear up any confusion and make the world of RVing a bit more approachable.
Whether you’re planning your first RV trip or you’re a seasoned pro looking to brush up on your knowledge, this glossary is packed with essential terms to help you navigate the RV world with ease.
Recreational vehicles, or RVs, encompass a broad range of motorhomes, trailers, and campers designed for leisure travel and camping. Here are 50 terms that are often associated with RVs and the RV lifestyle:
- Class A Motorhome: The largest type of motorhome, resembling a bus.
- Class B Motorhome: Also known as a camper van, it’s the smallest type of motorhome.
- Class C Motorhome: A mid-size motorhome, often with a distinctive cab-over bunk area.
- Travel Trailer: A towable RV that ranges in size and amenities.
- Fifth Wheel: A large towable RV that requires a special hitch mounted in the bed of a pickup truck.
- Pop-Up Camper: A lightweight, collapsible camper ideal for short trips and minimalistic camping.
- Toy Hauler: An RV designed with a garage area to carry motorcycles, ATVs, or other “toys.”
- Slide-Out: A section of the RV that can be extended outward to create additional living space.
- Boondocking: Camping without hookups in remote locations.
- Full Hookup: An RV campsite offering water, electricity, and sewer connections.
- Dry Camping: Camping without any hookups for water, electricity, or sewer.
- Dump Station: A facility for emptying RV holding tanks of sewage and gray water.
- Holding Tanks: Tanks in an RV that store fresh water, gray water (from sinks and showers), and black water (sewage).
- Generator: A device that provides electricity to the RV when not connected to an external power source.
- Inverter: A device that converts DC power from batteries to AC power for running household appliances.
- Shore Power: Electricity supplied to an RV via an external source when parked.
- Chassis: The base frame of a motorhome.
- Awning: A retractable cover attached to the RV’s side to provide shade or protection from the rain.
- Leveling Jacks: Devices used to level and stabilize an RV when parked.
- RV Park: A designated area where RVs can park and camp, often with various amenities.
- Campground: A place with spaces for camping, sometimes with limited amenities compared to RV parks.
- Propane: A common fuel source in RVs for heating, cooking, and refrigeration.
- Solar Panels: Devices installed on RVs to convert sunlight into electricity.
- Satellite Dish: Used in RVs to receive TV signals.
- Wi-Fi Booster: A device to improve internet reception in an RV.
- GPS Navigation: Systems specifically designed for RVs, considering vehicle size and weight.
- Fresh Water System: The system in an RV that stores and supplies fresh water.
- Gray Water Tank: Holds wastewater from the kitchen and bathroom sinks and shower.
- Black Water Tank: Holds sewage from the toilet.
- Winterizing: Preparing an RV for storage during the winter months.
- De-winterizing: Preparing an RV for use after it has been winterized.
- Tow Hitch: A device attached to the chassis for towing.
- Weight Distribution System: Equipment to ensure a towed RV’s weight is evenly distributed across its axles.
- Sway Control: A device or system designed to stabilize a towable RV and prevent swaying.
- RV Insurance: Specialized insurance coverage for recreational vehicles.
- Extended Warranty: Additional warranty coverage for an RV beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.
- RV Show: An exhibition where various new and used RVs are displayed and sold.
- Motorhome Association: An organization for RV enthusiasts, offering benefits like discounts and rallies.
- Camp Host: A person who oversees the daily operations of a campground.
- Rally: A gathering of RV enthusiasts at a campground or park.
- Conversion Van: A van converted into a small living space, similar to a Class B motorhome.
- Overlanding: A self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal, often in an RV.
- RV Toilet Chemicals: Chemicals used to break down waste and reduce odors in the black water tank.
- Leveling Blocks: Blocks placed under the RV’s wheels or jacks to level the vehicle.
- Water Pressure Regulator: A device that ensures the water pressure from an external source does not damage the RV’s plumbing system.
- Surge Protector: Protects the RV’s electrical system from over-voltages and spikes.
- Tow Dolly: A two-wheeled trailer used to tow a car behind an RV.
- Dinghy: A vehicle towed behind an RV.
- RV Refrigerator: A refrigerator designed to operate on electricity and/or propane, suitable for RVs.
- Slide Topper: Awnings that automatically extend and retract with slide-outs to protect them from debris and water.