Glossary of RV-Related Terms

Published on February 4th, 2024
This post was updated on February 13th, 2024

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:

RV Glossary

  1. Class A Motorhome: The largest type of motorhome, resembling a bus.
  2. Class B Motorhome: Also known as a camper van, it’s the smallest type of motorhome.
  3. Class C Motorhome: A mid-size motorhome, often with a distinctive cab-over bunk area.
  4. Travel Trailer: A towable RV that ranges in size and amenities.
  5. Fifth Wheel: A large towable RV that requires a special hitch mounted in the bed of a pickup truck.
  6. Pop-Up Camper: A lightweight, collapsible camper ideal for short trips and minimalistic camping.
  7. Toy Hauler: An RV designed with a garage area to carry motorcycles, ATVs, or other “toys.”
  8. Slide-Out: A section of the RV that can be extended outward to create additional living space.
  9. Boondocking: Camping without hookups in remote locations.
  10. Full Hookup: An RV campsite offering water, electricity, and sewer connections.
  11. Dry Camping: Camping without any hookups for water, electricity, or sewer.
  12. Dump Station: A facility for emptying RV holding tanks of sewage and gray water.
  13. Holding Tanks: Tanks in an RV that store fresh water, gray water (from sinks and showers), and black water (sewage).
  14. Generator: A device that provides electricity to the RV when not connected to an external power source.
  15. Inverter: A device that converts DC power from batteries to AC power for running household appliances.
  16. Shore Power: Electricity supplied to an RV via an external source when parked.
  17. Chassis: The base frame of a motorhome.
  18. Awning: A retractable cover attached to the RV’s side to provide shade or protection from the rain.
  19. Leveling Jacks: Devices used to level and stabilize an RV when parked.
  20. RV Park: A designated area where RVs can park and camp, often with various amenities.
  21. Campground: A place with spaces for camping, sometimes with limited amenities compared to RV parks.
  22. Propane: A common fuel source in RVs for heating, cooking, and refrigeration.
  23. Solar Panels: Devices installed on RVs to convert sunlight into electricity.
  24. Satellite Dish: Used in RVs to receive TV signals.
  25. Wi-Fi Booster: A device to improve internet reception in an RV.
  26. GPS Navigation: Systems specifically designed for RVs, considering vehicle size and weight.
  27. Fresh Water System: The system in an RV that stores and supplies fresh water.
  28. Gray Water Tank: Holds wastewater from the kitchen and bathroom sinks and shower.
  29. Black Water Tank: Holds sewage from the toilet.
  30. Winterizing: Preparing an RV for storage during the winter months.
  31. De-winterizing: Preparing an RV for use after it has been winterized.
  32. Tow Hitch: A device attached to the chassis for towing.
  33. Weight Distribution System: Equipment to ensure a towed RV’s weight is evenly distributed across its axles.
  34. Sway Control: A device or system designed to stabilize a towable RV and prevent swaying.
  35. RV Insurance: Specialized insurance coverage for recreational vehicles.
  36. Extended Warranty: Additional warranty coverage for an RV beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.
  37. RV Show: An exhibition where various new and used RVs are displayed and sold.
  38. Motorhome Association: An organization for RV enthusiasts, offering benefits like discounts and rallies.
  39. Camp Host: A person who oversees the daily operations of a campground.
  40. Rally: A gathering of RV enthusiasts at a campground or park.
  41. Conversion Van: A van converted into a small living space, similar to a Class B motorhome.
  42. Overlanding: A self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal, often in an RV.
  43. RV Toilet Chemicals: Chemicals used to break down waste and reduce odors in the black water tank.
  44. Leveling Blocks: Blocks placed under the RV’s wheels or jacks to level the vehicle.
  45. Water Pressure Regulator: A device that ensures the water pressure from an external source does not damage the RV’s plumbing system.
  46. Surge Protector: Protects the RV’s electrical system from over-voltages and spikes.
  47. Tow Dolly: A two-wheeled trailer used to tow a car behind an RV.
  48. Dinghy: A vehicle towed behind an RV.
  49. RV Refrigerator: A refrigerator designed to operate on electricity and/or propane, suitable for RVs.
  50. Slide Topper: Awnings that automatically extend and retract with slide-outs to protect them from debris and water.
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