RV Slang And Acronyms You Need To Understand

Were you aware that RV’s come with their own vocabulary? Some of the RV Slang and Acronyms crossover from other industries. But other’s are unique to just the RV World.

We’ve put together an RV dictionary of sorts. Whether you’re new to RV’s or have been doing this for years, freshening up your knowledge of these terms, slang, and acronyms can help in several ways. Not only will you have a better understanding of your rig. But it will assist you in understanding blogs and forums about RV’s.

10 Year Rule – rule by some RV resorts and parks indicating that you cannot use their facilities if your RV is older than 10 years

A/C – Air Conditioner

Adjustable Ball Mount – height adjustable ball at the hitch allowing the ball and tongue height to properly match between the tow vehicle and trailer

Airbag – added equipment to the suspension system of a tow vehicle or RV to act as a shock absorber

LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate Plus Air Suspension Kit
LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate Plus Air Suspension Kit

Anode Rod – usually a zinc rod used to prevent corrosion in a steel hot water tank

Arctic Package – optional package for RV’s increasing insulation and adding tank heaters for an extended camping season

Auxiliary Battery – Extra Battery to run your 12-volt stuff

Awning – material (usually vinyl) attached to a metal frame along the exterior wall of the RV used as a sun or rain block

Axel Ratio – relation between the driveshaft and rear axels – has a large impact on tow ratings and capacities

Back-Up Monitor – Camera mounted to the rear of the RV with a monitor in the dashboard compartment

Ball Mount – supports the hitch ball and connects the trailer coupler

Basement – Large storage area under your RV’s living area which is accessible from the outside cabinets.

BH – abbreviation for Bunkhouse

Black Water Capacity – Amount of waste water from your toilet that your black water tank can hold

Black Water Tank – Tank under the RV that holds the waste water from your toilet

BLM – abbreviation for US Bureau of Land Management

Blue Boy – portable waste water tank used to transport waste water from an RV to a dump station when the hook-up is not on site

Boondocking – a style of RV’ing with no hook-ups

Booth Dinette – Dining table with opposing benches

Brake Controller – device in the tow vehicle that applies trailer brakes at the same time the tow vehicle brakes

Breakaway Switch – safety switch that applies the trailer brakes if your trailer becomes unhitched from the tow vehicle.

BTU (British Thermal Unit) – A measurement of heat. Quantity of heat required to raise 1lb of water 1 degree. Heaters, furnaces, and RV air-conditioners are BTU rated.

Bunkhouse – RV floorplan style that has bunkbeds

Burn Ban – law, regulation, or rule indicating that you cannot have a campfire often seen in arid climates like the desert

CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity) – max weight of personal items you can add to your RV including storage

Cab – see Cockpit

Cab-Over – see Mother’s Attic

Captain’s Chair – driver’s seat of a motorhome

Camper Van – see Class B

Camp Side – passenger side of an RV referring to the side of your campsite designed for your outdoor activities

Caravan – term used to describe a group traveling together

Cassette Toilet – toilet with a small holding tank. popular in smaller Class B campers

Chassis – the frame your RV is built on

Chucking – movement of an unbalanced RV while traveling. Think bucking bronco.

Class A – style of drivable RV that looks like a flat nosed school bus or charter bus

Class A Camper with Toad

Class A Diesel Motorhome – see Class A – specifically fueled by diesel

Class B – van style motorhome

Class C – style of motorhome where the front looks like a box truck with a mother’s attic

Coach – see motorhome

Cockpit – front of a motorhome where the driver and front passenger seat are located

COE – abbreviation for Army Corp of Engineers

Control Panel – panel located inside the RV where you control the RV’s systems (climate, lights, power) and where your tank gauges are located

Converter – converts 120 volt AC power into 12 volt DC power

Coupler – part of the tongue or A-Frame of a travel trailer that attaches to the Ball Hitch of the tow vehicle

Diesel Puller – diesel powered motorhome with the engine located in the front

Diesel Pusher – diesel powered motorhome with the engine located in the rear

Dinghy – vehicle towed behind a motorhome

Dispersed Camping – camping on federal land usually with no hook-ups. also see Boondocking

Dry Weight – weight of the RV new from the factory. No items, water, fuel, or passenger weight

DSI Ignition (Direct Spark Ignition) – method of igniting the main burner on a propane fuel appliance

Dually – pick-up truck with 4 rear wheels

Ducted A/C – air conditioning supplied through ducts in the ceiling or throughout the RV

Ducted Heat – heat is supplied through ducts in the ceiling, floors, or throughout the RV

Dump Station – location where you can legally dump your waste water from the black and gray tanks

Electrical Connector – links the power from the tow vehicle to the trailer while traveling for such things like your lights

Enclosed Underbelly – RV where the bottom has been closed off or insulated for temperature control and/or exterior damage

Engine – provides power to your motorhome

Engine Oil Cooler – heat exchanger where engine oil is passed through to be cooled by airflow. sometimes used by trucks hauling a heavier load to prolong engine life

Equalizing Hitch – see Weight Distribution System

Extended Stay – campground that allows for extended stays often reducing the rate (monthly vs nightly site)

FB – abbreviation for Front Bath

Fifth Wheel RV – style of towable RV where the hitch is inside the bed of a pick-up truck

Fifth Wheel Style Camper

Fireplace – found in newer RV floorplans located in the living room works as an electric heater

Fiver – another name for a Fifth Wheel

FK – abbreviation for Front Kitchen

FL – abbreviation for Front Living

Flat-Towing – style of towing a vehicle with all 4 wheels on the ground without the use of a tow dolly

FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) – membership club of motor coach owners

FRED – FRont Engine Diesel – see Diesel Puller

Free Standing Dinette – Dining area with chairs

Fresh Water Capacity – amount of fresh water your RV can hold

Fresh Water Tank – Tank that stores fresh water for your RV when not connected to a spigot

Front Galley – RV floorplan where the kitchen is in the front portion of the RV

Front Kitchen – same as Front Galley

Front Living – RV floorplan where the living room is in the front portion of the RV

Front Sleeping – RV floorplan where the master bedroom is located in the front portion of the RV

Fuel Type – type of fuel used for your motorhome; either gas or diesel

Full-Hookup – site that has hook-ups for your water, electric, and sewer

Full-Timer – describes a person who lives in the RV all year

Fur-Babies – term of endearment used to describe one’s pets

Galley – Kitchen

Gaucho – sofa or dinette bench that converts to a sleeping area

GAWR (Gross Axel Weight Rating) – total weight allowed on each axel including the axel, tires, wheels, and brakes

GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating) – total allowable weight of a tow vehicle including trailer, occupants, fuel, personal items, and hitch

Generator – gas, propane, or diesel powered machine that generates 120-volt power often used by RVers when boondocking or no power pedestal is available

Genny – another term for generator

Glamping – camping in luxury, such as with the use of an RV

Gooseneck – type of hitch used on Fifth Wheel campers

Gray Water Capacity – capacity of the gray water tank

Gray Water Tank – tank that holds the waste water from your sinks and shower

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) – maximum weight allowed for a vehicle including chassis, body, engine, fuel, fluids, occupants, and personal items

Hard-Sided – walls of an RV made of aluminum or another hard surface

Heat Exchanger – device that transfers heat. Example: The Furnace

Height – top most point (usually an air condition unit) to bottom (ground) measurement of an RV

High Profile – RV design in Fifth Wheel campers allowing for higher than normal interior height, usually found in front living floorplans

Hitch – connection between a tow vehicle and an RV or a motorhome and a towed vehicle

Hitch Capacity – maximum towing capacity of hitch, measured in pounds

HP – abbreviation for Horsepower

Holding Tanks – tanks under an RV that hold your black waste, gray waste, and fresh water separately

Honey Pot – portable waste water tank

Camco Rhino Portable RV Tote Tank

Honey Wagon – truck or trailer that will come to your campsite to empty your waste water tanks

Hook-Up – term referring to connecting your camper to the available amenities at a campground

Hose Bib – fresh water tap or spigot providing fresh water

House Battery – battery in an RV that powers the 12-volt electric system in your RV

HR – abbreviation for Holiday Rambler, a popular motorhome manufacturer

Hula Skirt – mud flap along the rear of an RV – sways like a hula skirt while driving giving it the name

Interior Height – floor to ceiling measurement inside the RV

Invertor – converts 12-volt DC power to 120-volt AC power

Island Queen – RV bedroom floorplan with a queen sized bed with walking room on either side

Jack-Knife – 90 degree angle at the hitch point created by poor turning of a tow vehicle with trailer

Jack-Knife Sofa – RV sofa or couch that can be opened up to create a sleeping area

King Pin Support – additional equipment for Fifth Wheel RV’s that increases stability

King Pin Weight – actual weight pressing down on a fifth wheel hitch by the trailer

KOA (Kampgrounds of America) – franchise of RV parks

Laminated Walls – term referring to the exterior walls of the RV. Usually frame, Styrofoam, fiberglass sheeting, and then laminated

Length – furthest forward point to furthest rear point including bumpers and any hitch

Leveling Jacks – equipment used to level the RV on the ground when stationary

Livability Package – items available to rent to equip an RV for use instead of purchasing. Term found when renting an RV

Loft Bed – bed or sleeping area located above another room. Generally over the cockpit of a motorhome

LP Gas (Liquid Petroleum) – another name for propane

MH – abbreviation for Motorhome

Mods – RV slang for Modifications done to an RV by the owner

Moochdocking – RV term used to describe camping on someone’s private property or residence often with a garden hose and 15amp power cord

Mother’s Attic – area located over the driver cockpit of a Class C motorhome often used for storage or a loft bed

Motorhome – style of drivable RV

Murphy Bed – bed that is hinged on one end to fold up vertically along a wall when not in use

NADA – abbreviation for National Automotive Dealer’s Association

Newbie – term referring to someone who is new to the RV world

Non-Potable Water – water that is not safe for consumption but may be used for cleaning of holding tanks

NPS – abbreviation for National Park Service

OEM – abbreviation for Original Equipment Manufacturer, such as for replacement parts

OK – abbreviation for Outside Kitchen

Park Model – specific camper type designed to be stationary

Part-Timer – term used for those that use their RV for more than the occasional vacation, but do not live in it year round

Pilot Light – small standby flame used to to light the main burner of a fuel fired appliance such as an RV stove

Pin Weight – see King Pin Weight

PO – abbreviation for Pop-Up Camper

Pop-Up Camper – most lightweight style of camper. identified by it’s tent like walls when completely expanded

Porpoising – the up and down motion of a camper while driving. Like a dolphin swimming.

Potable Water – water that is safe for consumption

Primitive Camping – see boondocking, common term for tent camping

Pull-Thru – term used to describe a campsite that you can pull through instead of backing into

RB – abbreviation for Rear Bath

RE – abbreviation for Rear Entertainment

Rear Kitchen – RV floorplan where the kitchen is in the back portion of the camper

Rear Living – RV floorplan where the living area is in the back portion of the camper

Rear Sleeping – RV floorplan where the master bedroom is in the rear portion of the camper

Receiver Hitch – see Hitch

Reefer – RV slang for refrigerator that operates in 2 or 3-way operating modes (propane, 120-volt, or 12-volt)

Rig – term used to refer to a motorhome

RK – abbreviation for Rear Kitchen

RL – abbreviation for Rear Living

RV (Recreational Vehicle) – vehicle or trailer that includes amenities like cooking area, sleeping area, and living area

RVDA – abbreviation for Recreational Vehicle Dealer’s Association

RVIA – abbreviation for Recreational Vehicle Industry Association

RV License – specific license some states require to drive an RV

Safety Chains – set of chains attached from the tow vehicle to the trailer close to the hitch intended to keep the trailer attached to the tow vehicle in the case of a hitch failure

Schoolie – RV term used for a school bus that has been converted into an RV

Sealed Underbelly – see Enclosed Underbelly

Self Contained – term used to describe an RV that can stay overnight with no external hook-ups

Shore Cord – electrical cord connecting the RV to Shore Power or a Generator

Shore Power – electrical connection provided at the pedestal of a campground

Site – designated area of a campground that a camper rents for use

Skylight – Plexiglass covered opening at the ceiling of an RV designed to allow natural light in. Commonly found in the shower

Sleeping Capacity – the number of spaces for sleeping in an RV. (example – dropping a dinette table to make a bed)

Slide-In – style of RV specifically designed to slide into the bed of a pick-up truck

Slide-Outs – expanding walls of an RV designed to increase the interior space

Slider – RV term for sliding hitch

Sliding Hitch – Fifth Wheel hitch designed for short bed pick-up trucks allowing them to safely tow a Fifth Wheel camper

Snowbird – term referring to a person who leaves a cooler climate in the winter to seek warmer weather during the cooler months

SS – abbreviation for Super Slide

Stick and Bricks – term used to refer to a traditional home

Stinky Slinky – RV term used to describe the waste water hose

Camco 20′ (39742) RhinoFLEX 20-Foot RV Sewer Hose Kit

Super Slide – term used to describe one large slide out on an RV

Sway Bar System – equipment attached at the hitch designed to reduce side to side motion of a towable RV while driving

TH – abbreviation for Toy Hauler

Theater Seating – RV seating option in the living area designed like a movie theater style seat with recliners located in front of the TV

Toad – see Dinghy

Tongue Jack – jack that is mounted on the front of a towable RV used to raise and lower the front for leveling and connecting to the tow vehicle

Tongue Weight – actual weight pressing down on the hitch ball

Tow Rating – maximum weight a tow vehicle can haul safely

Toy Hauler RV – style of RV distinguished by its ability to haul recreational equipment like motorcycles, bicycles, ATV’s within the RV. Identified by a garage in the rear of the RV

TPMS (Tire Pressure Mounting System) – built in or after market system that monitors the condition and pressure in your tires with a monitor or alert system in the cab for the driver

TireMinder i10 RV TPMS with 4 Transmitters

Travel Trailer RV – style of towable RV identified by a hitch that attaches to the bumper of a tow vehicle

TV – abbreviation for Tow Vehicle

Umbilical Cord – wire or cord providing power from the tow vehicle to the trailer for traveling

Underbelly – bottom surface of an RV

Walkable Roof – feature on some RV’s with reinforced structure that allows a person to walk on the roof

Weekenders – Term used to describe RVers that primarily use their RV on the weekends

Weekend Warrior – see Weekender

Weight Distribution System – system designed to take the weight from the tongue and distribute it to the front of the tow vehicle

Wet Bath – RV bathroom design with the shower at the top and toilet with lid at the bottom of a single room. Common in smaller RV’s such as the Class B

Wheel Base – horizontal distance between the centers of the front and rear axel

Width – side to side measurement of the RV when slides are in and the vehicle is prepared for driving down the road

Winterizing – the process of getting your RV ready for colder weather

This is an ever evolving and changing list. Just like our language, there are always new terms and slang being created and added. As we hear and learn things, we will update our dictionary.

We anticipate that this list will prove helpful whether you’re perusing the internet for assistance in your next project or looking to purchase an RV. If you know of anything we have left off the list, please send us an email and let us know!

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