As with many things, the RV industry has its own slang, or lingo. If you are new to the industry, it’s pretty hard to decipher. For example, what is a fifth wheel? You think it refers to that person back in your single days that always tags along on a date, right? That’s one definition of a fifth wheel, but another definition is that it’s a travel trailer that is hitched to a towing vehicle in a specific way.
Here are more definitions for you to get familiar with:
A camera in the back of a motorhome, with the monitor positioned somewhere on the dashboard for the driver, to aid in backing up the motorhome. It is also used while driving to see the traffic behind and to keep an eye on the towed vehicle.
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.
Also known as dry camping, boondocking refers to camping without any hook-ups, namely camping without hooking up to any electric, sewer or water facilities. You can still have electric from your RV batteries and water from your freshwater holding tank.
Black (Water) Tank
The gallons of black water waste that can be held. Black water is the waste from the toilet.
A system designed to automatically lock the trailer brakes in the event of a hitch failure and the trailer breaks away from the tow vehicle.
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 lights and some other accessories run on 12-volt DC.
The term for a motorhome with the diesel engine mounted in the front of the vehicle. Also know simply as a Puller.
The term for a motorhome with the diesel engine mounted in the rear of the vehicle. Also know simply as a Pusher.
The term for a vehicle that you are towing with your motorhome. It is also known as a Toad.
Also known as boondocking, dry camping refers to camping without any hook-ups, namely camping without hooking up to any electric, sewer or water facilities. You can still have electric from your RV batteries and water from your freshwater holding tank.
The weight of the RV without any fuel, fresh water, propane or passengers.
A facility for dumping or emptying your black water and gray water holding tanks.
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
Fresh (Water) Tank
The gallons of fresh water that can be stored for later use.
The ability to connect to all three of the campground’s facilities; electric, water and sewer.
Gray (Water) Tank
The gallons of gray waste that can be held. Gray water is waste from the sinks and shower.
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.
There are three different holding tanks on most RVs: Fresh Water, Gray Water and Black Water. The fresh water tanks hold the water you will use for water you will pump into your RV when you are not getting water from an outside source. The gray water tank holds water from your kitchen and shower. The black water tank holds the water and waste from your toilet.
An electrical device for converting 12-volt DC power into 120-volt AC power.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas. LP gas is used to fuel appliances in the RV, such as the stove, oven, water heater and sometimes the refrigerator. Propane tanks are usually rated as pounds or gallons.
The term for a room in an RV that pops out for additional living space.
Popup or Pop-Up
Another name for a folding camping trailer.
A term used to define the up and down motion in an RV while traveling.
The slang term for a motorhome with a front-mounted diesel engine.
A camping site that allows you to pull through while setting up and leaving the area. A site where you do not have to back into or out of.
The slang term for a motorhome with a rear-mounted diesel engine.
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.
Electricity provided to the RV by an external source other than the RV batteries.
The term for a type of camper that mounts on a truck bed, because this type of camper slides into the truck bed.
A room or area in your RV that slides out to make additional space for living.
The term used for an area or room in an RV that tips out for additional living space. The Tip-Out was generally used in older RVs. Newer RVs mainly use a slide-out.
The term for a vehicle that you are towing with your motorhome. It is also known as a Dinghy.
Brakes that are built into the trailer and are activated either by electric impulse or by a surge mechanism.
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
The weight of the RV with the fuel, freshwater and propane tanks full.
The term for an RV exceeding the normal eight feet wide. Wide Bodies are usually 102″ (8′ 6″) wide.
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
The manufacturer’s maximum load weight, in pounds, that can be placed on the axle. If an axle has a 3500-lb. GAWR and the RV has two axles (tandem axles), then the RV would have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 7000 lbs. (see GVWR below)
Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)
The manufacturer’s maximum load weight, in pounds, allowed for the trailer and tow vehicle. This rating includes the weight of the trailer, tow vehicle, fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The manufacturer’s maximum load weight, in pounds, allowed for the vehicle. This rating includes the weight of the vehicle plus fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers.
Net Carrying Capacity (NCC)
Sometimes called the payload capacity, this is the maximum weight of fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers that can be added to an RV without exceeding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).(see GVWR above)
The maximum allowable weight that can be in or on a vehicle, including all cargo and accessories, fuel, freshwater, propane, passengers and hitch loads.
Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW)
Sometimes called the Dry Weight, it is the weight of the RV without adding fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers. The manufacturer’s UVW will not include any dealer-installed options.
How much stuff weighs!
Propane weighs 4.25 pounds per gallon
Water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon
Gasoline weighs 6.3 pounds per gallon
Diesel fuel weighs 6.6 pounds per gallon
Whew, a long list, but a good one!