List of RV Definitions for you RV Newbies

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:

Backup Monitor
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.

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.

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.

Break-Away System
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.

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.

The term for a vehicle that you are towing with your motorhome. It is also known as a Toad.

Dry Camping
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.

Dry Weight
The weight of the RV without any fuel, fresh water, propane or passengers.

Dump Station
A facility for dumping or emptying your black water and gray 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

Fresh (Water) Tank
The gallons of fresh water that can be stored for later use.

Full Hookup
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.

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
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.

LP Gas
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.

Pull Through
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.

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.

Shore Power
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.

Toad (towed)
The term for a vehicle that you are towing with your motorhome. It is also known as a Dinghy.

Trailer Brakes
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

Wet Weight
The weight of the RV with the fuel, freshwater and propane tanks full.

Wide Body
The term for an RV exceeding the normal eight feet wide. Wide Bodies are usually 102″ (8′ 6″) wide.

Weight Terms
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)

Payload Capacity
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!

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Good First Time RV Trips in Connecticut

Here are a few places that I’ve heard are pretty good. I’ll post some reviews for you to check out. They’re all pretty close by so they would be good places to take your RV right after you get it!

Salem Farms Campground, Salem, CT – 1 hour SE of Southington:

This is a lovely campground. We camp here at least once during the season; this year we were here twice. The sites up front on the road, seem to work best for us. There are a lot of activities and events going on at this campground: very family friendly. We always see groups of children walking by having a good time. It’s a nice atmosphere. Relaxed, but not overly so. The staff is attentive. The sites are maintained and kept clean. Cable and Wi-Fi have always worked well for us, as has the water and the greywater drain. There are quite a few seasonals here, but they are very friendly, as is the staff. Very pet-friendly too. Bring an extension cord and a long hose (they say this on their website) as the hookups are far from where you camp. Overall, a nice campground. We like it here and will continue to camp here. We camped here in a Motorhome.

Nickerson Park Family Campground, Chaplin, CT – 1 hour NE of Southington:

Very enjoyable stay. Owner and staff were very friendly, helpful, and accommodating. I had a waterfront site and it was beautiful! Campground has a Sunday morning worship service which is very nice. Park and grounds were very clean and well maintained. For the price it’s a great deal, and very family friendly. If you’re looking for a wholesome, affordable and enjoyable stay: this is the place to go! I would highly recommend this campground. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

Normandy Farms, Foxboro, MA – 2 hours east of Southington:

As close to perfect as possible, for winter in New England. I stayed here 30 years ago, and still remembered it and returned, from Alabama. We even had wild turkeys in the park a couple of days before Thanksgiving. This is the most complete and professionally managed RV resort that I have ever seen, and I have paid much more for much less. We have toured Boston downtown, North Shore, South Shore and Cape Cod from here. The park is immaculate, as are the bath houses and showers. We camped here in a Motorhome.

Lots of quality campgrounds are in close proximity to Southington. If you aren’t quite ready to buy your own RV, why don’t you rent one for the weekend and try out one of these campgrounds. Stop by and see me…I’m always here!

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Tips for Picking the Right GPS for Your RV

By now, many RVers have a GPS mounted in their rig. They are so valuable and can save you lots of time in trip planning or even dodging traffic.

Here are some things to think about when shopping for the right GPS.

Many systems come with road maps for the entire United States and Canada loaded into their main memory. Some come with all of North America and some come with Europe as well. Pre-loaded maps occupy part of the main memory of the GPS; any excess main memory can be used for additional maps or MP3 Music.  

Memory Capacity

If you purchase a unit that has very little extra main memory, and can’t be expanded, you may find yourself unable to add features or points-of-interest (POI) when you want. Many GPS models only contain enough main memory to hold their pre-loaded maps, with very little left over. A memory expansion slot will allow you to add memory to the GPS should you ever need it. Most take a Secure Digital (SD) cardfor memory expansion. SD cards are inexpensive and a great way to add memory to your unit when you need it. 

Text To Speech 

Most voice-prompting GPS units will give an audio notification such as “Turn left in 300 feet” or “Take next exit.” A unit with a text-to-speech function will speak not only the direction but the name of the street as well: “Turn left onto Mulberry Lane in 300 feet” or “Take Exit 23A.” This is a huge help for many people, especially RV’ers, as they won’t even have to glance at the screen to know where to go.

 Live Traffic Service

 A great new feature to consider is live traffic service. Available in larger cities, a subscription to a traffic service gives you real-time, up-to-the-minute updates on traffic and road conditions. Freeway’s blocked from Exit 23 to Exit 29? Your GPS will notify you and offer an alternative route. After a free trial period, traffic service typically costs about $7/month.  

MP3 Enabled

Another new addition to GPS systems is the ability to play MP3 music. By loading your favorite MP3 music or audio book into your GPS you can play it either through the GPS’ speakers or your in-dash radio.  

Travel Guides and TourGuide™

 One of the most exciting new features is Garmin’s new TourGuide™ capability. With TourGuide™ you can purchase completely guided tours for your GPS. Start the TourGuide™ and simply follow the tour.  

Among the most popular GPS navigation systems for RV’ers are the Garmin nuvi 200 , 360 and 680 , the Lowrance iWAY 600C, the Garmin StreetPilot c550, the Magellan Maestro 4040 and CrossOver GPS, and the TomTom ONE 3rd Edition. So which GPS is the “best?” That depends entirely on your needs, your preferences and your budget.

Do you have a GPA already? What kind do you have and do you like it?

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Do I Really Need This Big Truck to Pull A Fifth Wheel?

You don’t HAVE to have it, but it would make driving a lot safer.

If you have a large fifth wheel, the weight of it can easily cause you to drive faster than you want to, or even push you out in to an intersection if you need to stop quickly.

Here are some things to think about if you have decided that a fifth wheel is for you:

  • You can get a used semi tractor for around $25,000 with about 500,000 miles on it.  That’s only mid-life for commercial heavy duty trucks. 
  • At 25,000 miles a year, it will outlast you.
  • Rated to handle a gross weight of 80,000 pounds, the heaviest 5th wheel trailer won’t hardly flex the suspension.
  • Speaking of suspension, it’s air ride.  Driving comfort is better than any 1-ton pickup truck.
  • You have all the conveniences that your pickup truck has: cruise control, front and back air, you may even have a bed and refrigerator — if you get one with a condo sleeper.
  • You’ll never fear running out of power on long hills again.  The standard diesel engine is rated at 500 HP. 
  • With all its extra capacity, you can build storage space, water tanks, or whatever you need behind the cab. How you convert your HD truck is up to you.

Most people use a 1 ton truck for their fifth wheel. What do you use to pull your trailer?

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RV Park Gets Involved in Yogi Bear Movie Premiere

Do you remember Yogi Bear? I haven’t heard of this guy in a long time, but if I remember right, he really likes RV parks. What a great opportunity to promote  RVing. I came across this story the other day and thought I’d pass it long.

Everyone’s favorite pic-a-nic basket-stealing bear,Yogi Bear, is played by Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake as the voice of Boo Boo, Yogi’s faithful pal and co-conspirator in his never-ending schemes to separate park visitors from their lunches.  

“The upcoming ‘Yogi Bear’ movie gives us an unprecedented opportunity to introduce Jellystone Parks to children and families across the country who have never visited one of our parks before,” said Michele Wisher, director of marketing of Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), which franchises 75 Jellystone Park campgrounds across the country through a license agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

The Jellystone Parks will have some in person visits from Yogi Bear and Boo Boo including photo opportunities and holiday events too.

We’re planning to have a campsite set up with a campfire and an RV at the Leitersburg Cinema in Hagerstown,” said Vicki Vitkun, co-owner of the Jellystone Park in neighboring Williamsport, Md. “We’ll also offer photo opportunities with Yogi and Boo Boo as well as door prizes and opportunities to win free movie tickets and free camping.”

Although the RV Parks will be closed at the time of the film’s debut, the hope is that the movie will plant a seed in the movie goer’s minds that camping and RVing should be a part of their summer plans.

If you go see the movie, let me know what you thought.

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Dyson Makes A Perfect Vacuum for Your RV

Dyson, the Rolls Royce of the Floor Sweeping industry, has announced that they will introduce a small number of vacuums just for the recreational vehicle industry.

The new Dyson Digital Slim is the most powerful cordless vacuum and is powered by the Dyson Digital Motor. DC35 multi-floor cordless vacuum is made for every floor type, carpet, vinyl, tile, or wood. It utilizes Dyson’s patented Root Cyclone technology that doesn’t lose suction power as you vacuum. With its lightweight aluminum wand it reaches high, low and into awkward gaps. This lightweight machine weighs 5.5 pounds.

Asthma and allergy sufferers can breathe cleaner indoor air, as every component and seal in the Dyson DC35 vacuum is engineered so allergens are retained. Its dual channel floor tool also means that two separate airflow channels can direct suction power evenly. As with all Dyson vacuum cleaners, the air expelled from machine contains up to 150 times less bacteria and mold than the air you breathe.

If you haven’t heard about these vacuums, they clean floors about 10 times better than a normal vacuum. You should try it out!

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Time to Try Lake George RV Park in New York

If you’re looking for some nearby places to take your new RV, this place is hard to beat.

Lake George RV Park in the Adirondack mountains of New York has great wildlife,  water activities and more for both young and old. Their Website is pretty detailed for thorough vacation planning.

Share your experience with us if you have ever been to Lake George. It isn’t far from us and would be a great place for a first time RVer’s getaway!

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Kozy Rest Campground in Pennsylvania

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has awarded Kozy Rest Campground an ‘A’ rating for the 3rd year in a row. This was based on an online survey of over 30,000 RV enthusiasts.

Kozy Rest Campground, in Harrisville, PA is just an 8 hour drive from Southington. Harrisville is just north of Pittsburgh and is nestled in some of the prettiest parts of western Pennsylvania.

This campground is equipped with everything from log cabins for rent to a pumpkin patch in the fall. The campground is open from April 15 to October 31 each year. Watch the video below to get a good feel for the place or visit their Website.

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Some RV Revelations From A RV Newbie

It’s relatively easy to get hooked on RVing I would say. After all, is there really any other way to travel where you are in control of when you leave, exactly where you want to go, and to be able to leave that place when you want? That freedom of choice is the big hook I think.

This travel writer from New Jersey wrote about a recent 10 day trip in a rented RV that took her from Pennsylvania to Kentucky and back. It was her 4th trip in a rented RV and she has admitted that she is now ‘hooked’ on RVing.

But along the way, she made note of a few instances that became pretty good lessons from experience for the rest of us.

*When you leave your RV for ANY REASON, bring the keys with you. I left one door slightly ajar and when I came back it was partially latched, and I was locked out.

* The offices at many campgrounds close by 8 or 9 p.m. By late afternoon, figure out where you want to overnight, and call ahead to make a reservation; then no matter what time you arrive, your keys, directions to your campsite, and your receipt will be waiting for you, even if the office is closed.

* Every time you get ready to drive, make sure all the doors are completely closed. On my RV, there was no light on the dashboard to indicate open doors.

* Even though RVs are equipped with bathrooms, use the facilities at campgrounds (especially showers), rest stops, restaurants etc. when available. It’ll save the number of times you need to refill water, empty tanks etc. I found bathrooms at the KOA campgrounds I visited consistently squeaky clean.

* Driving an RV, especially a Class C like mine (the over-the-cab model, as opposed to the Class A “bus-like” ones) doesn’t require special skills. But Tony, who showed me around my rental before I left Cruise America, told me there is one driving technique to remember: To compensate for the extra length of your vehicle, pull out farther than you would in a car before turning, so when you change direction you don’t graze or roll over/into anything.

* RV interiors are designed with movement/gravity in mind. Curtains have tiebacks with snaps and Velcro, drawers and cabinets have extra-strong latches. There are a lot of storage areas, so make sure all are completely closed before you start up – lest an overhead bin open up and a heavy guidebook come sailing down onto someone’s head.

* Velcro and bungee cords are your friends. Store everything you don’t need in those well-closed spaces mentioned above. Things you want or need to keep out while driving could go skittering. I Velcroed a video camera to my dashboard. You might want to Velcro an open map to a table, or bungee cord your dog’s crate so it doesn’t take its own little sub-trip through your RV.

This is some great advice. Pass it along and add to it!

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RV Buying 101: Camper and RV Walk-Throughs

I came across this video that gives good advice on what to look for when you do start looking at RV’s to buy. This guy is in North Carolina but the tips are pretty general for all of you RV wanna be’s! The walk-throughs are very important.

And remember, get in the shower and try to turn around. Really try it out. It would be a bad thing to buy an RV then realize after the fact that you can’t brush your teeth comfortably.

Does anyone else out there have some good advice for the RV newbies out there?

Please post them in the comments below!

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