RV Terms and Definitions

Brush up on your RV vocabulary here to sound like a seasoned pro at your next campground!

Click here to learn the definitions for different types of RV’s.

A – C

Auxiliary battery – Additional 12 volt battery. Great for dry camping or paired with solar panels.

Black water tank – Holding tank for wastewater from toilet.

Boondocking – Dry camping without hookups. Considered “off grid” camping.

Bunkhouse – An RV with bunk beds or a separate bunk room

Cab-over – The bunk or storage area of a Class C Motorhome that is above the cab.

Chassis – The frame your RV sits on, including the wheels and the engine.

Chucking – When an unbalanced RV moves back and forth while towing.

Converter – Converts 120 volt AC Power to 12 volt DC power, also charges your 12 volt battery.

D – F

Diesel pusher – A diesel motorhome with the engine located in the rear of the RV.

Dry weight – Also called Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW). The weight of the RV without fuel, fluids, cargo, or passengers.

DSI Ignition (Direct Spark Ignition) – Used to describe the method to ignite a propane fired appliance.

Dual Electrical System – RV equipped to operate on 12 volt battery power, and on AC current from shore power.

Dump station – Designated area for legal dumping of black and grey water tanks.

Egress window – Formal name for the emergency escape window.

Electrical connector – Links power from your towing vehicle to your RV.

Equalizer – Device designed to reduce trailer chucking.

Fresh water tank – Holding tank for fresh water for taps and showers.

Full timing – Living in your RV full time.

G – I

Generator – Device powered on gas or diesel that can generate 120-volt AC power. Also called a Genset.

Grey water tank – Holding tank for wastewater from the shower and sink.

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) – Maximum weight of an RV to ensure safe travelling, including the chassis, fluids, fuel, cargo, etc.

High Profile – A 5th wheel trailer with a higher front to allow higher ceilings inside.

Hookups – Electrical, water, and sewer connections offered by a campground. If all three are available it is called a full hookup.

Inverter – A device that changes 12-volt battery power to 120-volt AC power.

J – L

King pin – The pin used to attach a 5th wheel trailer to the tow vehicle.

Levelling jack – Located on the underbelly of your RV, it is designed to bear a significant portion of the weight and level your RV.

LP Gas – Liquid Petroleum gas, also called propane, bottled gas, LPG and CPG.

M – S

Park model – A type of RV designed to be permanently parked in one area.

Primitive site – A campsite without full hookups, or no connections at all.

Pull through site – A campsite you can drive through rather than backing into.

Shore power – Also known as AC electricity, provided by plugging directly into an electrical grid at a campsite.

Slide topper – A protective covering on top of an RV slide to prevent dirt, debris and water from collecting on top.

Snowbird – Somebody who RV’s south during the winter months.

Stabilizer jack – Device designed to reduce rocking and swaying of the RV while you are inside.

Surge protector – A device designed to prevent surges in the electrical current that could damage your RV.

Sway bar – Reduces unwanted motion while towing

T – Z

Tag axle – Additional axle on larger motorhomes to bear additional weight.

Thermocouple – A device that monitors the pilot flame of a propane appliance. If the flame goes out, the thermocouple activates the shut off the flow of gas.

Three way refrigerator – Fridge that can operate on propane, electric power and battery.

Tongue jack – Stabilizing device on the front of an RV that can be used to raise or lower the front of the trailer.

Towable – An RV that requires an tow vehicle to move.

Umbilical cord – Also called a 7 way power cord, a wiring harness that connects the trailer to the tow vehicle. Supplies trailer with power to charge batteries and operate trailer brakes and signal lights.

Water pressure regulator – Device installed on a water hose attached to city water to limit water pressure entering your RV.

Weight distribution system – Advanced hitching system that uses spring bars to leverage tongue weight and spread it across all axles evenly.

Winterizing – The system to getting your RV ready for the winter. Click here to learn how to winterize your RV!

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