Top 21 Useful RV Terms You Need To Know Before RVing

Top RV Terms To Know

What is that doohicky called again?

Are you planning to go for your first-ever RV trip or buying an RV? Probably you have mixed reactions about it. On one side, you are super-excited about taking an epic adventure in style. How awesome is it to go camping and not wake up with a sore back from sleeping on the ground or taking a warm shower?

But you can’t stop scratching your head over the unique rv terms, jargon and slang terminologies used in this kind of outdoorsy lifestyle. Not only that, determining how to go about it and what exactly to carry in your trip is another uphill task.

Well, it’s time to take a breather. This post highlights the top 20 RV terms you need to know before Rving. Moreover, you will equip yourself with some tips to help you prepare better for your RV trip. But first, what is an RV?

An RV stands for Recreational Vehicle; it refers to a motorized vehicle with two or more modules. The recreational vehicle contains rooms/ living quarters inside together with amenities. Renting an RV allows you to enjoy the comforts of home while on the road. Now lets dive into some of the important RVing terms you should know.

1. Boondocking / Dry Camping / Primitive Camping / Moochdocking

Boondocking is another term for free dry camping or primitive camping with no hook ups. Boondocking is done in remote locations that don’t charge a campsite accommodation fee, like in the wilderness or free public lands. Here, you have no access to electricity or gas connections, sewer or water. Even so, you can still boondock in other places like friend’s driveways (Moochdocking), rest areas and parking lots. Think of cousin Eddie during Christmas Vacation, but don’t be a cousin Eddie. Some people even rent a nice camper trailer or 5thWheel for visiting family during the holidays and have it parked in the driveway so they are close but not too close.

Dry camping and boondocking almost mean the same thing. Most RVers and campers use these two terms interchangeably. Technically speaking, boondocking refers to camping far away from civilization, while dry camping is not specific to a location. In simple terms, dry camping is more of a general expression of camping with no hookups, whereas boondocking is a subset of dry camping. Most dry camping locations include state parks, private resorts and city parks.

2. Passport America

Basically, it is a membership program with discounted camping rates. Through Passport America, you get a 50 percent discount for premium campsites. It applies to nearly 1900 campgrounds nationwide. It is quite an opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss. If you intend to visit resort-style campgrounds with various amenities and hookups, Passport America will give you the easiest way out.

3. Class A or Coach

It is the largest and most luxurious motorhome type, typically 30-40 feet long. Class A Motorhomes often stand out with flat front end. With that, you get a large picture windshield to enable you to have a better glance at the landscape and road. They are also self-contained with amenities like fridges, air conditioning and large living spaces.

4. Class B

A smaller motorhome type with a size similar to a van. Unlike class C motorhome, Class B motorhome doesn’t have a storage area or over-the-cab sleeping. It is literally a campervan. So it’s ideal for a solo or couples trips.

5. Class B+

Class B+ motorhome ranges between class B and class C. However, the campervan or Sprinter Van is similar to class C but lacks a bed over the cab. Like in school, it’s almost good enough to be at the higher level but not quite there.

6. Class C

With this motorhome type, you get a storage area and an over the cab bed. Unlike in school a C is better than a B. You have more storage and space to accommodate a family or group up to 8 people depending on the model.

7. Travel Trailer (TT)

A towable RV type with a wide variety of floor plans, styles and sizes. Typically, Travel Trailers contain two to three sections or rooms hauled using a tow vehicle. Even so, Travel Trailers don’t hang over the truck’s bed like the Fifth Wheel.

8. Fiver/ Fifth Wheel

Fifth Wheel Trailer refers to trailers with a hitch to provide support. In most cases, it is placed on the truck bed and not at the back. Just like a Travel Trailer, a Fifth Wheel Trailer is towed with a tow vehicle.

9. Triple Tow

Triple tow means pulling two trailers using an RV or tow vehicle. It involves three separate RVs, trailers or vans joined to one another. For instance, a truck that is hauling a Travel Trailer and a car. Even though it happens, experts don’t recommend it.

10. Gray Water

In an RV’s plumbing system, you can find wastewater held in two tanks. The first tank contains gray water, which is all wastewater. But that doesn’t include the human waste materials you flush down your toilet. Gray water is mainly soapy water from the shower and sinks.

Even though some states allow dumping gray water anywhere on the ground, it’s not eco-friendly. The soaps and other detergents inside can be dangerous to wildlife and the environment in general. To learn more about Gray Water tanks read this.

11. Sewer Hose Support

Refers to an accordion-style unit that supports a sewer horse. It creates a slope to enable a smooth waste flow from the RV assembly down into the sewer connection.

12. Water Pressure Regulator/Relief Valve

A valve that comes in handy in controlling the water pressure of a campground’s water connection. It lowers the water pressure to a level that is safe for RV plumbing.

13. Black Water Tank

It is the tank that holds the black sewage in the RV. All the human waste materials from your RV toilet flows into the black water tank. Black Water Capacity is the amount of waste water from the toilet that your RV’s black water tank can hold.

14. Campground Host/ Camp Host / RV Host

A camp host is a camper/ RVer who works as a campground’s workamper. The person serves as the point of contact for a particular campground. An RV Host is an RV owner who rents out their RV to Guests. The Host either does this on their own or through a RV Rental Website like RVnGO.

15. Hookups (Not that kind)

Being hooked up in a particular campsite means you can use utilities like water, electricity, satellite/cable TV, sewer, internet services, to mention but a few. With hookups, you most often pay an extra charge for a spot.

Another related term to this is full hookups. It is meant to describe a campground offering all the hookups. In such a place, you have access to electricity, waste outlets, water and much more.

16. Self-Contained

This is a term used to describe RVs with complete utility packages. The self-contained RVs fully function without hookups or all other campground facilities. Most full-time RVers prefer this type of camping.

17. Breakaway Switch

A safety switch that will automatically activate the brakes on the trailer if your trailer becomes separated from the tow vehicle.

18. Diesel Puller – FRED (or Front Engine Diesel)

Refers to diesel motorhomes with engine located in the front of the RV. A Diesel Pusher on the other hand refers to diesel motorhome with engine located in the rear of the RV. The engine location helps push the RV down the road and provides a smoother, quieter ride.

19. Tongue Weight

The actual weight pressing down on the hitch ball located on the tow vehicle. Generally, tongue weight is 10% to 15% of the gross vehicle weight (GVW). This leads us to Tow Rating which is the maximum weight a tow vehicle can safely tow, determined by the vehicle manufacturer. Consult the vehicle manufacturer or use a towing guide to find out the towing capacity of a particular vehicle.

20. GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)

The maximum weight an RV must not exceed to ensure safe traveling. Includes the vehicle’s chassis, body, engine, fluids, fuel, accessories, passengers, cargo, etc.

CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity) is the maximum weight limit for personal items you can add to an RV. Other terms related to the weight of an RV or trailer are:

GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) is the total allowable weight on each individual axle, which includes the weight of tires, wheels, brakes, and the axle itself.

The GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating) is the total allowable weight of the tow vehicle, trailer, all cargo in each, hitching, fluids, and occupants.

The Dry Weight is the weight of the RV as it comes off the assembly line. Doesn’t include supplies, water, fuel, or passenger weights. Manufacturers weigh each RV and apply a sticker listing the dry weight prior to shipping.

21. DSI Ignition – Direct Spark Ignition

Used to describe the method of igniting the main burner on a propane fired appliance.

Things You Should Know Before Your First RV Trip

Before you depart for your adventure, here are some helpful tips to make your RV trip more fun and successful.

Choose The Most Suitable RV For Your Trip

Perhaps by now, you have already discovered that there are many recreational vehicle options. They range from small camper vans to luxurious Class A motorhomes. Before you rent one, here is what to consider:

  • The number of people accompanying you on the trip
  • The amenities in the campground


Take Time to Plan Your RV Adventure

Earlier planning is vital for the success of every trip.

  • First, you need to choose an RV trip destination. You might have to consider a campsite the entire family prefers.
  • Perform campgrounds bookings in advance. The place should have RV hookups and the amenities you want.
  • Pack light for the first time. From there you will know better what to carry for your next trip. Your priority should be on essentials like clothes and easy-to-prepare foods.
  • Plan and prepare your meals. You might have to portion the meals and pre-prepare to make cooking a bit easier while on the road.
  • Take into account the pets, if there are any.
  • Decide whether you will go for wild camping or public campsites.

PS – You Can Rent an RV Through RVnGO

RVing takes the lead as the most unique and adventurous way of traveling. It is a must-try opportunity for families, friends and couples seeking to have fun away from home. Regardless of when you choose to go for this particular trip, RVnGO always has a wide range of excellent RVs that are just right for your outing. Click here to start researching the various types of RVs available for you.

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