Common Rv Terminology For Newbies: The Best 43 RV Terms That You Need To Know
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Introduction to RV Terminology
New to RVing? You might not know the jargon and RV Terminology that goes into this lifestyle. Fear not, we are here to help you learn some of the most common terms for newbies.
We’re about to dive into a list of common RV terminology for newcomers – but first let’s talk about what an RV is! An RV (or recreational vehicle) is any motorized vehicle made up of more than one module containing living quarters and may include amenities. This means it can be anything from a home-on-wheels on wheels or an oversized camper van – even smaller vehicles like trailers, fifth wheelers, and pop-up campers if they have enough space inside!
Common Terms That RVers Use
Types of RVs and RV Terminology
TT or Travel Trailer-
This is a small home on wheels typically consisting of two to three rooms and can range in size from 15-28 feet.
Fifth Wheel trailer, or “fifth wheeler”. A fifth wheel is a trailer that is supported by a hitch mounted on a truck instead of at the back.
A Puller refers to a motorhome that has an engine at the front of the vehicle.
A recreational vehicle that contains all the living quarters of a home and has wheels, but its primary purpose is self-propelled transportation rather than recreation; usually more luxurious as well!
A pusher refers to a motorhome with the engine located in the rear of the vehicle. A pusher can be a gas-pusher or diesel-pusher.
A rig is an informal word used to describe an RV.
Parts of The RV: RV Terminology
Black Water Tank-
The black water tank is where the raw sewage in your RV goes. Whatever you flush in your RV toilet goes to the black water tank.
For more information on Black Water Tanks and how to properly maintain them, check out this article!
Gray Water Tank-
The gray water tank is the tank that holds all of the water that has been used for washing, dishes, and showering. It is best to dump or empty this tank every few days as it can cause bad odors in your RV if left too long.
A soft side refers to any RV that does not have an exterior metal outer shell but rather has one made from vinyl or other fabric material.
In reference to an RV, the hard side means that the walls are solid.
A slideout is a bedroom area or seating area that can be pulled out in order to make more space inside of the RV.
The underbelly of the RV is where all of its mechanical parts are stored. This includes everything from the tanks to oil and other tools that might be needed for repairs or maintenance. It is the underside of your RV.
A bunkhouse is a sleeping area that has multiple beds in that portion of your RV.
The wings on your RV refer to the side mirrors, which should be used when you are backing up or maneuvering into tight spaces so you do not hit anything.
Types of RV Camping: RV Terminology
Boondocking is a term that means camping without hookups. Without the ability to connect and use utilities like electricity, water, or sewer through a campground’s connections (hook-ups).
For more detailed information on how and where to boondock, check out this article!
Dry camping means camping without any hookups or utilities (similar to boondocking). This can be done at a campsite that doesn’t have hookups or by parking in an isolated area where there aren’t many amenities. It’s important to note that dry camping and boondocking are not exactly the same thing – because you may still need water for your RV!
Moochdocking is a term that means free camping. This is when you camp in a driveway or on someone else’s property.
Wallydocking is when you moochdock or dry camp for the night in a Walmart parking lot.
For more information on camping in a Walmart parking lot, check out this article!
This acronym refers to the Bureau of Land Management. BLM land is public property for anyone to camp on. (There are a few exceptions.)
All About Power: RV Terminology
When you are hooked up at a campsite that means you have access to all utilities including electric, sewer, cable/satellite TV, internet service, etc. Most of the time you will need to pay extra for a spot with hookups.
This is the term used to describe a campground that provides full hookups. This means there are electrical, water, and waste outlets at each camping spot.
This term refers to the power that is provided through the electrical outlets at a campground.
This term refers to an RV that has its own water supply and a holding tank for waste. This allows it to be completely self-sufficient, which is why this type of camping is the most popular among full-time RVers.
RV Accessories: RV Terminology
Surge protectors are devices designed to protect RV’s from dangerous power spikes. They can also prevent damage that may be caused by lightning strikes or other electrical issues and keep you safe!
For more information on Surge Protectors, check out this article!
A Blue boy is a term used to describe a portable waste/ black water tank that is used to transport waste from your RV to a dumpsite. The portable black tank gets its name because it looks like the sky in some areas and therefore can be referred to as “the blue boy”.
A slip lock is a locking device that allows for quick connection of an exterior water or sewer hose. They are common in RVs and can be purchased at an RV Dealer.
A stinky slinky is a common term that RVers use in reference to a sewer hose. This hose should be as straight and smooth as possible, with no kinks. If your sewer hose is dirty before use or has a bunch of twists in it when you go to hook up the RV then this can cause major problems.
Honey pot is the term that RVs use to refer to the dumpsite for their waste.
Leveling jacks are devices located in each corner of your trailer or motorhome which allow you to level out the vehicle when it has been unhitched and placed onto blocks at a campsite.
RV Driving Terms
Chucking refers to when the RV is jerking forward and back when in transit.
Tail swing is the term that RVers use to refer to when your rear end swings out while you are turning or moving abruptly.
For more information about RV Driving, check out this article!
All About Weight and Towing
Dry Weight –
The weight of the empty trailer including its cargo-carrying features and equipment.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) –
GVWR is the maximum total weight of the trailer and its cargo when fully loaded. This is not to be confused with Gross Combined Weight Rating or GCWR, which is the GVWR for both the tow vehicle and trailer combined!
Gross Combined Weight Rating.
Tongue Weight is the weight that is transferred to your hitch. A tongue weight of approximately 15-20% of the total loaded trailer with cargo and equipment is a good rule of thumb for safety.
Tongue Jack is the part of an RV that allows it to be towed by another vehicle when it has been unhitched.
Gooseneck is a type of hitch that attaches to the frame instead of just the ball. A type of fifth wheel hitch.
The maximum weight in pounds that a vehicle can tow.
More RV Terms: Common RV Terminology
This is when you drain the water from your RV and fill it with antifreeze. This prevents damage to the body during the winter months.
For more information on RV winterizing, check out this article!
a type of flap that can be attached to a trailer hitch. When the trailer is traveling, it looks as if it is sweeping the road as it goes.
Sticks and Bricks-
Sticks and bricks is a common term that RVers use to refer to their regular house.
A hitchhiker refers to an external storage area on top of your RV. It can also be used to describe someone who you pick up while traveling in your RV.
Checklists are a list of activities that you need to complete before traveling. This includes checking fluids, tire pressure, and more.
For more RV lists (arrival, departure, and more), check out this article!!
Conclusion To Common RV Terms and RV Terminology
RVing is a great way to get out of the house, spend time with friends and family, or just have some peace and quiet. As you can see from this guide for common terminology in RVs, there are many terms that newbies may not know yet. We hope our post helps you decipher what all these strange words mean when it comes to RV ownership!
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Hello! My name is Cortney. I am 45 years old. I live full time in a 33 foot airstream trailer with my husband of 21 years. I run my own business out of my tin can and love living small. I have two grown kids and three pets. I have worn many hats including mental health counselor and truck driver. My husband is prepping for retiring from the Navy in the next five years. He has been serving for over 22 years faithfully.