RV'ing Terminology and Acronyms

RV'ing Terminology and Acronyms

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RV'ing Terminology and Acronyms

Boondocking, Dry Camping, Dispersed Camping or Flatspotting (take your pick):

To take one's RV off the beaten path to a place with natural appeal and to stay there being completely self-contained. One usually spends several days boondocking and the site is the destination.

Black-topping, Freedocking, Overnighting, Wally-Hopping or Asphalt Camping:

This type of overnighting takes place in parking lots. It is not (or should not be) a destination and, if done within the accepted RV community etiquette. It is generally an overnight event where the driver arrives late, asks permission from the store management, and leaves early. No evidence of "camping" should be displayed.

Concerning the terms above I tend to think that this web site has the best discussion: http://www.phrannie.org/boondock.html:

TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring System: (TPMS) -- More and more RV'ers are installing TPMS systems that monitor the condition of their RV and Tow car Tires. Over the past few years these systems have become more reliable and more individuals are relying on them. As with all systems they cause problems themselves and they are not cheap. However, they will alert you to problems which is a good thing and can save you money and countless problems -- probably expensive problems.

RV: Recreational Vehicle.

TT: Travel Trailer.

MH: Motor Home.

RGAW: Rear Gross Axle Weight (GAW) is the actual weight placed on the rear axle.

Batwing Antenna: TV antenna on the roof on an RV characterized by two horizontal elements. Batwing antennas are generally raised and rotated with a hand crank from inside the RV living compartment.

Black Tank: Holding tank connected to the toilet, designed to hold sewage until it can be dumped into a septic system.

Black Water: Waste water from the toilet; sewage system. Contents of the black tank.

Black Pyramid: Or the dreaded black pyramid. This is the pyramid of solids that will form in your black tank if you do not use enough water to suspend and dissolve the solids so those solids will flush when dumped. The other way the dreaded black pyramid can form is by leaving your black tank dump valve open when connected to campground sewer systems. When you do that the solids do not drop down into a liquid solution and dissolve. Instead the solids start forming a pyramid while the liquid drains out the open valve. The result is a nasty "black pyramid" that will become as hard as concrete and impossible to remove except by replacing the black tank.

CDL: Commercial Drivers License

Chassis Battery: Battery in motor homes and trucks for operating the engine and vehicle components. . Also referred to as the starting battery. In a motorhome chassis battery refers to the starting battery for the motorhome and the battery that operates all the normal things like radio, headlights, fans etc., that are in any vehicle. The other batteries in a motorhome are the HOUSE BATTERIES. They operate things like the motorhome refrigerator, and overhead lights. The house battery also provides 12-volts to the on board water pump, the water heater control board, heater control board and refrigerator control board when the refrigerator is operating in the propane mode.

Class A: A motor home built on a stripped truck chassis where the driving compartment is an integral part of the RV interior. Class A motor homes look like busses.

Class B: A motor home created from a van. Most models have raised roofs. To me they look like large vans or van conversions.

Class C: A motor home built on a cutaway van or truck chassis, including the cab. I think of a Class C motorhome as one that has sleeping above the front seat area of the cab.

Coach: Generally refers to "high end" Class A type motorhomes. The owners of those Expensive Motor Homes want to differentiate their rig from a run of the mill motorhome thus the term "coach".

Converter: A device that converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) used to charge the house batteries and to operate 12 volt devices while plugged into an external power source.

Dinghy: A motorhome's tow car or the car towed by a motorhome.

Dooley or Dually: Dual Rear Wheels generally referring to the dual rear wheels on a truck pulling a TT or 5th wheel trailer. I also see it spelled Dually.

Exhaust Brake: Device installed on the engine which causes deceleration by restricting the exhaust gases. Exhaust brakes are used to supplement the service brakes of a vehicle and to increase stopping power. Especially useful to slow heavy loads down steep grades. Most diesel motorhomes either come with exhaust brakes or should have them added. The same goes for trucks towing TT's and 5th wheels. They need exhaust brakes especially for traveling in the western United States.

FHU: Full Hookup. The term FHU is used to describe the "connections or hook ups" available at a campsite. FHU is considered to be fresh water, electricity and Sewage connections. Things like cable TV and WiFi are NOT included in FHU

Fiver: Fifth Wheel

Full Hookup: A campsite with water, electric, and sewer connections.

Fulltimer: A person living full-time in an RV, having no other home.

Grade: This term is used to describe what drivers should expect when navigating up or down a hill or mountain. It is the angle or degree of inclination of the road or highway. A grade of 6% or higher is considered steep and should receive your utmost caution both going up going down.

Gray Tank: Holding tank or tanks connected to RV sinks and shower, it holds the "gray" waste water until it can be dumped into an approved septic system.

Gray Water: Waste water from the sinks and shower that is being held in the gray tank or tanks.

Holding Tank or Tanks: Tanks on RV's designed to hold fresh water and waste water (black tank and gray tank). Holding tanks on RV's are the fresh water tank, gray tank, and black tank.

Honey Wagon: S sewage pumping truck. Honey wagons are used to empty RV holding tanks in places where full hookups and dump stations are not available. You will see them used at large events like concerts, car races, bike rally's and other large gatherings of RV's.

House Battery: The battery or batteries in an RV that operate the 12 volt lights, appliances, and systems. House batteries can be 12 volt units tied in parallel or pairs of 6 volt batteries tied in series (to double the voltage). The term house battery is used when describing the battery or battery bank in a motorhome that is used to operate the motorhome lights and appliances and NOT the battery or bank of batteries that provide starting power to the "coach". The terms "house battery" and "coach battery" are used describe which battery bank is being referred to in motorhomes.

Inverter: An electrical device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) for powering AC equipment while the RV is not plugged into an AC source. It is the device that RV'ers typically use to power their TV's and other entertainment devices when the RV is not connected to an external power source and the generator is not running. Inverters are connected to the house battery bank. Inverters and converters generally come in a single unit but not always. The inverter takes battery power (12-volts DC) and makes 120V AC while the converter takes 120-volts AC and makes 12-volts DC. Think of your converter as your battery charger.

King Pin: The pin which attaches a fifth wheel trailer to the truck. It slides into the fifth wheel hitch and locks in place.

King Pin Weight: King Pin Weight is the actual weight pressing down on the fifth wheel hitch by the trailer.

Leveling Jack: A jack lowered from the underside of trailers and motor homes for the purpose of leveling the vehicle. A leveling jack is designed to bear a significant portion of the RV's weight, even lifting it off the ground on certain models.

Light Duty Truck: Personal truck designed for light duty, typically rated at one ton and below. Light trucks are only suitable for towing small trailers like pop-ups.

Motor Coach: Motor Coach refers to a motorhome however, the individual using this term is usually referring to a truly expensive motorhome, one of the truly high-end motorhomes. The term "motor coach" is usually used to make the listener understand that it is a "rich persons" motorhome if you get my drift. :-)

Park Model: A travel trailer that requires park facilities to function. It lacks holding tanks and dual-voltage appliances, requiring to be plugged into water, sewage, and electrical facilities. A park model is more of a small mobile home than a recreational vehicle, in appearance and function.

Pressure Regulator: Water Pressure Regulator. Water Pressure Regulators are recommended, almost required, for RV'ers that are staying in a variety of campgrounds. One never knows what the water pressure will be at the campground. If you connect to a water source that has really high pressure, and some do, that pressure can blow out your internal fittings causing flooding. The repair will be at YOUR expense not the campgrounds. The repair will be expensive and time consuming. You can get a rather cheap water pressure regulator in the RV-section of WalMart stores or at your local RV-Parts Store. Make sure the water pressure regulator has connections on both sides that connect to water hose fittings not pipe fittings (some places will carry both kinds). You want to connect the water pressure regulator to the campgrounds hose bib so that it protects not only your motorhome but your supply hose. YES, high water pressure can blow out your supply hose as well as lines in your RV. You have been warned, do not let it happen to you. :-)

Pull Through: A parking spot in a campground or RV park with an entrance and an exit, designed to pull the RV in one end and out the other, without having to back up.

RVCG: Abbreviation for the RV Consumer Group organization. It is generally used to state that a product has been RVCG approved.

Shore Power: An external power source supplied to an RV. It is a marine term adopted by the RV community. RV'ers use it to mean an electrical power hookup supplied to the RV by a fixed, external source. RV sites has shore power.

Slinky or Stinky Slinky: Slang term for sewer hose. I guess the name came from the likeness to a slinky since they are constructed from a spiral wire covered with vinyl. RV'ers attach the "slinky" to the RV and the other into the campground sewer dump in order to empty their holding tanks.

Toad: A vehicle towed behind a motorhome. In otherwords the automobile that is "towed".

Toy Hauler: The term toy hauler is applied to both fifth wheel and travel trailers that have been designed to carry "Big Boy Toys" such as small cars, dune buggies, four wheelers, motorcycles, etc. Toy Haulers generally have a large door in the back which opens down to create a ramp, dedicated garage area or foldaway furniture in the main living compartment, and often a third axle to support the heavy toys.

Truck Camper: Living quarters designed to slide into the bed of a truck. The camper is fastened to the truck frame during transport and is designed to slide out onto its own legs at the camp site. Truck camper shells are designed for wilderness camping where you would not want to take a motorhome or TT.

Wheelbase: Distance between the center of the front and rear wheels of a vehicle, usually expressed in inches. Longer wheel base vehicles generally have more stability when driving down the road. Short wheel base vehicles with significant body behind the rear wheels can be difficult to steer in side winds and tend to get blown around when 18-wheelers pass. Hint, you want to look for a LONG WHEEL BASE in your motorhome.

Wide-body: An RV having an external body width greater than 96 inches (8 feet). The most common wide-body widths are 100" and 102". As you might imagine "wide-body" motorhomes are more exciting to drive than normal motorhomes. :-)

Winterize: Preparing your RV for freezing weather. You DO NOT want water pipes and tanks to freeze and break. It also refers to the process of introducing nontoxic antifreeze into the water lines of an RV for winter storage to prevent freezing and line breaks. Some folks use high pressure air to blow all the water out of their water lines. Other folks use the nontoxic RV antifreeze. Do not forget to drain the water out of your water heater, fresh water tank, gray tank and black tank. All of those items are EXPENSIVE to replace. In addition to being expensive to replace/repair they are going to cause one Hell of a mess. You have been warned! :-)

Work Camper or workcamper: A person living in an RV and working. Many workcamper jobs are available at campgrounds and RV-Parks but other places also look exclusively for "workcampers" that arrive and stay in their own living quarters. National Park Contractors hire a lot of workcampers, as do summer recreation activities like dude ranches. Amazon.com hires a ton of workers during the holiday season to work in their distribution centers and they pay well. The northern beat harvest also hires a lot of workcampers. There is a workcampers organization that puts RV'ers looking for work in contact with individuals and organizations looking for workcampers. Do a Google search for workcampers and you will find them. They are a good organization, and I recommend them.

Home ** Travel Adventures by Year ** Travel Adventures by State

Plants ** Marine-Boats ** Geology ** Exciting Drives ** Cute Signs

RV Subjects ** Miscellaneous Subjects