Alternating current, also referred to as shoreline power.
Short for ampere, the electric current unit of measure. RV sites with electric hookup will specify the maximum amps supported, which generally come in units of 20, 30, or 50 amps. The RV power connector must match the various plugs of the site amp rating.
A device that is installed in a water heater and used to prevent corrosion. Anode rods attract corrosive elements that might be present in the water, thereby preventing the corrosion-causing elements in the water from damaging the metal tank.
A roof-like structure made of canvas or other artificial materials which extends from the RV body to provide shade. Awnings are generally placed over entrances. Some extend and stow manually while others are operated electrically.
Refers to the drainage water that ends up in the sewage tank.
Also known as a honey pot. Refers to a portable waste holding tank that has wheels on one end. These tanks often are manufactured out of blue plastic, hence the nickname.
Camping without electrical and water hookups. Also known as dry camping.
An electrical switch on trailers designed to engage the breaks in case the trailer breaks away from the tow vehicle. The switch is connected by a cable to the tow vehicle. Breakaway is detected when the switch cable is pulled out during vehicle separation.
A device (customer supplied) mounted under the dash of a towing vehicle to control the braking system of the RV. Most brake actuators are based on a time delay application; the longer the brakes are applied, the tighter the trailer brakes react.
BRITISH THERMAL UNIT (BTU)
Measurement of heat that is the quantity required to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1°F. RV air-conditioners and furnaces are BTU-rated.
CAMBER (WHEEL ALIGNMENT)
The number of degrees each wheel is off of vertical. A "positive camber" means the tops of the wheels are farther apart than the bottoms, while a "negative camber" implies the bottoms of the wheels are farther apart than the tops.
A towable RV, also commonly referred to as a "fifth wheel". Campers are attached to a vehicle through a trailer and hitch configuration connected to the tow truck directly above the rear axle by way of a special fifth wheel hitch.
An outdoor recreational activity that involves a retreat from urban life. Campers usually spend one or more nights in a tent, primitive structure or RV at a campsite with the purpose of getting away from civilization and enjoying nature.
The term usually means an area where an individual or family might go camping.
A colorless, odorless and poisonous gas. One should always avoid carbon monoxide intake.
The actual weight of all items added to the Curb Weight of the vehicle or trailer. This includes personal cargo, optional equipment, and tongue or king pin weight.
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (CCC)
Equal to GVWR minus each of the following: UVW, full fresh (potable) water weight (including water heater), full propane weight and SCWR.
Term associated with the water supply you hook up to at the campsite. It is called city water because water is pulled from a central outside source (like a city) and not the fresh water tank.
A result of warm moisture laden air contacting the cold window glass. Keeping a roof vent open helps to reduce the humidity levels. Added roof vent covers help to prevent cold air from dropping down through the vent while still allowing moist air to escape. Using the roof vent fan when showering or the stove vent fan when cooking also helps prevent excess moisture buildup.
A device that converts 120 volt A/C (alternating current) to 12 volt DC (direct current). The RV devices mostly run on 12 volt DC power that is supplied by the battery, which allows the RV to function independently. When "shore power" (an electrical supply) is available, the converter changes the voltage from 120 to 12 volt to supply the appliances and to recharge the battery.
The actual weight of a vehicle or trailer, including all standard equipment, full fuel tanks, full fresh water tanks, full propane bottles, and all other equipment fluids, but before taking on any persons or personal cargo.
This refers to the side of the camper that faces the curb when parked. Also referred to as the door side.
Direct current, also known as auxiliary battery power.
Booth-like dining area or free-standing table with chairs.
This is the curve that is in all drains. Water is trapped in the curve and creates a barrier so tank odors cannot escape through the drain.
Camping when there is no city water hookup or shore power (i.e., using only the water and power available in the camper and not from any other source).
The actual weight of a vehicle or trailer containing standard equipment without fuel, fluids, cargo, passengers, or optional equipment.
DSI (Direct Spark Ignition)
This term refers to the method of igniting the main burner on a propane fired appliance. The burner is lit with an electric spark and the flame is monitored by an electronic circuit board. This ignition system is used in refrigerators, furnaces and water heaters.
DUAL ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
RV equipped with lights, appliances which operate on 12-volt battery power when self-contained, and with a converter, on 110 AC current when in campgrounds or with an onboard generator
A truck having two wheels on each side of the rear axle for a total of four wheels
Air conditioning supplied through a ducting system in the ceiling. This supplies cooling air at various vents located throughout the RV.
Warm air from the furnace supplied to various locations in the RV through a ducting system located in the floor.
Site where you drain your gray water (waste) and your black water (sewage) tanks. In most states, it is illegal to drain your tanks anywhere except dump stations.
Another name for the T-handle valve used to release and drain the black tank (sewage) and gray tank (waste).
The formal name for the emergency escape window. Egress windows are identified by their labeling.
FIFTH WHEEL (FW)
A trailer and hitch configuration connected to the tow truck directly above the rear axle by way of a special fifth wheel hitch. This causes several feet of the connected trailer to hang over the tow truck, placing about 15 to 25% of the trailer's weight on the rear axle of the truck. Commercial trucks and trailers use this hitch configuration. Also commonly spelled as 5th wheel.
Another name for a fifth wheel RV.
The fresh water system provides potable water to the fresh water tank, kitchen sink, shower, bathroom lavatory, toilet, water heater and outside shower.
FRESH WATER TANK
Tank for holding fresh water for drinking, cooking, and bathing while not connected to a city water supply.
FULL HOOK-UP SITE
A campsite that has city water, shore power and sewer hook-ups or connections available
FULL TIMERS OR FULL TIMING
The term used for people who live in their RV full time, or at least the vast majority of their time.
The kitchen in an RV.
An engine powered device fueled by gasoline or diesel fuel, and sometimes propane. Mostly used for generating 120-volt AC power.
Abbreviation for generator set.
A trailer and hitch configuration connected to the tow truck directly above the rear axle by way of a standard ball hitch in the truck bed and a vertical, slender arm on front of the trailer. Gooseneck hitching is common on horse and utility trailers, but rarely found on RVs or FWs.
Term associated with the waste water holding tank. Water from the sink drains, shower and washer/dryer (if so equipped) go into this tank.
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
The MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE WEIGHT each axle assembly is designed to carry, as measured at the tires, therefore including the weight of the axle assembly itself. GAWR is established by considering the rating of each of its components (tires, wheels, springs, axle), and rating the axle on its weakest link. The GAWR assumes that the load on each side is equal.
GROSS CARRYING CAPACITY (GCC)
Refers to the maximum carrying capacity of your camper. The GCC is equal to the GVWR minus UVW. The GCC will be reduced by the weight of fresh water or other tanks, propane, occupants, personal items or dealer installed accessories.
GROSS COMBINED WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
The MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE COMBINED WEIGHT of the tow vehicle and attached towed vehicle. GCWR assumes that both vehicles have functioning brakes, with exceptions in some cases for very light towed vehicles, normally less than 1,500 pounds. (Check your tow vehicle's towing guide.)
GROSS TRAILER WEIGHT RATING (GTWR)
The MAXIMUM TOWED VEHICLE WEIGHT. Each component (receiver, drawbar, ball) of a ball-type hitch has its own rating. Some ball-type hitches have separate ratings when used with a weight distributing system.
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
The MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE WEIGHT of the fully loaded vehicle, including liquids, passengers, cargo, and the tongue weight of any towed vehicle.
A device that transfers heat from one source to another.
A heat strip is an electric heating element located in the air conditioning system with the warm air distributed by the air conditioner fan and ducting system.
A fifth-wheel trailer with a higher-than-normal front to allow more than 6 feet of standing room inside the raised area.
The fastening unit that joins a movable vehicle to the vehicle that pulls it.
The amount of the camper's weight that rests on the tow vehicle. It should be approximately 12% - 15% with conventional trailers; approximately 18% -21% for fifth wheels.
There are three different holding tanks on most RVs; fresh water tank, gray water tank and black water tank. The fresh water tank holds fresh water that can be stored for later use. The gray water tank holds the waste water from the sinks and showers. The black water tank holds the sewage water from the toilet.
A slang term for the sewage pumping truck. Honey wagons are used to empty RV holding tanks in places without full hookups and dump stations.
The major types of hookups usually found at campgrounds are electrical, water and sewer. If all three of these hookups are available, it is termed full hookup. Hookups may also include telephone and cable TV in some campgrounds.
Batteries used to operate the 12 volt lights, appliances, and systems inside the RV.
A type of dirt skirt accessory used to aid in the protection from debris thrown from their rear wheels to the vehicles directly behind them or being towed behind them. This dirt skirt is usually the length of the rear bumper and resembles a 'short' version of a Hawaiian 'hula-skirt', hence the term.
An inverter is a device that changes 12 volt battery power to 120 volt AC power. It is used when "boon docking" (camping without hookups) to power certain 120 VAC only devices like a microwave oven. The amount of available power depends on the storage capacity of the batteries and the wattage rating of the inverter.
ISLAND QUEEN OR ISLAND KING
A king or queen-sized bed with walking space on both sides.
The pin by which a fifth wheel trailer attaches to the truck. It slides into the fifth wheel hitch and locks in place.
KING PIN WEIGHT
The actual weight pressing down on the fifth wheel hitch by the trailer. The recommended amount of King Pin Weight is 15%-25% of the GTWR, also called Pin Weight.
A sandwich of structural frame members, wall paneling, insulation and exterior covering, adhesive-bonded under pressure and/or heat to form the RV's walls, floor and/or roof.
Positioning the RV in camp so it will be level, using ramps (also called levelers) placed under the wheels, built-in scissor jacks, or power leveling jacks.
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.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas, commonly written as "LP Gas". Two examples of LP Gas are propane and butane. LP gas is used to fuel appliances in the RV, such as the stove, oven, water heater and refrigerator.
A motor vehicle built on a truck or bus chassis and designed to serve as self-contained living quarters for recreational travel.
NET CARRYING CAPACITY (NCC)
The MAXIMUM WEIGHT of all personal belongings, food, fresh water, propane, tools, dealer installed accessories, etc., that can be carried by the RV.
Water not suitable for human consumption.
The term used for people who use their RV more than usual (more than just a few weekend trips a year), but who still use it less than full time.
Carpet or woven mat for use on ground outside of RV. Used whether or not a concrete patio pad is available where camping.
The maximum allowable weight that can be placed in or on a vehicle, INCLUDING cargo, passengers, fluids and fifth-wheel or conventional hitch loads.
A pilot is a small standby flame that is used to light the main burner of a propane fired appliance when the thermostat calls for heat. Pilots can be used in furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators, ovens and stove tops.
A campsite that may have city water, shore power or sewer hook-ups but not all of them; primitive sites may have no hook-ups or connections at all.
Used in RVs for heating, cooking and refrigeration.
Campsites you can drive through and park (without having to back up into the site).
A slang term for an RV unit.
This refers to the side of the camper that faces the road when it is parked. Often called the off-door side.
ROOF AIR CONDITIONING
Air conditioning unit mounted on roof of RV, to cool the RV when it is parked.
Short for Recreation Vehicle, a generic term for all pleasure vehicles which contain living accommodations. Multiple units are RVs and persons using them are RVers.
Abbreviation for Recreational Vehicle Dealer's Association.
Abbreviation for Recreational Vehicle Industry Association
Refers to the camper's fresh water system that has been sanitized with chlorine bleach before use or after storage.
SHORELINE POWER CORD
This is the electrical power cord that runs from the camper to the campsite shore power outlet.
An electrical hookup found at campsites.
SLEEPING CAPACITY WEIGHT RATING (SCWR)
The manufacturer's designated number of sleeping positions multiplied by 154 pounds (70 kilograms).
An area of the RV that expands, or "slides out" when parked. Meant to increase interior space in the unit. During travel, this area will retract back into the RV body.
Term for someone in a northern climate that vacations in the southernmost states during winter months.
Slang for the sewer hose, used to empty RV sewage into the local sewer dump facilities.
The part of the vehicle on the street side when parked. (Also referred to as the off door-side or ODS.)
Device (customer supplied) that is installed at the power supply location designed to prevent 'surges' or 'spikes' in electrical current that may damage the RV's electrical/electronic components.
Fishtailing action of the trailer caused by external forces that set the trailer's mass into a lateral (side-to-side) motion. Also known as "yaw."
Name for the device that monitors the pilot flame of a pilot model propane appliance. If the pilot flame is extinguished the thermocouple causes the gas valve to shut off the flow of gas to both the pilot flame and the main burner.
The predecessor to the "slideout" mainly found in older model RVs, it is an area or room in an RV that "tips out" for additional living space.
Usually found in an engraving on the tire sidewall, the ratings describe qualities of the tire such as the MAXIMUM LOAD that a tire may carry along with a corresponding COLD inflation pressure.
TOE (WHEEL ALIGNMENT)
Refers to the alignment of the wheels. Toe is the measure of whether the front of the wheels (looking down from the top) are closer (toe-in) or farther (toe-out) than the back of the wheels.
Tongue Weight, Tongue Load, Vertical Load Rating Different terms for the MAXIMUM VERTICAL LOAD that can be carried by the hitch UNLOADED.
A type of RV, usually a Fifth Wheel, with a loading ramp built into the rear that allows for the storage, loading and unloading of 'Toys", such as motorcycles or ATVs.
The brakes that are featured in the trailer axle systems and are activated either by electric impulse or by a surge mechanism.
A name given to the wiring harness that connects the trailer to the tow vehicle during transport. The umbilical cord supplies the trailer with DC power for charging the batteries and operating DC equipment. It also operates the trailer brakes and signal lights. (Also referred to as the 7-way power cord.)
The RV's under-floor surface, which is protected by a weatherproofed material.
UTQGL (UNIFORM TIRE QUALITY GRADE LABELING)
A program that is directed by the government to provide consumers with information about three characteristics of the tire: tread wear, traction and temperature. Following government prescribed test procedures, tire manufacturers perform their own evaluations for these characteristics. Each manufacturer then labels the tire, according to grade.
Material breaking down over time after sustained exposure to the sun's harsh ultraviolet rays.
UNLOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT (UVW)
The WEIGHT of a vehicle as built at the factory with full fuel, engine (generator) oil and coolants. It does not include cargo, fresh water, propane, occupants, or dealer installed accessories.
WASTE WATER TANKS
The gray water tank holds the waste water from the sinks and showers. The black water tank holds the waste (sewage) from the toilet.
WATER PRESSURE REGULATOR
A device that limits the pressure of the water entering the RV from city water pumps. Most regulators limit water pressure to 40 psi.
People who own their RV's for weekend and vacation use.
WEIGHT & LOAD
These terms are generally used interchangeably. For the purposes of understanding RV applications, vehicles have WEIGHT, which impart LOADS to tires, axles and hitches. Scale measurements taken when weighing are LOADS carried by the tires. These measured loads are used to calculate Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), Gross Axle Weight (GAW), Gross Combination Weight (GCW), and hitch loads.
The weight of the vehicle with the fuel, freshwater and propane tanks full.
An RV having an external body width greater than 96 inches (8 feet). The most common wide-body widths are 100" and 102."
Refers to a camper that has been prepared for storage. The water systems have been drained and RV antifreeze has been added to protect the water lines and drains. The low point drains should be in the open position.
A person living in an RV and working. Many spell it as "workamper" after the web site and service by that name.
Fishtailing action of the trailer caused by external forces that set the trailer's mass into a lateral (side-to-side) motion. The trailer's wheels serve as the axis or pivot point. Also known as "sway."