- A converter is 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.
term for a motor home with the diesel engine mounted in the front of the
vehicle. Also know simply as a Puller.
- The term for a
motor home with the diesel engine mounted in the rear of the vehicle.
Also know simply as a Pusher.
- The term for a vehicle that you are towing with your motor home. It
is also known as a Toad.
- Booth-like dining area. Table usually drops to convert unit into a bed
A rubber ring that seals one's dump hose and the campsite sewer connection
so that gases and odors do not escape. Sewer doughnuts are required in
- Also known as
boon docking, dry camping refers to camping without any hook-ups, namely
camping without hooking up to any electric, sewer or water facilities.
You can still have electric from your RV batteries and water from your
freshwater holding tank.
- The weight of the RV without any fuel, freshwater, propane or
- 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.
There is now a version of stove tops that light the burners with a DSI
Ducted AC -
Air conditioning supplied through a ducting system in the
ceiling. This supplies cooling air at various vents located throughout the
Ducted Heat - Warm air from the
furnace supplied to various locations in the RV through a ducting system
located in the floor. (similar to house heating systems)
facility for dumping or emptying your black water and gray water holding
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
Dually - A pickup truck, or
light-duty tow vehicle, with four tires on one rear axle.
- A hitch that
utilizes spring bars that are placed under tension to distribute a portion
of the trailer's hitch weight to the tow vehicle's front axle and the
trailer's axles. This hitch is also known as a weight distributing hitch
(Water) Tank - The gallons of fresh water that can be
stored for later use.
- The ability to
connect to all three of the campground's facilities; electric, water and
or Full-Timing - The term used for people who live in
their RV full time, or at least the vast majority of their time.
- An engine powered device fuelled by gasoline or diesel fuel, and
sometimes propane, for generating 120-volt AC power.
Gross Axle Weight
Rating (GAWR) - The manufacturer’s maximum load weight, in
pounds, that can be placed on the axle. If an axle has a 3500-lb.
GAWR and the RV has two axles (tandem axles), then the RV would have a
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 7000 lbs. (see GVWR below)
Weight (GCW) - The combined weight of the tow
vehicle and the trailer.
Weight Rating (GCWR) - The manufacturers maximum
load weight, in pounds, allowed for the trailer and tow vehicle.
This rating includes the weight of the trailer, tow vehicle, fuel, water,
propane, supplies and passengers.
Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)
- Gross trailer weight is the weight of the trailer fully loaded in its
actual towing condition. GTW is measured by placing the fully loaded
trailer on a vehicle scale. The entire weight of the trailer should be
supported on the scale.
Weight (GVW) - The weight of the vehicle.
Weight Rating (GVWR) - The manufacturer’s
maximum load weight, in pounds, allowed for the vehicle. This rating
includes the weight of the vehicle plus fuel, water, propane, supplies and
electrical device powered by gasoline or diesel fuel, and sometimes
propane, for generating 120-volt AC power.
Water - The gray
water tanks on an RV hold drainage water from the sinks and shower. It
contains soap and food particles and although not seriously harmful, the
common practice of dumping gray water on the campsite ground should be
(Water) Tank - The gallons of gray waste that can be held
- The amount of a trailer's weight that rests on the tow
vehicle's hitch. For travel trailers this weight should be 10% to 15% of
the total weight of the trailer. For fifth wheels this weight should be
15% to 20% of the total weight of the trailer.
- A heat exchanger is a device that transfers heat from one source to
another. For example, there is a heat exchanger in your furnace - the
propane flame and combustion products are contained inside the heat
exchanger that is sealed from the inside area. Inside air is blown over
the surface of the exchanger, where it is warmed and the blown through the
ducting system for room heating. The combustion gases are vented to the
- 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. They are typically 1500 watt elements (about the
same wattage as an electric hair dryer) and have limited function.
Basically they "take the chill off"
- The amount of a trailer's weight that rests on the tow vehicle's hitch.
For travel trailers this weight should be 10% to 15% of the total weight
of the trailer. For fifth wheels this weight should be 15% to 20% of the
total weight of the trailer.
There are three different holding tanks on most RVs: Fresh Water, Gray
Water and Black Water. The fresh water tanks hold the water you will use
for water you will pump into your RV when you are not getting water from
an outside source. The Gray Water tank holds water from your kitchen and
shower. The black water tank holds the water and waste from your toilet.
- The ability of
connecting to a campground's facilities. The major types of hookups 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.
Inverter - 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.
- 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.
Livability Packages - items to equip
a motor home for daily living, which may be rented at nominal cost from
rental firm, rather than brought from home. Include bed linens, pillows
and blankets, bath towels, pots and pans, kitchen utensils, cutlery.
Petroleum Gas. LP gas is used to fuel appliances in the RV, such as
the stove, oven, water heater and sometimes the refrigerator.
Often called propane. LP
weighs 4.5 pounds per gallon.
(NCC) - Sometimes called the payload capacity, this is the
maximum weight of fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers that can
be added to an RV without exceeding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).
(see GVWR above)
- 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
maximum allowable weight that can be in or on a vehicle, including all
cargo and accessories, fuel, freshwater, propane, passengers and hitch
Pilot - 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.
- The term for a room in an RV that pops out for additional living
Popup or Pop-Up
- Another name for a folding camping trailer.
- A term used to define the up and down motion in an RV while traveling.
Propane - LPG, or liquefied
petroleum gas, used in RVs for heating, cooking and refrigeration. Also
called bottle gas, for manner in which it is sold and stored.
- The slang term for a
motor home with a front-mounted diesel engine.
- A camping site
that allows you to pull through while setting up and leaving the area. A
site where you do not have to back into or out of.
- The slang term for a motor home with a rear-mounted diesel engine.
What many RVers call their units.
Roof Air Conditioning
- air conditioning unit mounted on roof of RV, to cool the RV when it is
parked. When moving, most RVs are cooled by separate air conditioning
units which are components of the engine, or they may be cooled by a roof
top if a proper size generator is installed.
RV - 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.
- A set of chains that are attached to both the trailer
A-Frame and the tow vehicle while towing. Safety chains are intended to
keep the trailer attached to the tow vehicle in the event of a hitch
failure, preventing the trailer from completely separating from the tow
- RV which needs no external electrical, drain or water hookup. Thus, it
can park overnight anywhere. Of course, self-contained units can also hook
up to facilities when at campgrounds.
Sewer Doughnut - A
rubber ring that seals one's dump hose and the campsite sewer connection
so that gases and odors do not escape. Sewer doughnuts are required in
provided to the RV by an external source other than the RV batteries.
- The term for a type of camper that mounts on a truck bed, because
this type of camper slides in to the truck bed.
- A room or area in your RV that slides out to make additional space
Thermocouple - A 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 term used for an area or room in an RV that tips out for
additional living space. The Tip-Out was generally used in older RVs.
Newer RVs mainly use a slide-out.
Toad - A "toad" is an RVers term referring to a vehicle that is
towed behind a motor home. Some vehicles can be towed without any
modifications - others cannot be towed at all, or at least without
Toe - Wheel alignment
- 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
Tongue Weight - Tongue weight (TW)
is the downward force exerted on the hitch ball by the trailer coupler. In
most cases, it is about 10 to 15 percent of GTW. TW of up to 300 lbs. can
be measured on a household scale by resting the trailer coupler on the
scale and placing the scale on a box so that the coupler is at its normal
towing height. The trailer must be fully loaded and level.
- A bar used for
connecting a towed vehicle to the motor home for towing with all four
wheels on the ground.
- Brakes that are built into the trailer and are
activated either by electric impulse or by a surge mechanism.
- The RV's under floor surface, which is protected by a weatherproofed
Unloaded Vehicle Weight
(UVW) - Sometimes called the Dry Weight, it is the weight of the
RV without adding fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers. The
manufacturers UVW will not include any dealer-installed options.
Waste water tanks - The gray water tank holds the waste water from
the sinks and showers. The black water tank holds the waste from the
Weight Carrying Hitch
- A hitch
designed to accept the entire hitch weight of the trailer. This hitch is
also known as a dead weight hitch.
hitch that utilizes spring bars that are placed under tension to
distribute a portion of the trailer's hitch weight to the tow vehicle's
front axle and the trailer's axles. This hitch is also known as an
– What weighs what?
Propane weighs 4.25 pounds per gallon
weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon
Gasoline weighs 6.3 pounds per gallon
Diesel fuel weighs 6.6 pounds per gallon
weight of the RV with the fuel, freshwater and propane tanks full.
- Distance between center lines of the primary axles of a vehicle. If a
motor home includes a tag axle, the distance is measured from the front
axle to the center point between the drive and tag axles.
term for an RV exceeding the normal eight feet wide. Wide Bodies are
usually 102" (8' 6") wide.