The RVillagers Ultimate Guide to RV Terminology — All Those Wacky Acronyms!
RVillagers are some of the most helpful people in the world. Quick to share ideas, advice, and even our own unique language! Here's a list of your favorite RVing terms. What else can you add?
Many thanks to everyone who submitted to the "Speak RV" contest! We'll be announcing the five randomly-chosen winners of an RVillage flag in the December newsletter.
When you first began learning about how to RV, there were probably more than a few words, phrases and acronyms that had you stumped. We asked RVillagers to contribute their favorite RV terms, acronyms and pet names to help our new-to-RVing members and friends. Here's the list!
Related to RVs
- Black Water (& tank): Water from the toilet, sewage.
- Blue Boy: Portable wheeled plastic tote used to transport sewage from RV waste tank to the dump station.
- Breakaway Switch: A safety switch that will automatically activate the brakes on the trailer if your trailer becomes separated from the tow vehicle.
- Bumper Pull: RV trailer (not a 5th wheel).
- Class A: Very large, long motorhome, usually with multiple slides; usually a diesel pusher.
- Class B: Smaller motorhome, usually van size but tall enough to stand up in. Has all the amenities of larger motorhomes, including a wet bath.
- Class C: Motorhome with a bed or storage area over the cab.
- Coach or Motorcoach: Class A motorhome.
- CO Monitor: Carbon monoxide monitor.
- Dinghy: The vehicle towed behind an RV, also called a toad, sometimes called a TV.
- Dog Bone: The connector used to plug a 50 amp coach to a 30 amp socket. It gets its name from the shape.
- Dolly: For towing vehicles that can't be towed 4-down (4 wheels on the road). The front two wheel go on the dolly.
- Doughnut: A rubber ring that seals the dump hose and the campsite sewer connection so that gases and odors do not escape.
- Dually: Any vehicle with sets of two tires in the rear.
- Fiver or 5-er: Fifth wheel trailer.
- Genset: A motorhome's on-board electric generator.
- Grey Water (& tank): Water from sinks and shower.
- Honey Wagon: A mobile service that will empty the waste holding tanks on an RV at the campsite.
- Hula Skirt: A skirt placed on the back bumper of a motorhome to stop the debris that is thrown from the rear wheels from damaging vehicles behind the motorhome.
- MH or MoHo: Motorhome.
- OTA: Over-The-Air. In reference to the TV antenna that receives over-the-air broadcasts.
- OTDA: Over The Door Awning.
- OTR: Over-The-Road. Usually in reference to truck driving.
- Pigtail: The 30A to 15A RV pigtail adapter allows coaches with 30A service to connect to 15A household power.
- Porpoising: Front to rear bounce. The front hits a bump, then rear hits the bump, and they both bounce independently of each other. New shocks will usually solve the issue.
- Puller: Class A diesel motorhome that has the diesel motor located in the front.
- Pusher: Class A diesel motorhome that has the diesel motor located in the rear.
- RBR: Really Big Rig.
- Reefer: Term used for the RV's refrigerator.
- Rig: RV.
- Slide: The part of an RV that pushes out to create more room in the RV's interior.
- Slide Topper: Retractable awning installed over a slide out to keep rain, hail, and debris off of the top of the slide.
- Stinky Slinky: Sewer hose.
- Tag Axle: A tag axle is a third axle located behind the rear drive axle of a motor home. It is a non-drive axle with one or two tires on each side.
- Tail Swing: Describes the extra distance that the rear end of the RV uses during a turn. The longer the space between the rear wheel and the end of the RV, the larger the tail swing will be.
- Toad: The automobile pulled behind a motorhome.
- Tow Dolly: Small two wheeled trailer used to attach a tow vehicle to the back of an RV.
- Toyhauler: Fifth wheel with extra large space in the back to load an ATV, motorcycles, small watercraft, etc.
- TPMS: Tire pressure monitoring system.
- TT: Travel Trailer. Sometimes used for Thousand Trails.
- VBR: Very Big Rig.
- Wet Bath: Bathroom in a smaller motorhome that is all-in-one. The shower is in the same area as the sink and commode, which may or may not be separated by a curtain.
Related to RV Weights
- CCC: Cargo Carrying Capacity. The maximum weight limit for personal items you can add to an RV.
- GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating. The gross axle weight rating is the maximum distributed weight that may be supported by an axle of a road vehicle. Typically, GAWR is followed by either the letters FR or RR, which indicate front or rear axles respectively.
- GCWR: Gross Combined Weight Rating. The manufacturer's 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.
- GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. 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 passengers.
- NCC: Net Carrying Capacity or Payload Capacity. 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).
- OCCC: Occupant and cargo, carrying capacity.
- 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.
- UBW: Unit Base Weight. The dry weight of the base unit without options.
- UVW: Unloaded Vehicle Weight or Dry Weight. The weight of the RV without adding fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers.
- Weight Distribution Hitch: Transfers the weight from the tongue of the trailer and redistributes it to the front of the tow vehicle.
- Wet Weight: Weight of RV with full tanks of fuel, propane, fresh water.
Related to Camping
- BLM: Bureau of Land Management. Public lands owned by us, where you can find free/cheap camping.
- Boondocking: Dry camping without hook ups, usually in remote areas.
- Central water & dump station: For campgrounds that only have a central place to get fresh water and sewer dump.
- City Water: Safe drinking water from a stationary source, for example, the municipal water system faucets in an RV park.
- COE: Corps of Engineers. They have nice campgrounds, usually near a lake or reservoir.
- Dispersed Camping: Dry camping or boondocking, usually on federal lands and national forests.
- Dry Camping: Camping without hookups. Can be long-term boondocking or over night parking in a lot.
- FCFS: First come first served. With reference to parks & campgrounds that do not take reservations.
- FHU: Full hook ups. Campsites with utilities.
- Moochdocking: Similar to boondocking, but more like couch surfing wherein you park yourself in a friend's driveway or yard and mooch off their water and electric.
- O/N Parking: Overnight parking, usually in parking lots such as Walmarts, restaurants, casinos, rest areas, truck stops.
- Potable water: Safe drinking water from a stationary source, for example, the municipal water system faucets in an RV park.
- Pull-thru or pull-through: Pull through site at a campground, one where you do not have to back into.
- Shore power/pedestal: Outlet to connect RV (or boat) to AC (usually 120volt).
- Wallydocking: Staying overnight in a WalMart parking lot.
- Weekend Warrior: An RVer who RVs on weekends.
- Workamping: Generally refers to RVers exchanging work for a free campsite, utilities, and possibly a small wage.
Related to RVers, the Lifestyle, and Pet Phrases
- DH and DW: Darling (or Dear) Husband and Wife.
- Full Timer: RVers who live & travel in their RV year-round, usually without a Sticks 'n Bricks home anywhere. (See below)
- Newbee: Anyone new to RVing.
- Right Laner: Staying in the right lane on a freeway so you don't have to pass other drivers.
- SKP: A member of the Escapees National RV Club.
- Snowbird: RVer that typically lives in their Sticks 'n Bricks home during the summer season, and travels to warmer locations in the winter.
- Sticks 'n Bricks: Also known as S&B. What RVers call a regular type of house.
- TTWF: Traveling together without following.
- WAIF: What Am I Forgetting?
- WDITT: Why Didn't I Think of That?
- WTF: We tried to fix it.
- YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary.
Have more to add? Join the discussion on RVillage about all things RV: Why Didn't I Think of That? Tips & Tricks.
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Disclaimer: The information gathered here is compiled from the posts and opinions of RVillagers, and not RVillage itself.