18 RVing Terms Every RVer Should Know

A comprehensive guide to essential RV terms for all owners.
November 2, 2022

You’ve purchased your RV, you’re excited to go camping, and you’re ready to hit the road.

Congratulations on your new RV! You must be thrilled to embark on your first camping adventure and hit the open road. However, as a newcomer to the RV world, you may encounter unfamiliar terms that can seem like a whole new language. Joining the RV community is like stepping into an alternate universe where like-minded individuals gather to celebrate their passion for the great outdoors. Embrace this exciting journey and get ready to absorb a wealth of knowledge!

As a novice in the RV world, absorbing the plethora of information can feel daunting. From mastering tank filling and dumping to efficiently connecting your trailer to your truck, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed initially. Remember to remember a few details in the early stages; it’s all part of the learning process! Embrace the opportunity to seek guidance from the welcoming RV community. With their help, you’ll find answers to your queries and solutions to challenges. Remember, it may take a few trips to become well-versed in all the intricacies, but persistence and practice will ultimately lead you to RV success!

As you embark on your thrilling adventure, familiarizing yourself with standard RV slang terms will enhance your understanding and enable you to confidently navigate. Keep these key phrases in mind as you journey along the open road.

RV Terms We All Need To Know:

Understanding the Gray Tank

  • Gray Tank: The gray tank is vital for storing water from your sinks and showers during RV adventures. Especially when camping at sites without full hookups, filling your gray tank before hitting the road is essential. By doing so, you ensure a steady supply of water throughout your entire trip. Stay prepared and make the most of your camping experience with a properly maintained gray tank.

Demystifying the Black Tank

  • Black Tank: The black tank is responsible for containing all waste from your toilet. While your RV sales associate can guide you on emptying this tank at the end of your trip, additional assistance is readily available. Numerous YouTube videos offer valuable insights into adequately maintaining and emptying your black tank. Alternatively, reaching out to experienced RV owners can also provide invaluable guidance. Stay informed and confident in managing your RV’s waste disposal system for a hassle-free journey.

Maximizing Your Fresh Water Supply

  • Fresh Water Tank: The freshwater tank serves as a reservoir for all your drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs during your RV adventures. If your campsite lacks hookups, ensuring your fresh water tank is full before embarking on your trip is crucial. By taking this proactive step, you guarantee a sufficient supply of clean water throughout your journey. Stay prepared and maximize your camping experience by adequately filling and utilizing your RV’s fresh water tank.

Essential Connections for Water and Electricity While Camping

  • Hook-ups: When you embark on a camping adventure, hookups become crucial for accessing water and electricity. If you choose a campground with full hookups, rejoice in the convenience of obtaining all the necessary electricity and water directly from these connections. No need to haul a generator or fill your tanks! However, remember to prioritize the safety of your RV by equipping it with a surge protector for seamless plug-in functionality.
  • Dump Station: Conveniently empty your black and grey tanks at a designated location. If your campsite offers full hookups, use the on-site dump station. Otherwise, discover nearby options for hassle-free tank disposal.

Discover the Freedom of Boondocking

  • Boondocking: Boondocking is when you camp without hookups in more rural areas. You often don’t have to pay for a campsite while boondocking, and it’s easy to pick up camp and move whenever you want.

    Embark on an unforgettable adventure with the exhilarating concept of boondocking. Imagine immersing yourself in the serene beauty of remote rural areas, where the absence of hookups becomes an opportunity for unparalleled exploration. Boondocking liberates you from the restrictions of traditional campgrounds, with the added bonus of freedom from campground fees. Picture yourself setting up camp amidst breathtaking landscapes, surrounded by nature’s untouched wonders. With boondocking, you have the flexibility to swiftly move and adapt, allowing you to chase the changing seasons, discover hidden gems, and follow your wanderlust wherever it may lead. Seize the chance to elevate your camping experience and embrace the liberation of off-grid adventure.

Essential Role of the Pilot or Captain

  • Pilot or Captain: In the realm of recreational vehicle (RV) travel, the pilot or captain takes on the pivotal role of being the driver. As the master of the RV’s journey, this skilled individual steers the vehicle and ensures smooth navigation throughout the trip. Whether maneuvering through winding roads, conquering challenging terrains, or cruising along highways, the pilot or captain is responsible for safely transporting the passengers and their beloved home on wheels. With expertise and attentiveness, they command the RV’s direction, allowing fellow travelers to relax, marvel at the scenery, and fully embrace the joy of the open road.

Unlock the Convenience of Shore Power

  • Shore Power: Shore power is a valuable external power source you can effortlessly connect to during your campground stay. You gain access to reliable electricity on-demand by utilizing specially designed power poles. To ensure the safety of your RV’s electrical systems, it is prudent to use a surge protector when plugging into shore power. This invaluable device safeguards against potential electrical issues, providing peace of mind and a worry-free experience as you enjoy the comforts and amenities of your home away from home. Say goodbye to power-related concerns and embrace the convenience of shore power during your next campground adventure.

Prepare for Winter with RV Winterization

  • Winterize: Winterizing safeguards your RV against the harshness of cold weather, winterizing becomes an essential practice. This comprehensive process involves proactive measures such as adding antifreeze to your pipes and thoroughly draining your tanks. Doing so protects your RV’s vital systems from potential damage caused by freezing temperatures. It’s worth noting, however, that if you store your trailer in a temperature-controlled area or reside in a mild climate where freezing conditions are rare, winterization may not be necessary. Consult local experts or consider the specific climate conditions to determine whether your RV requires this crucial maintenance step. Embrace the peace of mind that comes with knowing your recreational vehicle is ready to face the challenges of winter or can rest comfortably when not in use.

De-Winterize Your RV for Spring Adventures

  • De-Winterize: De-winterizing, the essential counterpart to winterization, is reverting your RV to its operational state after enduring the cold winter months. This crucial undertaking must be completed before embarking on springtime adventures. De-winterizing involves undoing all the protective measures taken during winterization, such as removing antifreeze from pipes and replenishing fluid levels. Conducting a thorough inspection of all systems ensures their proper functioning. It addresses any potential issues that may have arisen during the RV’s hibernation. By completing the de-winterization process, you restore your RV to its optimal condition, ready to embrace the open road again. Prepare for unforgettable springtime journeys by giving your RV the care and attention it deserves through de-winterization.

Unite and Celebrate in an RV Rally

  • Rally: A rally is an exciting congregation of RV enthusiasts intricately organized by RV clubs or associations. This spirited gathering brings together a diverse array of RVs, ranging from a small, intimate group to a robust assembly of hundreds. The rally experience extends beyond mere camaraderie, as it offers many engaging activities and events designed to heighten the enjoyment of all participants. From educational seminars and lively social gatherings to thrilling outdoor adventures, rallies create lasting memories and foster a strong sense of community among RV enthusiasts. Whether you are seeking entertainment, networking opportunities, or simply a platform to share your passion for RVing, joining an RV rally promises an enriching experience that embodies the essence of the RV lifestyle.
  • Caravan: A caravan refers to a coordinated group of RVs journeying together. Opting for a caravan while camping with your neighborhood community offers numerous advantages, as it enables you to stay together and provide mutual assistance in dealing with any challenges that may arise.

Versatility of Recreational Vehicles

  • Fifth Wheel: A fifth wheel, also known as a fiver, presents a unique type of RV that securely attaches to the bed of a pickup truck, setting it apart from traditional travel trailers. With slightly larger dimensions and a distinctive towing method, fifth wheels offer enhanced stability and maneuverability on the road. Suppose you possess a suitable truck equipped with the necessary hitching system. In that case, embracing the world of fifth wheels provides an exceptional RVing experience. These spacious and well-designed units offer ample living space, often featuring luxurious amenities and abundant storage options. From extended road trips to extended living, Fifth Wheels offer comfort and versatility, making them an enticing choice for avid travelers seeking the perfect blend of mobility and spaciousness. Explore the boundless possibilities of the fifth wheel lifestyle and embark on unforgettable journeys with the freedom and confidence of owning a fiver.
  • Bunkhouse: A bunkhouse is an RV that cleverly incorporates beds into its walls, typically designed to cater to children. RVs equipped with bunk beds are particularly advantageous as they can accommodate many individuals while minimizing the required occupancy space.

RV Technical Terms

  • GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or GVWR, represents the maximum permissible weight an RV can handle safely when fully loaded with cargo, passengers, and any other items you bring on your trip. It serves as a crucial guideline to ensure that you do not exceed the weight limits and maintain the safety and integrity of your RV.
  • Dry Weight: The dry weight of an RV indicates its weight without the inclusion of any additional cargo or passengers. This information is precious as it lets you estimate the overall weight your RV will sustain when fully loaded. By comprehending the dry weight, you can make informed choices regarding the quantity of belongings that can be safely transported, ensuring optimal weight distribution and maintaining the safety and performance of your RV.
  • Tongue Weight: Tongue weight refers to the downward force exerted by the tongue of your trailer on the hitch ball of your vehicle. Ensuring your vehicle can handle this weight before embarking on your journey is crucial. By understanding and properly managing the tongue weight, you can maintain stability, improve towing performance, and ensure the safety of your vehicle and trailer while on the road.
  • Hitch Ball: A hitch ball is a metal sphere that securely fastens to the rear of your vehicle, facilitating the coupling of a trailer. Its purpose is to provide a reliable connection point for attaching and towing a trailer, ensuring stability and safe transportation.

Now equipped with these essential RV technical terms, you are on your way to becoming an RV expert! With some hands-on experience and a spirit of exploration, you’ll quickly master the ins and outs of the RV world. So, why wait any longer? Embark on your exciting adventure today and unlock the remarkable possibilities of RV travel!

If you’re considering the purchase of a travel trailer but are still determining where to begin, we invite you to visit Oliver Travel Trailers today. Our dedicated team of sales associates is eager to assist you in finding the perfect RV that aligns with your specific requirements and desires. Count on our friendly expertise to guide you through the process and ensure you embark on your RV journey with confidence. Don’t hesitate any longer – stop by Oliver Travel Trailers today to begin your exciting RV adventure!