East Coast Streamers

Adventures in the Guest House

What’s in a Name? | 2020 | Post 4

The RV world is full of nicknames and acronyms for RVs, RV accessories, and equipment, as well as activities associated with RVs. Here are some of our favorites. We’ll keep adding to this as we find more.

RV – Obvious? – “Recreational Vehicle”. This can be any type of unit from tiny pop-ups to enormous class A diesel pushers.

Class A – This is a bus style RV (but not.a bus). This type of RV usually looks like a super over the top mansion on wheels and can range in price from 100k and up. These are fancier the bigger they are. They run from about 24 feet to a whopping 44 or more feet long.

Class B – This is a van type RV. This is super stealthy. The only real giveaway from the outside is the AC unit on the roof. Otherwise, the class B looks like a long van. Sometimes this is called a “camper van”.

Class C – Here is your middle ground between the Class A and Class B. This is an all enclosed coach that uses a truck chassis as the base. US and Canadian versions mostly use the MB Sprinter, the Ram Promaster, and the Ford Transit. This RV flares out from the chassis to create extra width. There is also space over the cab that usually can be converted into a large bedroom space. Sometime this is called a “Cab Over” RV.

Super C – Picture a semi cab with a box like house built onto it. These are (mostly) used for off road style RVs. They have more sturdy and flexible suspensions and off road tires.

Diesel Pusher – This is a type of Class A with a diesel engine. There are usually enormous bus like coach. The main difference between this and a standard class A is the engine. These have a large diesel engine (obvious?) in the rear, hence, the term “pusher” because the diesel engine pushed the coach down the road.

Fifth Wheel – This type of RV uses a special hitch installed in the middle of a truck bed. This trailer also hangs over the truck bed rather than full towed behind the truck.

Toy Hauler – A type of fifth wheel that has a “garage” space in the rear for bikes, motorcycles, atvs, or other “toy” storage. These are super 

Travel Trailer – Type of RV that is towed with a truck. This is usually a self contained unit – bedroom, bathroom, shower, kitchen. These can be as short as 14 feet and as long as 44 or more feet long!

Teardrop – Shaped like a teardrop. Some teardrops are just a bedroom while larger teardrops have a wet bath and kitchen.

Pop-Up Camper – This RV has a hard base with canvas sides that pop-up to provide sleeping space. These can be a really fun and economical way for a family to get started with RVing.

Park Model – This is a specific type of RV that is designed to be permanently parked in one area.

Bunkhouse – This means the RV has bunk beds, which is great for kids!

Enclosed/Sealed Underbelly – This is something to look for in an RV. This means that the underside is sealed with a solid, water and pest resistant material. Some RVs with enclosed underbellies also have additional insulation and a heating vent to keep the tanks from freezing.

Galley – RV manufacturers refer to RV kittens as the Galley. This is a reference to early RVs that had marine style kitchens typically used on boats.

Dry bath – A bathroom in an RV where the toilet and shower are in separate – tree piece bathroom

Wet Bath – The sink shower and toilet are in the same space. The room needs to be dried off after showering if the next person just wants to use the toilet.

TV – tow vehicle – This it the vehicle you use to tow your RV – usually a pickup truck.

Basement – Larger travel trailers, Fifth Wheels, and Class A’sThe large storage area underneath your RV’s floor accessible from outside storage doors.

Rig – RVers refer to their RV, regardless of what types as a “rig”. If you are towing it includes your tow vehicle.

House – the part of the RV set up for living. This is really just a fancy way of saying the living area not including the rear bumper, A-frame, and hitch. For self powered coaches, this doesn’t include the drivers area or cockpit.

Cockpit – this is the driver’s area of the Class A, B, and C coaches.

Toad (Towed Vehicle) – This took me a while to get, although I don’t know why. A “toad” vehicle is a car towed behind your RV. This can make day trips from your campsite much easier.

Shore Power – This is the available electrical receptacle at a campsite or your home that you plug your RV into for power.

Self-Contained – This refers to an RV that has indoor plumbing and cooking facilities, which is different from a pop-up or tent where you would rely on a campground bath house for toilets and showers and all food would be cooked outside.

Dry Weight – This refers to the weight of the RV off the assembly line and before anything has been added to the RV.

Wheel Chocks – Wheel chocks are used to prevent your RV from rolling away and come in several varieties. Some people just use a diagonal piece of wood under each wheel. Most commonly though, plastic chops are preferred. Slanted blocks, usually made of plastic material but sometimes wood. We use Anderson levelers and X-Chocks. The Anderson levelers are like little ramps that help you raise one or both sides of your rig to level it from side to side. X-chocks go between the wheels and press on them to prevent wheel roll.

Overlanding – Taking your RV off road. Depending on where you go off road, you may need a robust rig. Some camp areas do require parking in grass or dirt. This is not overlanding. Overlanding is very much RV off-roading.

Boondocking – This involves taking your RV to a campground or other camping area where there are no utilities (hookups). This is good when you have a fully featured RV – water, batteries, propane, bathroom, kitchen – and you want to get away and stay near or in a national park where there are no utilities. Boondocking can also simply entail staying over at Wal-Mart or Cracker Barrel and it could mean a nice stop over at a Harvest Host.

Dry Camping – Same as boondocking.

Moochdocking – This is boondocking, but you doing it in a relative or friend’s driveway. If you’re lucky, you may be able to plug into house power. There’s also a club called “Boondocker’s Welcome” where you can find people who have space for you to stay a few nights on their property.

Driveway Surfing – This is just camping in your own driveway. If you planned well enough, you have full hook ups! Otherwise, you can just go inside your house to take care of necessities. This is a good idea when you’re new or have new equipment to test out before a trip.

Glamping – So – RV camping has changed quite a bit over the past decade or so. Some people, especially tent campers and backpackers, consider RV camping as fancy and refer to it as clamping (glamorous camping). Personally, I’ve done my time in the sub freezing tent so I’m okay with a little glamping.

Inverter – An inverter changes the 12V DC power from the house batteries into 110V AC power. An inverter is good to have to run regular small household appliances in the RV. Inverters are rated by their output, in volt-amps (generally equivalent to watts). Look for a “pure sine-wave” inverters. Inverters must be sized to accommodate the anticipated electrical load. They run in 1000 Watt increments. You’ll need between 100 and 1500 watts to run a microwave.

Landing Gear – These are motor driven jacks on a fifth wheel that stabilize the from end when unhitched.

Leveling Jacks – Leveling jacks provide stability and help make sure your RV is level on an uneven surface.

Stabilizing Jacks – These are not leveling jacks. These are simply to prevent ricking of your RV. They should be lowered just enough to keep the RV from moving from side to side.

Tail Swing – Describes the extra distance 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. It is very important to know how much tail swing your RV has when turning corners in tight situations.

Hookups – Hookups refers to electric, water, and sewer facilities at your campsite. Hookups can be full or partial. Full is of course, all of the facilities. Partial is usually water and electric but can be any combination of facilities. Generally, if your campsite doesn’t have a sewer dump, the campground has one as you leave.

Doughnut – This is a rubber ring that seals your sewer hose and the campsite sewer connection. This helps keep it in pace and prevents gases and odors from escaping from the dump pipe.

White Tank – Most of the time this is referred to as the fresh water tank. This water is used for the kitchen sink, shower, bathroom sink, and toilet flushing.

Grey Tank – This tank catches all of the used water from the shower and sinks. This water is dumped after the black water and helps wash out the sewer hose.

Black Tank – This tank catches all of the waste deposited in the toilet(s).

Dump Station – Well – this is where we dump our black tank. If there isn’t one at your campsite, there is most assuredly one at the exit. If you really need to dump in between campgrounds, most truck stops have a dump and even Cabela’s and Bass pro Shops usually have dumps!

Stinky slinky – This is the funniest term I’ve heard yet. This is what some RVers call the sewer hose because it’s collapsible.

Honey Wagon – This is a sewage pick up service that is used at festivals and rallies when there is no sewer facilities for the campers. You can even call one to come to your house on it that comes around to pump out the RV waste tanks.

Blue Boy – Portable wheeled plastic tote used to transport black tank sewage from the RV to the dump station, usually towed 

Sticks and Bricks – RVers refer to their current or former homes as their “sticks and bricks”.

Pull-Through Site – This is a camp site that allows pulling straight into it on arrival and pull straight out when leaving. This is different than a standard back in site, where you will have to back your RV into your site on arrival.

Part-timers – This refers to people who take frequent trips in their RV but still have a sticks and bricks home base.

Full-timer – This refers to people who live in their RV full time and may not have a home base. These RVers may stay put for a while or travel.

Fun Acronyms that are good to know

FHU – Full Hook Ups – water, electric, and sewer at your campsite.

UP – If you find your self up north, this is the scenic upper peninsula of Michigan.

BLM – Bureau of Land Management, which manages wide swaths of public lands, many of which are prime locations for boondocking.

NPS – National Park Service – the department that manages United States natural preserves and parks. If you are going to more than one park, get a National Park Passport.

GVWR – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating – the maximum amount of weight that can be safely transported including cargo and passengers.

GAWR – Gross Axel Weight Rating – the maximum distributed weight that may be supported by an axle of a road vehicle. Typically, GAWR is followed by either FR or RR, referring to the front or rear axles.

GCWR – Gross Combined Weight Rating – total weight of the tow vehicle, RV, cargo and passengers.

UVW – Unloaded Vehicle Weight – ThThis is the RV weight without payload.

If I come across any others, I’ll add them here. If you can think of any others, let me know!

As always, stay with us while we research RVs, and cool (and necessary) equipment we discover along the way. We’ll share with you how we figured out what works for us and our travels in our RV. Of course we will give unbiased reviews of RVs, equipment, places we visit, and the best way to travel comfortably with only the necessities.

Thanks for being our guest. We’ll see you soon.

Sharon, Barry, and Sami