RV Terminology


RV terminology can get quite complicated to understand for the beginners of the RVing world. Even in the buying process, you might not know every term the salesman might be talking about. But we are here to help, Bretz RV & Marine has put together a list of all the terminology we know of for RVs!

RV Terms:

Basement – The storage area below the main area of your motorhome that is accessed from the outside.

(Usually in a Class A or Class C motorhome)

Batwing – Name for the standard RV TV antenna which resembles a pair of wings.

Black Water Tank – Where your waste water is held.

Blue Boy – Portable wheeled plastic tote used to transport waste tank sewage from the RV to the dump station, usually towed at slow speed by the tow vehicle.

Boondocking – Known as dry camping, or “roughing it”. Boondocking refers to camping without any sources or external hookups, such as water, sewer and electricity.

Chucking – The violent back and forth motion experienced during towing, usually caused by an unbalanced trailer or uneven roadway.

Coach – also known as a Class “A” RV.

Cockpit – Where the driver sits to drive in a motor home.

Dinghy (Toad) – This is the vehicle that is being towed by your motorhome.

Dump Station – A place where you can empty your black and grey tanks.

Chassis – This is the framework that supports the entire motorhome.

Dry Camping (Boondocking) – This is camping without hook ups to any utilities. You still have the power from your generator and water from your holding tanks.

Dually – A pickup truck, or light-duty tow vehicle, with four tires on one rear axle.

Extended Stay Site – Campsite where you can stay very long periods of time; up to months or even a whole season.

Fiver – Another name for a fifth-wheel RV.

Fresh Water Tank – Where your drinking water is held.

Full Hookup– A campsite with all the fixings including hookups to water, electricity, and sewage

Full-Timers – These are people who live out of their RV year round.

Galley – The kitchen.

Full Hookup – Campsite with direct connections to electricity, sewer and water amenities.

Gray Water Tank – This is where used water from sinks and showers is stored.

Holding Tanks – On most motorhomes you have three different water tanks Black, Grey, and Fresh.

Honey Wagon – A truck or trailer with large liquid tank on it that comes around to pump out the RV waste tanks.

Hose Bib – A campsite faucet with fresh water.

Hula Skirt – A skirt placed on the back bumper of a motorhome to prevent debris that is thrown from the rear wheels from damaging vehicles behind the motorhome.

Jake Brake – The engine brake used on some diesel vehicles.

King Pin – This is the round cylinder shape piece hanging down at the very front of a fifth wheel trailer. It connects to the jaws of the fifth wheel hitch in the back of the tow vehicle.

Newbie – someone new to the RV world

Part-Timers – These are people who will live months at a time in their RV put still hold a place of residence.

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.

Pull-Through – A camp site with easy access and departure that will allow you to set up and leave without ever having to back up.

Reefer – Term used for the RVs LP gas/Electric refrigerator.

Rig – Another name for a motorhome.

Sani-Dump – Term for a sewer dump station where RVers dump their waste tanks.

Slideout – A motorhome feature that expands to create more living space; usually in the living room and bedroom areas.

Snowbirds – These are people who will take their RV south in the winter time and north in the summer.

Sticks N Bricks – What RVers call a regular type of house.

Stinky Slinky– What some RVers call the flexible sewer hose used to dump the RV waste tanks.

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.

Tow Dolly – Small two wheeled trailer used to attach a tow vehicle to the back of an RV.

Triple Tow-Known as the brave act of towing your RV trailer and another trailer behind that, such as an RV and a boat.

WallyDock– A seasoned RVers term for parking your RV overnight at Walmart

Wheel Chocks – Slanted blocks, usually made of plastic material but sometimes wood, used to prevent the RV from rolling.

Workamping– Generally refers to RVers exchanging work for a free campsite, utilities, and possibly a small wage. Full time RV-ers usually do this to travel without extra expense.


Chassis – Metal frame supporting the engine and bodywork.

Cockpit – Area where the driver sits.

Basement – Storage area beneath the floor of the motor home, usually accessible from the outside.

Boondocking (or Dry Camping) – Camping without hooking up to any electric, sewer or water facilities. You can still have electricity from the batteries or generator in your motor home and water from your fresh water holding tank.

Dinghy (or Toad) – Vehicle towed behind your motor home.

Dump Station – Facility where you can empty your black and gray water holding tanks (see holding tanks for description).

Extended Stay Site – Park or campsite where you can stay for a longer period of time, even up to an entire season.

Full Hookup – Campsite with direct connections to electricity, sewer and water amenities.

Galley – Kitchen.

Holding Tanks – There are three different holding tanks on most motor homes:

Black Water Tank – Holds all water and waste from the toilet.

Fresh Water Tank – Stores all of the fresh water that will be used in the sinks, shower and toilet while dry camping.

Genset – A motorhome’s electric generator

Gray Water Tank – Holds all the water and waste from the sink and shower drains.

Pull-Through – Camping site that allows you to pull through when you set up and leave the area. You do not have to back into or out of a pull through site.

Puller – Motorhome with the diesel engine mounted in the front of the vehicle.

Pusher – Motorhome with the diesel engine mounted in the rear of the vehicle.

RV – Recreational Vehicle. Combines transportation and temporary living quarters for recreation, camping and travel.

Rig – Another name for motorhome.

Shorepower – AC power source to plug into at the campground

Slideout – Portion of the motor home that can expand to create more room inside.


Newbie – Someone new to the RV world.

Full-Timers – People who live in their RV full time or at least the majority of the time.

Part-Timers – People who use their RV for more than a few weekend trips a year, but who still use it less than full time.

Snowbirds – Those who live in their RV in the south during the winter months and move north in the summer time.

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