Recreational Vehicle / RV - A motorized or towable vehicle that combines transportation and temporary living quarters for travel,
recreation and camping. RVs do not include mobile homes, off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and conversion vehicles.
Motorhomes - A vehicle built on or as an integral part of a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis. It may provide kitchen, sleeping and
bathroom facilities and be equipped with the ability to store and carry fresh water and sewage.
Towable - An RV designed to be towed by a motorized vehicle (auto, van or pickup truck) and of such size and weight as not to require
a special highway movement permit. It does not require permanent on-site hook-up.
Hybrid Travel Trailer - Conventional travel trailer with folding bunk-end units.
120 AC/12 DC/LP-gas - The power sources on which RV refrigerators operate; 120 AC is 120-volt alternating current (same as in
houses); 12 DC is 12-volt direct current (same as in motor vehicles); LP-gas. Some RV refrigerators can operate on two of the three
sources, others on all three. Please read our Electrical Systems page for more information.
Adventure Travel - Any participatory human powered activity. Adventure travel usually takes place in an outdoor setting. Trips are
generally in small groups, comprised of people desiring to be unique and independent.
Axle Ratio - Ratio between pinion and ring gears in the differential that multiply torque provided by the engine. It describes the number
of driveline revolutions required to turn the axle one time. With a 4.10:1 axle, the driveline turns 4.1 times for each full axle revolution.
Higher numbers mean more torque and less road speed for a given engine speed; i.e., a 4.10:1 ratio provides more torque than a
AWR - Axle Weight Rating. Please read our Weight and Loading pages for more information.
Boondocking - Camping without hookups. The term is also used among campers who like to enjoy all of nature, regardless of the
terrain while avoiding redundant commercial campground fees. Please read our Boondocking page for more information.
British Thermal Unit (BTU) - A measurement of heat that is the quantity required to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1
degree F. RV air-conditioners and furnaces are BTU-rated. A one-ton Air conditioning unit is the equivalent of 12,000 BTU.
Charter Aircraft - The hire or lease of an airplane, usually on scheduled routes but at the times the customer wishes.
Converter - A device for changing 120-volt AC into 12-volt DC electrical power. Please read our Converter page for more information.
Curb Weight, or Net Weight - should be the weight of the unit as it is sitting on the lot, without the personal load you will be adding.
Please read our Weight and Loading pages for more information.
Dry Weight - Dry Weight is a very imprecise term. Some manufacturers say it means "nothing wet" in it. Others will say it's without
options. Dry Weight is the empty weight of the vehicle or trailer. Dry weight may or may not include the weight of appliances, slide outs,
etc. Please read our Weight and Loading pages for more information.
Dullies - Dual Tires.
Ecotourism - Refers to responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well being of local people.
Fan Switch - A normally open switch that closes at a preset temperature, causes the furnace to run for a short time after the
thermostat opens, allowing the furnace to cool down.
Fifth Wheel - This unit is equipped the same as a travel trailer, but is constructed with a raised forward section that allows a bi-level
floor plan. This style is designed to be towed by a vehicle equipped with a device known as a fifth-wheel hitch. Please read our Tow
Vehicles page for more information.
Furnace Ignition Control Board - When powered, initiates gas valve opening and spark sequence which lasts approximately 7
seconds. Older models are 1 try, thermostat must be cycled off for at least 10 seconds before another ignition cycle is attempted.
Newer boards are 3 try, will attempt to ignite 3 times at approximately 60 second intervals.
Gas Pressure - LP gas pressure must be 11" of water column (6.25 oz per sq. in.), checking and adjusting requires a manometer.
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) - Maximum to which the axle can be loaded, according to the manufacturer; includes all weight
placed on all tires on a given axle. Each axle has a separate rating. It assumes the load is equal on both sides -- which virtually never
happens. 10% of the overweight RVs exceed a tire rating without exceeding GAWR. That happens because of a load imbalance in the
RV. Please read our Weight and Loading pages for more information.
Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) - Maximum allowable combined weight of the tow vehicle and the trailer, according to the
vehicle manufacturer; includes the weight of both vehicles plus all fuel, water, supplies and passengers. It means the maximum
weight rating of a towing vehicle and a towed unit in combination. GCWR takes into consideration such things as the drive train
capacity (i.e. engine, transmission, drive shaft and differential), gearing, braking capacity, suspension, and axle loading. When
integrating a tow vehicle with a trailer, either a fiver or travel trailer, add the GVWR of the trailer with the GVWR of the tow vehicle. If they
add up to more than the GCWR of the tow vehicle it a bad match. The only solution is to pick a lighter trailer or a bigger tow vehicle.
The same applies to a self contained unit and a towed unit, either four wheels down or on a dolly. Each of the big three pickup truck
manufacturers (Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford) state in their literature a "Trailer Towing Capacity" as well as an alternate method for
determining maximum allowable trailer weight. The published towing capacity is maximum allowable trailer GVWR, but usually
requires extra optional features - called a towing package, and other options such as a particular engine or rear axle ratio. Please
read our Weight and Loading pages for more information.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) - Maximum to which a vehicle can be loaded, according to the manufacturer; includes dry
weight of the vehicle plus all fuel, water, supplies and passengers. Please read our Weight and Loading pages for more information.
Hitch Weight - Amount of a trailer's weight that rests on the tow vehicle; should be 10 to 15 percent with conventional trailers, 15 to 20
percent for fifth-wheels. Please read our Weight and Loading pages for more information.
Holding Tanks - Tanks that hold the black (toilet) and gray (sink, shower, lavatory) water. Their capacity determines how long an RV
can be used without hookups. Please read our Plumbing System page for more information.
Hookups - Campground facilities for connecting an RV to 120-volt AC "shore power," water, sewer, cable TV and telephone service.
Full Hookups: Refers to water, electricity and sewer at an RV site.
Igniter Electrode - Similar to a spark plug, 2 versions, 3 probe (remote sense) or 2 probe (local sense).
Inverter - A device for changing 12-volt DC into 120-volt AC power. Kilowatt (kw): A measurement of electrical power; each kilowatt
equals 1000 watts. Please read our Electrical Systems page for more information.
Laminate - 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.
Light Weight RV - They are the RVs that are designed to be easily towed behind most SUVs, Minivans, light-duty trucks and even
Limit Switch - Furnace safety switch, a normally closed switch that opens if it gets to hot, opening turns off power to the gas valve and
LPG - Liquefied Petroleum Gas; propane is one formulation and butane is the other. Propane fuels RV appliances, such as the stove
and refrigerator. Please read our Gas System page for more information.
Motorhome - A motorhome is a complete living unit has been entirely constructed on a bare, specially designed motor vehicle
chassis, like a bus.
Net Carrying Capacity (NCC) - The amount of cargo, passenger and fluid weight that can be added to an RV without exceeding its
GVWR. The NCC label in an RV may not include the weight of dealer- or factory-installed options already on the vehicle. Subtract UVW
from the GVWR and the result is what can be added to the factory weight. Please read our Weight and Loading pages for more
Payload Capacity - is the difference between the actual weight and the GVWR of the vehicle or trailer. Options and accessories may
add weight that is taken from the payload capacity, leaving you with less margin than you think you have. Ask the dealer to provide
proof of the units weight before you finalize the sale. Then do the math and calculate what the remaining payload capacity really is.
Please read our Weight and Loading pages for more information.
Pop-up Trailer - Also known as a folding trailer, great for first timers due to its simplicity and relatively low cost.
RV - Recreational Vehicle is a motorized or towable vehicle that combines transportation and temporary living accommodations for
travel, recreation and camping. An RV in America does not generally refer to off-road vehicles or snowmobiles. There are all types and
sizes of RVs for any budget or need. They range from camping trailers costing a few thousand dollars to luxurious motorhomes with
prices well into six figures.
Sail Switch - Micro switch with an arm that extends into the blower air stream which closes when the blower reaches approximately
75% of its rated speed. Also called an air power switch.
Soft Adventure - Soft adventure travel requires less physical risk, little or no experience and offers more convenience in terms of
sleeping arrangements and cuisine.
Time Delay Relay - Same function as fan switch, only has its own heater.
Trailer or Travel Trailer - This self-contained accommodation is towed by means of a bumper or frame hitch attached to the towing
vehicle. Please read our Caravan / RV Classes & Definitions page for more information.
Underbelly - The RV's underfloor surface, which is protected by a weatherproofed material
Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW) or Dry Weight - Weight of the vehicle without manufacturer's or dealer-installed options and before
adding fuel, water or supplies. How much the vehicle weighs when it leaves the factory. Please read our Weight and Loading pages
for more information.
Van Conversion - This is a fully loaded van and the smallest of the fully enclosed motorhomes. They are constructed on a van chassis
with elevated roof lines but no modifications to the length or width of the original chassis. Gross vehicle weights are in the 6,000 to
8,000 range with heights of 7 to 8 feet and lengths of 17 to 19 feet. Please read our Caravan / RV Classes & Definitions page for more
Wet Weight - Weight of a vehicle with full fuel and freshwater tanks. Wet Weight should, but may not, include the weight of the LPG
(propane or butane) in the tanks, and fresh water. (Water weight is 8.34 lbs./U.S. Gallon so a 100 Gallons weighs 834 lb.) Please read
our Weight and Loading pages for more information.
Wheelbase - Distance between center lines of the primary axles of a vehicle. If a motorhome includes a tag axle, the distance is
measured from the front axle to the center point between the drive and tag axles.
|GLOSSARY OF TERMS
RVers & CAMPERS