The ABC’s of RV’S Dictionary

If you are a new camper you might be confused by some of the terms the “regulars” use to refer to specific parts, places, even people who live the RV lifestyle.

We’ve assembled some of the most common slang words you could hear in a dealership or a campground, with a brief description of each, so you can be in the know when you’re on the go!


The ABC’s of RV Slang


  • Airstream – a popular type of retro RV that looks like a polished aluminum tube.


  • Back-in Site – a site that needs to be backed into, the opposite of a pull-through.
  • Black Water/Tank – dirty waste water from toilets and the tank that hold it.
  • Boondocking – rugged, remote, and isolated RV camping, usually not in a campground and without hookups or amenities of any kind
  • Bumper Pull- RV that sits behind the towing vehicle
  • Bunkhouse – an area of an RV with bunk beds


  • Camper – a generic RV slang term used for all sorts of RVs.
  • Coach – another RV term for a camper
  • Curbside or Campside – the passenger’s side of an RV
  • Class A-Motorhome that typically has a flat front end with gas engines located in the front and diesels in the rear.
  • Class B-Motorhome built within a van body, sometimes with a raised roof.
  • Class C-Motorhome built on a van cutaway chassis, typically with a bed that overhangs the cab area.


  • Dump Station – a special area for offloading black and greywater from your RV’s tanks.
  • Dry Camping – anytime spent camping without hookups is called dry camping.


  • Fifth Wheel – an RV meant to be towed by a vehicle with a flatbed box, where the RV hangs over the truck bed.
  • Full Hookups – a campsite offering water, electric, and sewage is said to have full hookups.
  • Full-timer – someone who lives or travels in an RV exclusively.
  • Freshwater (tank) – drinkable water from your RV’s sink and the tank that holds it.


  • Glamping – a cross between glamorous and camping, staying at a campground with luxurious amenities.
  • Greywater (tank) – dirty water from sinks and showers and the tank that holds it.
  • Gooseneck -another term for a Fifth Wheel due to it’s shape at the front.


  • Holding Tanks – the name for the tanks holding black, grey, and freshwater
  • Honey Wagon – a portable tank that campgrounds use to empty out waste from guest’s RVs.
  • Hybrid – camper that has a hard shell with tent ends that fold out to house sleeping spots.


  • KOA – a popular franchise of family-oriented campgrounds in the US.


  • Levelling – making sure the RV is sitting level on all sides of a site.


  • Moochdocking- the act of parking in front of a friend’s house or in their driveway, possibly siphoning their power for your RV.
  • Motorhome – any kind of RV that has its own engine and doesn’t need to be towed.


  • NCC-Net Carrying Capacity, maximum weight of all supplies, food, fresh water, and passengers (if applicable) derived from subtracting the UVW from the GVWR.


  • Pad – the name given to a parking spot for an RV on a campground (usually concrete)
  • Potable – drinkable water, safe to consume.
  • Pop-up or Tent Trailer- a type of travel trailer made of canvas that pops open and unfolds into a camper.
  • Pull-through Site – a type of RV site that you can drive straight through, usually easier than a back-in for parking.


  • Rig – another generic RV slang term for all kinds of RVs
  • RV – a “recreational vehicle.” The umbrella term for any vehicle with living quarters whether it’s a motorhome, travel trailer or fifth wheel.


  • Shore Power – RV lingo stolen from the boating world, power from an external source.
  • Slide – a section of an RV that extends to offer more living space.


  • Teardrop Trailer – a kind of smaller travel trailer that looks like a teardrop shape.
  • Toy Hauler – an RV with space in the back for other kinds of motorsports gear (ATVs, dirt bikes, etc.)
  • Truck Camper – a normal pickup truck with living space mounted on the flatbed.


  • Wallydocking – Walmart is one of the few big chains that allow overnight parking. RVers taking advantage of this are wallydocking
  • Winnie – RV lingo for a Winnebago
  • Workamping – exchanging labor for the right to camp and hookups, a small amount of pay may be up for grabs too.
  • WES – the three hookups RVers look for in campground accommodations: water, electric, sewer.


  • Yamping – another RV slang term for camping in someone’s front driveway


  • ZZZZ… time for a REST after reading all that, right????