If you’re new to RVing, you may not be accustomed to the language used in RV culture. To help you acclimate quickly, RVT has compiled a fresh list of RV lingo you need to know. Learn these common terms, and you’ll soon be speaking like a seasoned RVer.

1-in, 1-out: A helpful tip for managing clutter. If a new item comes into the RV, another item should go out.

2-2-2 Rule: Travel no more than 200 miles (322 km) per day, arrive at your destination by 2 pm, and stay at least two nights. Arriving by 2 pm gives you time to find a good location and set up. Staying at least two nights gives you one full day at your destination.

Black water tank: An onboard tank to hold toilet waste. Black water is raw sewage and must be properly disposed of at dumping stations. Always wear gloves when disposing of sewage and ensure your sewer hose is tightly connected.

BLM Land: Public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the United States. Camping is often free, but there are usually no amenities. The Canadian equivalent is Crown land.

Boondocking: Camping off-grid without amenities, typically in remote areas. When boondocking, always remember to leave no trace.

Bunkhouse: An area of the RV that has bunk beds. May also refer to an RV floor plan that includes bunk beds e.g. bunkhouse model

Cab: The front of a motorhome where the driver sits. Also called the cockpit.

Cab-over: A sleeping or storage area located above the cab of a motorhome.

Captain’s chair: The driver’s seat.

Caravaning: Multiple people traveling and camping together in their own separate RVs. 

Coach: A Class A RV.

Diesel Pusher: A Class A motorhome with a diesel engine located in the rear. 

Diesel Puller: A Class A motorhome with a diesel engine located in the front. Also called a FRED (Front End Diesel). These days, most new Class A diesel motorhomes are rear-engine.

Dry Camping: Camping without hookups. Often used interchangeably with boondocking.

Dump station: An area for the legal disposal of black water and gray water. 

Fiver: Another name for a fifth-wheel trailer. 

Full-timer: People who live in their RV full time.

Gray water tank: An onboard tank that holds wastewater from sinks and showers.

Hookups: Amenities you ‘hook up’ to at a campground or RV resort. Hookups typically include water, sewer, and power. Partial hookups don’t include sewer. Cable hookups may also be available.

Hose bib – A tap that provides fresh water at a campsite.  If you have full hookups, you can hook up to a hose bib to access city water. If you don’t, hose bibs are typically provided in various locations around the campground for campers to access fresh water. 

Moochdocking: Camping for free on a friend’s/family member’s property. Also called driveway surfing. Check local bylaws before you do this. Some municipalities have time limits for RVs parked in driveways.  

Newbie: First time RVer.

Potable water: Water that’s safe to drink (pronounced with a long ‘o’ sound). 

Pull-through Site: An easy-access RV site that allows you to enter from the rear and exit through the front, rather than backing in.  

Rig: A generic term for an RV.

Roadschooling: Homeschooling in an RV. 

Shore power: Electricity provided to an RV by plugging into the electrical grid. e.g. power hookups at a campground.

Snowbirds: RVers who head south for the winter to avoid colder weather up north. 

Stealth camping: Staying overnight in your RV while appearing to be a vacant vehicle. Many urban areas will allow RVs to park overnight on a public street, but don’t permit sleeping in them, therefore stealth is required to ‘camp’ there. Class B RVs (also called camper vans) are the easiest RV to stealth camp in because they resemble a regular van.  

Sticks and Bricks: A traditional, stationary residence, such as a house.

Stinky Slinky: A slang term for the sewer hose used to dump the RV waste tanks.

Technomad: RVers who use the internet to earn money while traveling full time. May also be called digital nomads.

Tribe: A term of endearment many full-time RV nomads use to describe fellow full-timers. Often used outside of RVing as well, to describe a group of friends with similar interests. 

TOAD: A name given to vehicles ‘towed’ behind Class A, B, or C RVs. Also called a ‘dinghy’. This is not the same as a tow vehicle (typically a truck), which pulls a trailer behind it.

Wallydocking: Camping overnight in a Walmart™ parking lot. Some Walmarts no longer allow this. Check before setting up.

Weekend warriors: People who get out in their RVs mainly on weekends, once the work week is finished.  

Now that you know some of the common terms, you can leave the sticks and bricks behind and join your tribe for a boondocking adventure without sounding like a complete newbie. Happy camping!


Looking for a new or used RV to join you on your next camping adventure? Check out the latest North America-wide listings on RVT.com.

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