RV Jargon


Amp is short for ampere, the electric current unit of measure. RV sites with electrical hookups will specify the maximum amps supported - which generally come in units of 20, 30, or 50 amps. The RV power connector must match the various plugs of the site amp rating.

Articulation Point

A joint between two objects which allows movement. In the case of RV's, an articulation point is where two vehicles are coupled together by a ball or fifth wheel hitch. When a truck is pulling a travel trailer or fifth wheel, a single articulation point exists. If a boat is towed behind the trailer then two articulation points exist.


A roof-like structure made of canvas or other artificial materials which extends from the RV body to provide shade. Awnings are generally placed over entrances. Some extend and stow manually while others are operated electrically.

Back In

A slot in an RV park with a single entrance, designed to be backed into with the RV.


The storage compartment of RV's under the main living area. Basements are generally found on motor homes and fifth wheel trailers.

Batwing Antenna

TV antenna on the roof on an RV characterized by two horizontal elements. Batwing antennas are generally raised and rotated with a hand crank from inside the RV living compartment.

Black Tank

Holding tank connected to the toilet, designed to hold sewage until it can be dumped into a septic system.

Black Water

Waste water from the toilet; sewage. See also Black Tank


Strictly speaking, boondocking is camping far away from civilization without any facilities such as water or electricity; roughing it. In a more general sense it has come to mean camping or parking anywhere without facilities, relying strictly on the comforts provided by the RV. Many RVers refer to spending the night in an interstate rest area, shopping center parking lot, or truck stop, as boondocking.

Brake Controller

Electronic device mounted in the tow vehicle to control the trailer brakes. It is connected to the tow vehicle brake system to sense when braking needs to be applied to the trailer. It has a lever for manually engaging the trailer brakes.

Breakaway Switch

An electrical switch on trailers designed to engage the breaks in case the trailer breaks away from the tow vehicle. The switch is connected by a cable to the tow vehicle. Breakaway is detected when the switch cable is pulled out during vehicle separation.

British Thermal Unit (BTU)

A measurement of heat that is the quantity required to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit. RV air-conditioners and furnaces are BTU-rated. A one-ton Air conditioning unit is the equivalent of 12,000 BTU.


See Slide

Bumper Pull Trailer

See Travel Trailer

Bus Conversion

A passenger bus converted to an RV.


Another term for an RV, especially smaller RV';s that are towed behind or carried on top of light trucks. Truckers generally refer to all RV's as "campers" in their CB conversations.


A group of three or more RVs traveling together. Like a miniature version of a 16-wheeler "convoy".

Cargo Weight

Cargo Weight is the actual weight of all items added to the Curb Weight of the vehicle or trailer. This includes personal cargo, optional equipment, and Tongue or King Pin Weight.

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