Glossary of RV Terms

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Term Definition

Family Motor Coach Association

fresh water tank

One of two filling ports which feeds the fresh water system of the RV. One port has a hose connecting the RV to the water hookup; the other port is used as a funnel to fill the water tank for traveling.


A type of built-in couch in an RV that converts into a bed. It often conceals storage compartments.


Every axle has a Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). It is the maximum allowable weight that the components (tires, wheels, brakes) of each axle are designed to support.


Gross combined weight rating (GCWR) is the maximum permissible weight of the tow vehicle and trailer combined when both are fully loaded for travel. GCWR also applies to a motor home towing a vehicle or trailer behind it. GCWR minus GVWR represents the allowable weight for the towed vehicle. Note: The hitch receiver mounted on the towing vehicle must be rated for this amount of weight. If it is rated for less that is the maximum amount you can tow.


An engine powered device fuelled by gasoline, diesel fuel or propane for generating 120-volt AC power.


Ground Fault Interrupters are designed to protect from electrical shock by interrupting a household circuit when there is a difference in the currents in the "hot" and neutral wires.

gray water

Disposal water from the sinks and the shower. In some units, this is held in a tank separate from black water. As with black water, it is dumped in large tanks or dumping station available at most campgrounds.


The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum allowable total weight of a vehicle or trailer that is loaded, including the weight of the vehicle itself plus fuel, passengers, cargo, and trailer tongue weight.

heat strip

A heat strip is an electric heating element located in the air conditioning system with the warm air distributed by the air conditioner fan and ducting system. They typically have 1500 watt elements (about the same wattage as an electric hair dryer).

hitch weight

The amount of weight imposed on the hitch when the trailer is coupled. Also referred to as "tongue weight". Hitch weight for a travel trailer can be 10-15 percent of overall weight; fifth-wheel hitch weight is usually 18-20 percent of the overall weight.

holding tanks

Tanks that hold water. There are three different holding tanks on most RVs; fresh water tank, gray water tank and black water tank. The fresh water tank holds fresh water that can be stored for later use. The gray water tank holds the waste water from the sinks and showers. The black water tank holds the waste from the toilet.

hybrid travel trailer

An RV that combines the features of a pop-up camper and a hard-sided travel trailer. In its camping configuration, one or more bunks fold down from the side with canvas tent covers. When in travel, the bunks fold up into the side of the trailer leaving four hard sides.


An inverter is a device that changes 12 volt battery power to 120 volt AC power. The amount of available power depends on the storage capacity of the batteries and the wattage rating of the inverter.

JT's Strong Arm Jack Stabilizer

JT's Strong Arm Jack Stabilizer eliminates the inherent chassis movement problem found in travel trailers and fifth wheels and eliminates the need for ineffective tripods or pin stabilizers.

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