RV Terms That Every Self Storage Operator Should Know

Jon Fesmire |

Every profession, hobby, and passion has its own vocabulary. Those in the know use those terms all the time, but those of us who aren’t part of that crowd may be confused by these new words, and may find them difficult to discuss.

RV enthusiasts are no different. They have a mini-dictionary of terms to describe RVs, camping, and more. While we in the self storage industry don’t need to learn all the lingo, if your facility has RV storage, you should be familiar with the terms here. If you want to learn even more, Changing Gears, a popular RV site has a comprehensive glossary. For now, learn the terms here and you’ll be ready to help your customers.

Terms for Types and Major Parts of RVs

  • Camper: An RV that attaches to a truck, either towed or placed partially on top of the vehicle and contains living and sleeping quarters. In the RV world, many call all RVs “campers” colloquially.

  • Chassis: The framework of an RV or other vehicle, including the body and all mechanical, working parts, but not including the interior.

  • Class A: An RV in which the driving portion is integral to the cab. This is what most people think of when they hear the term “RV,” a motorhome that looks like a bus.

  • Class B: An RV in which the driving portion is integral to the cab, but which is significantly smaller than a Class A. These motorhomes look like vans with raised roofs.

  • Class C: An RV with the front end of a truck integrated with a large motorhome cab.

  • Folding Trailer: A light trailer built to fold to a smaller size while driving and to a larger size for camping.

  • Heavy Duty Truck: Large, powerful trucks made for hauling heavy freight. These can pull heavy trailers, and are the sort of cabs you see driving goods across country. They are seldom used for hauling RVs.

  • Motorhome: Another word for RV, but when used more specifically, refers to the living quarters portion of an RV setup.

  • Park Model: Some RVs can function for a time in a camping spot with no electricity or hookups, but this type of trailer requires hookups to work. A trailer without batteries or tanks.

  • Pusher: An RV with a rear engine.

  • Recreational Vehicle: This is what RV stands for. A trailer built for traveling and use as living space.

  • Rig: A slang term for any RV.

  • Travel Trailer: A trailer designed to be towed behind a truck, used as living and sleeping quarters.

  • Truck Camper: Living and sleeping compartment that attaches to a truck by sliding into the truck bed and attached to the frame. Can stand on folding legs when in storage.

  • Wide-body: An RV with a width of 8 feet or more, usually 8’4” or 8’6”.

Tank and Electrical Terms

  • Amp: An unit of electricity, also called an ampere. For electrical hookup at campsites, RVs have different amp ratings of 20, 30, or 50.

  • Black Tank: A somewhat euphemistic term for an RV’s sewage tank. Your self storage facility may have a dump station for septic waste.

  • Black Water: The sewage in the black tank.

  • Full Hookup: The term for an RV campsite with all necessary hookups: electric, water, and sewage.

  • Holding Tank: A general terms for the tanks in an RV, including freshwater and black water tanks.

  • Stinky Slinky: A sewage hose that hooks the black tank to a dump station.

Weight, Weight Distribution, and Leveling Terms

  • Curb Weight: The weight of an RV, or the trailer portion if separate, as it includes full tanks, including freshwater and fuel, plus full propane bottles, and all standard equipment. It does not include passengers or their possessions.

  • Dry Weight: The weight of an RV, or the trailer portion if separate, with standard equipment, but all tanks empty.

  • GVW: This is the weight of an RV when on the road, and includes the passengers and their belongings, full tanks, standard equipment, and optional equipment.

  • Leveling Jack: A heavy-duty device allows an RV owner to make his or her RV level when camping or storing the motorhome.

  • NCC: The amount of weight the RV can handle beyond the curb weight. Short for Net Carrying Capacity, this weight number lets figure out how much passenger and cargo weight your RV can carry.

  • Stabilizing Jack: A jack made for bearing an RV’s weight and keeping the balance stable.

  • Tongue Jack: This sort of jack is built into the frames of travel trailers and acts as a combined stabilizing and leveling jack.

Now, when your RV customers mention the type of trailer they have, you’ll have an idea of what size storage unit or parking space it needs. When they ask about hookups, you’ll know whether your storage facility has them or not. And if talk about leveling their vehicles, you’ll know what sort of jacks they mean to use. Knowing the lingo of a group can endear you to its members, and if you show that you understand, RV customers are more likely to rent from your storage facility.