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RV Terms and Definitions


The storage compartment under the main living area. Basements are generally found in fifth wheel campers and motor homes.

Black Tank

The holding tank connected to the toilet.

Brake Control

Electronic device mounted in the tow vehicle to control the trailer's brakes. It is connected to the tow vehicle's brake system to sense when braking needs to happen on the trailer.

Breakaway Switch

An electric switch on trailers designed to engage brakes in case the trailer accidentally becomes disconnected from the tow vehicle.

Class A

These motor homes look like buses.

Class B

These motor homes are modified from vans.

Class C

These motor homes are built on a cut-away van chassis. Class C's have a sleeping compartment over the cab.


An electrical device that can change AC (alternating current) to DC (direct current).

Curb Weight

The weight of the camper or motor home, including all standard equipment, full fuel tanks, fresh water, and propane tanks, before taking on people or personal cargo.

Dry Camping

This is camping in an RV with no water or sewer hook-ups

Dump Station

An approved station for dumping the gray and black tanks

Fifth Wheel

A configuration of trailer ans hitch connected to the tow truck directly above the rear axle using a fifth wheel hitch. This is the type hitch that big rigs use.

Fresh Water Tank

The tank for holding fresh water, used when not connected to city water.


Similar to a fifth wheel except that a ball is mounted to the bed of the pickup, and the latch is on the trailer. Gooseneck hitches are common in horse and utility trailers, but rarely found on campers.

Gooseneck Adapter

An adapter that allows a fifth wheel camper to be towed by a truck with a gooseneck hitch installed.

Gray Water Tank

The tank that holds the waste water from the shower and sinks.

King Pin

The pin on the fifth wheel camper that the fifth wheel hitch latches on to for towing.

Park Model

A camper that is too large to be towed and must be set up permanently at a campground. These campers lack holding tanks and must have access to water, sewage, and electrical facilities.


An addition to the camper that slides out when parked for more room, but retracts when traveling.

Stabilizer Jack

A jack for the sole purpose of stabilizing the camper or motor home when parked. These are not meant to be used to lift the camper.

Tongue Weight

This is the actual weight pressing down of the hitch ball by the trailer.

Water Pressure Regulator

This is installed on the water hose this is attached to the city water to limit too much pressure entering your camper. Water lines cannot withstand too much water pressure and may burst without a regulator.

Weight Distribution Hitch

These hitches are used to apply leverage between the tow vehicle and the trailer to balance the load to all axles. When the weight is balanced, the vehicle is leveled and performance is increased. Weight distribution should be used anytime the weight of the trailer exceeds 50% of the weight of the towing vehicle.

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