Glossary of RV Terms

The RV community is just like any other—it has its own set of words, abbreviations, and slang terms. In this glossary we define the common terms and some of the more unusual slang.

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This term can refer to one of two things: 1) a Class C motor home, or 2) the sleeping area which is over the cab in Class C motor homes and truck campers. For an example of each, see Class C Motor Home and Truck Camper.


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.

Camper Trailer

See Folding Trailer

Camper Van

See Class B

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. For additional details see Understanding RV Weights.


See CB Radio

CB Radio

Citizens Band radio is a general use, short distance, two-way radio primarily used by truckers. CB's are also helpful to RV drivers to call for help in an emergency and listen for driving conditions. Many CB's on the market today also have weather channels with alerting features.


See Commercial Drivers License


The frame of a vehicle or motor home including the engine, transmission, drive train, axles, and wheels. When referring to a van or truck, the chassis also includes the cab.

Chassis Battery

Battery in motor homes and tow trucks for operating the engine and vehicle components. Gas engine vehicles generally have one chassis battery and diesels two. Also referred to as the starting battery.

Class A

Class A Motor Home

Photo courtesy of Gulf Stream Coach

A motor home built on a stripped truck chassis where the driving compartment is an integral part of the RV interior. Class A motor homes look like busses. For additional details see Class A Motor Home - An Introduction.

Class B

Class B Motor Home

Photo courtesy of Gulf Stream Coach

A motor home created from a mini van. Most models have raised roofs, but otherwise the living space is constrained by the dimensions of the van. For additional details see Class B Motor Home - An Introduction.

Class C

Class C Motor Home

Photo courtesy of Travelaire

A motor home built on a cut-away van or truck chassis, including the cab. It differs from the class A motor home in that the class C uses the cab designed for the chassis. For additional details see Class C Motor Home - An Introduction.


See Commercial Motor Vehicle


A vehicle with enclosed passenger accommodations. In the broadest sense of the term, coach can be applied to most recreational vehicles. When used by itself, it usually refers to a motor home, most likely a Class A.

Commercial Drivers License

License issued by states to drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV). Some states require special licensing or endorsements for large RV's, but a commercial driver's license (CDL) is rarely required for non-commercial RV's. For additional details see RV Driver's License Requirements.

Commercial Motor Vehicle

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration definition: A commercial motor vehicle is any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle: (1) has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR)—or a gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross combination weight (GCW)—of 4,536 kilograms (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or (2) is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers, including the driver, for compensation; or (3) is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, whether or not it is used to transport passengers for compensation; or (4) is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, Subtitle B, Chapter I, Subchapter C.

Conventional Trailer

See Travel Trailer

Conversion Van

See Class B


A device that converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) used to charge the RV batteries and to operate 12 volt DC devices while plugged into an AC source.

Curb Weight

Curb Weight is the actual weight of a vehicle or trailer, including all standard equipment, full fuel tanks, full fresh water tanks, full propane bottles, and all other equipment fluids, but before taking on any persons or personal cargo. For additional details see Understanding RV Weights.

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