Carefree RV

FMCA - The club for motorhome enthusiasts interested in RVing

What is a Recreation Vehicle (RV)?

A motorized or towable vehicle that combines transportation and temporary living quarters for travel, recreation and camping. RVs do not include mobile homes, off-road vehicles, snowmobiles or conversion vehicles. RVs are sold by recreation vehicle dealers.


Living quarters are accessible from the driver's area in one convenient unit.

Class A Motorhomes


  • Generally roomiest of all RVs
  • Luxurious amenities
  • Sleeps up to six
  • Typically $58,000 to $400,000 new
Class B Motorhomes


  • Commonly called van campers
  • Drive like the family van
  • Sleep up to four
  • ypically $41,000 to $74,000 new
Class C Motorhomes
  • Similar amenities to Type As
  • Optional sleeping space over the cab
  • Sleep up to eight
  • Typically $48,000 to $140,000 new

Towable RVs

Designed to be towed by family car, van or pickup truck. Can be unhitched and left at the campsite while you explore in your auto.
Folding Camping Trailers
  • Fold for lightweight towing
  • Fresh-air experience with RV comfort
  • Sleep up to eight
  • Typically $4,000 to $13,000 new
Truck Campers
  • Mount on pickup bed or chassis
  • Go wherever your truck can go
  • Sleep up to six
  • Typically $4,000 to $26,000 new
Conventional Travel Trailers
  • Wide range of floor plans and sizes
  • Affordable homelike amenities
  • Sleep up to 10
  • Typically $8,000 to $65,000 new
Fifth-Wheel Travel Trailers
  • Spacious two-level floor plans
  • Towed with a pickup truck
  • Sleep up to six
  • Typically $13,000 to $100,000 new
Sport Utility RVs

Available motorized and towable (as travel trailers or firth-wheels).
  • Built-in "garage" for hauling cycles, ATVs and other sports equipment
  • Sleep up to eight
  • Typically $21,000 to $58,000 new
Travel Trailers w/Expandable Ends
  • Ends pull out for roomy sleeping
  • Lightweight towing
  • Sleep up to eight
  • Typically $9,000 to $18,000 new


Courtesies and Jargon

Common-sense rules of etiquette prevail when you check into any campground, public or commercial. Whether you plan to stay for one night or an extended visit, you are joining a "community," and you are expected to be a good neighbor. You'll be delighted with the friendliness of RV people. Your new neighbors will want to know where you are from, will be curious about your vehicle and your itinerary. If they've come from the direction you are heading, they will offer tips on sights and places to camp.

In turn, they will expect you not to make excessive noise, to respect the environment around you, to clean up any litter and not to let any pets become a nuisance.

If you arrive at a campground at night, keep your lights dim and make as little noise as possible. If you see a campsite empty except for a chair or similar object, it means that someone has staked it out, but is touring for the day in their vehicle.

Pass it up for another space; they'll be back later.


  • Convenience Kits -- see "Liveability Packages."

  • Chassis -- Metal frame supporting the engine and bodywork.

  • Cockpit -- Area where the driver sits.

  • Basement -- Storage area beneath the floor of the motor home, usually accessible from the outside.

  • Boondocking (or Dry Camping) -- Camping without hooking up to any electric, sewer or water facilities. You can still have electricity from the batteries or generator in your motor home and water from your fresh water holding tank.

  • Dinghy (or Toad) -- Vehicle towed behind your motor home.

  • Dual electrical system -- RV equipped with lights, appliances which operate on 12-volt battery power when self-contained, and with a converter, on 110 AC current when in campgrounds or with an on-board generator.

  • Dump Station -- Facility where you can empty your black and gray water holding tanks (see holding tanks for description).

  • Extended Stay Site -- Park or campsite where you can stay for a longer period of time, even up to an entire season.

  • Full Hookup -- Campsite with direct connections to electricity, sewer and water amenities.

  • Galley -- Kitchen.

  • Holding Tanks - There are three different holding tanks on most motor homes:

    • Black Water Tank -- Holds all water and waste from the toilet.

    • Fresh Water Tank -- Stores all of the fresh water that will be used in the sinks, shower and toilet while dry camping.

    • Gray Water Tank -- Holds all the water and waste from the sink and shower drains.

  • Liveability Packages -- items to equip a motorhome for daily living, which may be rented at nominal cost from rental firm, rather than brought from home. Include bed linens, pillows and blankets, bath towels, pots and pans, kitchen utensils, cutlery.

  • Pull Through -- Camping site that allows you to pull through when you set up and leave the area. You do not have to back into or out of a pull through site.

  • Puller -- Motor home with the diesel engine mounted in the front of the vehicle.

  • Pusher -- Motor home with the diesel engine mounted in the rear of the vehicle.

  • RV -- Recreation Vehicle. Combines transportation and temporary living quarters for recreation, camping and travel.

  • Propane -- LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas, used in RVs for heating, cooking and refrigeration. Also called "bottle gas," for manner in which it is sold and stored.

  • Rig -- Another name for motor home.

  • RBR -- Really Big Rig.

  • Roof air conditioning -- air conditioning unit mounted on roof of RV, to cool the RV when it is parked. When moving, most RVs are cooled by separate air conditioning units which are components of the engine, or they may be cooled by a roof top if a proper size generator is installed.

  • Self-contained -- RV which needs no external electrical, drain or water hook-up. Thus, it can park overnight anywhere. Of course, self-contained units can also hook up to facilities when at campgrounds.

  • Slideout -- Portion of the motor home that can expand to create more room inside.

  • VBR -- Very Big Rig.

Owner Terms

  • Newbie -- Someone new to the RV world.

  • Full-Timers -- People who live in their RV full time or at least the majority of the time.

  • Part-Timers -- People who use their RV for more than a few weekend trips a year, but who still use it less than full time.

  • Snowbirds -- Those who live in their RV in the south during the winter months and move north in the summer time.

Weight Terms

  • Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) -- The manufacturer?s maximum load weight, in pounds, allowed for the trailer and tow vehicle. This rating includes the weight of the trailer, tow vehicle, fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers.

  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) -- The manufacturer?s maximum load weight, in pounds, allowed for the vehicle. This rating includes the weight of the vehicle plus fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers.

  • Net Carrying Capacity (NCC) (or Payload Capacity) - The maximum weight of fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers that can be added to an RV without exceeding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

  • Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW) (or Dry Weight) - The weight of the RV without adding fuel, water, propane, supplies and passengers.