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Encyclopedia > Recreational vehicle
A camper built on a light truck chassis; a Class C motorhome in North American terminology
A camper built on a light truck chassis; a Class C motorhome in North American terminology

In North American English the term recreational vehicle, and its acronym RV, are generally used to refer to an enclosed piece of equipment dually used as both a vehicle and a temporary travel home. The term "Winnebago" is used interchangeable with RV despite it being a brand name. RV or Rv could mean: Caspian Airlines, IATA airline designator Rahway Valley Railroad Rishi Valley School RealVideo - a format of streaming video from Real Networks Recreational vehicle, the North American English term for a motorhome Re-entry vehicle Rendezvous - a French term, commonly used in the English language to mean... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 795 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1060 × 800 pixel, file size: 175 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) (All user names refer to en. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 795 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1060 × 800 pixel, file size: 175 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) (All user names refer to en. ... North American English is a collective term used for the varieties of the English language that are spoken in the United States and Canada. ... The Trikke is a Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) This article is about the means of transport. ... Look up home in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Winnebago can refer to: The Winnebago (tribe) of Native Americans with a reservation in Nebraska and Iowa. ...

RVs are intended for everything from brief leisure activities such as vacations and camping, to full-time living, for which they are often parked in special trailer parks. (However, many trailer parks are reserved just for mobile homes, not to be confused with RVs/motorhomes.) RVs can also be rented in most major cities and tourist areas. For other uses, see camping (disambiguation) Camping is an outdoor recreational activity involving the spending of one or more nights in a tent, primitive structure, a travel trailer or recreational vehicle at a campsite with the purpose of getting away from civilization and enjoying nature. ... For the Beth Orton album, see Trailer Park (album). ... A modern double-wide manufactured home. ...



Perhaps the most widely known brand of recreational vehicle is Winnebago, a product of Winnebago Industries, Inc., of Forest City, Iowa. In fact, many people still refer to recreational vehicles — especially motorhomes — using the generic term, "Winnebago". The company, under a group of Midwestern investors, was a pioneer of the RV industry in the early 1960s. Other major RV manufacturers include Roadtrek of Kitchener, Ontario; Fleetwood Enterprises of Riverside, Calif; Thor Industries, Inc., of Jackson Center, Ohio; Newmar Corporation of Nappanee, Indiana; Monaco Coach Corporation, of Coburg, Oregon; Coachmen Industries, Inc., of Elkhart, Indiana; Starcraft RV, Inc., of Topeka, Indiana; Jayco, Inc. of Middlebury, Indiana; Carriage Inc. of Millersburg, Indiana and K-Z, Inc. of Shipshewana, Indiana. Australia's largest manufacturer of motorhomes is Talvor. Winnebago Industries Inc. ... Forest City is a city located in Iowa. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Thor Industries is a builder of recreational vehicles and commercial transit buses under the names: Goshen Coaches Champion Bus Incorporated ElDorado National Airstream External links Thor Industries, Inc. ... Jackson Center is a village located in Shelby County, Ohio. ... Nappanee from above. ... Coburg, Oregon Coburg is a city (and a National Historic District) located in Lane County, Oregon, just north of Eugene. ... Elkhart (IPA: ) is a city, part of the South Bend metropolitan statistical area, in Elkhart County, Indiana, United States. ... Topeka is a town located in LaGrange County, Indiana. ... Memorial Park. ... Millersburg is a town located in Elkhart County, Indiana. ... Yoders Dutch Country Store. ...

Historical manufacturers include Avion Coach Corporation, Cayo RV Corporation of Benton Harbor, Michigan, and for a short while General Motors, whose recreational vehicles still attract a sizable following of collectors. The most expensive, high-end brands include Newell Coach of Miami, Oklahoma; Fleetwood Enterprises; Monaco Coach; and Holiday Rambler. Benton Harbor is a city in Berrien County in the U.S. State of Michigan. ... General Motors Corporation, also known as GM or The General, an American multinational corporation, is the worlds largest auto company. ... Miami is a city in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. ...


British English The term "recreational vehicle" is little used. Terms covering some of the vehicles classified as RVs in North America are camper van and caravan. The term motorhome (see below) is also used. In other parts of the world, particularly Australia, "recreational vehicle" may refer to a sport utility vehicle (SUV or 4x4). British English (BrE, BE, en-GB) is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere in the Anglophone world. ... A fourth-generation (2006-) Ford Explorer, the best-selling mid-size SUV in the United States. ...

French language The French-made English term "camping-car" is used, and term has also spread to Japan. French (français, langue française) is one of the most important Romance languages, outnumbered in speakers only by Spanish and Portuguese. ...

German language An RV is called "wohnwagen". wohnen means live or reside; wagen means vehicle or venture. It is also called by the German-English term "wohnmobil [1]". German (called Deutsch in German; in German the term germanisch is equivalent to English Germanic), is a member of the western group of Germanic languages and is one of the worlds major languages. ... Look up live in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Trikke is a Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) This article is about the means of transport. ... Venture can refer to; Venture - a Canadian business television show on the CBC network. ...

Spanish language An RV is called "autocaravana". The word "caravaning" is also (albeit rarely) used to mean "traveling together as a group" in British English, leading to a different meaning. This article is about the international language known as Spanish. ...


A Class A motorhome with slide-out extended
A Class A motorhome with slide-out extended
An Australian camper trailer
A truck camper
5th-wheel trailer for towing
5th-wheel trailer for towing

There are different classes of vehicles generally labeled as RVs:[2] Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... A small camper car Austrian tourists at the Kallonis Bay on Lesbos, Greece Photograph taken in May 2003 by Henryk Kotowski and released under the terms of GFDL licence File links The following pages link to this file: Recreational vehicle Categories: GFDL images ... A small camper car Austrian tourists at the Kallonis Bay on Lesbos, Greece Photograph taken in May 2003 by Henryk Kotowski and released under the terms of GFDL licence File links The following pages link to this file: Recreational vehicle Categories: GFDL images ... Image File history File linksMetadata Prowlersmall. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Prowlersmall. ...

Truck camper 
A camper shell unit that is temporarily affixed to the bed or chassis of a pickup truck.
Folding trailer 
Also known as a pop-up or tent camper, a light-weight unit with sides that collapse for towing and storage. Suitable for towing by many vehicles.
Travel trailer 
Also known as a caravan, a unit with rigid sides designed to be towed by some larger vehicles with a bumper or frame hitch.
Teardrop trailer 
A compact, lightweight travel trailer that resembles a teardrop.
Hybrid trailer 
A blend between a travel trailer and a folding (tent) trailer. One type has rigid sides and pull-out tent sections (usually beds) while another type's top section of walls and its roof can be lowered over its bottom section to reduce its height for towing.
5th-wheel trailer 
Designed to be towed by a pickup or medium duty truck equipped with a special hitch called a fifth wheel coupling. Part of the trailer body extends over the truck bed, shortening the total length of vehicle plus trailer combined.
Park model 
This is a standard travel trailer that is not self-contained. It is designed for park camping only, and while it is easily moved from site to site, as a normal trailer is, it is not capable of "dry camping" as it does not have any water storage tanks and must be used with hookups. It is not a mobile home.
An uncommon term indicating a motorhome built around a semi truck chassis (such as a Freightliner). This type of motor home allows the pulling of large and heavy trailers.
Toy hauler 
A motorhome, 5th-wheel, or travel trailer, it is designed to be part living space, and part garage for storing things such as motorcycles and ATVs.

In North American (primarily), motorhomes typically fall into one of the following classes:[3][2] Photo: Lance Camper by Wally Herrala. ... A truck with a traditional camper shell A camper shell, sometimes known as a topper or cap, is a small housing or rigid canopy used as a pickup truck accessory. ... The best selling North American pickup truck, the Ford F-Series. ... A travel trailer or caravan is a trailer towed behind a road vehicle (or even a horse) to provide a place to sleep which is more comfortable, sheltered and protected than a tent (although there are fold-down tent trailers [1]) . It provides the means for people to have their... The trailer is so named for its resemblance to a teardrop. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Freightliner LLC is a truck manufacturer. ...

Class A motorcoach 
Constructed on either a commercial truck chassis, a specially designed motor vehicle chassis, or a commercial bus chassis.
Class B campervan 
Built using a conventional van, to which either a raised roof has been added or had the back replaced by a low-profile body (compared to a Class C).
Class C motorhome 
Built on a truck chassis with an attached cab section, which is usually van based, but may also be pickup truck based or even large truck (freightliner) based. They are characterized by a distinctive cab-over profile, the "cab-over" containing a bed or an "entertainment" section. Also referred to as "mini-motorhomes". The term "Minnie Winnie" sometimes is used in references to Class C motorhomes, originally coined by one of the founders of Winnebago Industries, Inc.[citation needed]

A campervan is a self-propelled vehicle that provides both transport and sleeping accommodation. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


A minimal RV typically contains beds, a table, food preparation and storage areas. Larger models add full bathrooms, refrigerators, living areas, master bedrooms, etc. Some RVs are very elaborate, with satellite TV and Internet access, slide-out sections, and awnings, and either storing a small car inside it or providing the option of towing it behind the RV. RVs can cost (new) from less than US$10,000 to $1,500,000 or more. Very high-end Class A motorhomes, for example, can cost between US$100,000 to $650,000 new. In 2006, Featherlite Luxury Coaches debuted the Featherlite Vantare Platinum Plus, a motorhome featuring marble floors, a built-in treadmill and other luxury features valued at US$2.5 million.[4]

Many RVers stay at RV parks, most of which feature electrical, water and sewer service (full hookups), as well as cable television and wireless Internet. One can also get partial hookups in the same parks. Amenities often include swimming pools, gamerooms and even destination-resort activities such as horseback riding. Others prefer staying at locations in remote rural areas (called boondocking), and still others at public campgrounds with minimal facilities. A RV park (sometimes referred to as a Recreational Vehicle park or Caravan park) is the equivalent of a hotel for people with recreational vehicles. ...

Also many RVers stay at city parks, county parks, state parks and national parks. The United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also offer camping, often at no cost to the camper. State park is a term used in the United States and in Mexico for an area of land preserved on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, recreation, or other reason, and under the administration of the government of a U.S. state or one of the states of Mexico. ... Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada A national park is a reserve of land, usually, but not always (see National Parks of England and Wales), declared and owned by a national government, protected from most human development and pollution. ... Logo of the U.S. Forest Service. ... US BLM logo The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior which administers Americas public lands, totaling approximately 261 million surface acres (1,056,229. ...

Advantages of RVs include not having to move one's things in and out of motel rooms, not having to rent multiple motel rooms, sleeping in a bed one is comfortable with. Also, preparing food oneself saves money compared to eating in restaurants, and better meets any dietary restrictions or preferences. At the same time, an RV provides more organized living space and better protection from the weather than a tent.

Disadvantages of RVs include low fuel economy for the motorized RV or tow vehicle, lack of maid service as experienced in motels (maid service is available at a few high-end resorts), and the challenge of driving or towing larger RV models for the novice.

There is a stereotype that people who live in RVs full-time do so because they are poor and cannot afford more conventional housing. However, an increasing number of people are opting to sell their homes and live in their RVs, which can cost as much as their home did. Some return to home ownership after several years while some few bounce back and forth between owning a home and going RVing full time. For these, mostly retirees, RVing is a life style choice not a financial decision.

Similarly, RVs — specifically, trailers which strongly resemble travel trailers, but usually with fewer amenities — have been used to temporarily house victims of natural disasters. A notable example is Hurricane Katrina, after which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ordered large numbers of such trailers to house victims of the storm in Louisiana and Mississippi. This article is about the Atlantic hurricane of 2005. ... New FEMA seal The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ...

Some people craft their own RVs out of cars, vans, school buses, and buses.

Elkhart, Indiana

Elkhart, Indiana is known as the "RV Capital of the World" because it is home to many RV manufacturers, including Berkshire Hathaway's Forest River, Heartland RV, the Damon Corporation, Four Winds International, Hy-Line, Keystone, Monaco, Sun Valley, and Travel Supreme. Many other manufacturers, including Newmar, Dutchmen, Gulf Stream, and Jayco, can be found in the nearby towns of Goshen, Middlebury, Nappanee, and Wakarusa. In 2005, these locales experienced a boom because of the large number of trailers ordered to house Hurricane Katrina victims. Elkhart (IPA: ) is a city, part of the South Bend metropolitan statistical area, in Elkhart County, Indiana, United States. ... Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRKA, NYSE: BRKB) is a holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., that oversees and manages a number of subsidiary companies. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Goshen (IPA: ) is a city of about 30,000 people located about 100 miles east of Chicago and 30 miles east of South Bend in the northern Indiana region known as Michiana. ... Memorial Park. ... Nappanee from above. ... Wakarusa from the air, looking east. ...

Recreational vehicle terms

Wastewater from the RV toilet. Body waste. Called blackwater because if left in the blackwater tank long enough, turns black.
Grey water 
Waste water from the sinks and showers. It is not truly "clean", but it is not as "dirty" as "blackwater". It is called graywater because it looks gray from detergents in the water.
White water 
This is the fresh water directly taken from a clean-water source. It may or may not be potable water, i.e., drinking water.
Pink water 
This would be water to which 'pink' antifreeze, pink being a color added to imply that it is not toxic, is added. Normal antifreeze is colored green or blue to show that it is a toxic chemical.
Chemicals (for wastewater tanks) 
A variety of commercially produced chemicals that are added to the blackwater and graywater tanks to control odors. These chemicals may or may not kill the bacteria in the tanks and may or may not have an adverse affect on septic systems. Some wastewater tank chemicals contain enzymes that are supposed to control odors and help breakdown the organic materials in the wastewater.
An electrical device that is usually supplied built-in the RV by the manufacturer. The converter takes 120 volt AC power from a campground electrical hookup (shore power) or generator and converts that power to 12 volts DC and puts it into the house 12 volt DC circuits. Converters also take the 120 volt AC power and charge the house battery(s). In effect, converters are battery chargers.
Dry camping (boondocking) 
Is camping in a campground or any area without water, electricity and sewage hookups, including parking lots or driveways. In the USA, most campgrounds operated by the US Department of the Interior (BLM, National Park Service, National Monuments, National Wildlife Areas, National Forests) and most state and county campgrounds do not have full hookups for water, sewage or electricity. Dry camping is made more livable by having:
  1. A supply of potable water storage within the RV
  2. Having enough house-battery(s) power to supply basic camping needs (low voltage lights, water pump, control portion of refrigerator, etc.)
  3. Having a means of recharging the house battery(s) such as solar panels or generators
  4. Having enough wastewater tank capacity to contain the wastewater for several days of camping
Dump station 
A place where RV waste-water tanks is emptied. Usually a small concrete pad with a 3 to 4-inch brass fitting embedded into the concrete. The fitting accepts a sewer hose from the RV. Sewage dumped into the station goes into a sewer or a septic system. The brass fitting usually has a pivoting cover to keep rocks and other objects out of the dump station piping. Dump stations are usually situated so that an RV can be driven next to the receptacle. Dump stations often have running water for rinsing the RV's sanitary pipes and for cleaning up the dump station pad. This water should not be used to fill an RV's potable water tank. RV etiquette demands that when using an RV dump station, you clean up any spills.
Dumping, dumping tanks 
The act of emptying the waste tanks.
A gasoline, diesel or propane-powered device for generating 120 or 240 volts AC electrical power for use when boondocking or dry camping. Generators are rated by their electrical output, usually in watts. A minimum generator size for a small RV would be 1500 to 2000 watts. To run an RV air conditioner, a minimum of 3000 watts is usually needed. Larger RV's with multiple air conditioners require generators with 6000 and more watts of capacity. Generators also charge the house battery(s).
House batteries 
The batteries, usually 12 volt DC, that are installed on or within an RV. Usually there are multiple batteries combined in a parallel circuit, but there may be a single house battery on some RV's. Separate and isolated electrically from the vehicle battery(s) that are used to start and operate the motor vehicle part of the RV (motor of a motorhome, car or truck for tow vehicles or campers). RV batteries differ from car or truck batteries in that they are 'deep cycle' batteries. This means that RV batteries can be drawn down further before recharging than car or truck batteries. For best RV battery life, do not draw down the charge below 50% before recharging. Deep cycle batteries that are well maintained and cared for can last 10+ years. RV batteries that are poorly maintained and abused will last only a year or two. Batteries are rated in amp-hours; multiplying this figure by the battery voltage yields watt-hours, which indicates the length of time a known load can be run.
An inverter takes the 12 volt DC house power from the house battery(s) and inverts that to AC power at the standard household voltage for one's country. Inverters are not usually supplied in RV's by the manufacturer. Inverters are rated by the output, in watts. There are two categories of inverters. The least expensive are called 'modified sine-wave' or 'quasi-sine wave' inverters. The more expensive versions are 'sine-wave' or 'full sine-wave' inverters. The modified- or quasi-sine wave inverters work well for most RV uses, but most inverter manufacturers recommend the use of full sine wave inverters to power televisions, VCR players and recorders, DVD players, computers, printers, fax machines and other electronic devices. Like a generator, inverters must be sized to accommodate the anticipated electrical load. Most inverters in RVs are rated at 1500-2000 watts. This is enough power to run a microwave oven or run a TV, DVD and computer but not at the same time as the microwave. The number of watt-hours that can be provided; how long a given load can be run; depends on the battery, after allowing for the slight inefficiency of the inverter.
Low voltage/high voltage electrical systems 
In U.S. RVs there are two types of electricity used in the unit. Low voltage refers to electricity from the house battery(s), typically 12 volts DC. This electricity is used to run lights, the water pump, the control portion of a refrigerator, the igniters for cooktops, smoke and gas detectors, fans, jack and slide-out motors and often the blower and control circuits of a built-in propane furnace.
High voltage refers to shore power, generator power or power from an inverter, which is AC at the standard household voltage of one's country, used to run air conditioners, television and stereo systems, microwave ovens, electrical refrigerators, electric heaters, and electric water heaters. It also powers AC outlets in the RV for electrical devices such as toasters, hair dryers, computers, printers etc. (Strictly, "AC" only means that the polarity reverses many times per second, but in an RV it may be assumed to mean high voltage.)
Refrigerator - dual fuel 
An RV refrigerator that runs on both propane and electricity. Newer models can switch automatically from propane to shore power when the RV is connected to a source of 120 volts AC. RV refrigerators draw too many amps to be powered by the house battery(s). Refrigerators powered by propane often do not function unless the RV is parked level, side to side and front to back. Newer RV refrigerators are less sensitive to being run out of level.
RV shower 
Is a method of showering that conserves water, wastewater tankage and battery power in a motorhome, trailer or camper while dry camping. The steps in a basic RV shower are:
  1. Turn on the water
  2. Wet the body
  3. Turn off the water
  4. Shampoo hair
  5. Soap up and scrub body
  6. Turn the water back on and rinse off the soap and shampoo
The total time for the water being on is typically under 2 minutes and often less. The RV shower is similar to a Navy shower.
Shore power 
Electricity that is available to an RV from a power company. The basic service in USA campgrounds is a standard 2-prong w/ground 120 volt AC outlet with 15-20 amps. Most newer USA campgrounds with electrical hookups offer three outlets in the connection box: 2-prong w/ground 120 volt AC 20 amp; 3-prong RV 120 volt AC 30 amp; and a 4-prong RV 120/240 volt AC 50 amp (which can power 120 volt loads and the large 240 volt loads at the same time). A variety of plug converters are available from RV supply houses to convert from one type of plug to another. (High voltage can kill when wired wrong, and the fact that appliances work does not mean that it's wired right.)
A section of the RV that can be expanded by pulling it outward from the side of the vehicle, thus making the interior space wider. Many modern RVs feature at least one slide-out section – this is typically to widen the kitchen and better accommodate the seating area.
Tow vehicle 
The car or truck that is used to tow an RV trailer.
Towed vehicle or "toad" 
A car or other vehicle that is towed behind motorhomes for use when the motorhome is set up in a campground and connected to utilities. Also called a "dinghy".
The maintenance of an RV's water system to protect it from damage during cold winter storage. This involves making sure all water is removed from the hoses and tanks using compressed air or adding a non-toxic antifreeze to the system. Some modern RVs are equipped with automatic winterization systems.

Left: Series  / Right: Parallel Arrows indicate direction of current flow. ... A navy shower is a method of showering that allows for great conservation of water and energy. ...

See also

Caravan Parks are privately-owned locations which provide a stopping point - overnight or for weekly stays - for people traveling in a caravan, also known as a trailer or motorhome. ... This is a list of links to state parks in the United States See also Category:U.S. state parks. ... A RV park (sometimes referred to as a Recreational Vehicle park or Caravan park) is the equivalent of a hotel for people with recreational vehicles. ... The RV lifestyle (RV stands for recreational vehicle) is made up of those interested in traveling and camping rather than living in one location, as well as by vacationers. ...


  1. ^ "German RV Reference". wohnmobilforum.de. A.Ebert. Retrieved on 2007-08-30.
  2. ^ a b "RV Tech: Technical Glossary". TrailerLife.com. Affinity Group, Inc.. Retrieved on 2007-08-26.
  3. ^ "What kind of RV should I get?: What exctly is an RV?". GoRVing.ca. Go RVing Canada. Retrieved on 2007-08-26.
  4. ^ "Press Releases: World's most expensive RV debuts for $2.5 million". RV News & Newsletter. RVbookstore.com (July 11, 2006). Retrieved on 2007-08-26.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 242nd day of the year (243rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 238th day of the year (239th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 238th day of the year (239th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 192nd day of the year (193rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 238th day of the year (239th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External Links

Motorhome Classifieds

  Results from FactBites:
Recreational Vehicle Parking (240 words)
Recreational vehicles shall be parked in the driveway or garage, alongside the home (behind the front line of the home), or in the rear yard.
Recreational camping vehicles shall not be used for living or sleeping quarters unless parked on a property zoned for camping.
Recreational vehicles shall not be parked in the front yard on the grass.
Recreational Vehicle (RV) Task Force (3207 words)
Recreational vehicles may be parked in non-permitted locations, for the sole purpose of loading and unloading the said vehicle, for up to ten days.
The owner of any recreational vehicle which is parked without a permit shall comply with the location requirements, including any necessary grading and landscaping, within two (2) years from the date of the adoption of this ordinance.
Accordingly, the mission of the Recreational Vehicle Task Force was to define the appropriate requirements for the outside storage of recreational vehicles on residential property in the City of Brookfield.
  More results at FactBites »



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