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Motorhome Glossary

When looking at motorhome specifications you may see some terms you are unfamiliar with. We know that motorhome speak can sometimes be tricky so we have put together a glossary of some terms you may come across which you aren't familiar with.

Berth: Each sleeping place in a motorhome is known as a berth. Another word is beds or sleeping places. Example: 4 berth means there is space for 4 people to sleep.

Roll out awning

12 Volts: 12 volt power is the main power system for cars and vans. Often comes from batteries or battery packs.

240 Volts: Electricity sourced from local mains supply in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and most of Europe.

120 Volts: Electricity sourced from local mains supply in the USA and Canada.

Annexe: An annexe is a set of temporary walls which can be fitted to an awning to create a private room.

Awning: A retractable cover which when extended provides shade and cover. Fitted to the side of a motorhome or RV, however not a standard feature.

Captains Chairs

Black waste: Waste from the toilet facility. Usually held in a tank and needs to be expelled at a approved facility. See dump station.

Captain’s Chairs: The drivers and passenger's seats at the front of a motorhome, which often swivel round and form part of the dining area. Also referred to as swivel chairs.

Chassis: The rectangular steel frame which holds the engine and driving components of the motorhome.

Gas Cylinder

Dry camping: Camping without the use of an external power source.

Dump Station: A facility where waste, grey and black water can be legally removed. Often found at rest areas and campgrounds. Fees may be involved.

Generator: A generator is a external unit which supplies the motorhome with power when not plugged into a mains source which runs on fuel (diesel, gas etc).

Grey water tanks: Any water which comes from equipment other than the toilet including showers, washing machines and sinks. Needs to be drained at authorised points. See dump point.

LP Gas: Liquefied Petroleum Gas which is used for heating and equipment. The same gas found in most gas bottles in Australia and New Zealand.

Porta Poti: A porta-poti (or potty) is a portable chemical toilet containing a cassette and storage tank system. Chemicals are added to help break down waste and the holding tank needs to be emptied regularly.

Slide Out

Slideout: A motorhome or RV where the side of the motorhome slides out. Often fitted with a lounge or bed and providing more interior room.

Solar Panel: A solar panel absorbs the sun's rays which can be used as energy for electricity.

Underbelly: The underbelly or undercarriage is the region of a motorhome underneath the cab.


Are there still terms that you are unsure about? Need further assistance in planning the dream RV holiday? Contact our friendly motorhome team and they can answer all your questions.