My big question


This will be a short post, but with a very important question that I hope you can help answer.

On this website and in this blog, I’ve been calling my trailer a number of things .. an RV, a camper, a trailer, a camping trailer, a travel trailer, an RV camper, etc.  Even I am confused!  What do I call the trailer (besides “Towhee” of course)?  Is the trailer an RV, or a camper, or a travel trailer, or just a trailer, or what?

The acronym RV stands for “recreational vehicle”.  It seems to me that a “vehicle” should have its own engine and power train (transmission, etc).  My camper, or trailer, or camping trailer (whatever it’s called!) certainly does not have an engine.  So maybe a trailer used for recreational camping is not an “RV”.

Equally problematic, the word “camper” is so often used to refer to a camper that is slid onto the bed of a pickup truck, so maybe a trailer used for camping is not a “camper”.  So maybe my trailer is really just a trailer?  Except that “trailer” can mean a horse trailer or a yard waste trailer or a trailer that hauls motorcycles or a gynormous semi-truck trailer .. any number of things.

Wikipedia says an RV is “the usual term for a motor vehicle or trailer equipped with living space and amenities found in a home”.

The dictionary, Merriam-Webster, says an RV is “a vehicle designed for recreational use (as in camping); especially :motor home”. says an RV is “1. recreational vehicle. 2. Revised Version (of the Bible).”

The Collins English Dictionary says “An RV is a van which is equipped with such things as beds and cooking equipment”.

And then there’s this website (ok, yes I obviously got sidetracked but that’s the fun and fascination of online research), there’s this website Go RVing, that has some really interesting history about RVing.  Evidently, the first RVs were built around 1910, and RV camping clubs date back to the 1920s.  People who traveled in such vehicles were called Tin Can Tourists because they drove Tin Lizzies and ate food mostly out of tin cans since they had no refrigeration.

1920’s Tin Can Tourist Camp in Gainesville, Florida, USA.

But, back to my question .. what do I call my trailer?  I guess it’s .. a travel trailer?  What do you think?  I’m sure all of your suggestions will be most helpful.  😉

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6 Responses to My big question

  1. Gene in Ohio says:

    When we had Class C’s, we referred to it as “the RV”. Such as, “We’ll take the RV.” But after I got the travel trailer, I just called it “the trailer” because it was definitive and simple. Sometimes I had to clarify that it was a travel trailer if people did not know what I was talking about when I said, “I took a trip with the trailer.” (Usually these were not RV people.) I never gave the vehicles a name because I don’t name my vehicles. The truck is “the truck”, the car is “the Escape”. I would suggest that you use words that you are comfortable with. I tend to use the generic “RV” for larger vehicles.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks Gene. I think I’m comfortable with either RV trailer or travel trailer. As you indicate, RV people will understand simply “trailer” where non RV people will probably have that blank look on their faces if I used just the word “trailer”. Kind of separates the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. 🙂

  2. Ginger D says:

    I would call it a travel trailer.

  3. Rick E. says:

    Good questions! We often end up calling our motor home the “boat” and neither one of us flinch when we do it! (It usually comes out when in a rush about something: “Is the cat in the boat?”) We also call it “the Rig”. It’s whatever you’re comfortable with. I see many RV sites that use the designation “TT” for travel trailer, along with A, B, & C for motorhomes, “FW” for fifth wheel, and “TC” for truck camper. But the term RV seems to be all encompassing – I see many big RV delarships that have 90-100% TT’s. Oh yeah, and the towed vehicles behind motor homes are called “toads”.

    • Ann says:

      Hi Rick,
      Ha! Oh my I’m sure glad both of you still call your RV/rig a boat .. I do too. We boaters aren’t able to quickly shift gears and stop using boating terms are we? I still talk about where the trailer is “moored” rather than stored. Non-boaters look at me askance .. boaters understand our problem. I use “rig” too, especially since I’m a retired FedEx mechanic and when working on the big rigs we always called them rigs. I do know one former boater who calls their towed vehicle a dinghy, not surprisingly. 🙂

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