Camping Gear, Tents, Survival and Emergency Preparedness


A-Frame Tent ———–        A-frame tent – a style of tent that has a pole supporting the middle of the tent while the tent walls drape over the pole in an A shape.

Alpine Zone ————-        The visual area located just above the treeline. This is a common term among hikers, who use it for navigation.

Anode Rod ————-          When used in a water heater, attracts corrosion causing products in the water. These products attack the anode rod instead of the metal tank itself.

Arctic Package ——-           Equipment added to an RV for cold weather usage that may include extra insulation, double-paned windows and heating pads for holding tanks.

Ascender —————–       The last member of a climbing party or line of hikers.

ATV ———————–         All Terrain Vehicle.

Awning ——————-        The retractable canopy found on just about every RV.

Axle Ratio —————         The ratio between the pinion and ring gears in the differential that multiply the torque provided by the engine.

Backcountry ————         Remote uninhabited areas of public lands, national parks, and forests.

Back-In Site ————-         A campsite that requires you to back up into it.

Backpacking ————-        Hiking into the backcountry with all of your gear on your back.

Backup Monitor ——–        A camera mounted on the rear of an RV with a remote screen viewable by the driver. Used to see what is behind you.

Ball Mount ————–         The part of the hitch system that supports the hitch ball and connects it to the trailer coupler.

Basement —————-        The storage area below the floor of the RV, accessible from the outside.

Bear Bag —————–         In bear country, campers must take measures to safeguard their food and cooking utensils. Food items are placed in a strong, waterproof bag (the bear bag), tied to a rope and suspended out of reach.

Bear Hangs ————–        A food bag tied to a rope and thrown over a high limb to prevent bears from getting to it.

Bearing ——————- The direction of travel from your current positon to a landmark expressed in degrees from 1 to 360.

Bear Locker ————-        Metal locker provided by a campsite to keep bears and other wildlife from eating campers’ foods.

Base Weight ————         Weight of all gear in backpack minus consumables (food, fuel & water)

Billy Can ——————        A coffee can (any clean food can with the lid removed) used to boil water or cook food over a campfire.

Black Water ————-        Waste (sewage) from the toilet that is flushed into a black water holding tank, usually located beneath the main floor of the RV.

Blue Boy —————–         a portable holding tank.

Bounce Box ————-        Used on long hikes for items to resupply every so often, you mail this to yourself some distance up the trail to pick up when you get there.

Bluff ———————-         A promontory, riverbank, cliff, etc. that is too steep to walk down without handholds.

Boondocking ————        Camping anywhere that RV hookups (electric/water/sewer connections) are not present.

Boxing the Needle —–       The process of lining up a compass’s needle with magnetic north.

Brake Controller ——-        A control unit mounted inside the vehicle that allows the electric brakes on the trailer to become activated in harmony with the braking of the tow vehicle.

Brake Away System —        A system designed to automatically lock the trailer brakes in the event of a hitch failure, where the trailer may break away from the tow vehicle.

Breathable —————       Clothing that allows moisture to exit away from your skin.

BTU —————————    British Thermal Unit, a measurement of heat that refers to the quantity required to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1°F.

Bushwhacking ———-        Making one’s way through bushes or undergrowth without the aid of a formal trail.

Cache ———————        A hidden stash of food or supplies, left along a trail for return or future use.

Cairn ———————-        A stack of rocks used to mark a trail’s route through areas devoid of trees.

Camel Up —————-         Drinking as much water as you can when at a water source so you don’t have to carry as much in between water sources

Camp ———————         To spend the night in a temporary shelter.

Camp Host ————–         Someone whose principal duty is to be a point of contact in the campground.

Campground ———–         Any kind of park that allows overnight stays in an outdoor sleeping area.

Camping Lantern ——         A portable light with one or two mantels that are fueled by propane or some other fuel.

Canopy ——————-        The inner wall of a double-walled tent. The canopy is breathable; the outer wall, or fly, is waterproof.

Canopy ——————-        Upper layer of leaves in a forest, covering the ground below.

Carabiner —————-        A metal clip with a spring gate or threaded closure for attaching to ropes, anchors, etc.

Cargo Carrying Capacity – The maximum allowable combined weight of all occupants and cargo carried in or on the vehicle.

Cargo Weight ———–        The actual weight of all items or gear added to a vehicle or RV.

Car Camping ————         To camp in a tent site located beside an automobile. Usually using equipment that couldn’t carry on one’s back.

Cathole ——————-        A pit to burry your poo in, typically 6-8 inches deep\

Causeway ——————-    Elevated section of trail contained by rock, usually in permanent or seasonally wet areas.

Charcoal Chimney —–        A tool used outdoors to start charcoal for the grill.

Choss ———————         A large rock with a loose, flaky or crumbly surface that is unreliable for safe holds or pitons.

Chuck Box —————        A box or sack for camping cookware. Keep the chuck box separate from the rest of supplies to minimize cleanup.

Cirque ——————–        A group of mountains that forms a circle.

Condensation ———-         Warm moisture laden air contacting a colder surface.

Contour Lines ———-         Lines on a topographical map indicating elevation.

Converter ——————-   An electrical device for converting 110v AC power into 12v DC power.

Corduroy ——————–   A road, trail or bridge formed by logs laid transversely, side by side, to facilitate crossing swampy areas

Cornice ——————         An overhang of ice or snow on the crest of a ridge or mountain. Caused by wind.

Cowboy Camping —–          Sleeping out in the open, i.e. not under a shelter.

Coupler ———————-   The part of the trailer that attaches to the ball of the hitch.

Crux ———————-         The hardest part to a climb.

Curb Weight ————        The actual weight of a vehicle or trailer including all standard equipment with full fuel tanks, without people or gear.

Day Camp —————         A place for kids to enjoy outdoor events and recreation with other kids under parental supervision

Daypack ——————        Small backpack that holds enough gear for a one-day outing. It only contains essential items.

Deadman —————-         When the ground is too soft to stake a tent, campers often bury large rocks or sticks tied to guy lines to pitch the tent safely.

Dehydration ————         Excessive loss of water from the body.

Delamination ———–         A form of failure of an RV’s exterior surface.

DIAD ———————-         Done In A Day backcountry trips

Dihedral ——————        A corner on a rock face with a wide angle.

Dinghy ——————-         The vehicle towed behind an RV, also called a toad.

Dispersed camping —-        Camping where there are no picnic tables, fire rings, potable water or toilets.

Ditty Bag —————–         A drawstring bag used to carry items.

Dolly ———————-         Tow dolly.

Dome Tent ————–         A tent shape where the poles create a dome by curving over each other.

Double-Wall Tent ——        A double wall tent uses a rainfly over the tent, whereas a single wall tent does not.

Doughnut —————-        A rubber ring that seals the dump hose and the campsite sewer connection so that gases and odors do not escape.

Dry Camping ————        Camping anywhere that RV hookups (electric/water/sewer connections) are not present.

Dry Weight ————–        The weight of the RV without any fuel, freshwater, propane or passengers.

Dual Electrical System —     A system within an RV that allows it to run on both electric hookups within a campground, or self-contained on battery power or with a generator.

Dually ————————    A pickup truck, or light-duty tow vehicle, with four tires on one rear axle.

Ducted A/C —————-     Air conditioning supplied through a ducting system in the ceiling. This supplies cooling air at various vents located throughout the RV.

Ducted Heat —————     Warm air from the furnace supplied to various locations in the RV through a ducting system located in the floor.

Dump Station ————-      Location where black water and grey water holding tanks are emptied.

Dutch Oven ————–       A cast-iron cooking pot (with lid) that you use outdoors over charcoals.

Equalizing Hitch ———       A hitch, this hitch allows for the weight of the trailer to be distributed both on the trailers axle and the towing vehicles front axle by use of spring bars.

False Lead —————        It looks like the trail, smells like the trail, and for a while it seems like you’re on the trail…but you actually followed the false lead off the true trail.

Fen ———————–          Low, flat, marshy land or a bog.

Fire Ring ——————       An iron ring with a grate used to contain campfires.

Fiver, 5er ——————-    Another name for a fifth-wheel RV.

Footpath —————–        A right of way in which the public has access by foot only.

Footprint —————–        A custom sized ground cloth for your tent.

Four Season Tent ——        A tent designed to handle any weather conditions, including harsh winter weather.

Fresh Water Tank ——-      Tank used for storing potable water in an RV.

Freestanding ————        A term for tents that do not need guy lines.

Frostbite —————–        Skin that is damaged by exposure to freezing temperatures.

Full Hookup ————-        The ability to connect to all three of the campground’s facilities; electric, water and sewer.

Full Timers ————–         People who live in their RV full time.

Gaiter ———————        A water-repellent, internal sleeve that can be tightened around boot and lower leg to keep out snow.

Gear Loft —————–        A gear loft is a piece of mesh cloth or net that ties to loops suspended from the top of a tent and serves as a small storage area for lightweight items.

Gelcoat ———————     The outer layer of a fiberglass body material that results in a glossy finish.

Generator ——————    An machine powered by gasoline, diesel fuel or propane used to generate 110v AC power

Giardia Lamblia ——–         Protozoan occurring in backcountry water sources that causes an intestinal illness.

Glonk ———————         A clueless idiot who doesn’t realize that uphill hikers have the right of way on a trail, and just bulldozes down.

Gore-Tex —————-         A water-repellant, breathable material that allows body vapor to pass through while keeping rain out.

GORP ———————         Good Old Raisons and Peanuts, or trail mix.

Gram Weenie ————–   A person obsessed with reducing weight of items worn or carried .

Gray Water —————-     The water and waste from the sinks and shower.

Grommet —————-         A reinforced metal eyelet used to secure the ends of tent poles.

Gross Axle Weight Rating – (GAWR ) The manufacturer’s maximum load weight, in pounds, that can be placed on the axle.

Gross Combined Weight –  (GCW) The combined weight of the tow vehicle and the trailer.

Gross Combined Weight Rating – (GAWR) The manufacturers 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 Trailer Weight —-     (GTW) Gross trailer weight is the weight of the trailer fully loaded in its actual towing condition.

Gross Vehicle Weight —     (GVW) The weight of the vehicle.

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.

Grounding —————        Anyone who sleeps on the ground, on purpose.

Group Camping Area –        Camping areas at a campground that accommodate larger groups of twenty or more.

Gray water ————–         Water that has been used in the sink, shower, or laundry.

Guy lines —————–        Cables tied to a tent and its stakes, designed to provide tension that adds to the overall stability of the tent.

Habitat ——————-         An area that supports a plant or animal population because it supplies that organism’s basic requirements of food, water, shelter, living space, and security.

Heat Exchanger ———       A heat exchanger is a device that transfers heat from one source to another.

Heat Strip ——————     A heat strip is an electric heating element located in the air conditioning system with the warm air distributed by the air conditioner fan and ducting system.

Heat Stroke ————-         A severe form of heat illness caused by excessive heat and dehydration.

Herd Path —————-        An unofficial but obvious route hikers use to get from one place to another. Sometimes refers to an official path that is extremely overused.

Hike ———————–        A leisurely walk lasting one day or less.

Historic Sites ———–         These are sites of national cultural importance. They include buildings, objects, monuments and landscapes.

Hitch Rating ————–       The weight, assigned by the manufacturer, that the hitch is designed to handle

Hitch Weight ————–     The amount of a trailer’s weight that rests on the tow vehicle’s hitch.

Holding Tanks ————-     This term is used to describe the fresh water, gray water and black water tanks.

Honey Wagon ————-    A mobile service that will empty the waste holding tanks on an RV at a campsite.

Hula Skirt ——————–   A skirt placed on the back bumper of a motorhome to stop debris that is thrown from the rear wheels from damaging vehicles behind the motorhome, either the vehicle you are towing or other vehicles behind the motorhome.

Hypothermia ————        A condition where your body loses more heat than it produces. Always wear adequate layers of clothes when outside in cold weather.

Iron Ranger ————-         A collection box used to pay fees at campground without full time attendants.

Lean to ——————-        one- to three-sided structure, usually with a single slanted roof, designed to provide minimal shelter for backpackers.

LNT ———————–          Leave No Trace, an outdoor ethic meant to protect our natural resources for generations to come

LP Gas ———————-    nhnbLiquefied Petroleum Gas, propane

Kerf ———————–         A cut made by an axe, machete or other blade.

Mail Drop —————-        On a long hike you can have friends mail you supplies.

Marine Park ————-        Unique and outstanding marine areas, set aside to conserve seawater plants and animals.

Mummy Bag ————         A close fitting, shaped, hooded sleeping bag very efficient at conserving body heat.

National Park Service – An agency of the United States federal government that manages all U.S. national parks, many American national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations.

Nature Reserves ——-        These are areas of special scientific interest, set up mainly to conserve their native plant and animal communities.

Noseeums —————        Noseeums are nasty little bugs typically found near the ocean and around rivers, lakes, and swamps.

No Trace —————–        When you leave your campsite with no trace of your presence in order to preserve the local environment.

Old Growth ————-         Older (and typically bigger) local vegetation. Cedars, sequoias and other trees with long lifespans are often called old growth.

Orienteering ————        The art of navigation using map and compass.

Pack Out —————–        The practice of leaving nothing — and that does mean nothing — behind on a backpacking trip.

Pass ———————–         Relatively low point on a ridge or in a mountain chain, allowing travel from one valley to another.

Path ———————–        A convenient means of foot travel to avoid roads. It takes you between two civilized localities.

Peak ———————-         A point higher than all adjacent points.

Piton ———————-        Metal loop climbers screw into rock to run rope through for safety.

Point ———————-        Lead person in a line of hikers. Responsible for following the trail.

Poncho ——————-        A hooded water-repelling garment used for a raincoat.

Potable Water ———         Safe to drink from source without treating.

Pot Cozy —————–         An insulated container that your cookpot fits into, used to reduce the amount of fuel used by keeping the contents warm while food finishes cooking

Prescribed Burn ——–       Intentional fires conducted by forestry services to clear underbrush and eliminate some of the fuel for potentially larger unintentional fires.

Primitive Campground –      A campground without any amenities like bathrooms, electric, and water.

Pull Through ————–     A site where it is possible to pull into the site and out of the site without ever needing to back in or out.

Puncheons ————–        logs, planks, rocks, or other crude “bridges” built across soggy areas.

Quick Disconnect ——-    Fittings that allow rapid connections to be made without the use of tools.

Rain Fly ——————-        A tent covering that aids in keeping a tent dry and windproof.

Rappel ——————–        To slide down a rope.

Rating ———————        The degree Fahrenheit to which a sleeping bag is constructed to sleep comfortably.

Ravine ——————–        Deep, narrow gouge in the earth’s surface, usually eroded by the flow of water

Reefer ———————–   A slang term for a refrigerator.

Reflector oven ———        An aluminum sheet-metal oven which bakes by means of reflected heat.

Ride Height —————-    The distance between the ground and a specified point on a vehicle with correctly inflated tires.

Ridge ———————         A long, narrow elevation of land; a chain of hills or mountains.

Rig —————————     A name some RVers use when describing their RVs.

Rimrocked ————–         Climbing up to a spot from which you are surprisingly too frightened to descend.

Rucksack —————-         A type of knapsack or backpack, usually made of canvas with two shoulder straps.

RV Park ——————-        A park privately owned, caters to overnight or seasonal guests who have recreational vehicles.

Safety Chains ————     A set of chains that are attached to both the trailer A-Frame and the tow vehicle while towing.

Sastrugi ——————         Wave-like formation of crust on a snowfield, formed by wind. Common in arctic regions; difficult to cross.

Scree ———————         Small loose stones covering a slope.

Self Arrest —————        The act of halting one’s own descent, as when sliding downslope.

Self Contained ———–     A self contained RV has the capability of supplying electrical, drain and water needs without any external hookups.

Serac ———————-        A massive chunk of ice breaking away from a glacier or cliff of ice.

Shelter Rat ————–         Shelter rat is anyone who camps exclusively in trail shelters.

Shore Power ————–    An external power source, instead of using an internal battery or fuel source.

Single Wall ————–         A narrow section of trail just wide enough for 1 person.

Skin Out ———————    The weight of everything you take on a backpacking trip except you (i.e. clothing, pack, shoes, etc)

Slide-Out ——————-    An area within the RV that can be pushed out to expand the living space.

Slider Hitch —————-    A sliding hitch used on short bed pickup trucks to enable them to tow fifth wheel trailers. It allows them sufficient clearance to make turns without having the trailer hit the cab of the truck.

Sleeping Pad ————        An actual piece of padding placed between your sleeping bag and the bottom of the tent.

S’Mores ——————        A great treat made around campfires by roasting marshmallows before placing them on top of chocolate between two graham crackers.

Social Trails ————-         Unofficial shortcuts that connect individual sites to each other, restrooms, etc. at campgrounds.

Soloing ——————-         Whether hiking, backpacking or climbing, soloing is going alone. When climbing, soloing vaguely means doing any climb by yourself where injury would result in the event of a fall.

Speedhiking ————         Intentionally running the length of a hiking trail to establish and compete against your personal best time and sometimes to compete against times established by others.

Stake Puller ————-        A tool used to remove tent stakes form the ground.

State Wayside ———-        Rest stops providing parking areas and restroom facilities with limited or no recreational opportunities.

Stealth Camping ——-         Camping in a place that is out of sight of the trail, typically leaving no trace of being there

Summit ——————-        The highest point of a mountain.

Sweep ——————–        Last hiker in a group — by design. Person follows all others, ensuring that no one falls behind or is left needing assistance.

Switchback ————–        A zigzagging trail up the side of a steep ridge, hill or mountain, which allows for a more gradual and less strenuous ascent.

Talus ———————-         A sloping jumble of boulders at the base of a cliff.

Tent ———————–        A portable shelter made of fabric, plastic or other material stretched over a supporting framework of poles and usually secured to the ground with cords and stakes.

Tent Pad —————–         The tent pad is the ground area under your tent.

Thermocouple ————    A device that monitors the pilot flame of a pilot model propane appliance.

Three Season ———–        Gear that is intended for Spring through Fall, not having enough insulation to safely camp in Winter weather.

Thru Hiker ——————    Typically a hiker that hikes an entire long trail such as the 2,663 Pacific Crest Trail

Tinder ——————–         The base fuel to start a fire.

Toad ———————-        A “towed” vehicle.

Tomatoed Out ———-        A climber who has inadvertently free-fallen a great distance off a mountain, it refers to the grisly impact at the bottom.

Tongue Weight ———–    The downward force exerted on the hitch ball by the trailer coupler.

Torso Pad —————         A ground insulation/comfort sleeping pad that is sized for a persons torso only

Tow Bar ——————–    A bar used for connecting a towed vehicle to the motor home for towing with all four wheels on the ground.

Townie ——————-         Someone who lives near, and perhaps lurks about, a popular trail.

Toy Hauler —————–    Any RV type capable of carrying ATVs, gold carts, motorcycles, etc.

TPMS ———————        Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

Trail ———————–         A route made across a wild region, over rough country. It takes you away from civilized things.

Trail Angel ————–         A person that helps hikers with rides, food, etc

Trailer Brakes ————    Brakes that are built into the trailer and are activated either by electric impulse or by a surge mechanism.

Trailhead —————-         The beginning of a trail; entry point.

Traverse —————–         To climb a slope diagonally rather than a more direct approach or going almost horizontally across a face, to obtain a better route up.

Treeing ——————         The practice of hanging food up off a tree branch so that a bear can’t get to it.

Treeline ——————        The elevation above which trees won’t grow.

Triple Towing ————-    The term used for three vehicles attached together, usually a tow vehicle pulling two separate trailers.

Tub Floor —————-         A tent floor made from one piece of material, which continues up the walls about six inches before being sewn to the walls.

Underbelly —————–    The RV’s under floor surface, which is protected by a weatherproofed material.

Understory ————–        Vegetation that lies close to the ground in a forest or other wild area.

Undulating Trail ——–        A trail that goes up and down like a series of waves.

Unloaded Vehicle Weight –               Weight of the RV as built at the factory with full fuel, engine oil and coolants.

Verglas ——————-         Thin, often clear coating of ice on rock.

Vestibule —————-         A covered area outside of or connected to a tent, usually created by an extended rain-fly or a special attachment.

Vogelsang —————         One of the more remote, high-altitude locations in Yosemite’s High Sierra Camp network.

Wachita Stone ———         A medium-hard mineral oil stone used for sharpening knives.

Wag Bag ————                A container used to carry your poo in areas where cat holes are not allowed

Walk In Camping –                Camping at site that can only be reached on foot.

Walk Up —————–         A high altitude summit that requires no climbing skills to reach the top.

Wall ———————–        A rock face angled 60º or more.

Wash ———————         The wash of a stream is the sandy, rocky, gravely, boulder-strewn part of a river bottom. In the southwest a wash is usually the dry bed of an intermittent stream often at the bottom of a canyon.

Waste Water Tanks —-     The gray water tank holds the waste water from the sinks and showers. The black water tank holds the waste from the toilet.

Waterbar ———–               Rocks, logs, or whatever angled across a trail to divert rain or meltwater, to protect the trail below from excessive erosion.


Waterproof ——–               Impervious to water, something covered or treated with a material (as a solution of rubber) to prevent permeation by water.

Water-repellent —               Treated with a finish that is resistant but not impervious to penetration by water.

Weight Carrying Hitch –    A hitch designed to accept the entire hitch weight of the trailer.

Weight Distributing Hitch – A hitch that utilizes spring bars that are placed under tension to distribute a portion of the trailer’s hitch weight to the tow vehicle’s front axle and the trailer’s axles.

Water-resistant ———–    Treated with a finish that is resistant but not impervious to penetration by water.

Wetted Out —————-    When a materials water proofing properties fail, such as a rain jacket or tarp

Wet Weight —————-    The weight of the RV with oil in the engine and with full fuel, freshwater, gray water, black water and propane tanks.

White Gas ——————     The best kind of petrol you can put in your stove, it has no additives which might clog up burner jets.

Wide Body —————–    The term for an RV exceeding the normal eight feet wide. Wide Bodies are usually 102″ (8′ 6″) wide.

Wilderness ————–        A wilderness is an area where humans are just visitors; the land isn’t maintained, and motorized vehicles aren’t allowed.

Winterizing ————–        A process of making an RV safe from the hazards of winter storage in cold climates.

Workampers ————        A position at campgrounds, RV resorts or mobile home communities that generally receive compensation in the form of a free campsite, usually with free utilities (electricity, water, and sewer hookups) and additional wages.

Yo Yo ———————         The concept whereby a thru-hiker gets to the end…and then turns around and hikes back to the beginning.

Zero Day —————-          A rest day




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