The nomadic lifestyle is an alphabet soup of RVing abbreviations and acronyms. Knowing what letter groupings represent can mean the difference between a quiet Walmart stay or a door knock at 3 am. If you’re new to RVing, take three seconds to familiarize yourself with these common abbreviations.
These abbreviations help you plan better overnight stays:
- 15/20/30/50a. This means a campground has electricity for RVs needing 15, 20, 30 and 50 amp service.
- FHU. If you see this abbreviation you’ve struck gold. FHU means “Full Hookup Utilities” including water, electric and sewer.
- W/E. This RVing abbreviation means a campsite only has water and electric hookups.
- O/N. If you see a “No O/N Parking” sign, that means No Overnight Parking, so find another place to park.
- S/A Pass Golden Age/Access, Senior/Access. This National Parks and Federal Rec Lands Pass for senior citizens is now $80.
Common RVing abbreviations for destinations:
- LTVA Long Term Visitor Area (BLM seasonal permit). Head to California or Arizona and you’ll see this short description for budget dry camping spots in the Southwest.
- TCH. Headed to Canada? You’ll probably travel some of the TransCanada Highway that spans nearly 5,000 miles across our neighbor to the north.
- UP. The scenic uppermost region of Michigan is where you’ll find Yoopers, the quirky self-reliant residents of the Upper Peninsula.
Common abbreviations for government agencies:
Do you know who manages the campground where you’re parked?
- BLM. The US Bureau of Land Management (aka BLM) oversees 245 million acres of public land in 12 western states. Many BLM sites have free or low-cost dry camping, dump stations, and off-road recreation opportunities.
- COE. The US Army Corps of Engineers manages recreation lands around projects like dams and bridges. Camping facilities are often sparkling clean with level parking aprons (after all, engineers designed them!).
- NPS. The US National Park Service manages every national park, official U.S. monument and historic, cultural sites in all 50 states. Camping options range from dispersed camping with no facilities to full-hookups and other amenities.
More abbreviations you might see while you’re camping:
- NRA. No, this isn’t the NRA you’re thinking of. It stands for U.S. National Recreation Areas managed by multiple land agencies such as the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service.
- NWR. Over 150,000,000 acres of federal lands are managed by the US National Wildlife Refuge System. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service preserves fish, wildlife, plants, historic and cultural sites. Many have camping facilities.
- SRA. A State Recreation(al) Area is simply public land managed by states. Sometimes you’ll find camping with rudimentary amenities consisting of little more than vault toilets.
- SWA. Most State Wildlife Areas are strictly for wildlife preservation, management, and hunting. Unlike the US National Wildlife Refuge system, camping is often prohibited.
- WMA Wildlife Management Area. WMA recreation policies vary from state-to-state so always check with the managing agency to comply with regulations.
There’s no way we could possibly remember every RVing abbreviation so if you know of any important ones we forgot to include, please let us know.
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Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.