Whether you’re a long-time GPS user who swears by her Garmin or the type who wouldn’t normally be caught dead asking for directions, taking the plunge into RVing can make you realize just how much of a benefit a navigation system can really be.
That’s because when you’re wandering the world in such a large vehicle, you’ve got some extra considerations to think about besides where exactly you point the darn thing. For instance, if find yourself guided down a narrow, rocky road in a car, it’s no big deal to turn around… but that’s not the case in a Class A diesel pusher.
Same goes for the lovely scenic route overhung with low-hanging tree branches. It’s a beautiful view… and also a great way to destroy your RV’s roofing finish. (Better solution: camp nearby and unhook the toad to go check it out later!)
RV GPS systems, like the Garmin RV 760LMT with Wireless Backup Camera, are designed with these kinds of RV-specific considerations in mind, which means they’re a great way to make sure your journey is as convenient, efficient, and uh-oh-free as possible. And since traveling always comes with its fair share of surprises, it’s nice to at least have a reliable route to comfort your road nerves!
But what’s the best GPS system out there for RVers? Should you go with a stand-alone, mounted product or will an RV GPS app for your smartphone suffice?
Never fear: those questions are why we wrote up this RV GPS comparison, your definitive guide to finding the very best RV navigation software solution.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Best GPS for RV Owners
Let’s start with an option you probably already have access to — and which wouldn’t cost you a dime more than you’re already paying.
1. Google Maps (on your phone)
This convenient, free app is probably what you whip open when you need to head to a new destination in your everyday vehicle.
But using Google Maps for RV travel can be treacherous for the reasons we outlined above. As of late 2017, there’s no easy way to integrate RV-specific filters into the version of Google Maps that comes stocked on most smartphones.
Score: 2/10. I mean, it’ll get you there… it just might not be such a pleasant journey.
If you’re really averse to purchasing an actual RV GPS that mounts on your dashboard and would prefer to use an existing mobile device, look into CoPilot, an RV-specific navigation app that can be downloaded onto either iOS or Android.
It’s fairly expensive — and extravagant as far as apps go — at $59.99, but it’s definitely one of the cheapest RV GPS alternatives you’ll come across. However, you’ll be stuck with your device’s small screen (and not being able to use its other features while you’re navigating) — not to mention figuring out how to look at your phone while driving without being totally unsafe. Yikes.
Compare RV GPS Units
Let’s look into some of the most popular stand-alone GPS systems designed specifically for RVers, shall we?
3. Garmin RV 660LMT GPS
Currently ranked first among bestselling RV GPS on Amazon, the Garmin RV 660LMT GPS offers a ton of benefits at an affordable price. The systems allows you to filter campgrounds by preferred amenities, informs you of possible steep grades and road warnings, and even allows you to “shape” your routes to include that can’t-miss city or site along the way. It’s also got a backup camera!
Plus, this bundle comes complete with a hardshell case and a microfiber cloth, all for under $300. However, some reviewers did find that not all of its data was totally up to date — though Garmin does offer free lifetime map updates as they roll out.
4. Magellan RoadMate RV9145
Magellan is one of the most popular RV GPS system producers out there, offering a variety of products at different price points and including different features.
We like this model — the Magellan RoadMate RV9145 — because of its spacious 7-inch screen and its focus on ensuring you’re in the right lane well ahead of time. After all, it’s not so easy to just “get over real quick” when you’re essentially driving a bus!
RV GPS Navigation System
Here are a few more contenders for the best portable, RV friendly GPS systems.
5. TomTom VIA 1605M GPS Navigator with Lifetime Maps
Alright, so this isn’t the newest RV GPS on the market. As a matter of fact, it’s been discontinued by its manufacturer.
But despite that fact, it still places #2 on Amazon’s best selling RV GPS list, and it’s maintained a 4-star rating with over 900 reviewers. That’s a pretty serious endorsement!
“My other TomTom (1505) took me down some narrow country roads,” wrote one reviewer, “but the 1605 knows what you are driving. You input the RV height, length, width and weight before you route with it.”
Plus, the TomTom VIA 1605M is available for less than $160 with lifetime map updates or $190 with lifetime maps and traffic. But if you want one, you’d better hurry — soon, there won’t be any left!
6. Garmin RV 760LMT with Wireless Backup Camera
If you’re looking to seriously upgrade your RV GPS, don’t be too hasty to overlook this model. Although its price is just short of $700, the Garmin RV 760LMT comes with a super-useful wireless backup camera — just in case you do find yourself in one of those hairy, narrow-road situations!
It’s also got a 7-inch screen, non-annoying voice guide, and “Real Directions” technology so you aren’t left scratching your head when some robot gives you an order that makes no sense. Instead, you’ll find your way to your destination as if being guided there by a friend, “using landmarks, buildings and traffic lights, rather than hard-to-read street names.”
Where to Buy RV GPS
We hope this post has helped you learn a little bit more about which RV GPS system will work best for you in your travels. If you’re looking to find the best deals on your next navigation system, we recommend you turn to Amazon — they consistently have the lowest prices when compared to privately-owned, brick-and-mortar technology and camping stores.
Psst, while you’re at it: don’t forget the accessories you’ll need to keep your RV GPS system working and functional, such as a mobile charger, a hard-backed carry case, and a dashboard mounting system.
Enjoy the journey! Isn’t it so much nicer now that you know where you’re going?
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