Professional buying guide – Find the best RV GPS in 2016
The best RV GPS helps people who travel to new places for work or pleasure to make the most of every journey. The GPS just requires you to put in your destination, then it can plot a route, issue turn-by-turn directions that are spoken out loud, or show the driving progress along the route. It can serve as a personal navigation device that enables you to select your routing preferences, which can include the fastest travel time, shortest distance, or even those routes without toll roads. You can also get special routing options, which help cyclists avoid main pedestrian thoroughfares and highways, along with appropriate routes without any one-way traffic restrictions.
Some RV GPS devices let you save money on fuel by giving you the most fuel-efficient route to a specific destination. Most models help you locate a range of different points of interest (POI), which can include gas stations, hotels, ATMs, tourist attractions and much more.
What does a RV GPS do and how/when does it help you?
The best RV GPS systems are ideal for people who have trouble reading maps or who just hate stopping every now and then, especially when in unfamiliar territory, to ask for directions.
Driving into unknown territory can be daunting and not a particularly attractive prospect for many. Specific points of interest in a particular location may be easy to point out or drive to when you are familiar with the location, but if you aren’t, getting to a destination can be a huge hassle. With a GPS, you can typically search for a specific point of interest, locate ones in a different area, or go over those near your current location. Some devices even allow you to select a proximate eatery serving a particular type of food you prefer.
And what about the traffic conditions? Aside from providing contact information, a GPS can have the ability to speak street names out loud so you can keep your eyes on the road, or provide speed warnings and reality views, with graphical representation of major intersections. Pricey models come with an FM receiver for traffic info, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone use, traffic and weather reports and Internet-searching capability.
How to choose a RV GPS ?
The top GPS for RV travel in 2016 is portable, as it allows you to pack it in a suitcase. Some RV GPS models can be no larger than a regular wallet. Others can be as big as a paperback book. You will want the screen to be large enough to enable easy viewing of information without blocking your view of the road ahead. Frequent travelers consider a 4-inch diagonal screen as a reasonable compromise. For regular use, something with a 4.7-inch wide screen lets you view more details on the display, so it can be more effortless to enter addresses with larger buttons on the touchscreen.
Predictive Data Entry
When taking RV GPS units for comparison, make sure what you buy makes it easy to enter a city name or address quickly. Thanks to predictive data entry, the GPS touchscreen keyboard highlights those letters that can complete a known location name. This makes searching less time consuming. For instance, if you put in “Wash”, the GPS will likely highlight “I” as the letter that follows for Washington.
Most models have dynamic search capability, which enables you to slim searches down as you type an address. All you have to do is choose the one that applies to what you are looking for, or you can just keep tapping in more letters till you obtain what you need.
Typically, portable systems are windshield-mountable via a suction cup. GPS makers utilize a rigid, angled arm for attaching the device to the suction cup. A rigid-arm cup is better than a gooseneck arm that may vibrate as the vehicle moves.
The RV GPS should be easy to install and take out of the mount. The device can snap or slide into the mounting system, with the power cord either plugging directly into the device itself or just the mount.
Some states may prohibit mounting of any devices to the windshield, while other states have placement restrictions. It is best to check laws in your location before any purchase. A bean-bag mount, which enables placement on the dashboard, may be a good alternative.
While a cheap RV GPS unit displays your route on screen, better systems are equipped with text-to-speech capability that not only tells you to take a turn onto a street, highway or route number but also calls those points by their name. This will help you keep you sight on the road ahead and not on the GPS unit all the time. When driving is challenging, this feature is fantastic.
Some devices allow you to select routes without toll roads. Others offer a realistic image of main junctions with lane-oriented visual directions so you can know beforehand what your next maneuver will be. A manual detour button helps you find an alternative road. Detouring functions may be integrated with traffic info so you can bypass heavy traffic.
Some devices come with a video or MP3 player, a photo viewer and lane assistance.
What are the best brands ?
What is the best RV GPS brand on the market? Fortunately for buyers, the market for portable GPS navigation units remains vibrant and thriving, with advances in technology integrated into new models consistently. With the changes and development of the GPS market, a few topselling industry leaders have constantly launched new units with even more exciting features than their predecessors.
Garmin has been engaged in the development of marine and aviation technologies. The brand has carved out is own niche in the creation of portable GPS devices. The existing Garmin Nuvi series boasts three lineups namely, Advanced, Essential and Prestige. These products enable consumers to select a model according to their budget and the features they want.
Magellan is into the development and distribution of crossover GPS, vehicle navigation, as well as handheld outdoor navigation items. The brand currently offers the SmartGPS and RoadMate product lines, designed for autos.
Rand-McNally, which has specialized in trip planning, road travel, maps and navigation, has been providing services and products for consumers, educators and the commercial transportation and trucking markets. The brand’s first navigation device designed specially for RV drivers is the TripMaker® RVND™, which boasts unbeatable routing, height and weight restrictions for your specific RV type, along with left- or right-turn preferences.
Usual issues with these products
New vehicles often come with GPS units. However, the vehicle buyer can also procure aftermarket devices and install them in the car. Most of the time, many GPS units are accurate. They can require little maintenance and fantastic warranties. However, GPS devices can also present some problems of their own.
When the GPS interprets the wrong position, which can typically occur when the satellite angles are quite small, this can present an issue simply known as Geometric Dilution of Precision (GDOP).
Even if you own a pricey GPS, large buildings, tunnels or areas filled with brush or overgrown trees can block signals from satellites. These impediments can block the satellite signal or the GPS receiver as it attempts to obtain satellite signals from thousands of miles away.
Some GPS models may simply stop working after the car gets to certain high speed levels. This is common when attempting to use a handheld GPS device in an automobile.
It is also unfortunate that plenty of computer electronics components don’t perform well in extreme temperature conditions, which can be an issue with GPS devices. Be sure to check out the device’s temperature level breaking point, both high and low, before forking out your money.
Sometimes, the satellite may not be able to identify the route in some deeply rural locations. This causes constant recalculation, which is a hassle.
New versions of GPS models may be released by manufacturers, and those systems may also entail purchase of new software, which means additional expenses.
Yes, there are plenty of RV GPS systems that the RVer can choose from, but this doesn’t make the search for a great product that much easier. it is always good advice to consult reviews and buying guides so you’ll know what product to get, like these six great ones.
Garmin RV 760LMT GPS Navigator (B00CZ6WFXM)
Equipped with a generous seven-inch high-resolution touchscreen display, the Garmin RV 760LMT GPS Navigator offers easy viewing on the 800 by 480 pixel panel. The white backlight on the WVGA TFT color display ensures easy reading of information. The system comes with free traffic and map updates for its lifetime. The updates give you information on RV-specific services, repair shops, vendors, and truck stops. It also provides an in depth list of nationwide tow and repair facilities, including the ones that offer after-hours road service.
The device provides specialized RV routing according to customized restrictions, and these may include width and length or height and weight so you can obtain routes suitable for your vehicle. The device offers smart response to verbal commands through the extra-loud speakers thanks to voice-activated navigation. It is compatible with the Garmin BC 20 backup camera.
The GPS is equipped with a complete directory of almost 20,000 RV Parks and Services in the USA and Canada.
Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM GPS Navigator (B007CRWQ0Q)
An impressive product of the partnership between Magellan and Good Sam, the RoadMate RV9145-LM is engineered for use by RV drivers. The information obtainable on the generous 7-inch touchscreen display can be controlled using the brand’s exclusive OneTouch Favorites Menu, which enables you to customize your navigation experience. You can enjoy immediate access to your favorite searches and destinations.
The extremely versatile industrial-grade extension mount ensures problem-free installation in vehicles with deep dashboards. This enables easy adjustability and safe viewing.
From the Trailer Life Directory and the Good Sam Club discount locations, all US and Canada campground locations have been pre-programmed into the device. The detailed information comes with the exclusive triple rating system, along with parking, RV services and millions of points of interest.
The system automatically adjusts your route according to your RV’s length, width, height and weight. The smart navigator familiarizes you with the route even before you drive it.
Garmin RV 760LMT with Backup Camera (B00IUO7PHE)
The Garmin RV 760LMT is an RV GPS with backup camera. The included BCTM 20 wireless backup camera transmits images without the cables, at up to 45 feet to the display, helping you spot vehicles and obstacles effortlessly. For vehicles longer than 45 feet, an extension cable may be required.
The roomy seven-inch display offers the simplicity of touch screen interface, making it easy to see inside vehicles of any size. Equipped with Lifetime MAPS, the Garmin RV 760LMT offers updates on opening and closure of businesses and new roads built, so you can drive secure in the knowledge that you have the current map data obtainable from Garmin.
To help you avoid RV-based restrictions, the GPS comes with customized RV routing. This entails simple entry of the height, weight, length and width of your vehicle, and the GPS device can then guide you as you drive along the most suitable roads, including the major ones and highways so you don’t get stuck in low bridges and other road restrictions.
Rand McNally RVND 7730 LM RV GPS (B00N3RM186)
The Rand McNally RVND 7730 LM RV GPS is a third-generation model designed to help users maximize every RV adventure and outing. It has undergone extensive re-engineering inside out, with fresh cutting-edge hardware, a faster processor plus three graphical user interface options. The GPS device offers advanced lane guidance, which shows you which lane to take and if you are coming to a turn or entering a complicated intersection.
The three user interface options include Carbon, Ice and Classic view, so you can select the one that works best for you. You can view a greater amount of detail on the large, seven-inch screen. The device enables you to check the weather, traffic and fuel prices where you will be journeying. It allows you to avoid areas, routes or roads according to your preference. The GPS unit ensures safe navigation with routing customized for over ten various RV types, customizing routes based on your vehicle’s physical dimensions, a feature that also includes propane restrictions.
Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM GPS Navigator (B007CRWQ74)
The Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM GPS Navigator is yet another of the brand’s premium line of GPS models. You will enjoy peace of mind knowing you have constantly updated maps, as this device is packed with free lifetime map updates. You get up to two maps every year, updateable through an Internet connection and compatible with Mac and PC.
The touchscreen display is made extra-large at seven inches so you can view more at a glance. The patented OneTouch Favorites Menu allows customization of your RV driving experience by giving you hassle-free access to your favorite searches and destinations. The GPS ships with an ever-dependable rugged and adjustable extension mount for easy installation in vehicles with deep dashboards.
The system has an integrated Bluetooth connection so you can use it as a speakerphone to make hands-free calls safely and conveniently. Preprogrammed into the device are all of the campground locations in the USA and Canada from the Good Sam Club discount locations and Trailer Life Directory.
Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 5510 RV GPS (B004YJYQPS)
Delivering RV-type routing, the Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 5510 lets you choose the class and type of RV you are driving so you can enjoy safe driving on suitable routes without getting stuck on the road because of RV restrictions. It also provides RV logs and checklists so you can prepare your vehicle and the campsite accordingly prior to every trip.
The device offers a choice of eleven RV types so it can provide personalized routing information. The navigation alerts you on right and left turns depending on the size of your vehicle, with warnings on changes to the speed limit, dirt roads, sharp curves and other potential road hazards.
The GPS device has a unique “breadcrumb” feature that takes the vehicle’s trail into memory so you can navigate back to your campsite when no road seems to be in place. The Quick Planner feature displays the time, cost per mile and mileage to your destination, so you can pick which route is economical to take.