When heading into the great outdoors in an RV, you don’t want to be making any wrong turns. Or get halfway to your destination only to be stopped by a low-hanging bridge.
That’s why it’s so important to have the best RV GPS system on hand.
Read on for descriptions of the amazing features that all the best RV GPS systems now offer and a buyer’s guide to help you choose the perfect one for you. Never worry about the quality of your directions or the safety of your passengers with one of these top picks!
Our Top Picks
Garmin RV 785 Advanced GPS Navigator
Garmin Drive 50 USA LM GPS
Rand McNally TND
Garmin has always been ahead of the game when it comes to navigational systems, so it’s no surprise the RV 785 made it to the top of this list of the best RV GPSs.
Its dual-imaging screen allows you to see a wide satellite image of your route as well as a real-life image of the road. Even the road sign shows up in the picture! This GPS ensures you’ll never have to second-guess which turn to take.
With the built-in dashcam that comes with this product, you get the added benefits of recording your drive and even better driver awareness features. So you’ll be able to get forward collision notices and capture every crazy memory from your trip.
The ability to create a profile with your RV’s dimensions also allows the RV 785 to create a completely customized route if necessary. It will never take you down roads your vehicle can’t fit or that it isn’t allowed on. And the RV directory gives you information on all the parks and services you could need.
- Has RV-specific information
- Long battery life
- Customizable route
For a budget option, the Garmin Drive 50 is still one of the best RV GPS systems on the market.
Lifetime map updates ensure you’ll always have the most recent information on the road. And the guided directions use recognizable landmarks that make it easy to pick out your next turn.
Without the ability to input an RV profile, you’ll have to pay attention to road signs that indicate vehicle limitations. But the driver awareness alerts will help with all that. Any sharp turns, steep hills, red light cameras, and much more will be shown on the screen before they happen.
This GPS also comes with a bunch of preloaded data on restaurants, town attractions, and much more. Every last-minute craving or road trip whim is easily met when you have this device with you.
- Guides using landmarks
- Great driver awareness alerts
- Lifetime map updates
- No RV profile
A wide 7-inch screen isn’t the only thing that makes the Rand McNally TND the best RV GPS on this list for displays.
Live traffic and weather updates create an interactive screen experience that helps you keep your trip on schedule. Add to that the 3D images of buildings, street signs, and other landmarks and you have a beautiful and functional interface. But the amount of buttons and options can be confusing at first.
This truck-specific device also allows you to create an RV profile and customize the perfect route for your vehicle. Plus a hexa-core processor ensures this device can more than keep up with all the amazing features it offers.
Lastly, the TND’s powerful magnetic mount is almost guaranteed to keep your GPS in place. No matter how bumpy the road gets or how sharp a turn you have to make, you’ll never lose your way.
- Customizable route
- Great displays
- Hexa-core processor
- Complicated interface
The Garmin DriveSmart 86 has all the features you could ever want from one of the best RV GPS systems on the market.
Not only can the device be used in both landscape and portrait mode, the 8-inch screen provides an easy-to-use interface for when you need to make those quick changes to your route. Allowing you to make the most of the live traffic updates, the fuel prices, and the landmark database built into the device’s memory.
You can even pair this device with an app on your phone to get hands-free features and smart driver awareness notifications. Whether you’ve been on the road for too long and should think about taking a rest or want to change up which playlist you’re listening to, the DriveSmart 86 makes it easy.
The DriveSmart is also one of the best RV GPS systems for getting around National Parks. With its massive directory, you’ll be able to search specific park locations by name with ease. And you’ll never have to worry about your GPS getting confused when it’s time to go offroading.
- Larger screen
- Database of parks, historical landmarks, and more
- Great driver awareness alerts
- Live traffic, weather, and fuel notices
During a long camping trip, there are always going to be unexpected moments. When it comes to getting you through the tough times, the TomTom VIA 1505M is the best RV GPS on the market.
Known for its amazing and quick roadside assistance, you’ll never have to worry about car trouble when you have the TomTom with you. And the lifetime map updates mean you’ll never have to worry about new construction affecting your route.
It may take some time for the new maps to update, so be sure to start your preparations a few days before you’re set to leave.
Lastly, with 3 hours of usage, the TomTom has the longest battery life out of all these top picks of the best RV GPS systems!
- Comes with roadside assistance
- Lifetime map updates
- Longest battery life
- Hard to update the maps
RV GPS Buyer’s Guide
As a general rule, the screen size of your device should never be smaller than 5 inches. Even if you can see everything, the small interface will crowd the buttons and make it easy to press the wrong thing.
That’s why the best RV GPS systems will often range between 6 and 8 inches wide. That way you’ll be able to clearly see your route and use the buttons without distracting your focus too much.
Where and how you plan to mount your GPS can also change what size works best. Below you can find out how to choose the best mount for your car and why anything larger than 8 inches isn’t a good option.
No matter how many amazing features your GPS has, you won’t be able to use them without the right processing power.
Even the simplest device should have at least a dual-core processor. And it still might lag a bit when it comes to rerouting your course after a wrong turn, especially if it comes with a large database of information on cities and parks.
If you want the best RV GPS system, it needs to have a quad-core processor or higher to be able to keep up with all the offered features. Anything less won’t be powerful enough to get you those quick traffic updates or find a new route for that new stop you want to add.
When choosing the best RV GPS interface, you want to consider how easy it is to navigate while driving. The fewer buttons on the main screen, the better.
You also want to be able to use features without getting rid of your view of the route. That’s why Rand McNally’s display, which provides a small menu of options with the press of a button, is so nice. You can easily access all the weather and landmark features without ever losing sight of the directions.
One of the biggest challenges with any interface is creating something that is intuitive because each individual’s intuition is different.
So it’s important to look at the different signs and symbols used throughout your GPS’s interface and choose the one that makes the most sense to you.
The best type of RV GPS for the more adventurous campers are products with the option to create an RV profile. When you’re going off the grid or deep into backcountry territory, you need a device that can get you to your destination without any mishaps.
Live traffic updates and weather displays can also be extremely helpful when planning out your day, especially for the more spontaneous campers. When you need to decide whether to have a lazy morning or get on the road, rain warnings and traffic delays go a long way.
Voice activation technology and hands-free services offered by Bluetooth connection to your smartphone are becoming more and more popular. But they’re only worth using if you have the best RV GPS system. Otherwise, the distraction of trying to say the right thing or having to repeat your instructions can be dangerous on the road.
Cameras can be a very fun and useful addition to your GPS system. They make it easy to capture those unexpected moments on the road, while also enhancing some of the driver awareness features already present in your device.
But dashboard cameras are subject to audio recording laws that differ by state. Before heading out, be sure always to check the bylaws of the area that you’re heading into in case you need to turn off your GPS dashcam’s audio recording.
Some of the best RV GPS devices also come with backup cameras. Which can be extremely helpful when trying to get your rig into a tight campsite. If it has a motion sensor attached, it can even work as an added security measure.
Depending on how far away your windshield is and the weight of your device, the hanging suction mount that most devices come with might not be the best option.
The best mounts for large RV GPS devices won’t have to take the full weight of the product. Like a non-slip friction mount or a cupholder mount. These types of mounts also tend to bring the GPS closer to you for easy access!
If you do choose a suction mount, be sure to clean the mount and your vehicle’s surface before attaching it. You’ll also want to move it as little as possible to ensure a strong connection.
Another consideration is how the GPS connects to the mount itself. The best RV GPS systems will often have a magnetic connection. Ball mounts offer better movement, but are more likely to warp over time. And clamps that aren’t specifically designed for one product won’t hold it properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are RV GPS units easy to install?
In general, the installation process is no different than a regular GPS. So all you have to do is charge it, mount it, and turn it on. If you have added features like a dashcam and backup camera it will require a little extra time to wire properly.
Can Waze be used for RV navigation?
Waze will give you great traffic navigation, but it may not have the most up-to-date park maps. Without the ability to implement your RV profile, it also won’t be able to tell you what roads cannot fit your rig.
Wrapping Up Best RV GPS Systems
Before your next camping trip, be sure to look through these top picks of the best RV GPS systems for safe and smooth traveling! No matter where you’re going or how big your RV is, these products will get you there in no time.
For more information about getting away in your RV, visit our RV Camping page. You’ll find gear and product recommendations, plus our suggestions for the best places around the country to head to in your RV!
- About the Author
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After years of camping in the Canadian wilderness and finishing her Bachelor of Communication Studies, Liv Headley brought her passions together through the Apple Pie Media platform.
Armed with stories under open skies, at the tops of mountains, and from as young as eight years old. When it comes to picking the right camping spots, packing the best gear, and cooking the most delicious food, Liv’s got the expertise to make planning your trip easy!
Liv can be reached at email@example.com