Is an RV GPS Worth It?

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You may be gambling if you trust a standard GPS to navigate you to a campsite while RVing. Moving your rig to and from a campground takes a lot more than driving a passenger vehicle.

You can find yourself in quite the pickle if you use just any ordinary GPS unit. If you plan to travel in unfamiliar areas, having an RV GPS is an essential purchase.

Today, we’ll look at the importance of having and using an RV GPS. We’ll also share a few of the best units worth considering. Let’s get started.

What Is an RV GPS?

An RV GPS is similar to a standard unit, just for an RV. They factor in the much larger dimensions and weight of your RV when calculating a route.

Some roads have weight limits or low clearance bridges. This GPS can filter out roads and get you on an RV-friendly path, so you don’t have any problems. 

These devices often come loaded with resources used by RVers. They may have places to stay, fuel, or get a repair.

These units have massive databases with a wealth of information. You can quickly and easily find resources with an RV GPS.

Is There an RV Setting for Google Maps?

While you may trust Google Maps for navigating your day-to-day driving, it’s not a good idea while RVing. Google Maps doesn’t have an RV filter that you can use to factor in the dimensions or weight of your RV.

You may find yourself in a serious and even dangerous situation. We have read story after story from RVers who have found themselves in a predicament because they trusted Google Maps while RVing.

We’re sorry to disappoint those who love Apple Maps, but you shouldn’t trust it either.

As much as we enjoy using Siri, it’s not any better when it comes to navigating an RV. It’ll betray you and your RV in a heartbeat.

A cellphone using Google Maps to get to a destination instead of using an RV GPS

Pros of an RV GPS

We have many reasons to choose to use an RV GPS when traveling. Let’s look at a few of the major ones.

Custom Routing Options

One of the most important reasons you should use an RV GPS is for the custom routing options. These units can help you avoid sketchy roads, propane restrictions, and low clearances.

Once you input your RV’s specific details, it will consider them when creating your routes. For example, you don’t have to worry about encountering low bridges or roads with weight restrictions.

Finding yourself on a narrow road in the mountains isn’t ideal when towing a large trailer behind you. Using an RV GPS and custom routes tailored for your RV can help keep you and your fellow travelers safe while RVing.

Offline Mapping

Phones these days have incredibly powerful tools. However, many of these fancy features require an internet connection.

Imagine yourself out in the middle of nowhere while RVing, and you can’t get service to help you find your way.

An RV GPS downloads the maps to the device and connects to satellites in space. This reduces the chances of finding yourself stranded or missing that important turn.

Many of the best places we’ve camped or spent time adventuring have limited to no cell phone service.

Keep in Mind: Cell phone service can be difficult to get while camping. Let’s see what the best cell phone booster is!

Larger Display

Despite mobile phones getting larger, they’re still not great for navigating while driving. RV GPS units offer larger screens and minimize distractions for the driver.

This makes it easier to see the information and keep your eyes on the road.Some RV GPS units have a 10” screen, almost 50% bigger than the latest iPhone.

Quickly and easily seeing the necessary information is essential to maximize safety while traveling.

Cons of an RV GPS

While there are many things to love about an RV GPS, they’re certainly not perfect. Let’s look at a couple of negative qualities that you’ll want to consider. 


One of the largest hurdles for many RVers to conquer is the price tag. Many realize the importance of having and using an RV GPS, but they’re incredibly expensive.

Top-of-the-line models may do a great job and have many fancy features, but they can cost upward of $700. 

While many full-time travelers can easily justify the cost, weekend warriors and other less frequent users find it difficult.

A man driving to his campground using an RV GPS

Map Inconsistencies

As with any GPS, many users frequently experience map inconsistencies. Street names change, never-ending construction gets in the way, and users often forget to keep their units updated. 

GPS technology can work great 95% of the time, but it’s far from perfect like any other type of technology.

These map inconsistencies can cause stress and anxiety, especially when traveling in unfamiliar areas or at night.

Is There an RV GPS App?

If you’re not comfortable spending several hundred dollars on a designated RV GPS unit, you can always use RV Life Trip Wizard. With this program, you can plan an entire cross-country trip or all of your short ones this camping season.

RV Life Trip Wizard lets you save time, travel safe routes, and find outstanding campgrounds during your adventures.

It has a mobile app for smartphones and a website. You can sit comfortably at your laptop and plan your trips. With the press of a button, you can open them up on your cell phone and get turn-by-turn directions that are safe for any size RV.

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RV Life Pro

An RV LIFE PRO membership will grant you access to some amazing RV tools. The included features will help you research campgrounds, plan RV-safe routes, turn your phone into an RV GPS, access courses about RVing, and even track maintenance on your RV.

Use the code “GETAWAY25” to save 25% off your annual membership!

Keep in Mind: While you’re at it, take a look at these 17 RV Apps Every Camper Should Download!

What Is the Best RV GPS?

If you need an RV GPS, we think you should consider a few models. Let’s look at a few great options that can help make your travels a bit easier and less stressful. 

Best Overall: Garmin RV 1090 with Large Display Screen

Garmin RV 1090, 10" RV Navigator, Edge-to-Edge Display, Custom Routing for Size and Weight of Your RV/Trailer
  • Large 10" RV navigator with high-resolution touch display and options for portrait and landscape mode.Control...
  • Provides road warnings to help keep you aware of steep grades, sharp curves, weight limits and more

The Garmin RV 1090 is one of the best RV GPS units on the market. It has a massive 10” touch display that you can use in portrait or landscape mode.

Additionally, the Garmin RV 1090 comes loaded with a massive directory of RV parks and other services. It also warns of steep grades, sharp curves, and other potential road hazards.

The voice control function allows you to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

The Garmin RV 1090 also pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth, making it easy to update maps and software and take hands-free calls.

Best With Dash Cam: Garmin RV 785 with Built-in Dash Cam

Garmin RV 785 & Traffic, Advanced GPS Navigator for RVs with Built-in Dash Cam, High-res 7" Touch Display, Voice-Activated Navigation
  • Custom routing takes into account the size and weight of your RV then finds the best route for your vehicle.Control...
  • Provides road warnings to keep you aware of steep grades, sharp curves, weight limits and more

Having a dashcam can be very helpful, especially if you’re ever involved in an accident. Video footage of an accident can help you avoid the “he-said, she-said” argument in court.

Instead of having multiple devices cluttering your dash, you can use the Garmin RV 785, which has a built-in dashcam.

This device has a 6.95” touchscreen display and many features that users love from Garmin GPS units.

Browse through the collection of campgrounds and read reviews from TripAdvisor, iOverlander, and many more popular resources. 

Pair this unit with your phone, and you can make or receive phone calls hands-free. You also won’t have to worry about getting caught off guard by sharp curves, steep grades, and other unexpected changes in the road.

Best Budget Option: Garmin RV 780 with Traffic 

Garmin RV 780 GPS Navigator with Traffic
  • Advanced GPS navigator for the RV and camping enthusiast.Control Method:Remote.Special Feature:Bluetooth,Touchscreen.
  • RV navigator with high-resolution 6. 95” edge-to-edge touch display

If you want to stay safe without breaking the bank, the Garmin RV 780 is a solid choice. This 6.95” touchscreen can take the dimensions and weight of your rig and give you a safe route.

You get Garmin’s massive database of RV parks, services, and campgrounds at a budget-friendly price.

Like the pricier models, the Garmin RV 780 can pair with your smartphone. You’ll even get traffic alerts and weather forecasts that can be helpful while traveling.

The Garmin RV 780 can make your travels safer and easier.

Is an RV GPS Worth It?

There’s no reason not to use an RV GPS with so many options available. Despite the increased costs, the benefits of traveling safer and more efficiently make it a wise investment.

Stop gambling with your safety and stressing about finding a safe route while RVing. Get yourself an RV GPS and enjoy your adventures even more.

What’s your trusted device for navigating while RVing?

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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