I tested 6 RV GPS units and determined that Garmin’s 785 model was the best one on the current market.
In the olden days of RVing, we had to rely on road atlases to tell us where to go. Unless you wanted to pull over to the side of the road to consult one on a regular basis—not a practical choice—that also meant relying on a human navigator to interpret the map. If you ever experienced this for yourself, you know that it didn’t always go well.
That’s why an RV GPS system can be a lifesaver, particularly for full-timers. The sophisticated technology will let you know when you’re approaching a turn, alert you to any upcoming low-hanging bridges, and provide real-time traffic updates.
Of course, some models are more effective than others. That’s why we decided to seek out the best RV GPS units on the market.
1. Garmin RV 785 GPS Navigator with Built-in Dash Cam -Best Overall
2. Garmin RV 770 for RVs and Travel Trailers -Best For Staying Connected
3. LONGRUF GPS Navigation System -Best Budget Option
4. Garmin OTR800 8-inch GPS Truck Navigator -Best For Large Rigs
5. TomTom Trucker 620 6-Inch Navigator -Best Truck-RV Hybrid
6. LOVPOI RV-Trucker Navigation System -Best Multilingual Option
We chose Garmin’s 785 model for number one because it’s designed specifically for travel trailer use. In other words, it won’t send you down any roads that are too small for your rig. This is a feature that wouldn’t necessarily have occurred to us before we got serious about RVing, but it will make your time on the road a lot easier.
Of course, we had other reasons for placing the 785 RV GPS navigator in the top spot, which you’ll learn as you read through our guide.
Best RV GPS Units On The Market: Product Review Guide
1. Garmin RV 785 GPS Navigator with Built-in Dash Cam—Best Overall
With Garmin’s RV 785 model, you’ll be able to avoid low-hanging bridges, steep hills, sharp curves, or any other potential hazards. This is important for any rig, but if you have an oversized camper, it’s essential.
The 7-inch high-resolution touch screen is easy to read and operate, with a built-in dash cam that can record coordinates and time stamps as well as actual footage. There’s also a backup camera that allows you to maneuver the rig in narrow spaces.
As you may have guessed, all this cool technology doesn’t come cheaply. The extra features—coupled with Garmin’s strong reputation in the field—mean that you can expect to drop a bundle on the 785 model.
Take a look at this video demonstration to see the dash cam in action.
2. Garmin RV 770 for RVs and Travel Trailers—Best For Staying Connected
The 785 isn’t Garmin’s only quality offering, as you’ll learn when you make your way down this list. However, with the 770, you can get a functional RV GPS system at a much lower price.
The LiveTrack feature, which allows you to share your current location with a group of friends, is our favorite aspect of this model. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s exceptionally easy to operate, with a user-friendly interface.
The unit comes with a smartphone link app that gives you useful information on traffic patterns and weather forecasts. Like the 785, it allows you to customize your route, but be forewarned that some of its mapping information might be outdated.
3. LONGRUF GPS Navigation System—Best Budget Option
The low price is the main reason to consider the LONGRUF unit. It costs roughly 10 percent of what you can expect to spend on one of Garmin’s high-end models, and it features a generous 7-inch screen that’s simple to read.
Be forewarned, though, that the word simple applies in several respects here. The unit lacks sophisticated extras such as customized route mapping and campground listings, and you’ll need to enter each destination manually. If you’re just looking for a basic model, however, the LONGRUF should do nicely.
4. Garmin OTR800 8-inch GPS Truck Navigator—Best For Large Rigs
With an 8-inch screen and truck-only route mapping, this unit is the best bet for rigs measuring up to 45 feet long. The “OTR” in the product name stands for “over the road,” and this model will guide you on the safest route possible.
Note that if your rig is on the small side, this system may send you on some unnecessarily long trips. Also, there are no trip planning features or campground listings available, and each new destination requires manual entry.
5. TomTom Trucker 620 6-Inch Navigator—Best Truck-RV Hybrid
You can switch the TomTom Trucker between your oversized truck and travel trailer and have a good experience each time. Although the company is geared primarily toward the trucking industry, the brand has a solid reputation for quality and consistency.
The unit is Bluetooth compatible, which allows for hands-free operation as well as real-time traffic reports. We should mention that there are no lifetime maps available, but you can purchase an annual map subscription for about $65 per year. Fortunately, the model itself is set at a reasonable price.
6. LOVPOI RV-Trucker Navigation System—Best Multilingual Option
With over 40 language selections available, this device is ideal if you have drivers in your group who aren’t entirely fluent in English. Moreover, the voice navigation ensures that you won’t have to look at the screen very often—although at 9 inches, it’s easy enough to read.
Some customers have complained that the unit doesn’t work well in the US, but we haven’t encountered any issues in that department. Our main complaint is that the device takes a while to charge before the initial use.
Now that you know a little more about each of the units we selected for the list, it’s time you learned what prompted us to make these choices. Here’s what you need to know about selecting the proper RV GPS unit for your camping needs.
What To Look For In An RV GPS System
Before you start shopping, ask yourself which of the following systems would work best for your camper.
These units are usually dashboard-mounted, but some high-end RVs already have them built into their systems. They provide step-by-step directions and estimated arrival times, as well as your traveling speed and current mileage information.
You can expect a series of preloaded maps to be included with the system, along with detailed information about nearby gas stations, police stations, and other noteworthy landmarks.
Since you can program the system to map out the best path to your destination, this is the most popular option. Some may even be able to connect directly to your smartphone.
You won’t find this type of system in many RVs, as it’s better suited to marine use than the highway. While they’re durably built, they feature small screens that are difficult to read when you’re driving.
Although these devices come in handy when you’re hiking, backpacking, or geocaching, they’re too small to be of use behind the wheel. We would suggest investing in a street navigation system first, then purchasing a handheld model if you have any cash left over.
Most of the units we’ve listed can be installed using a suction cup or a windshield mounting device. The top-rated models might offer several mounting options, so you can install the unit in the most convenient spot.
Check the installation requirements before you make your final decision. There should be a sturdy arm mechanism included, which will keep the unit in place as you drive. Steer clear of gooseneck-style arms, as these may jiggle around and make it harder for you to see the screen. Excessive vibration may also damage the unit.
WiFi and Bluetooth Compatibility
Bluetooth compatibility allows for hands-free usage, but that’s only the beginning. If you can connect the device to your smartphone, you’ll be able to place phone calls while still plugged into the system. This creates a more streamlined experience, as you can call a campground to check their availability without having to pull over. It also allows you to redirect the route using only a voice command.
You want to choose a screen that’s large enough to be visible from the driver’s seat, but not so huge that it dominates the dashboard space. Try to find a unit that’s big enough to suit your needs without blocking your view of the road. A minimum screen size of 5 inches is recommended.
Ease of Use
A complicated interface might seem impressive when you’re comparing brands, but you want a device that enhances your enjoyment of the journey, not one that takes over the entire trip.
Look for a unit with a touch-screen feature for easy programming. You should also be able to operate it using voice commands while you’re on the road.
Method of Data Entry
Speaking of voice commands, it’s preferable if the device comes with a voice-activated navigation system. Otherwise, you’ll have to enter all of your data manually, which is problematic when you’re supposed to be concentrating on the road. This might not be an issue if you always have an alert co-pilot on hand, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“Predictive data entry” is a bonus feature that allows the system to recall your oft-visited destinations, and plug them in the next time you’re headed in that direction. If you can afford to buy a high-end model that offers this perk, we would highly recommend it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to buy a GPS system?
It might seem like a luxury purchase, but having a functional GPS system can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
For one thing, you’ll never have to stop and ask for directions, which means spending less time maneuvering the rig in and out of tight spaces. You’ll also get to your destination that much faster if you can avoid making unnecessary stops. What’s more, a streamlined, hassle-free journey translates into less fuel consumption, which is good news for any RVer.
Are there any issues I should be aware of?
First of all, know that you’ll have to charge your battery before hitting the road. Some batteries can be slow to charge, so this could cause a delay in your departure. The battery life may be depleted even if you don’t drive your rig very often, so be sure to plan ahead.
You should also ensure that the SD card remains firmly in place. If it slips out of its berth, your saved routes might be deleted. We would also suggest keeping a backup card on hand in case the original should suffer irreparable damage.
Do the mapping systems update automatically?
It depends on the model. Some cheaper units might not update their maps on a regular basis. That means you’ll be traveling a route based on outdated information. This is especially problematic if there are new obstacles or hazards on the route in question.
Fortunately, most modern units can be updated either manually or automatically. Look for a lifetime map update guarantee, which will ensure that you have access to current information for as long as you own the device.
If you can afford it, Garmin’s 785 Navigator offers a myriad of useful features that are bound to make your trip more enjoyable.
Because it’s designed to track the safest route for oversized vehicles, there’s no need to worry about road hazards like low-clearance bridges and steep inclines. The interface is user-friendly, the screen is just the right size, and the campground directory means you’ll have an easy time deciding where to spend the night.
Best of luck, and happy camping!
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