RV drivers who try to use their phone’s GPS or a traditional automotive unit will quickly find that it is inadequate. RVs, due to their size and weight, follow a different set of rules and laws, and most standard GPS units simply can’t account for these differences. Fortunately, there is more than enough market demand to produce specialized units that take the needs of RV drivers into account, and there are multiple excellent options to choose from.
RV-specialized GPS units are designed to take into account the size of an RV as well as its intended use. They can be programmed to understand the height and weight of the RV and avoid bridges that are too low or unable to support the RV’s weight. Additionally, such specialized units are designed to enable RV owners to plan out their route in advance, incorporating stops that are RV friendly, and including campsites with appropriate hookups as potential stops. This eliminates the need to stop without proper hookups or the ability to empty a nearly full black water tank.
The three best units on the market today are the Garmin RV 760LMT, the Rand McNally RVND 7730 LM, and the Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, but all are excellent for any RV owner looking to get a GPS unit that can point them towards the right campground.
1. Garmin RV 760LMT
The Garmin RV 760LMT is built around a 7″ screen. It can run on both batteries and from DC power, enabling flexibility when the RV is not running. The onboard software is specifically built for the needs of RV users, with Garmin taking into account their years of experience and customer feedback when designing the device. The interface is simple, and anyone who has used the GPS on their phone or another dedicated device will be able to use it immediately without any special training. However, it does have some options such devices don’t have.
Firstly, it has maps and information regarding all lower 48 states and much of Canada already included. This enables operators to plan routes down to the last detail, even including RV-friendly places to stop for food and supplies between campsites. RV-friendly rest stops can also be included, enabling RV drivers to take the time to rest as they travel. A listing of RV-friendly repair shops is also included. Hookups for each campsite are displayed, and campsites can be sorted or eliminated by the hookups they do or do not have. Planned trips can be shared with friends or fellow travelers via the onboard software, enabling an RV convoy to all be on the same page. It is even reversing camera compatible, eliminating the need to install a second screen for any wireless reversing camera.
Constant Wireless Updates
The Garmin RV 760LMT can connect wirelessly to any WiFi or cellular phone hotspot and update its maps continuously. This not only enables drivers to be certain that road closures, even unscheduled ones due to inclement weather, will not be a surprise. Additionally, the Garmin RV 760LMT can keep an eye on traffic and update accordingly, and even change routes on the fly when traffic conditions change. This helps reduce trip times, as well as time wasted stuck in traffic.
2. Rand McNally RVND 7730 LM
The Rand McNally RVND 7730 LM is a somewhat more basic unit based off of the technology Rand McNally developed for their line of commercial trucking GPS units. This means that, while it does have fewer features than other models, it also costs less and is simpler to operate. This makes it ideal for those who are budget-minded or simply do not want to pay more for features they will not use. Less functionality also means less to break, and less of a dependence on external wifi, although it still uses such wifi to update maps and other information.
What enables the Rand McNally RVND 7730 LM to stand out is its emphasis on saving the operator money. While most RV GPS units now enable users to choose where they should stop, the Rand McNally RVND 7730 LM also includes expected costs along the planned route, from fuel to tolls, and can automatically calculate the cheapest route as well as the fastest. This functionality enables users to take the scenic route at a slower pace to save money on fuel and tolls and helps ensure that those who are cost-conscious can dependably choose the route that’s best for them.
The Rand McNally RVND 7730 LM doesn’t simply compute the fastest route, but instead will, when asked, computer multiple routes and compare them, enabling the user to choose the one that best suits their needs. Those in a hurry can prioritize the fastest and straightest routes, while those more interested in back roads and sightseeing can choose those routes. Operators can choose to favor longer trips over traffic jams, even if this costs time. One can even switch routes on the fly, and if wifi is provided, such routes can update uatomatically as situations change.
3. Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S
The Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S is a nice compromise between those who want lots of features and those who want something simple to operate and not too expensive. The Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S is much closer to a commercial truck unit than a purely RV unit, although it does have useful options like avoiding low clearance bridges and lane advice. Additionally, it is very wireless-focused, including both bluetooth, wifi internet, and wireless reversal camera connection options. It also enables users to research places of interest via TripAdvisor and FourSquare, enabling users to stop at the sorts of places they want to stop.
The Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S is intended for those who like to get up, spend time planning their route for the day, and then execute the plan. While it is possible to change routes on the road, especially with the help of someone other than the driver, the primary focus of the Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S is to offer its user with lots of options and then let them choose. Users can input the dimensions and weight of their RV to have the unit route them away from low, or weight limit bridges, as well as have the system programmed to avoid tolls or traffic jams.
The best part of the Garmin RV 770 NA LMT-S will be, for most users, its wireless functionality. With both Bluetooth and Wifi functionality, it can connect to most devices within your RV that it needs to without any installations. Indeed, other than providing it with power, it needs no other wires, enabling it to connect to the RV’s sound system, cameras, or any sort of wireless internet available. This makes the installation much easier, and also helps the unit be more functional since it can serve as a screen for a backup camera, or display standard information.