A reliable GPS can be a great investment if you’re always exploring new areas. Without an up-to-date navigation system, you could find yourself driving down the wrong roads that are too narrow, steep, or have low clearance bridges.
You can find many GPS systems on the market including RV-specific units that plan routes based on your vehicle’s measurements. However, shopping for a new GPS system can be difficult when a new version is always just around the corner. Luckily, we found some great advice on a recent iRV2 forum discussion about the best GPS systems currently available.
1. Garmin RV 770 LMT-S, $349
The Garmin RV 770 LMT-S customizes your routes based on the size and weight of your RV. It has a large 6.95-inch, high-resolution touchscreen display and hands-free features like Bluetooth calling.
“I’ve got the Garmin RV 770 LMT-S and am very happy with it. This week it routed me around two low bridges. Saved me time and potential damage.” – iRV2 Member dck22
You can also download a free smartphone app to get live traffic information and local weather. On the downside, the Garmin 770 LMT-S does not track time or gas mileage. An easy solution is to plan your trip (and track your information) on RV LIFE Trip Wizard and then send your route to your Garmin GPS.
2. Garmin RV 660LMT, $225
Another popular GPS by Garmin is their RV 660 LMT. It has a slightly smaller 6-inch touchscreen display and is also a little bit cheaper.
“I purchased a Garmin RV660LMT about 2-3 months ago. I like the free lifetime map update feature. So far I really like it and have had no issues at all. I like the fact that you can set the parameters for your RV and the unit will take that into consideration when planning the route.” – iRV2 Member travelerbill
The Garmin RV 660 determines your routes based on the height, weight, length, and width of your RV. With these specifications, the GPS will warn you of low clearance bridges, steep grades, sharp curves, and weight limits. As long as your device is running, the GPS includes free updates so your map information will always be up-to-date.
3. Sygic app, Free download
A more affordable option is to download a navigation app like Sygic to a tablet and then mount the tablet to your dash.
“Sygic uses Tom Tom maps and I’ve been using Tom Tom Mobile for years. Seems to be much better than other GPS apps and doesn’t need any connection (WiFI) unless you want traffic. I’m using a Lenovo 10″ tablet mounted to dash and it beats looking at a 5″ screen.” – iRV2 Member Romer1
Sygic is free to download from iTunes and the Google Play store. They also have a free Truck version that plans routes based on your vehicle parameters such as height, weight, and length. The app can be used even when you don’t have WiFi available; an Internet connection is only needed if you want live traffic updates. The app also has useful features like parking suggestions and speed camera warnings.
4. Rand McNally RVND, $249+
Last but not least you can always count on a Rand McNally GPS. This company has been making navigation systems for years including units specifically designed for RVs.
“I loved our old Rand Mcnally 7710. It was retired only due to an unfortunate meeting with our tile floor.
We were in the middle of nowhere when the old GPS met it’s demise, with few options. We ended up with a Garmin 770. While servicable, it is nowhere near as intuitive, user friendly or informative as the old Rand was.” – JMonroe, iRV2 Community Moderator
We highly recommend planning out your routes on RV LIFE Trip Wizard first. You can find the best campgrounds (with their integrated ratings from RV LIFE Campgrounds) as well as points of interest like Walmarts and fuel stations, know when to avoid low clearance bridges, and then your entire route can easily be exported to your GPS system. Read more about that here.