Katie Duncan
by Katie Duncan
Posted July 1, 2020

Remember the old days where you had to take a paper map or atlas wherever you went? You’d map your route before leaving home and pull over periodically to make sure you were on the right track. Then came websites like MapQuest, which allowed you to plan your trip and print out step by step directions. And now, thanks to smartphones and RV GPS devices, we have all of that and more at the palm of our hands! 

If you’re looking for the best RV GPS, listen up! We’re here with some of the best devices, apps, and tips for using these nifty tips. 

Best RV GPS:

  1. Garmin RV 785 GPS Navigator

  2. Rand McNally OverDryve 7 RV GPS

  3. Garmin RV 770 LMT-S GPS Navigator

  4. TomTom Trucker 620

What Makes an RV GPS Special

You may be wondering, “Why do I need a special GPS for my RV? Can’t I just use the one I have for my car?” 

Well, you can, but you’re missing out on some important features that can help RV drivers out tremendously on the road. Some advantages aside from the obvious navigation abilities include:

  • Avoiding low bridges 
  • Taking your rig’s weight into consideration 
  • Avoiding narrow roads

Driving a large Class A RV isn’t the same as driving your car, so you shouldn’t use the same GPS. But of course, you don’t want just any ol’ unit— you want the best of the best that will get you safely from one destination to the next!

Best RV GPS Units

Luckily (or, if you’re indecisive, unfortunately), there are a lot of GPSs out there to choose from. Here are four highly rated GPS units available today on the market.

1. Garmin RV 785 GPS Navigator

This unit will perform custom routing that takes the size and weight of your rig into account. Special features include road warnings for steep grades and sharp curves, directory of RV parks and services, and smartphone Bluetooth pairing. This model also contains a built-in dash cam that records your drive and automatically saves footage if an incident is detected.

Display size: 7″

Price: $399.99 on Amazon.com

2. Rand McNally OverDryve 7 RV GPS

This GPS unit offers award-winning RV navigation, hands-free call and text through your phone, and a trip planner with the built-in Tripmaker app. Like the Garmin 785, the OverDryve comes with a dashcam that records the road (and any potential accidents) in front of you.

Display size: 7″

Price: $399 on Amazon

3. Garmin RV 770 LMT-S GPS Navigator

This Garmin also performs custom routing based on the size and weight of RV or towable trailer. It comes with hands-free features like Bluetooth calling, smart notifications, and voice-activated navigation. If you download the free Smartphone Link app to your smartphone, you’ll also have free access to live traffic, basic weather, and more. Built-in wifi gives you the ability to update maps and software from anywhere without a computer. 

Display size: 6.95″

Price: $299 on Amazon

4. TomTom Trucker 620

With a lifetime supply of truck maps and TomTom traffic, you can navigate the roads like a trucker. The “My Vehicle” feature allows you to input your vehicle’s length, width, height, and weight to route you the right way. 

Display size: 6″ (also comes in a smaller 5″ screen)

Price: $255 on Amazon

Best Smartphone Apps for RV Navigation 

Nowadays, your phone can do it all. If you’re wanting to save and use your smartphone as a GPS, be sure to check out these four apps.

Car Navigation Built for Drivers | CoPilot GPS

CoPilot GPS Navigation

This app is trusted by many, especially by those in the trucking industry and RVers, thanks to their special RV navigation features. You can keep on the best roads and avoid low bridges or truck restricted roads. Routes will be designed for your size RV, and you can search millions of preloaded locations, including campgrounds and rest areas. 

Price: Free

InRoute Route Planner

Although this isn’t necessarily a navigation app, it is a helpful road trip planning tool. This app allows you to create custom routes based on weather conditions, elevation, curviness of roads, and more. You can also build your own route, leg by leg, adding up to 150 stops. If weather is a big concern for you while driving, InRoute You can also sync your routes to other apps, such as Google Maps for step-by-step navigation.

Price: $3.99/mo or $29.99/year

Google Maps and Waze

The average driver commonly uses these two navigation apps. Though great for everyday automobile use, they don’t offer any special features for RV drivers. Still, if you are driving a small enough rig, they may be perfect for your trips!

Price: Free

Tips for Using Your GPS in Your RV

Improper use of your GPS can cause distracted driving, leading to accidents. Always follow these helpful tips while using your GPS on the road.

  • Never fully rely on your GPS. It’s always good to have an idea of how to get to your destination— even if it’s as simple as knowing the general direction you’re supposed to be going. It is also helpful to download offline maps or carry a paper map or atlas in case of the unit’s failure. 
  • Pre-enter your destination. Don’t wait until you’re on the road to start messing with the GPS. Always do this before you hit the road so you can remain hands-free. 
  • Let your passenger help you. If you need to make changes to your route while you’re in motion, allow your passenger to do it. If you are alone, pull off the road somewhere safe, such as a parking lot, to make the adjustment. 
  • Mount your GPS where it is easy to see but doesn’t block your view. Mounting it helps keep your eyes on the road.

But before you mount that GPS, you’ll want to make sure that it’s legal where you are and where you plan to go. That’s right— mounting your GPS is actually illegal in some states.

Where It’s Illegal to Use a GPS

Distracted driving laws in some states prohibit windshield-mounted GPS units or smartphones. Here are the laws for each state. 

  • Alabama: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Alaska: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Arizona: Windshield mounts are allowed in the bottom 5″ of the driver’s side or bottom 7″ of the passenger side of the windshield.
  • Arkansas: Windshield mounts are allowed in the 4.5″ above the bottom of the windshield.
  • California: Windshield mounts are allowed in the bottom 5″ of the driver’s side or bottom 7″ of the passenger side of the windshield.
  • Colorado: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Connecticut: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Delaware: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Florida: Specific devices (GPS devices ONLY)  may be mounted; the driver’s view cannot be obstructed. 
  • Georgia: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Hawaii: Windshield mounts are allowed in the bottom 5″ of the driver’s side or bottom 7″ of the passenger side of the windshield.
  • Idaho: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Illinois: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Indiana: Windshield mounts are allowed in the bottom 4″ of the passenger side. 
  • Iowa: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Kansas: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Kentucky: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Louisiana: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Maine: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere.
  • Maryland: Windshield mounts are allowed in the bottom 7″ of the passenger side. 
  • Massachusetts: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight.
  • Michigan: Device can be mounted, but devices are limited to ones for navigation, traffic, weather conditions, vehicle conditions, or road conditions. 
  • Minnesota: Specific devices (GPS devices ONLY)  may be mounted on the bottom part of the windshield; the driver’s view cannot be obstructed.
  • Mississippi: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Missouri: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Montana: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Nebraska: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Nevada: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • New Hampshire: Device can be mounted, but devices are limited to ones for navigation, traffic, weather conditions, vehicle conditions, or road conditions. 
  • New Jersey: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • New Mexico: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • New York: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • North Carolina: Device can be mounted, but devices are limited to ones for navigation, traffic, weather conditions, vehicle conditions, or road conditions.
  • North Dakota: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Ohio: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Oklahoma: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Oregon: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Pennsylvania: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Rhode Island: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • South Carolina: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • South Dakota: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Tennessee: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Texas: Windshield suction cup mounts are legal as long as they aren’t mounted in the driver’s direct line of sight. 
  • Utah: Windshield mounts are allowed in the top 4″ of the whole windshield or the bottom 4″ of the driver side of the windshield.
  • Vermont: Windshield mounts are allowed in the bottom 4″ of the passenger side of the windshield.
  • Virginia: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Washington: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • West Virginia: Windshield suction cup mounts are illegal; GPS must be mounted elsewhere. 
  • Wisconsin: Device can be mounted, but devices are limited to ones for navigation, traffic, weather conditions, vehicle conditions, or road conditions. 
  • Wyoming: Windshield mounts are allowed anywhere above the AS-1 tint line.

Remember that most states also have a distracted driving law that only allows these devices if they are hands-free. Do not attempt to use a GPS while in motion.

Navigate the Open Road

Now that you know where you’re going, it’s time to hit the open road in your RV. Pack your bags, plug in your destination, and adventure away! 

Katie Duncan

 

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