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I don’t think you need a standalone RV GPS but I do think you need a few other things
An RV GPS is not always enough and a GPS made for driving normal size vehicles and not 40’ busses can get us into trouble quick. I think every RV’er eventually comes upon a place they don’t fit. A bridge too low, trees too close together or turns that are too tight to navigate. It happens. But it can happen a lot less if you have a couple of things along for the ride.
Driving cross country a couple years ago made me realize I need the CoPilot RV app
The CoPilot App is specifically designed as an RV GPS without having to buy another device. It gives RV specific routing and does a great job of avoiding hazards. More than once it alerted me when I strayed off the path, because I do that, and let me know there was a low bridge I wasn’t getting under and I better turn around. It’s a little tricky to get going the first time but it’s nothing you can’t overcome. You enter information about your setup and it takes over from there. You can enter points of interest, set stops at campgrounds and shopping detours and get a great route that will get you there in one piece. My absolute favorite thing about CoPilot, it works offline. The maps are stored on your device so no internet necessary once it’s set up. It does come with a cost, $39.99 in the app store, but it’s totally worth it.
Another valuable tool for us is the Mountain Directory
The Mountain Directory gives info about mountain passes like step grades and elevation changes. This is especially important to us because The Phaeton Menace is a rear radiator diesel pusher. And like many it tends to get hot going up steep grades. Knowing what was ahead of us helped us make decisions about when to travel and if we wanted to consider another route. A few times we’ve left camp extra early (sorry neighbors) to beat the heat and climb the mountains before it got too hot. It also lets us know when we’ll be facing a particularly steep descent. When we see that we make sure to follow the signs for truckers. We stop and do the brake checks and heed the safe speed warnings.
My last must have and the most never leave home without it thing
The Rand McNally truckers atlas. My nana always said to have a paper map of wherever you’re going. She had tons of them. And even though she passed before the age of the internet and GPS I believe her advice is still good advice today. You never know if you’ll have no power and no signal or in case of zombie apocalypse you’ll be prepared.
There are a couple more planning tools I use instead of a standalone RV GPS but I don’t think they are must haves unless you are me. I just like them.
First is the Waze app, because, you know I hate traffic and avoid it at all costs. The second is the myPilot app because I like big gas stations and we need diesel. And third is the Next Exit book. It list restaurants, shopping and fun point of interest that can be found off just about every exit off the highway all over the country.
Do you have any must haves for navigation? Share them in the comments