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Open Roads Forum  >  Beginning RVing

 > Stand-alone GPS or smartphone?

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SteveWoz

Simsbury, CT

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Posted: 02/11/19 08:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My wife and I just purchased our first Class A motorhome (2015 Holiday Rambler Vacationer) and we’re eager to hit the road. I’m wondering what opinions you more experienced drivers might have about GPS alternatives. Is a stand-alone unit a must-have or can we get by well enough with an iPhone plus apps?

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 02/11/19 08:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I prefer using a cell phone--but there are times when there is no cell signal--in mountains etc.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

DrewE

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Posted: 02/11/19 08:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Either one can work fine. Do remember that neither one is anywhere near an infallible master; don't feel you should slavishly follow the routing, and don't rely on any sort of a navigation device to always alert you of things like low overhead clearances or bridges with low weight limits.

I generally use a Magellan standalone GPS, but that may more be simply because it's what I'm used to. Google maps, and I suspect other cell phone navigation systems, has a way of downloading map data so you don't need to be in cell signal range to use the navigation (or consume data, assuming you download via Wi-Fi).





Matt_Colie

Southeast Michigan

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Posted: 02/11/19 09:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Steve,

Either will work, but you have to get a mount and car cord for the cell phone. Then, set it up to not blank the screen and remember to download the maps for the days travel.

I never use our phones for that because their routing sucks if you are away from the blue roads and if you did not get the maps loaded, you can end up driving off the end of the world....

I have never seen an app that does bridge clearance, weight limits and propane restrictions. The dedicated RV GPSs can do this.

It all depends on where you are planning to go.

Matt


Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dogs going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.


donn0128

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Posted: 02/11/19 09:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Stand alone, or more correctly a dash mounted portable works everywhere. A smart phone only works when you have cell service. A portable, at least the right models can be customized for your vehicle. A cell based cannot. For me its a no brainer.





schlep1967

Harrisburg, PA

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Posted: 02/11/19 09:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Garmin is having a sale right now. You can buy a stand alone GPS for $60 and have coverage everywhere. No reason not to.


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ependydad

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Posted: 02/11/19 10:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As you can tell, it's a personal choice. I had a RV specific GPS for something like 4 or 5 years that we never used. I finally sold it this summer.

Heck, both of our trucks now (2012 and 2018 Rams) have both had built-in GPSs and we use Google Maps on the phone almost exclusively.


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bpounds

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Posted: 02/11/19 10:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I still use an older Garmin, and I still prefer it for most things. The cell phone is handy too, so I use both depending on what we're doing, but I would not be without my dash mounted Garmin. I always stash it out of sight when we are away, so that makes it less handy for quick access. The cell phone is useless when off the cell grid, which for us is quite often.


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Johno02

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Posted: 02/11/19 10:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a Garmin, and have use it, a cell phone, and a program on my conputer, all. As the best computer is no longer available, the garmin is my next choice. This if because the maps are self contained within the device, and it does not depend on the internet for downloading ps of where you are. Also, I have found the maps to be more accurate and up-to-date, especially in our of the way places. So, my answer woud be the stanflone GPS system. My choice is not dependent on price, would be one of the 7" models designed for trucking service or RVs.. The auto centered units can get you into deep trouble.


Noel and Betty Johnson (and Harry)
2005 GulfStream Ultra Supreme, 1 Old grouch, 1 wonderful wife, and a grouchy, old, tiny dog


GizmosMom

NE Texas

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Posted: 02/11/19 10:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We use our Garmin Nuvi and I wouldn't leave home without it! One feature that I enjoy is that it tells me approximately what time we will arrive. Also tells me that speed that we are traveling which seems to be more accurate than our dash speedometer. Also tells the altitude.

It's those little things in life that keep me smiling!


Marilyn w/ Joe, 2016 Class C Sunseeker 2430 SF, often pulling a Ranger bass boat.
Smudge, (in photo) a Shih Tzu/Yorkie Mix and Gizmo is waiting at the Rainbow Bridge



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