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Old 07-10-2016, 05:43 PM   #1
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2016 30' Flying Cloud
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Navigation unit/GPS options?

Hey there!

First post, I'm not sure if this is the right place… Next week we'll take our new 2016 Flying Cloud 30" Airstream out for the first ride! Needless to say, we're super excited and also super frightened as it's the first time for the two of us towing anything really.

This brings me to my question: What's the best option for navigation/GPS units? I've looked at various reviews of Garmin, Rand McNally, etc. and basically all reviews are either "works great" praise or "it put us in the middle of a field" zombie apocalypse rants.

I've tried the CoPilot app on my iPhone app, but honestly it feels like it was designed 10 years ago and is agonizingly slow even on my latest model iPhone 6S Plus.

I would really like to have something reliable that doesn't route me on curvy, bumpy backroads and avoids low clearances. Using Google or Apple maps in these parts of the country (Pennsylvania, New York) often puts you on exactly those backroads. Great with a car (if you have good suspension) but not with a truck and 30" of Airstream behind you.

Here's my requirements:
- I should be able to enter our total dimensions and weight
- Must work well for east coast states, as well as all of North America (we want to go up to Alaska, etc.)
- Must route around low clearances (covered bridges, etc.)
- Must be able to avoid roads that have very tight curves
- Must route around weight restrictions (some bridges around here are either very old or new but not well built…)
- Must avoid tunnels etc. with propane restrictions
- Reliable operation (doesn't freeze, etc.)
- User interface that doesn't make me want to commit genocide on software developers (i.e. responsive & not looking like it was made in the early 90s)

Nice to haves:
- Free map updates & online traffic info a big plus
- A way to plan routes on my laptop (Mac) and upload them to the unit
- POI data for campgrounds, state/national parks, boondocking locations, etc.
- A quick way to find suitable gas stations and restaurants while navigating to a destination

What I don't need:
- I don't need navigation just for our truck when I'm unhitched (Apple/Google Maps do a great job for that)
- Music, Radio, looking at photos, etc. (just navigation please!)

I'm willing to spend $400 or even more if it ticks the boxes.

So, what does everybody use? Do you like it? Do you hate it?
Or do I have unreasonable expectations?
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Old 07-10-2016, 05:59 PM   #2
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Good evening Tofu, I recently purchased an RV specific GPS from Camping World, has a lot of options you are looking for and user friendly. I believe I paid around $260.00( sale price). They had a smaller (5 inch) screen for a bit less> hope this helps. Good travels. Dave
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:40 PM   #3
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Garmin 760LMT.

http://www.ourflyingcloud.com/2016/05/gps.html
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Old 07-10-2016, 09:27 PM   #4
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I use the Garmin unit. But use all GPS units with some common sense, like don't let it drive you off a cliff.
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:02 PM   #5
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I have a Garmin 2555. I would not trust it to take me on the safest routes. I always carry road maps and use a second app on our tablet.
The Garmin has taken us down dead end roads, thru residential areas etc.
The biggest advantage I see is it tells the name of the next street coming up. Nice to know when you are not familiar with a town or city.
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
I have a Garmin 2555. I would not trust it to take me on the safest routes. I always carry road maps and use a second app on our tablet.
The Garmin has taken us down dead end roads, thru residential areas etc.
The biggest advantage I see is it tells the name of the next street coming up. Nice to know when you are not familiar with a town or city.
That's because the Garmin 2555 is a car GPS. If you plan to use it for towing a camper, you need a RV specific GPS that you can provide it your length and height so it automatically adjusts your route accordingly.

I also wouldn't trust any GPS 100%. As the driver I am ultimately responsible. But there are GPSes out there specifically designed to assist us RV drivers.
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by FCStreamer View Post
Your post mentions that "We shall put it to the test this weekend."—I assume because you recommend it your test worked out great?

Do you ever run into problems?

P.S. Love your fire pit set up!
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tofu View Post
Your post mentions that "We shall put it to the test this weekend."—I assume because you recommend it your test worked out great?

Do you ever run into problems?

P.S. Love your fire pit set up!
Thanks!

Yes, we drove down from New Jersey to Florida. For the most part it was great. It did not warn me of the I95 tunnel in Maryland. There are propane restrictions there. Other than that it worked well. It warned me of upcoming sharp turns. I didn't run across any low bridges so I didn't get any of those warnings.

I left it installed in my truck and use it from time to time for daily driving because of the traffic feature. I connected it to Garminlink through my phone instead of the provided antenna. I had to purchase the traffic subscription on my phone, but the traffic information seems to come more reliably.

The weather alerts did not work for me.

I recommend this GPS highly. They've discontinued it for a 6" model (655?). I found the 755 in Amazon. The screen is the same resolution. I prefer a bigger screen.
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Old 07-11-2016, 08:55 AM   #9
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If your travelling on roads that have existed for years and haven't changed their numbering or route any GPS will work. I have tried the best Garmin has to offer and they have let me down. I even updated them a week before the trip and it could not negotiate some roads that Google maps had correct. The specific Garmin RV unit also did not work. I set it up to give it my trailer size and set no u-turns and it still directed me to make a u-turn. Then when I was miles from a dump station I asked it to find one and it directed me to one 4 hours away. Again, many have said they work, but they work with parks and places that have existed for years and perhaps are only in the US. In Canada where I travel mostly it has let me down many times. I purchased CoPilot and run it on an old tablet. It is about as useful as the most expensive Garmin. If you have a cell signal nothing beats your phone using Google Maps. The problem is in most places I travel there is a very poor cell signal if you find one at all.

I travel with my phone using a Canadian and American Sim card to minimize cost. I use CoPilot and I have another GPS. When all else fails I resort to good old fashioned maps. Nothing beats them. Stop at the welcome centers and pick them up or visit your auto club. Plan ahead. If your travelling in areas that are out of the way you will need more than one method. This summer I plan to travel in an area that has very little to no cell signal, so I will be using paper maps again.
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