Driving in new places can be stressful and nothing adds to it like your GPS getting you in a spot that you have to stop traffic to get out of (yes, we’ve had to stop traffic before).
We began using the Rand McNally RV GPS in July 2011 as part of the Best of the Road Rally. This RV-specific GPS unit was brand spankin’ new to the market, and we were excited to have it. Now after more than a year of experience with the unit we can’t imagine going back to a ‘normal’ GPS. To keep this short and sweet, we’re simply going to dive into our favorite RV options that are found on the RVND GPS unit.
This is for when you want to avoid the interstates and drive a little slower. Flip on this setting and discover small towns as you pass through versus flying by the outskirts at 75 mph. We have found some of our favorite places this way.
Our GPS is set to warn me when I drive 5 MPH over the posted speed limit. An audible lady comes on and says “Speed Warning”. This comes in handy when you’re jamming out to the music and your foot gets a little heavy!
Reduced Speed Ahead
When you are nearing a reduced speed limit the GPS lady warns you with “Reduced Speed Ahead”. I’m positive we’ve all seen the speed traps when entering small towns on the highways, those sneaky police just waiting to write you a ticket on the other side of that speed limit sign! With this option on, you know with plenty of advance warning so you can slow down that 30,000-pound rig of yours BEFORE you reach that speed limit change. This feature alone must have saved us hundreds in speeding tickets.
Sharp Curve Ahead
When you’re barreling down the interstate at 65 MPH towing a 40’ trailer, an advanced audible warning is always welcome. Safety First!
Strong Wind Area
It may sound silly, but we keep this warning on at all times, it’s saved our butts a few times in the gusty bridge passes of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.
Load your trip into the GPS unit and start driving. If you get tired while you’re en route simply click this icon and you can see every parking, rest area, and Wal-Mart either near your RV or on your route. This is the #1 feature we use in our everyday travels. Somehow we always overestimate how far we can drive, and when 10 pm rolls around we click this button and within seconds there’s a list of nearby places to pull off and grab some shut-eye, go for a walk, or take a snack break.
Woodall’s Rated, BLM, National Forest, State Parks, National Parks…if it’s a campground you’ll find it in the RVND GPS. There are also photos, videos, approximate costs, number of sites, amenities, reviews, contact information and a host of other details programmed into each campground.
Fishing Hot Spots
This is a dream for us, one simple button tells you all the fishing hot spots near your RV or destination. The hardest part for us is getting up early enough for a good catch!
We’ve crossed the border two times in our RV travels and having this GPS track us for no additional fees is a lifesaver. If you’ve spent time in the larger cities in Canada (Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, etc.), you know navigating these streets can be a major hassle, but with the RVND it was no problem. In fact we removed the car-specific GPS unit in our tow car while we were in Canada and used the RVND for both RV and car commuting.
When you’re trekking out to BLM or national forests many times there are no ‘real’ roads. Use the breadcrumb feature so you can return to your camp without a wrong turn, because nothing’s worse than losing your RV in the forest! This feature also works great at places like Quartzite where there are thousands of RVs parked in the middle of the desert with no streets, and when your neighbors are constantly changing, locating your RV can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
It’s exactly as it sounds. Setup your checklist to remind you to put down the antenna, pull up the jacks, bring in the awning, and all those other silly things we forget to do before we pull out of our campsite. It costs around $1,000 to replace a basic awning, so setup the checklist and keep that money in your pocket!
POIs by Exit Numbers
As you’re approaching an exit, click the POI button and get the inside scoop on places to eat, fueling stations, bowling alleys, coffee shops, city parks, and thousands of other “things to do”.
So what makes this GPS unit RV-specific?
Enter custom information specific to your RV to keep you driving legally and safely, like:
Height, Width and Length
Total Length with Trailer or Dinghy
Visual and audible warnings for speed limit changes, sharp curves, dirt roads, and other potential hazards most RVers don’t want to encounter. Special routing keeps you away from low clearance bridges, weight restrictions, flammable liquid restrictions, and several other RV specific road restrictions.
RV-specific POIs from dump stations to Wal-Mart’s that allow overnight camping.
A large, high-def screen, big buttons, and loud speaker to compensate for front engine RVs.
Lifetime map updates.
If you’re driving an RV or towing a trailer, an RV-specific GPS unit is a must. The good news is if you haven’t purchased one yet, Rand McNally just launched a new model that’s even better than the RVND 7710 we have (dang!).