This post describes my research and experience picking the best naviation system travelling in a campervan.
Finding a good navigation system is quite important travelling around in a campervan. While I did quite a big research finding the best solution for me, I didn’t realize its importance before being on tour!
This is why a good navigation system is important:
- Easy and clear guidance on a big screen
- Reliable with good GPS antenna
- Dimension based route functionality taking into account height, width and length of your vehicle
- Easy to use with plenty of camping POI (point of interest)
- Solid “made for purpose” build
- Lifetime updates of international maps
- Live traffic updates with redirection options
Safety is of course number one reason to buy a good navigation system. Driving a new place can at times be stressful. Perhaps the terrain is difficult, traffic could be bad, perhaps the weather is also bad and you like to reach the destination soon and not miss any exits. In this case a big screen, that gives you easy reliable directions is really key!
I found the Garmin Camper 660 LMT-D 6″ GPS system to check all of the boxes above. I have previously had both TomTom and Garmin GPS systems and always preferred the Garmin directions. A new version, 770 LMT-D, has been released since my purchase but it is more expensive, has more or less the same features and includes a 7″ screen which I found a bit too big.
I researched a wide range of options for purchasing the best camper dedicated GPS navigation system. This also included various apps for smartphones / tablets as well as ordinary GPS systems. While the app based navigation was appealing because of price, flexible solutions and centralizing several functionalities into one unit then I went away from the idea because of exactly this as well as reliability issues. It is just easier to have a dedicated unit for navigation than a can-do-it-all (app based smartphone/ tablet) device. A meant-for-purpose devices (like a dedicated GPS system) is often times also more reliable. I really appreciated my choice when driving around in 40 degrees Celsius with an extremely warm GPS unit in the windscreen. While the Garmin unit worked without any problems then my phone/ tablet would definitely have over heated with no navigation as a result. A regular car navigation system would do fine in most cases but I valued the speciel “big vehicle” warnings such as windy / narrow/ steep roads as well as the dimension based route functionality. Imagining ending a camper trip (as well destroying the van) stucked beneath a bridge because of a few seconds negligence missing a height warning sign was unbearable to think of.
I also realized the need for a big 6″ screen given the distance to the windscreen is much greater than with a normal car.
If you found the post useful and are about to buy a navigation system, doing so from one of the above links will help keep this blog running. The post has not been sponsored and is purely my own experience using the Garmin product.