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Garmin RV GPS or Not


dewdev
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Garmin makes GPS specifically for RV traveling, i.e. the RV 1090, RV 890 and RV 780.

Garmin claims that when you program the unit to indicated you are pulling a travel trailer (or have a RV) they will only show roads that are ok for RV traveling.

These units also include "Ultimate Campgrounds" software that has a number of campgrounds listed on it across the U.S. (and Canada I think)

I presently have a standard GPS in my vehicle and trying to decide if it is worth buying one of these RV GPS for my future touring across the U.S. and Canada.

Does anyone use these GPS and what do you think of them?

Are these RV GPS are a good investment?

Thanks

Richard

2018 Oliver Elite II, Hull #354 

2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi, 3.92 gear ratio

 

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Richard - 

I've actually got two of the Garmin GPS devices with the latest being the 890.  These are in addition to GPS being in each of our vehicles  as they came from the factory and a cellphone GPS.

Out of all of the above I prefer and rely on the 890 the most.  Yes, I still carry and refer to paper maps but for "on the fly" directions plus all of the additional information that this unit provides, I find it hard to believe that I'll ever be without one in the future.  On this Forum some time ago, I detailed a situation where my Garmin GPS was telling me to "take the next exit" and I thought that I knew better.  About a half mile further down the road the traffic came to a stop and it was then that I realized what the Garmin was trying to tell me.

As you mention,  the 890 includes several "apps" that I've also used to find campgrounds, places to eat and things to do all of which can be used without cell service.

I HIGHLY recommend both Garmin and the 890.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Our first "GPS unit" was a GPS receiver on the dash connected by serial cable to a laptop mounted on the van's doghouse. Then there were several iterations of standalone GPS devices. Now we use Google Maps connected to the truck's display screen. The Garmins make some sense towing a tall fifth wheel but I don't see the need when towing something as small as an Ollie. 

Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

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I have an older Garmin RV gps, I quickly disabled all those functions and just use it as a regular nav unit. The Garmin RV functions are frustrating and irritating beyond belief, but actual navigation usability and up to date maps are a big plus.. I think that anyone relying on a phone app that requires cellular data will not be happy for long out west where it often fails, or in major parts of Canada where that simply doesn’t work at all.

My 2013 Land Cruiser has a built in nav, I hardly ever use it because it is awkward and super expensive to update, requiring a dealer visit. If I had a truck with Carplay, I would stream GAIA to it…..

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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I also carry an older Garmin that I keep up to date for occasional use out west.  We rely on the CarPlay display of Apple Maps or Google maps and sometimes Waze.  The GPS in my Ram and Audi were out of date the day I drove them off the lot.  Why pay the dealer for updates, use that cash for a new Garmin.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMS

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Bill, since you've had a few Garmin, would you say that the newer models are easier to use than the older ones?

We've had several brands of GPS. None rv specific. Some better than others. Our newest one is now probably 5 years old, and probably do for replacement . I  use my phone when possible,  because it's so much easier than the Garmin interface,  but we normally run a gps, also, as a backup for the many times that signal is lost.

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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LIVE TRAFFIC AND WEATHER 

When paired with the Garmin Drive app on a compatible smartphone, live traffic helps you avoid delays and find detours. Also, view detailed weather forecasts, current conditions, animated radar and more.

How well does this work? My old 660(?) requires a wired computer connection (not a portable device) to update maps and the traffic info requires a special bulky “antenna cable”. I paid $5 for the optional weather display (transmitted by the Garmin phone app) and was dismayed to see that it is a still image and only functions at a scale of 20+miles. That is totally useless for searching out thunderstorm cells in front of you….

Does the weather radar OVERLAY the current map and route, and can you zoom way in?

I would buy a new one just for these features, and the ability to view in portrait mode would be nice.

Oh yeah, and a functional voice command system would be great, mine is at best 50% accurate at recognizing words. At least it gets the country right, when we went up into BC last August it did say “What city in ….. Canada?” I have found that my  “Garmin Gertie” is not the brightest kid on the block.

FYI, in the past when a Garmin device becomes heavily discounted everywhere, it usually means a new model is close to being announced. You might want to hold off so that you have the latest technology.

Thanks,

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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Thanks all for your input. Based on the inpurt, I am going to purchase a Garmin RV GPS sometime before next spring.

I am going to call Garmin to see if the 890 is going to be updated/replaced soon.

Richard

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2018 Oliver Elite II, Hull #354 

2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi, 3.92 gear ratio

 

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Google Maps does allow you to download the map data for use where cellular service is unavailable. Of course, that only works if you anticipate the problem...

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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52 minutes ago, Steph and Dud B said:

Google Maps does allow you to download the map data for use where cellular service is unavailable. Of course, that only works if you anticipate the problem...

Downloading detailed “offline” maps in any quantity takes a whole LOT of data and even more time. A fast wifi connection is best, and that is often a problem when you are on the road. In BC we had the hardest time finding ANY public wifi, and the commercial campgrounds had it, but it was about $5 per day and had a very low data limit. Enough for web browsing and maybe a low res movie download, but no more. The Provincial Parks have none at all.

The USA is not as much a problem, but don’t expect to download a bunch of maps sitting outside of a Starbucks or public library, that isn’t viable. Neither are commercial CGs, they are usually so busy that their systems bog down and stall out. A stand-alone GPS never has these problems. Plus you have more time to enjoy your vacation without having to worry about a cell signal vanishing.

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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I successfully use my phone without cell coverage as a navigation device via GAIA GPS while riding my adventure motorcycle in unconnected parts of the country.  You can download the maps onto your phone and use the gps within the phone to navigate.  You can also download rudimentary maps from Google Maps for the same purpose and I have had good luck with that as well. I also use a Garmin XT on the bike which is awesome.  Bottom line: If you’re traveling in non-cell areas you can still get great utilization from your phone’s GPS, it just takes a bit of planning.   Google Maps download: https://support.google.com/maps/answer/6291838?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform%3DAndroid&oco=1  GAIA GPS: https://www.gaiagps.com/

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Patrick and Danielle Wolfe / 2022 LE II Tail #22-1052 / 2016 Chevy Silverado 1500 5.3L Tow pkg w/ 3.42 Rear 

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5 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

Bill, since you've had a few Garmin, would you say that the newer models are easier to use than the older ones?

I'd say that the newer ones (890 in my case) are easier to use.  The 8 inch screen is very helpful since I often travel (RV wise) alone.  But, a friend of mine who has an 890 has told me that his navigator finds the 890 very easy to pull off its magnetic mount to search for "next exit" info or campground info or where to eat info.  All of these are accessible via "apps" and really do not get in the way of the "normal" GPS function.

 

4 hours ago, John E Davies said:

How well does this work?

The traffic information on the 890 works better than my older Garmin (via the cord which I really didn't find to all that "bulky").  If I have found an "issue" with the newer Garmin it would be that there have been occasions when the Garmin alerts me to traffic congestion some 30 miles ahead but it is "cleared" by the time I get there.  I guess I'd rather have that kind of warning than only giving me a couple of minutes or no warning at all, but ...

 

4 hours ago, John E Davies said:

Does the weather radar OVERLAY the current map and route, and can you zoom way in?

I don't know the answer that.  I've only used the weather function when I've been stopped - at a camp or at a gas station - and have not had the need to zoom in or out in that I'm usually only interested in what the weather will be tomorrow or for the next couple of days.

 

4 hours ago, John E Davies said:

I would buy a new one just for these features, and the ability to view in portrait mode would be nice.

The portrait mode is super for looking way on down the road.  But, I usually use the 890 in landscape mode because I can zoom in or out when needed and with the 8 inch screen there is usually enough room to see far enough ahead.

 

4 hours ago, John E Davies said:

FYI, in the past when a Garmin device becomes heavily discounted everywhere, it usually means a new model is close to being announced. You might want to hold off so that you have the latest technology.

Last Holiday season when the 890 was fairly new to the market, Garmin also discounted it - I think it was a discount similar to the $100 for this year.  Also, other Garmin devices have been discounted from time to time without any hint of a new model coming out.

 

4 hours ago, John E Davies said:

a functional voice command system would be great, mine is at best 50% accurate at recognizing words.

Honestly - I have not used voice commands very often.  Perhaps its because I've tended to avoid ANY of these because I've found them to be frustrating and temperamental at best.  Still a technology that needs improvement in what can be a noisy environment.

Finally, I do have an "emergency" cellphone that I always have "on" while in the truck - it is how Ford dials 911 for you in the event of an accident if nothing else.  Depending on cell coverage out West is a bit problematic in that you can never be "certain" when you will have coverage and when you wouldn't.  Downloading maps ahead of time both takes time and planning and memory in the phone that (generally) I don't have - my cellphone is a cheapie since it doesn't take a $1000 phone to dial 911.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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I contacted Garmin and they said that the RV 890 $100 discount is a short term promotion they are putting on for the holidays.

They said there is no plan to discontinue the 890 for a new model. 

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2018 Oliver Elite II, Hull #354 

2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi, 3.92 gear ratio

 

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Another point about the 890:

If you are thinking about a rearview camera or want an additional camera without adding yet another screen to your tow vehicle's cockpit then you can get the Garmin (or compatible) BC-35 camera.  However, there are two "catches" with this camera:

1.  The resolution is not very good.  That doesn't specifically bother me in that I really don't need to read the license plate of the guy behind me.  It is good enough to see that kid or tree or rock or cars/trucks when changing lanes.  But, it certainly is not as sharp as the Furion.  Then again, the BC-35 is about $150 and fairly easy to install.

2.  Speaking of install - the camera is hard wired to the WiFi sending unit.  And, this sending unit is not considered to be water proof.  So, if you are going to mount the camera on the rear of the Ollie - what do you do with the WiFi sending unit?  Sure, place it in the attic right under the camera that is on the outside.  But, with the distance from there to the tow vehicle cockpit plus the amount of "stuff" (like the foil faced insulation inside the Oliver) the transmission of the WiFi signal is not strong.  So, even though Garmin says that an extension cable is not available for the sending unit to camera connection, there is ONE that will work.  Unfortunately, I found out that you can only use one six and a half foot extension cable due to the voltage drop caused by using more.  In turn, this means that I could only extend the WiFi sending unit from the attic to the front kitchen cabinet.  The good news is that this was enough to allow the 890 to receive the camera signal.  Note that the extension cable's male end is just a tad too big for the female end of the Garmin - a little very light sanding of the exterior of the extension cable solved this problem.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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I don't have the Garmin 890, but do have a Garmin that will do just about everything for $200. Now here is the kicker, we use AppleCarPlay 95% of the time over the Garmin and plays on the big screen in our vehicles, it works great. I know the Garmin RV has some features that might be useful, but really in todays world just about everything can be found on your phone. 

trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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48 minutes ago, Trainman said:

but really in todays world just about everything can be found on your phone. 

As long as you have (1) a cellphone with you and (2) a cellphone signal that is strong enough.

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Here is a great review, from the point of view of a big motorhome. I do wish a nav unit could warn of "dead end no trailer turn around" situations. That is a feature that would be incredibly useful IMHO.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeReHXvyztA

John Davies

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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I recently purchased the 780. As far as I can tell, it is mostly the same as the 890 except for a smaller screen.

The old TomTom failed a couple years ago. This last year we used Google maps  and Carplay exclusively, but were of course limited in areas of no reception. Of which there are still quite a few, especially out west. (In our experience, cell phones  will work on GPS in an area without coverage if already programmed for a route; they’ll lose the map if you turn the phone off in an area of no coverage). I suspect the RV functions on the 780 will turn out to be mostly gimmicks, but I liked the higher screen resolution compared to less expensive GPSs. There’s also something to be said for comparing google and Garmin routes, especially in urban areas.

I would not want a bigger unit than the 780 on our pickup’s dash. The 780 is almost too large as it is. 

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2021 Oliver LE2
Ram 2500 diesel

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  • 4 weeks later...

We upgraded to the Garmin 890 before our Dec trip to FL from OK. We really liked it and enjoyed the additional features and bigger screen size.  It also has a great magnetic holder/charger that makes it easy for the navigator to remove and search for and input new destinations while traveling.

BUT - we were upgrading from a Garmin Nuvi 1450 that we had been using since 2009  so just about any "modern" GPS would impress us.😂

We do use our Iphone  Google maps sometimes but find GPS usage faster and more accurate at times. Except in 2010 we let the old Garmin take us, on two different occasions,   to a small airport in the  Orlando area - instead of to Disney World. At least we had plenty of turn around space.

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Scott&Ricki

2017 Legacy Elite II Twin, Hull 225, The Bus 
2007 Tundra 
Prev: 2003 Casita, 2009 Weekend Warrior 

 

 

 

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We've had similar experiences,  with gps and Google maps. Each have taken us to places we should not have ventured. I will say, our latest gps is 4 or 5 years old. 

We still carry paper maps. Sometimes, we  even use them.😁

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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13 hours ago, ScottRicki said:

It also has a great magnetic holder/charger that makes it easy for the navigator to remove and search for and input new destinations while traveling.

Yes, this is a great feature - but - be a bit careful in that the battery in the 890 does not last all that long when disconnected from power.  Certainly it lasts long enough for the navigator to look up things like campgrounds or gas stations or even places to eat or things to do.  But, be sure to put it back on its mount when the job is done.

My 890 has not taken me down a "strange" road  - yet.  On many occasions I will use the 890 while at the same time using the navigation system in my F-150.  At least 95 percent of the time they agree, but, when they don't and when I don't have a good idea of where to go, I'll always rely on the Garmin.  Certainly this is true when the Garmin tells me to take a detour.  But, here again, be a bit careful with this "feature" in that if the Garmin tells you that there is a "traffic problem" some 30 miles down the road - just keep an eye on it for the next 15 miles or so.  I've found that more often than not many of these "traffic problems" will clear by the time I get there.

Finally, probably the single most useful feature that I've found with the 890 is in getting gas.  On longer trips I generally do not have a navigator.  The big screen really comes in handy in both reading it and hitting the "buttons" (or simply talking to the Garmin if I'm in traffic) while bouncing down the highway.  At around 100 miles to empty I'll start looking for a cheap (relatively) convenient gas station.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Carrie and I have been satisfied with the Garmin Overlander. It is a couple of hundred dollars more expensive. It is very nice for remote camping and boondocking, especially forrest service and BLM areas. 

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Kirk and Carrie Peterson

Twin Falls, Idaho

2018 Ram 3500, 8 foot bed with overland conversion.

Elite 2 before the end of 2022!

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