Just before setting out on this trip I purchased a new GPS, the GARMIN RV890.
I wanted to have an alternative navigation system to Google Maps which has led us up some pretty sketchy roads (and has tried to decapitate us under at least 1 low bridge).
Ripley is a big girl (7.1m long and 3.3m high) and despite being named after a kick-arse, all-terrain movie character, our Ripley likes her adventures a little more massage-arse, level and paved.
This Garmin unit is designed specifically for motorhomes, caravans and campervans. You can enter the vehicle dimensions (weight, height, total length and road capabilities) and the unit will ensure your route does not go off script.
If you are interested in reading up on all the specs of this unit you can do so here.
But here is my FOMO; evaluation of its performance so far.
Overall, we are extremely happy with the Garmin RV890.
It has a very large 8 inch touch-screen making map reading on the road (for both driver and passenger) easy peasy. It comes with various attachment options including a hardcore suction mount. The unit sticks to the mount (and charging station) with magnets, making removal to manually input information super easy.
We really like the way the route is overlaid on a HEMA topographical map. This gives a really good feel for the terrain ahead as well as spotting any interesting POIs that we are approaching. And once you have been on the straight and narrow for a while it zooms right out to give you the big picture of where you are.
The display is highly configurable, so you can have time to destination, ETA at destination, distance remaining etc. You can also select to have display of upcoming towns (which is surprisingly useful) and its voice assistant (think Siri) lets you change destinations or waypoints hands-free on the fly.
The map shows clear and accurate icons for all the usual waypoints such as service stations, van parks, hospitals, lookouts etc. It also connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone to give you traffic and roadwork warnings, as well as providing a brief pop-up of any Txt or email messages you receive.
On the RV side, the unit flags warnings for steep grades, winding roads, narrow roads and high wind areas. To date (touch wood) the routes offered have all been compatible with Ripleys…er, sensitivities.
Really, the only problem we have found is that you cannot enter pure GPS co-ordinates as a destination. This is useful when you want to navigate to a POI, campsite or pullover that does does not have an actual address. So you can not easily transcribe a destination from Wikicamps (what is Wikicamps?).
UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that you can actually enter GPS co-ordinates (and rather easily actually)…I just needed to scroll down one screen to see the button. Lets not get Kelly started on my propensity for rushing forwards before reading the instructions. It’s our little secret OK?
Other than that we are totally happy with this unit. Kelly was initially sceptical that it would offer anything additional to using Google Maps for free (and at $799 AUD this is definitely a luxury item) but after using for a few days now, she entirely converted.
If the price is not problematic, a highly recommended bit of travelling kit.
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