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Newbie looking for sat nav advice

Elizabeth Plum

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Elizabeth Plum - 2015-12-27 11:01 AM


We are taking delivery of a two berth motorhome in January and thinking about which type of sat nav is best for this size of vehicle. As the MH is only two berth do we need a sat nav that takes the dimensions of the vehicle?


Welcome to the Out&AboutLive forums.


It would be worth knowing the make and model of motorhome you are buying as some 2-berth designs can be pretty wide and/or high.


If (as robbo advises) the motorhome is an ordinary panel-van conversion, there should be no NEED for a sat-nav that allows vehicle dimensions to be input and is able to choose routes that are most suitable for large vehicles. Otherwise, if your motorhome is unusually wide, you MIGHT find a specialised ‘camper’ sat-nav useful, though this type of device (potentially) comes into its own when, say, a long, wide motorhome is towing a trailer/car and the combined outfit is equivalent to a large lorry.


This earlier discussion may be helpful:



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Hi Elizabeth, welcome and a happy new year with some great times in your camper. Personally I would get a proper Motorhome sat nav right from the beginning as it will be there for any future vans you may wish to switch to. Also some lanes/roads are often signed and forbidden to vehicles over 6 .5 ft wide but in our experience have flagged up on the screen. Might be prudent to spend a few pound more at the start. And the proper camper sat navs from makers such as Garmin are of a higher spec and quality than the cheaper lesser named makes.

Whatever you choose Happy Travels.




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Ask yourself why you need a satnav. My advice is to try without one for a while. You are unlikely to come to any harm if you read the road. After a while, you will know what you want from a satnav.


In the UK, I use maps or my own knowledge of routes. I avoid all unclassified roads unless I know them. I have a £90 Garmin car satnav which is useful for working out times of arrival and is very good at finding places in built up areas. The satnav spends most of its time in a cupboard because it is poor at finding the best route for a motorhome. I'd probably use a good quality satnav on the Continent.


The more you intend relying on the satnav, the more you should spend on features like speed of updating directions en route, vehicle dimensions, and route planning. Free updated maps seem to be the norm now. Screen size will depend on how much you rely on the screen compared to voice instructions; my screen is 5" but I think I'd struggle in the van with anything smaller.


I'm a firm believer in buy what you need when it comes to motorhoming. Otherwise you end up with a pile of junk waiting for the next car boot sale.


Enjoy your new van and let us know how you get on.

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One thing to consider about Satnavs is that you don't necessarily need to follow its directions for an A - B route. (unless your hopelessly lost of course, then its invaluable!)


I use a Satnav for trips on motorcycle, car and campervan but generally I'll upload the route that I want to take, rather than the one which the device wants to send me on.

Its an easy function of most Satnavs now to upload your own routes from i.e. Google maps etc on a PC or laptop, and setting it to take you on all of your preferred detours or scenic alternatives, rather than the devices quickest/shortest suggestions.


Its a best of both worlds solution IMHO and has worked for me over 1000's of miles of travel.


Just a thought! ;-) ........



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Hi and Welcome to the Forum.

I.M.O it does not Matter which Sat Nav you get they all have some irk that you wont like, our Pioneer came fitted in the Dash so no choice, but it has the UK and all of Europe covered. But we also have a back up Sat Nav which I bought from E Bay on another Motorhomers,s recommendation, which is aimed at HGV drivers as you can put in your weight, height width etc, I have not had the opportunity to test as yet as our Pioneer works well but in need of updating, which on some Models can be expensive , so that is one area to check before purchasing, they say you get what you pay for as there are so many Chinese imports some of which are really good some mediocre, have look on E Bay , this link will take you there ,  good luck in your choice.



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There are as many opinions on this as there are members on here!


I have only been motorhoming for 50 years and I still have a lot to learn but one of the best things, if not THE best thing I ever bought some 10 years ago was a sat nav and i'm still only on my second one!


Nothing complicated, nothing fancy, just a plain and simple basic TomTom (or Garmin) to cover the areas we visit - Western Europe in our case - and although my current TomTom is now some 5 years old it still guides us as accurately, faultlessly and safely as ever it did wherever we go.


Like a map, a sat nav is of course only a navigation AID, and it's use requires the application of common sense by it's operator - so if it wants you to use a road that looks iffy to you, or a route that disregards a road sign suggesting you don't go that way - best to apply said common sense and ignore it!


Like many others we see no need to splash out on a posh HGV derived sat nav, but that is your choice, whatever you feel comfortable with.


Accuracy apart, the other really great benefit is that neither driver or passenger needs have their head burried in route list or an atlas so you can both relax, look out the windows to see the scenery, observe road signs, and enjoy the drive and we would not go anywhere without out trusty TomTom.


It has never had it's maps updated and when we do come across a 'new' bit of road it is just common sense again to see where we are and where we need to go and even when new the maps are often out of date anyway! That too is a personal choice.


Many folks prefer to use a smart phone or tablet these days and apparently they work well for navigation but personally I still prefer the dedicated sat nav and keep the phone as a back up. Again your own personal choice.

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i agree with Richard....i have a very old tomtom One v3 which is xxx years old and is my 'car' sat nav, bit also doubles as a back up device for the larger screened tom tom that i use in the van.

neither are other thwn basic devices,both have the same large number of POI files added by me (aires, sites etc) and have never needed more than this to tour europe extensively....

dedicated 'camper' devices are a bot of a rip off IMHO...

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Hi, I have been through several different ones from early Garmin Quest, then a Mio, then the current one which is Snooper Ventura.


of the 3 , the one I favoured was the garmin, but it was so outof date, .. I liked it because it was possible to plot a route on computer screen, then bend it to suit my preferences, then transfer to the unit in the van.


mio had the advantage of being able to load your own pois, but again got outdated by more modern devices.


Snooper was purchased shortly after it appeared as it offered the ability to enter vehicle parameters.

However it lacks flexibility for entering your own poi, .. and has a very convoluted way of programming a multypoint route..it can be done but what a headache!!.


Pois have to be download from snooper and you cant create your own list as you can with garmin devices.


my recommendation would be to go for a Garmin device, something like their garmin camper thing, shop around for it, via amazon or ebay for example.


whichever device you get, just remember it is only a guide, and use your own judgement as to whether to follow it blindly.. it can only be as clever as the idiot who programmed it.!


Enjoy you outings wherever it takes you and drive safely.






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Hi Elizabeth & I also add my welcome to the forum. You have ordered a Tribute that is now built on the newish X290 Fiat Ducato cab. I have a Tom Tom Go 60 as there were no maps of Australia from Fiat when we purchased our AT Tracker, also built on a Fiat Ducato. The Ducato has a very difficult to read speedo so I use the GPS to show the speed compared to the posted speed, both shown on the GPS when a trip is activated. They do offer great assistance when finding your way into a city you are not familiar with. I also find the distance left & ETA useful. So based on the above I think you would be well advised to go ahead with purchasing a GPS.


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Elizabeth Plum - 2015-12-27 3:40 PM


Thanks Derek. We are buying an Autotrail Tribute 615.


A Tribute 615 is reasonably short (6.34m) but quite wide (2.35m) and surprisingly tall for a 2-berther (3.03m/Lo-Line or 3.10m/Hi-Line).


There are currently not that many ‘camper’ sat-nav devices and - although I wouldn’t bother with one myself - George’s advice that you might as well opt for one now makes good sense, particularly when they can sometimes to purchased relatively cheaply on special offer




You haven’t said whether you already have a sat-nav, but this might influence which ‘camper’ device would best suit you. If you were used to, say, a Garmin device (and were happy enough with it) choosing a Garmin ‘camper’ model should make the transition easier.

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