In this Ask Mr. Noobie post, one of our readers asks for Mr. Noobie’s suggestions for an iPad GPS app she can use to help her avoid roads with very low clearance. She needs to steer clear of routes like these because she uses an RV. Learn Mr. Noobie’s suggestions for the best GPS navigation apps for people with RVs here.
The Best GPS Apps For RV Owners
Our Reader’s Question and Mr. Noobie’s Response
QUESTION: Hi. We have a 32 ft RV that is 13 ft high. I am looking for a mapping/GPS app for my iPad that shows the height of bridges. I was using “GPS DRIVE” over the weekend and it sent us on roads that had very low clearance (11 ft). We had to back up the RV to find a turn around place. Do you know of something we can use? Thank you for your time. – Laura S. from Lockport, New York
ANSWER: This is what I love about technology. I’ve used various navigation apps, including Google Maps, for years and years and never once stopped to think that someone might need to know the height of the bridges along the route. But now that I read your question, the need for GPS navigation seems like such an obvious request, especially for people with RVs.
What GPS Navigation Apps You Can Download
Camp & RV – Tents to RV Parks – Allstays LLC: Camp & RV – Tents to RV Parks Allstays LLC Genre: TravelNavigation Release Date: 2010-05-13 © © 2018 AllStays LLC. All Rights Reserved https://t.co/oUMuCP5O19 –https://t.co/eAxczIoMlT pic.twitter.com/xCQc8zWeUZ
— Phone It Up (@PhoneItUp) April 10, 2018
There are several apps like Waze that give users valuable information for navigation; admittedly, bridge heights, tunnel clearances, or steep inclines aren’t part of its features. In-dash GPS navigation systems don’t help either.
I first thought that the answer was going to be to find a GPS navigation app that allows you to download bridge height information to it and then receive turn-by-turn directions. But after doing a little research, this doesn’t appear to be the solution.
What I did find were a couple of navigation apps that appeared to give you all of the information you need to find the bridge heights across the country. The first app is called Low Clearance Locations and the second is called Camp & RV – Tent Camping to RV Parks.
However, while these apps appear to give you the information you want — such as real-time traffic, location, directions, and more –, they don’t necessarily integrate with any kind of maps navigation which is a major bummer.
The Best All-in-One Solution
I think I struck gold though when I found the Rand McNally RV GPS app, which comes with the RV GPS devices. Unfortunately, it’s not available for use on iPhone or Android (yet!) but check out this list of features:
- Safe and easy routing for 11 types of RV, customized for the specific vehicle
- Routing based on legal and physical restrictions, such as low bridges, weight limits, and propane restrictions, and favoring right or left-hand turns depending on RV size and class
- Warnings for speed limit changes, sharp curves, dirt roads, and other potential hazards
- RV checklists–Prepare for trip departure, campsite setup, and more
Since this app comes preloaded on Rand McNally RV GPS devices, you can’t download the app for iOS or Android just yet. The GPS navigation app is also a bit pricey at $99.99, but I’m guessing if it saves you even a handful of times from having to turn around because you can’t fit under a bridge, it will be worth every penny! Perhaps more of this kind of GPS app will be available in the future.
Check out this video from Rand McNally:
Are there other GPS apps you know that offer more than real-time traffic updates and GPS navigation? Do you have a question for Mr. Noobie®? Submit your question here. You can also let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below!
Editors note: This post was originally published on June 5, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.