Owning a motorhome or RV comes with a certain lifestyle. Not only are you doing your common tasks day to day, you also depend on your motorhome for mobility. When your home becomes your primary method of transportation, you need to take extra precautions. Not having some sort of security or surveillance system is risky seeing as your most prized possessions are the most visible.
If you are like the millions of other RV owners, you spend a considerable amount of time on the road traveling. Having that freedom and flexibility to explore different parts of the world in an inexpensive way is one of the best perks of being mobile. And while it is much cheaper to fly to different cities, driving places can come with its own indirect costs.
Just because you have a large vehicle doesn’t mean you are less likely to get in an accident. Horrible drivers will always exist and somehow will be drawn towards your vehicle.
Being a heavy vehicle means even with defensive driving, you can’t react as fast as other, lighter cars. And unfortunately, when you do get in accident, there can be more damage done. Having a dash cam can protect you from other drivers where you can report accidents or dangerous drivers. You can show proof of innocence if someone cuts you off. Besides having the dash cam while driving, a proper setup can double as a surveillance system to ensure there are no bad actors when you do park for the night.
Why do you need a RV dash cam?
Recording Road Accidents
The most primary reason why people install dash cams is to protect themselves on the road. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Motorhomes are large vehicles and anyone who drives them knows that smaller cars aren’t the most respectful of you on the road. In the off chance there is an accident, you have an unbiased road perspective.
This is really important for insurance purposes, law enforcement interactions or even just establishing fault or innocence. Be careful though; video footage can often be a double edged sword if you were actually at fault.
Guarding your vehicle when away
A little extra time properly installing a dash cam can provide big dividends in the future. While you do live in the RV, you may not spend every single second inside. There are times where you go on a hike, a swim, or have to do errands. Are there valuables in your RV? How often do you lock your RV? How would you know if someone broke in?
Parking mode is a luxury feature that can detect motion and we will talk more about that later.
Makes you a better driver
The biggest fear I have when driving large vehicles like a motorhome is the lack of visibility on my sides and in the rear. Depth perception is a little bit hard and having multiple cameras really helped my driving, especially when reversing into parking spaces or tight corners.
You can also review footage previously recorded and really determine if that near accident you had was your fault or not.
Dash cam Motorhome Features
Most dash cams are a single-camera setup, positioned to capture the road in front. For many driver’s this is a fine solution that covers many different situations. For mobilehome owners, the slightly more expensive option of having a multi-cam setup can pay for itself.
The most popular option in a RV is a dual channel system. This involves have a front facing dashboard camera capturing the road and having the second unit facing the rear. This setup can be multi-functional and double as a backup camera. Otherwise, if you are driving it can pick up any cars tail gating you or if you are parked any suspicious activity outside near your bedroom.
Another common placement of the second unit near the RV entrance. No one expects it, but if someone decides to enter your RV without your permission you’ll want to have some sort of security system to capture that. While all mobilehomes have locks, they aren’t known to have the most secure ones and with enough effort or a little forgetfulness, someone may burglarize your home. Having a security camera near the door ensures the most populated area is covered.
For those who want even extra coverage, there are systems out there that allow you to continually add security cameras to your RV, so you aren’t limited by a dual channel system.
Nearly 25 million Americans will be traveling across the country every year in RVs and often to places they know little about. Often called “modern nomads”, mobile home owners spend a lot of time on highways traveling across interstates. While most people don’t rely on physical maps to navigate, there’s a better solution than using your phone as a navigation device.
Screen size, battery life, lack of GPS tracking features and the inability to use the phone’s other features are some inconveniences of using a phone. Why not have a device that includes dash cam capabilities?
Garmin is a popular navigation device brand that combines the best of both worlds. When deciding on a dash cam for your motorhome, consider pairing it with navigation. You’ll be surprised on how many features can be packed into one device.
And since the GPS tracking navigation is built within a dash cam, the navigation system can utilize the footage to provide traffic or lane notifications in real time. A bit tired and drifting out of your lane? Dash cams with navigation will often have lane assist and notify you.
Image quality during the day and especially during the night is important for those who spend a lot of time on the road. Owning a RV means there are instances where you can save time by driving at night when traffic is minimal.
Trusting your dash cam is capturing the road in front of you is vital as accidents occur at nighttime almost 4 times than daytime. Anytime there’s a time of the day that increases the risk 4-fold, you’ll want to be sure you can properly record it.
When looking for night vision features, you’ll want to concentrate on F-Stop which is otherwise known as lens aperture. Aperture decides how much light is allowed into the camera lens. In all low light situations, the more light it lets in, the more clear and high quality the image becomes.
Look for cameras that have a F-Stop of F/2.0 or F/1.8, the lower being the better.
Parking mode is a feature where the dash cam will record even when the vehicle is off. Typically, you can either set to always record or it will record when it detects motion in front of the camera.
This feature is crucial for a motorhome because you are using the dash cam as a security system as well. And what do security systems do? They record at all times or when they detect motion.
The one thing you have to keep in mind when trying to use parking mode is that constant power is needed to run your security system. Dash cams don’t hold a charge by itself for long. Your mobilehome will have electrical outlets making this an easy problem to work around, but if for some reason you don’t, you can hardwire your dash cam.
Hardwiring your dash cam involves tapping into your vehicle’s fusebox and plugging in a hardwire kit to a fuse that is constantly “hot” or feeding power.
Garmin RV 785
We’re going to start off with a brand that is known for its navigation abilities, the Garmin RV 785. We love the Garmin ventured into the dash cam realm as they understand their products are making drivers safer.
The navigation features of this system are miles ahead of what you can easily access with a smartphone. Garmin offers accessible nearby locations of RV parks, campgrounds and integrates with services such as TripAdvisor or Foursquare.
In terms of routing, the navigation system will direct you in safe routes suited for your motorhome’s weight and size. Also it will provide you road warnings of sharp curves, or steep hills and road weight limits.
And you can even harness your smart phone’s power in this unit if you decide to. The Garmin allows you to pair with your smartphone to make and take phone calls or utilize voice navigation. The dash cam has the main features like loop recording, G-Sensor and GPS integration.
While this doesn’t have a second camera, if you prioritize safe driving and navigation over potential security aspects, then the Garmin RV 785 is for you.
Amtifo FHD 1080P
The Amtifo system isn’t your typical dash cam setup, in fact its made to be a wireless backup camera setup. But we can repurpose this for a RV security system, a dash cam, along as a backup camera, all-in-one!
How does one go about this? Well, the great thing about this unit is that you can add up to 4 dash cams to the system. For our purposes, the most we would have are 3 cameras, one in the front, one in the rear, and one covering the trailer entrance. The great thing about these cameras is that they are wireless! You won’t have to mess with connecting wires back to the main DVR unit.
Each of the dash cams are small and discrete and feature a IP69 rating, meaning its very waterproof and dust resistant. It also includes infrared sensors for excellent night vision.
You can view all of this in a split screen on the massive 7 inch 1080p video resolution monitor.
As we are utilizing this system for several functions, the dash cam functionality isn’t as robust. Recording is standard, but doesn’t have features like motion detection or shock detection. It unfortunately doesn’t come with a SD card, so you’ll have to source one yourself. We recommend any other SD card besides Sandisk.
We really love this system for those who can give up some of the dash cam functionality to prioritize a complete security system. If you drive a Class A RV or motorhome, the wireless cameras will come in handy for you.
CHORTAU Dual Dash Cam
The CHORTAU dash cam is more in line with a traditional set up. It is a dual camera setup with a small form factor secondary camera for navigating small areas. It is also waterproof so don’t worry about mounting outside. The rear camera also features IR LED lights and WDR or Wide Dynamic Range. WDR means that the image that is recorded captures colors more accurately as the lens is more sensitive.
The front camera sports a super wide angle lens at 170 degrees ensuring maximum frontal coverage. As expected, this dash cam comes with all the software functionality you would expect in a dash cam including Parking Mode, Loop Recording, G-Sensor and more.
At a super budget price, we like the CHORTAU dash cam because RV and motorhome owners can utilize the second camera as extra security or a backup camera. Since it is weatherproof, mounting it outside is no problem. While it doesn’t have navigation, it ticks most of boxes for a security system while checks all boxes for a dash cam setup.
eRapta 1080P Front and Rear Dash Camera
At a great price, this dash cam comes with a front and rear unit. Unlike the Amtifo, the front dash cam is built into the main unit. Adding additional units is optional.
Like many of the other options, the individual camera units are all waterproof, IP69 rated. What stood out to me on these units were the night vision capabilities. At a F/2.0 with 8 IR lights, these cameras can deliver high quality night time footage.
The huge 7 inch screen provides easy access to your outside cameras. You can also review the footage on your screen as well for quick playback.
So that’s the end of the deep dive into the best dash cams for RV owners. What I’ve tried to do is cover a variety of options and hopefully one of those suit your needs. Some of these setups are more security focused, while others are more navigation focused.
Each has their plus and minus, but I hope you can make a more informed decision going forward.