Finding the best Motorhome Sat Nav should be just like finding the perfect dress; cheap, easy and guaranteed to get you where you want to go! 😉
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(Ok, ok, for all the pedantic readers out there- we haven't tried EVERY SINGLE Satellite Navigation system on the planet. That would be ridiculous. But this is the best motorhome sat nav we've found for us and we love it and highly recommend it. Let us tell you why.)
Like many people, we have family all over the country and we've tried several sat-nav systems over the years. All of them have been…ok. When we got our first motorhome, we decided to try a new system which used offline maps, worked on our existing phones or iPads AND took the width and height of our vehicle into account! Sounds too good to be true, yes?
Well, we're still using it today- all these thousands of miles later. And it only cost us £34.99
“What is it?” I can hear you screaming at the screen.
Well, it's Co-Pilot. Co-Pilot Caravan Europe to be precise.
Never heard of it? That's ok- neither had we when we first got it.
Watch the video below:
Here's a quick video of us setting up Co-Pilot and a montage of all the amazing places we've seen using Co-Pilot as our sat-nav! You can see Co-Pilot in action as we cross borders, navigate mountains and drive at night in torrential rain-storms. Seriously, we have abused this system and it's still going! (There's also a puppy update in the video… I am too good to you! ;))
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Co-Pilot is an app, which works on either Apple or Android devices. You can find it in the App Store or Google Play and pay/ download it just as you would any other app. We have the app downloaded onto an iPad (old and second-hand from CEX) and this iPad is mounted onto our dashboard in the motorhome, using this mount. (Do NOT mount it onto your windscreen or impeding the driver's view- this will get you fined in many countries throughout Europe.) You can also use the app on any phone which allows apps, so you could use a normal phone mount if you wish.
CAUTION: There are several different types of Co-Pilot available to download and although they are from the same developer, they are NOT THE SAME. For Motorhomes, campervans, Caravans and RV's in Europe, you want Co-Pilot Caravan Europe. NOT the truck one- that has tachometers and all sorts of other, totally confusing things! This applies even if your vehicle is over 3.5t, like ours- we use the Caravan version and it works great.
There is also Co-Pilot RV USA (no prizes for where that should be used!!) and Co-Pilot GPS Car Sat-Nav available to download as well, should you need them.
How to use Co-Pilot
Once downloaded, add in the dimensions of your vehicle- we add on a little extra just to be safe! You can even add in extra profiles- for example, we have one set up for Wanda (our Motorhome) with a trailer attached and without a trailer attached. We also have one set up to avoid tolls or toll roads- we used this in Switzerland last summer, but now we are over 3.5t it doesn't make much difference any more! 🙁
The app finds the best route for you based on your preferences (fastest, shortest, avoiding tolls etc) and takes the dimensions of your vehicle into account- particularly height, which is very useful.
In all our many miles of motorhoming, we've only run in trouble twice- and neither time was really the app's fault. The first time was in Wales, on our VERY FIRST Motorhome adventure. We found ourselves at the bottom of a twisty, turny, country lane which we couldn't get out of as the road the other end was far too narrow for a motorhome.
The moral of the story is to be cautious with small, narrow roads which won't be marked correctly on ANY sat-nav.
The second was in Germany, where a previously safe, passable road had been chopped in half by a railway bridge… leaving only 1.8m clearance! Funnily enough, we had to reverse our way out of that one too! But as they were still building it, the maps hadn't been updated yet.
On the right-hand side of the screen is a line, which shows you traffic incidents if you've connected that feature. The app allows you to re-route if you prefer to avoid any buildups. You can also add in waypoints or an entire route, using postcodes or GPS co-ordinates. We use GPS a lot when we're navigating to camping places found on Park4night or similar.
Are there any downsides to Co-Pilot Caravan Europe?
Honestly, not really. Initally, we used the app on our personal iPads, but decided to buy a dedicated (older) iPad to use. We keep it charging as we drive using a USB charger. If you wanted to do something similar, there would obviously be an additional charge for the iPad- I think we paid about £100. Don't forget, you need an iPad with a SIM card (or use a phone)- you need the GPS capability which comes with a GSM (Sim card).
Let me put it this way- Mr WB is the biggest gadget man alive. Seriously- he CANNOT put up with things which don't work right. There is no way we would still be using this app if he wasn't happy with it. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!!
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