RVs are rather on the large side and reversing them into tight small spaces is neither easy, nor fun.
Frustration aside, it can be very dangerous backing up an RV. Standard RV mirrors are very small and there are lots of potential obstacles, or even people, that can be in the way.
The solution is an RV backup camera to give you an extra pair of eyes and added visibility.
But are RV backup cameras worth it? They can be invaluable, providing peace of mind to the driver and a safer driving experience. The cost of damage caused by reversing can be high. The added security and safety from a backup camera can reduce accidents and as a result reduce insurance costs.
In this post we’ll look at the reasons why an RV backup camera can make a big difference but also what to avoid when choosing one.
Why RV Backup Cameras are Worth the Money
We’ve already touched upon the fact these cameras are worth it, but here are some of the benefits of installing and using one on for your next RV trip:
- Extra visibility when driving is always a plus
- Reduce potential accidents when reversing in blind spots
- Helps reduce harm to objects, and more importantly, people
- Checking for tailgaters, especially when braking
- They are relatively low cost for the benefits they provide
- Checking outside your RV, particularly at night
Types of Backup Cameras for Your RV
There are two main types of RV backup camera which are wired cameras and wireless.
Both of course have benefits.
Wired Backup Cameras
A wired camera does not rely on any type of signal between the camera and the monitor, they can be more difficult to install, as the wire will need to be pinned throughout the RV.
They often produce a better-quality display because the signal comes straight from the camera.
As almost all new backup cameras are wireless today, it means wired cameras often aren’t as technologically advanced as their wireless counterparts.
You’ll more than likely find wired cameras for sale at yard sales and second-hand marketplaces.
Wireless Backup Camera
A wireless camera can be easier to install, and although has the issue of a potential problems with connectivity, in the main the signal is very reliable even in proximity to other signal transmitting devices throughout your motorhome.
Backup Camera Features as Standard
Here are some of the benefits available which helps add more weight to the argument of why RV cameras are worth it to almost all RV owners:
- Full Color HD 720p or 1080p screen
- 5-inch or 7-inch monitor size
- Recording ability, straight on to an SD memory card
- Night vision
Back Up Camera Image Quality – is it any good?
The image quality is surprisingly good!
Years ago, back in the day, backup cameras gave the driver a grainy black and white image on a small screen, often smaller than cell phones are today.
They did the job, and were better than guesswork, but as technology has changed so have the quality. Fortunately for the better.
Almost all new RV backup camera have a full color HD display in either 720p or 1080p and almost always come with night vision.
Night-time driving and reversing has always been always notoriously bad in an RV.
With visibility down to almost nothing, a good reversing camera with night-vision can make such a difference.
What To Avoid
Although these cameras add so much value to an RV driving experience, come with great features and help bring peace of mind when reversing – there are some things you need to be aware of and to avoid.
Depending on the size of your RV there may be quite a distance between the camera at the rear, and the display monitor at the front.
You need to find a camera with a range that covers the length of your RV as well as looking at perhaps a longer range if you are regularly using lots of other signal generating devices such as laptops, tablets and smart TVs.
You may not need the full length but on the whole the longer the range of the wireless backup camera, the stronger the signal.
The second-hand marketplace, like eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are great ways to save money on lots of gadgets and devices.
It’s so tempting to save money but still get a camera to do the job.
Although there is nothing wrong with buying on the second-hand marketplace and saving some money, technology changes and changes fast.
A backup camera manufactured 5 years ago will be severely lacking in features compared with today’s models.
You need to do your due diligence. Second-hand market ads can tend to ‘sell-up’ the item and creatively exaggerate its ability to do the job.
Take note of the make and model and search for the item online.
You first want to compare the second-hand listing with the full price version. Time and time again I’ve seen second-hand listing prices higher than buying brand new from sellers online, especially during sales.
Check the features and compare against the features on the bestselling models today (see below).
It just doesn’t make sense to save $20 to lose out on enhanced features, like night vision.
Best RV Back Up Cameras Compared
Here’s an at-a-glance comparison at the latest RV backup cameras on the market including some of the features and screen sizes.
The categories are split between my choices for best budget, best screen size and best brand name.
Please note: The Haloview MC709, shown in the table below, is the latest 2020 model. Although the Haloview MC708 has more reviews on Amazon – and often reviewed by other blogs (incorrectly as it was manufactured way back in 2018) it has now been superseded by the MC709 model, which is the version you will find I have included below!
|My Best Category
|Yes – HD
|More Info on Amazon
|AMTIFO A8 FHD
|Yes – HD
|Best Screen Size
|More Info on Amazon
|Yes – HD
|Best Brand Name
|More Info on Amazon
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use backup camera while driving?
Yes, you can use a backup camera whilst you are driving. A backup camera helps check for approaching traffic, tailgating, as well as emergency service vehicles needing to safely pass.
Do RV backup cameras have night vision?
Almost all new backup cameras have night vision as standard. This will be either color night vision, IR (InfraRed) or black and white. Reversing an RV in at night can be dangerous which is why a camera with night vision can prevent accidents from happening.
Does a backup camera record?
Many of the latest model backup cameras do record. Footage is recorded on to an SD card stored in the camera. The length of recording time possible will be based on the memory available on the SD card.
How much are back up cameras?
Prices vary between make and model, but you can expect to pay between $100 and $250 for a back up camera depending on brand, screen size and additional features such as night vision or sound.
There are very little negatives when it comes to deciding whether to install a backup camera in your RV.
Safety should be paramount when driving and a rear camera will help give you visibility in areas you just can’t see when driving a big a vehicle as an RV.
As these cameras can last their owner for several years it’s important to choose one with the best features and big enough screen size.
A 5-inch screen may be ok if it is going to be positioned close to the driver, or if like me you don’t have 20 20 vision, but a 7-inch screen may be more comfortable to use.
Whichever reversing camera you decide upon, I’m sure it will only enhance your next RV road trip!