Finding the Right RV Backup Camera

When it comes to finding the perfect RV backup camera system, it can feel a bit overwhelming with all the options out there. But fret not, dear reader! After countless miles on the road and far too many close calls while backing up the ol’ home on wheels, I’ve learned a thing or two about RV backup cameras.

Wireless RV Backup Camera Systems

Let’s start with wireless systems since many RVers opt for these setups. The main benefit is fairly obvious – no wires to run! This means installation is much easier compared to drilling holes and routing cables into your RV. Just stick the camera on the back, sync it up with the display screen, and you’re good to go. Most wireless systems use a radio frequency signal to transmit the video feed – similar to wifi but at a different frequency.

My favorite wireless system is the Furrion Vision S 4″ Wireless Observation System. Nice long name but basically it’s a camera/monitor combo that gives you a crisp, clear view of what’s behind you. The 4″ LCD display screen attachs to your dashboard with an adjustable swivel arm so you can position it just right.

Some key features of the Furrion:

  • 170° wide viewing angle sees from bumper to bumper
  • Night vision mode lets you see up to 15m in low light
  • Wirelessly transmits up to 65 feet to display
  • IPX7 waterproof camera housing

I’ve used the Furrion for 2 years now and it’s never let me down. The wide viewing angle is so important for safety – you can see the entire width of the RV and anything close around the corners. The night vision mode makes setting up camp in the dark so much easier too. No more relying on the old flashlight backup method!

Another nice wireless option is the EEZ RV Wireless Observation System. Now this one may not have all the bells and whistles, but it gets the job done on a budget.

Some key specs on the EEZ:

  • 5″ LCD display monitor
  • Camera night vision up to 16 feet
  • Transmits up to 45 feet
  • IP68 weatherproof camera

The EEZ isn’t going to blow you away but it’s a solid budget backup camera that installs in minutes. Just stick the magnetic camera on your rear ladder and sync it up to the display screen. Having the larger 5″ display is nice too – gives you a bit more real estate to see behind you clearly.

The main downsides of most wireless systems are shorter transmitting distances and potential interference issues. Thick steel construction in some RVs can block the wireless signal, so you’ll want to test the signal strength before permanently installing the camera. And other devices using similar wireless frequencies can potentially cause interference with the video feed.

Hardwired RV Backup Camera Systems

If wireless isn’t your thing, hardwired backup cameras use good ol’ fashioned cables to transmit video but provide some advantages. Since the camera connects directly to the display, you get longer transmitting distances – some over 100ft. This allows for more flexible camera placement options. Hardwired systems are also less prone to wireless interference.

The Furrion Vision S 7″ Wired Observation System is an excellent wired camera kit. It shares the same great camera as the wireless version, but with a larger 7″ display.

Some notable features:

  • 7″ digital TFT LCD monitor
  • Camera night vision up to 65 feet
  • IPX7 weatherproof camera housing
  • Built-in microphone for audio

I used a wired Furrion system in my first RV and loved the massive viewing angle of the camera. Having that audio feed from the microphone was handy too – I could hear if someone was behind me or if I got too close to something. The larger display felt much safer than the tiny monitors I’ve seen on some systems.

Wired cameras do require drilling holes and routing cables which can be a hassle. If your display monitor is far from the rear camera, cable runs can get complex too. There are some creative ways to hide cables in trim molding though. Just takes some planning and patience during installation.

Key Features to Look For

Alright, let’s talk features and capabilities you’ll want to prioritize in your search for the perfect backup camera system.

Wide Viewing Angle

For safety, you need the camera to show as much area behind your RV as possible. Look for viewing angles between 150-180 degrees to see corner to corner. Those cheapo cameras with 95 degree views are not going to cut it.

Night Vision

Backing up in the dark is terrifying without a good night vision camera. Look for ones with IR (infrared) night vision capabilities from 15m-65ft. The farther the better!

Display Monitor Size & Quality

A 7-10″ high resolution monitor is ideal. Small, fuzzy screens are tough to see clearly. Go as big as you can fit and opt for a digital display for crisp image quality.

Durability & Weatherproofing

Cameras mounted on an RV take a beating from road vibration, weather elements like rain and snow, and of course road debris kicking up. Look for housings with IP67, IP68, or IPX7 water/dustproof ratings. Those things can survive a hurricane!

Audio Feed

Having a microphone and speaker on the camera is super handy to hear what’s going on behind your RV. Some systems require you wire up an additional mic & speaker separately.

My Backup Camera Mistakes, So You Don’t Repeat Them!

I’ll leave you with a couple of my bonehead backup camera mistakes over the years so you can (hopefully) avoid similar blunders:

  • Cheaping out on my first camera – I bought one of those $29 specials on Amazon. Couldn’t see a darn thing on the tiny, fuzzy screen. Upgraded real quick after almost smashing into a picnic table I didn’t see behind me. Spend a few extra bucks for a quality camera.
  • Not testing the wireless signal before installing – Had a wireless system randomly lose video transmission mid-backup once because the steel in the RV blocked the signal. Test it first in the furthest spot from where you’ll mount the display.
  • Letting bugs and road gunk build up on the camera – Make sure to periodically clean off your camera lens and housing. Especially after long dusty drives, the lens can get coated in grime. A clean camera makes a HUGE difference in visibility.
  • Not using my camera every single time – get into the habit of always backing up while watching the camera, even for small adjustments. Don’t let yourself get lazy!

Alright my RVing friends, that covers the basics on picking the perfect RV backup camera system. No more flying blind and bumping into stuff behind you!

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