Selecting the Right Dash Cam for Your RV

While RVs allow you to bring your home on the road, their large size makes maneuvering tricky. Any fender bender can turn into a headache. The open road also holds unpredictable dangers like road debris and careless drivers.

A dash cam can give you vital protection. Having video footage will help settle insurance claims in your favor after accidents. Dash cams also deter vandalism and theft when parked. With advanced options like GPS tracking and interior cameras, you can even digitally log your trip’s highlights.

Key Features to Compare

Video Quality

A dash cam’s resolution determines how clear and detailed the footage appears. 720p is the minimum you want, with 1080p being preferable. Higher 4K resolution provides even crisper imagery but generates huge files that take up storage space fast.

You’ll also see specs listed for the bitrate and frames per second (FPS). A higher bitrate like 30 Mbps captures more data for better quality, while 30FPS makes motion look smoother. The downside is bigger file sizes.

I opted for a 1080p dash cam at 30FPS which gives sharp video while saving space. The footage clearly shows license plates and street signs when needed for evidence while not eating up my memory card too quickly on long trips.

Viewing Angle

A wide viewing angle lets your dash cam cover more of the road. Wider angles above 120° capture multiple lanes easily. I suggest at least 140° to record side impacts clearly.

I used a 160° camera to monitor the RV’s full width spanning two lanes. This proved handy when a pickup swerved suddenly into my side – the broad view showed I wasn’t at fault.

Some cameras boast 180°plus fisheye lenses that distort the edges. I find 160° strikes a good balance between width and undistorted video at the center.

Night Vision

Driving after dark heightens the need for a dash cam. Enhanced night vision provides crucial details in low light. Look for sensors with improved low lux rating.

Sony CMOS sensors perform far better at night than older CCD technology. For the best visibility on unlit country roads, choose one with Sony Starvis or Exmor R sensors.

InfraredNight Vision (IR) also helps in pitch blackness. An IR LED array illuminates the view with infrared light invisible to the naked eye. Just make sure the IR range is long enough for your needs – 25 feet is ideal for RVs.

I went with a camera featuring Sony Starvis for flawless night video. The IR mode lets me spot animals crossing far ahead on the road during late night drives between campsites.

Installation and Storage Considerations

Hardwired or Battery Powered

Hardwired cameras connect directly to your vehicle’s electrical system. This provides continuous charging but requires wiring through the firewall. Hardwiring kits add fuses for safety.

Battery powered models use a rechargeable battery pack. They’re very easy to install simply by placing on the dash but must be removed and charged regularly.

I prefer the always-on reliability of a hardwired system. The wiring was neatly tucked away during installation. Just remember to use the proper voltage for your RV’s electrical system.

Retrieving Footage

Most save video internally to a microSD card. A 256GB card provides ample storage for extended trips. Cards can be removed and files transferred to your phone or laptop via a reader.

WiFi connectivity also lets you view and download videos wirelessly from your phone. Some apps even provide real-time streaming which is great for monitoring while parked.

Cloud storage options automatically back up your videos to the cloud when in range of Wifi. This protects your data but incurs monthly fees for enough cloud space to store large video files.

Having both onboard and cloud storage means I never lose footage. I can quickly pull up video on my phone thanks to WiFi without running out of local storage space.

Storage Conditions

Keep in mind most dash cams aren’t designed to withstand extremely high temperatures. Prolonged exposure to intense heat can damage the batteries and sensitive electronics.

Parking your RV for hours in direct sunlight in hot climates demands steps to protect your dash cam:

  • Point the camera away from direct sunlight
  • Cover the windshield when parked to shade the dash
  • Bring the camera indoors if leaving your RV for an extended time

Proper storage will prolong the life of your dash cam. During long periods off the road at home, take out the memory card and remove the camera mount.

Positioning Your Dash Cam

Windshield Mounting

Suction cup mounts allow repositioning the camera along the windshield as needed. Make sure to clean the surface so the suction stays secure. Avoid mounting too far to the side where windshield curvature distorts the view.

Adhesive mounts permanently stick to the glass for a low profile look. Ensure you can access the camera to change settings or memory cards before placing the adhesive mount.

Try both temporary suction and permanent adhesive mounts to determine the optimal field of view before committing. Adjust the angle so the horizon remains level in the frame.

Rear Camera

Adding a rear camera can provide critical context in the event of a rear-end collision. Make sure to get a rear camera option specifically designed to integrate with your dash cam system.

Optimal placement for a rear camera is high up in the center to see vehicles approaching in both lanes. Wired cameras transmit video to your dash cam’s screen. Wireless versions available today make threading cables through walls unnecessary.

While I can monitor behind by peeking in my side mirrors, the clarity of a rear camera reduces blindspots. I may add one soon for extra peace of mind.

Interior Camera

Interior-facing cameras record passengers and cargo while driving. These can help prove fault after an accident if passengers are jostled violently.

Point the interior cam away from windows to avoid backlighting that obscures faces. High mounting spots like the A-pillar provide a wider cabin view.

I passed on the interior camera since my RV’s cabin is usually empty underway. However, I may add external side cameras to monitor my trailer while towing in the future.

Dash cam usage does come with some legal caveats. Make sure you understand the laws where you travel:

  • Some two-party consent states restrict recording people without permission. Keep audio off when driving with passengers.
  • Displaying or obscuring your license plate when required is illegal. Avoid plate covers and be mindful of trailer hitch concealment.
  • Distracted driving laws may apply to tapping on screens or viewing footage underway. Use voice commands when possible.
  • Local ordinances may prohibit cameras sticking on glass visible from outside due to privacy concerns. Check regulations.
  • Know your rights and obligations if involved in an accident. Informing the other party they are being recorded is recommended.

In general, use common sense and avoid adjusting your system while driving. Mount it responsibly so as not obstruct your view. Driving safely trumps recording video.

I keep audio muted and avoid checking video until stopped. Following basic rules keeps your dash cam from causing legal headaches down the road.

Top Dash Cam Picks for RVs

Now let’s look at two great dash cam options I recommend based on quality and value. Either is a solid choice for your RV.

Garmin Dash Cam 67W

The Garmin 67W packs helpful features into an easy-to-use package.

Key Specs:

  • Resolution: 1440p
  • Viewing Angle: 180 degrees
  • Night Vision: Sony Exmor sensor
  • GPS: Built-in with tracking
  • WiFi: Yes, with smartphone app

Despite the high resolution, a compact design profiles cleanly on your windshield. The extra-wide 180° lens ensures full coverage around the RV.

You can overlay speed and GPS data like a standalone nav unit thanks to the built-in antenna. GPS tracking records trip routes that you can replay later.

Excellent night video from the Sony sensor provides peace of mind on dark highways. Reviewing footage is a breeze with the wireless connectivity and Garmin’s intuitive smartphone app.

BlackVue DR750X-1CH

Serious road warriors will appreciate the robust capabilities of the BlackVue DR750X-1CH.

Key Features:

  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Full HD @ 60 FPS
  • Viewing Angle: 129 degrees
  • Night Vision: Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor
  • GPS: Yes, with speed alerts
  • WiFI: Yes, with cloud storage

A high 60FPS frame rate makes video buttery smooth in full 1080p. The 129° viewing angle still catches important blind spots.

Like the Garmin, a Sony STARVIS sensor ensures excellent night vision. GPS with speed limit warnings helps avoid tickets.

The BlackVue really shines with advanced monitoring via the app and over-the-air video backups. You can check in live anytime and know footage is safe in the cloud.

Overall the BlackVue is the ultimate dash cam if you demand top-of-the-line features. Though advanced capabilities come at a premium price.

Advanced additions like GPS, rear cameras and WiFi extend your dash cam’s capabilities. But even budget-friendly models provide essential protection and peace of mind behind the wheel.

About Author