The freedom to travel and explore new places at your own pace in an RV offers incredible experiences. But an RV is a big investment, and ensuring its safety and security both when it’s with you and when it’s parked or stored away from you can be a concern. That’s why an RV GPS tracker can be an invaluable tool to help you keep track of your rig’s location at all times.
In this post, we’re taking a look at RV GPS trackers and their benefits. We look at what they are, how they work, and why an RV GPS tracker could be a great addition to your RV travel gear.
- 1) What Is an RV GPS Tracker?
- 2) What Are the Benefits of Having an RV GPS Tracker?
- 3) Things to Consider When Choosing an RV GPS Tracker
- 4) RV GPS Trackers
- 5) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews & Giveaways
What Is an RV GPS Tracker?
An RV GPS tracker is a device designed to monitor the real-time location of your RV.
Unlike a standard GPS navigation system, a GPS tracking system focuses on tracking an RV for security purposes, offering peace of mind to RV owners, particularly when their rig is parked or stored.
A GPS tracker for an RV works using a combination of GPS satellite signals, cellular data networks, and, in some cases, Wi-Fi. The RV GPS tracking device continuously receives real-time GPS signals to determine the RV’s precise location. This data is then transmitted to a secure server, which you can access through a mobile app or a web portal. You can view the RV’s location, create geofences, and receive real-time alerts on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
What Are the Benefits of Having an RV GPS Tracker?
GPS trackers on vehicles and trailers offer many benefits. Some companies are using them now for fleet management, not only to keep track of their vehicles’ real-time locations but also to protect against truck and trailer theft.
For RVers in particular, a GPS tracker offers peace of mind when you’re away from your rig for either a short period or when your RV is in storage for a longer term.
Here are several ways motorhome and trailer GPS trackers can be beneficial:
Like any valuable possession, an RV can be vulnerable to theft. Whether it’s parked at a service station, at an outdoor storage facility, or even in a parking lot while you’re shopping, having dinner, or visiting friends, you want to find it where you left it when you return.
An RV GPS tracker can be a deterrent to potential thieves and, in the event a theft does occur, a GPS tracker makes rapid recovery more likely by providing precise real-time location data. The faster a stolen vehicle is recovered, the more likely it is to still be in the same condition as when you last saw it.
This works well with travel trailers too, of course. GPS trailer tracking devices are especially useful because trailers are popular targets of theft. A GPS trailer tracker allows the owner to know immediately if someone moves the travel trailer.
Geo-Fencing With Instant Alerts
Some RV GPS trackers allow the user to create geofences around their RV. A geofence is a virtual boundary around an RV. You set your boundaries on the GPS device, and whenever the RV enters or leaves the set boundaries, the GPS tracker sends an instant alert to the rig’s owner.
So, if a motorhome or travel trailer leaves its designated area, the tracker provides the owner with instant awareness of unauthorized use of the rig.
An RV GPS tracker isn’t only for keeping track of where your RV is located. In some cases, it can also be used to track and record your motorhome’s mileage, engine hours, and other data important to service and maintenance. For this reason, a GPS tracker can help you keep your motorized RV (or other vehicle) optimally maintained.
Essential for RV Renters
You may have seen our post on how to rent out your RV to make money. If you own an RV that you rent either for use on the road or at a static location, (or if you have an interest in doing so), a GPS tracker is a very important tool for you for obvious reasons.
Recreational Toy Monitor
A GPS tracker can also be beneficial to RVers who carry expensive “toys” such as ATVs, motorcycles, boats, jet skis, golf carts, etc. A tracker placed on these types of items assures RVers that they’ll be notified of any movement of the item and, in the event of a theft, recovery will be much easier with a tracker installed.
Child or Pet Monitor
No one would ever suggest that it’s a good idea to allow young children or even pets to roam freely around a campground for a host of reasons.
However, if you’ve got older kids who are capable of scooting off to play pickleball or horseshoes or to do a little fishing with a pal, you can have them carry a GPS tracker in their pocket for peace of mind. This will allow you to keep an eye on their location and, with some trackers, allow them to send out a signal if they need help or are uncomfortable for any reason.
Also, a GPS tracker attached to your dog’s collar isn’t a bad idea in case he or she accidentally gets loose.
Peace of Mind
Things to Consider When Choosing an RV GPS Tracker
So, what’s the best GPS tracker for RV use? In some ways, it depends on your situation. Being aware of certain features will help you to choose the best RV GPS tracker (or the best RV trailer GPS tracker) for your use.
Whether you’ve got a motorhome or you’re looking for the best GPS tracker for an RV trailer, you’ll want a tracker that provides real-time location updates. This feature is essential for immediate response in case of theft or some other emergency.
If you’re interested in setting custom boundaries around your rig so you’ll be instantly notified if your RV moves outside those boundaries, you’ll want to choose a GPS tracker with reliable geofencing capabilities.
Strong Cellular Connectivity
GPS trackers work by using a combination of GPS satellite signals, cellular connectivity, and sometimes WiFi to obtain and send data. Cellular data can be sporadic at times, especially in certain locations. For this reason, a tracker should have strong cellular connectivity that works well in areas where you plan to travel.
When you’re looking at any GPS tracker, pay close attention to any subscription fees associated with the tracker itself or particular features of the tracker. Some GPS trackers offer some features standard with the tracker while other features require you to pay a monthly fee.
So, when you’re considering whether a particular GPS tracker fits your budget, make sure to consider any ongoing costs that may be associated with the tracker you’re interested in buying.
Power is always a major consideration for RVers. A GPS tracker is always tracking and therefore always requires power of some sort to work. There are a couple of different ways for GPS trackers to be powered.
Some are hardwired which means that the tracker runs off the power of the RV. Others run on the unit’s battery power. This means it doesn’t use your RV’s house power, but there can be drawbacks to this as well because the battery can run low or be compromised by cold weather.
RV GPS Trackers
There are many GPS trackers on the market today and there are more coming all the time. Following are a few popular GPS trackers for various budgets that are available as we’re writing this post.
Tracki is a magnetic GPS tracker that offers real-time tracking as well as geofencing, and has a battery life of up to five days depending on how much it’s tracking. (If it’s tracking someone or something that’s frequently on the move, the battery is used more.) It’s a small, lightweight, compact device that can be easily hidden in your RV or anywhere else including in a pocket.
Tracki has both a desktop interface and a mobile app, a decent battery (plus the option to buy an extended battery that lasts 6 times longer), and the ability to halt updating/data reporting by setting the tracker to “inactive” so the battery isn’t being used/drained when you don’t need it.
You can even use the tracker to find your phone by pressing a button on the device that sends a loud alarm to your phone. And if you’re using the tracker to keep an “eye” on your child around the campground, you’ll be interested to know that Tracki has an SOS button that can be pressed to alert you that the child is in distress.
Note that Tracki does require a monthly subscription, which can be paid annually or monthly. By the month, you’ll pay $19.95 USD, though long-term prepaid plans can be as low as $9.95/month.
- #1 Best Selling for 3 years. Unlimited distance real time tracking 4G LTE +3 Bands. Monthly fee is required for each device. Full USA & worldwide...
- Smallest & lightest 1.8x1.6x 0.7in & only 1.26 oz. Combined 4G+3G+2G technology works over any network for best coverage as opposed to trackers with...
- This product Includes a rechargeable 3,500mAh battery that is contained inside the waterproof magnetic box. The 3,500mAh extended battery last up to 2...
- The powerful magnetic mount, firmly attaches to any steel or iron surface, or under vehicle or any car. The powerful magnet is embedded and molded...
If you want to hard-wire your Tracki to your RV, there’s a kit available for this purpose.
- Power stabilizer and regulator to ensure constant power supply and optimal performance for the Tracki GPS tracker device.
- Best suitable for: Cars, trucks, boats, motorcycle, ATV, construction and heavy equipment, golf carts and more. Input voltage range: 8V - 35V
LandAirSea 54 GPS Tracker
The LandAirSea 54 is a personal GPS tracker for RVs, vehicles, boats & other assets, or luggage, people, pets, etc. It has an ultra-compact design and uses a built-in super-strong magnet to easily attach to a surface. It’s also completely waterproof.
The LandAirSea 54 tracks & maps your RV in real time using Google Maps. You can view the location continuously via its web-based software or SilverCloud app. It offers text & email alerts, geofencing, vehicle tracking, location reporting, and historical playback.
A subscription is required. The basic plan costs $19.95/month for a 3-minute reporting cycle. (For example, whenever the device is moving, it sends you data every 3 minutes.) For a few dollars more per month, you can upgrade to reporting intervals of 1 minute, 30 seconds, or even 3 seconds for more real-time information.
- Personal GPS for reliable tracking of people, vehicles, and/or assets
- Ultra-compact design | 100% Waterproof | Built-in Super Strength Magnet
BrickHouse Security Spark Nano 7
This is a highly-rated GPS tracker with a wide range of features, including real-time tracking, geofencing, a user-friendly app, an extended battery, and more.
The Spark Nano 7 includes a built-in battery that should last 15 days on standby. However, the extended battery offers an additional 140 days of battery life for long-term RV, vehicle, or asset tracking.
This unit offers 4G coverage throughout North America, and you can cross state and international borders without losing critical information. The Spark Nano 7 operates on 4G networks across Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
The Spark Nano is magnetic and waterproof and comes with a robust case, a wall charger, and a pre-installed SIM card.
Note that there’s a subscription fee for BrickHouse Security’s Spark Nano, with three levels: $17.99 (Basic plan), $27.99 (Plus plan), or $34.99 (Premium plan). Subscriptions can be monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on your preference.
- BATTERY LIFE: Our tracker device for vehicles includes a built-in battery that lasts 15 days on standby, but with the extended battery included,...
- 4G COVERAGE: Experience unrivaled coverage with our discrete GPS tracker tag for cars. All of North America can be fully covered by our GPS vehicle...
Apple AirTags aren’t exactly “trackers” like those listed above. But we’re including them because they do have certain tracking capabilities… and we use (and love) them ourselves. They don’t use any of the typical methods to work (GPS, cellular data, etc). But while they don’t qualify as “GPS trackers,” there are similarities.
We use AirTags to keep track of LOTS of our stuff, including our RV and toad car. We have a bunch of them and keep one stashed in backpacks, luggage, and camera bags while traveling. They’re small and easy to hide discreetly just about anywhere.
AirTags take advantage of Apple’s massive footprint in the cell phone market. Every iPhone in the world can “see” nearby air tags, and anonymously note their location. That means that every iPhone user is part of a discreet reporting system. Any time someone with an iPhone comes anywhere near one of our protected devices, its location is immediately updated.
The owner of an iPhone that comes within range of an AirTag has no idea that this is happening in the background. And while we can see where and when our stuff was “spotted” by a stranger’s phone, there’s no way for us to know who it was. The system is totally anonymous, operating invisibly in the background.
While you may decide that this is the right way to keep track of your RV (and other belongings), too, Apple AirTags do have some drawbacks.
First (being an Apple product) they work best with iPhones. Also, they’re not technically designed to help you recover stolen items. They’re supposed to help you find lost stuff. There’s a distinction there due to Apple working to address stalking and privacy.
To prevent someone from placing an AirTag in someone else’s vehicle, any time an iPhone (and some other phones) detect that an AirTag has been moving along with them for a period of time, but it’s not a tag that’s been associated with that phone, it will alert the person to the AirTag’s presence. If that person happens to be the thief, they’ll be tipped off (and led directly to) the AirTag, allowing them to disable or discard it.
Apple did that to prevent stalkers from covertly hiding AirTags in other people’s belongings and then tracking them.
AirTags also cannot be set to alert you when an item begins to move without you. If you’re away from your rig, and someone else starts driving it, you will not be notified. (This is actually the one feature we wish Apple would implement.)
Both of these things mean that, with an AirTag, the sooner you realize your rig is missing, the better. You need to know that your rig is moving without you, and take action. Of course, this makes AirTags less than desirable when you’re away from your rig for longer periods, such as in storage. Someone could steal your rig, and you likely wouldn’t know until long after they’d been alerted to the tag’s presence.
But if you have an AirTag in your rig, and it’s stolen, the police will have a great shot at finding it, as long as the thief hasn’t been alerted to the AirTag’s presence, allowing them to disable or discard it.
There is another benefit to AirTags that we love: excellent battery life!
- Keep track of and find your items alongside friends and devices in the Find My app
- Simple one-tap setup instantly connects AirTag with your iPhone or iPad
Tile trackers are similar to AirTags in that they’re geared to finding lost, rather than stolen, items. When we first considered adding tracking devices to our gear, we chose AirTags over Tile, partly due to our love and immersion in all things Apple. But we also try to avoid ongoing fees, and Tile does charge monthly or annual fees for many of their higher-level services. Apple does not.
- VERSATILE TRACKER - Tile helps you keep track of your things. Attach the Tile Mate to everyday things like keys, backpacks or purses. Use our free app...
- FIND NEARBY -- Use the Tile app to ring your Tile when it’s within Bluetooth range, or ask your Smart Home device to find it for you.
This gives you a general idea of what RV GPS trackers are like, and there are many more available.
When choosing an RV GPS tracker, consider your specific needs, including whether you want real-time tracking, geofencing, battery life, and ease of use. Additionally, check for any subscription fees associated with the service, as these can vary between different trackers.
As always, we recommend that you read user reviews to help find the unit that best suits your RV tracking requirements.
For a look at our own first-hand close-call with RV-related crime, check out the video below from our month-long tour of Italy with our friends Heath & Alyssa Padgett.
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