Backing up in a regular old car is hard enough. When you’re driving a motorhome or travel trailer, the situation is significantly compounded. But with the multiplicity of RV backup camera options on the market, it can be difficult to figure out where to start — and whether or not you even need one, really, in the first place.
Although many RVers go through their camping lives without the aid of an RV backup camera, adding one to your list of gear could be a major upgrade. Just imagine never again having to ask your copilot to get out of the rig to help you figure out “what’s going on back there” — or, worse yet, for the solo travelers, having to beg off the position of flagger on some innocent bystander. With an RV backup camera, you’ll be able to navigate back-in sites and driveways with confidence, not to mention having a better sense of what’s going on when you’re driving on the highway.
In this post, we’ll walk you through all the basics of RV backup cameras, including want to look for when you purchase one and which types are available on the market (i.e., wired vs. wireless). We’ll also cover some of your most frequently asked questions about RV backup cameras to help you make sound decisions about this important investment for your rig.
Ready to get started? Let’s get going… er, put it in reverse!
What is the best RV backup camera?
Like any piece of RVing equipment, if you ask 10 different campers what the best RV backup camera is, chances are you’ll get 10 different answers… or at least four or five.
So instead of focusing on one specific manufacturer or product (which will, after all, change as technology gets better and better), we’re going to talk more generally about RV rear view camera options: what types are there, and why is each attractive? What should you look for when you’re making your purchase, and how much can you expect to spend?
RV backup cameras come in a wide array of types, with varying video quality, installation needs, and price points. By the end of this blog post, you should feel like you have the information you need to make an informed decision and browse the available RV backup cameras on the current market with confidence!
Are RV backup cameras worth it?
“Hold on,” some of you may be thinking. Because before we dive into the specifics about RV backup cameras, we should first establish whether or they’re even worth it.
Do you really need an RV backup camera?
Honestly… the answer is no. (And you probably already know that!) RVs have been around far longer than RV backup cameras have, and people have been successfully camping without this technology for a long while.
That said, an RV backup camera can be a significant upgrade, and make your RV safer and less stressful to drive. Even small motorhomes and travel trailers are bigger than your average vehicle, and backing up can be a very hairy ordeal — especially if you’re in a camper-filled campground or pedestrian-heavy neighborhood.
An RV backup camera can make you feel safer behind the wheel, and make your RV less of a threat to cars and pedestrians around you. It can also make it a lot easier or you to opt for the cheaper back-in spaces at your favorite campgrounds, since it won’t be such an ordeal to wiggle into your campsite. (Which means, heck, it might even pay for itself over time!)
Finally, if you plan to list your RV on RVshare, keep in mind that a backup camera can make your rig more user-friendly to a new RV driver. Chances are you remember how stressful your first few times behind the wheel of a motorhome were; your renters will feel a whole lot more comfortable if they can actually see what’s going on around them — and so will you!
Types of RV Backup Cameras
So, what types of RV backup cameras are there?
While there are dozens of specific makes and models, they generally break down into two categories: wireless and wired.
Wired RV backup cameras are, as the name suggests, wired into your RV. That means there’s more setup involved, yes, and also usually more expense when you factor in installation. But it also means you can retrofit it into literally any RV out there. Whether you drive a Class A motorhome, a fifth wheel trailer, or a tiny sleeper van, you can find a wired RV backup camera that will work with your rig!
You also don’t have to worry about the annoyance of losing signal, which can sometimes happen with wireless RV backup cameras — particularly if you’re driving a long, lengthy rig.
Wireless RV backup cameras are — you guessed it — not hardwired into your rig. Instead, they rely on wireless technology and either analog or digital signals to connect the camera to the monitor up front. While these cameras are often available more cheaply than wired versions, and are certainly easier to install, some campers report that they’re unreliable since the signal has a tendency to weaken (or be interfered with by other signals in the area). That said, for ease of use, they can’t be beat; you simply plug the unit into your 12-volt DC connection and voila: instant RV backup camera!
Things to Look for When Purchasing an RV Backup Camera
Only you can decide whether a wireless or wired RV backup camera is right for your needs. But what else should you consider when shopping for this important item?
While what’s going on behind your RV might not be as entertaining as the latest HD Star Wars movie — and while you may not need to make out excessively fine detail — the whole point of an RV backup camera is to ensure you can see what’s going on behind you. So you may as well invest in a camera that has decent video quality!
The best RV backup cameras offer not only fine detail and resolution in broad daylight, but also come with infrared, night vision, color and black and white options, so you can choose what works best depending on your circumstances.
RV backup cameras with digital video signals tend to display better and more reliably than those using analog technology, though your mileage may vary. You’ll also want to look for a backup camera that offers an ample field of vision: ideally, more than 90 degrees of the space behind your bumper.
The best camera in the world isn’t worth bupkis if if you don’t have a high-quality monitor to, well, monitor it from. You want to ensure the monitor is of a proper size and scale to allow you to view the backup camera feed comfortably, and just as with your smartphone and other technological gadgets, screen resolution is important. The more pixels, the better!
As discussed above, wireless vs. wired RV backup cameras vary wildly in their installation requirements. While a wired RV backup camera does necessitate a significant amount of installation, it can also be a worthwhile investment of both time and money to ensure you have a reliable backup signal that actually works.
On the other hand, if you need a backup camera at the last minute before a weekend getaway (and you’re not concerned about losing the money if you eventually decide to upgrade), a wireless backup camera might be the better option. You can also utilize a wireless backup camera if you’re still in RV rental mode and haven’t yet purchased a rig of your own; all you have to do is unplug and re-plug-in the unit, and you can transfer it from vehicle to vehicle!
Last but not least, price is likely to have a significant impact on your decisions. After all, nobody has an endless supply of money… except maybe Jeff Bezos.
While a backup camera that costs a lot may seem off-putting at first, it could be worth investing in up front in order to avoid having to replace it later.
Best RV Backup Cameras — Wired and Wireless
Alright — shopping around is all well and good. But what about some actual product suggestions?
Fortunately, we’ve got a few. Here are some of the most popular RV backup cameras, in both wired and wireless versions.
Wired RV Backup Cameras
Here are some of the best wired RV backup cameras available right now.
eRapta Backup Camera 2.0
The eRapta Backup Camera 2.0 is a popular wired RV backup camera option, featuring a split-screen monitor and waterproof cameras with 18 included infrared lights to ensure you’re ready to go, no matter what time of day you head out. With a voltage range from 12-24 volts of DC power, this setup can be used by RVers and semi-truck drivers alike, and is installable in any kind of vehicle. Currently available for $199.99 from Amazon.
iStrong HD 720P Backup Camera
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the iStrong HD 720P Backup Camera might be perfect. Complete with a 7-inch monitor and IP69K waterproof cameras, this setup also includes night vision capabilities and even the option to add a dash cam stream as well. Available for just $69.99 from Amazon!
Wireless RV Backup Cameras
Here are some of the best wireless RV backup cameras available now.
iStrong HD Digital Wireless Backup Camera System
Made by the same brand as the second wired camera setup listed above, the iStrong HD Digital Wireless Backup Camera System offers the same kind of video quality and convenience without all the setup… and is available at a very attractive price. It’s usable on rigs up to 60 feet in total length, and is currently available for $139.99 on Amazon.
LeeKooLuu HD Digital Wireless Backup Camera
Another reliable, budget-friendly wireless RV backup camera, the LeeKooLuu HD Digital Wireless Backup Camera offers waterproof cameras and night-vision capability with plug-and-play ease. Its included camera gives you 150 degrees of viewing, and it’s usable at up to 60 feet for high-speed observation or 80 feet for slow-speed streams. Available for $139.99 on Amazon.
RV Backup Camera FAQs
Let’s finish out this article with answers to some of your most frequently asked questions about RV backup cameras!
How do I install an RV backup camera?
As mentioned above, installing an RV backup camera depends on the type you choose. If you choose a wired RV backup camera, you’ll need to physically wire the hardware into your RV, which may take professional help. If you’re handy and a little brave, you can also DIY it; YouTube tutorials can be especially helpful in this regard. That said, you always want to double-check your owner’s manual to ensure you don’t cause any damage to the camera setup or your rig!
How do I fix my RV backup camera?
Troubleshooting your RV backup camera will depend on what kind of issue you’re encountering and what kind of RV backup camera you have. However, if it’s a wireless camera, consider that signal interference is one of the most commonly-cited problems. For full details, check your backup camera owner’s manual or consult with a professional.
Should I get a CCD or CMOS sensor?
CCD and CMOS are two different types of cameras which are commonly included with RV backup camera sets. Both have their drawbacks and benefits.
CCD cameras are more sensitive to light, and thus tend to have a lower amount of “noise” or “graininess” than CMOS cameras do. In other words, a CCD camera will probably have a better video quality overall. That said, CMOS cameras are cheaper to produce, which could make for a lower price point on your RV backup camera setup.
What are my RV backup camera replacement options?
If your RV backup camera fails, you can choose to replace it with a wired or wireless RV backup camera as listed above. This might be the perfect opportunity for an upgrade!
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