Best wireless rear view camera for travel trailer or 5th wheel

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best wireless camera

Best wireless rear view camera for travel trailer or 5th wheel

Have you ever glanced in your mirror while driving down the highway and thought where did that car go?  Did it turn off? Is it right behind your RV?  How about backing into a site, did you ever get out of your truck to walk around behind your trailer to see exactly where the tree or electrical box was at?

Whether on the road or in the campground, there are many scenarios where being able to see what is directly behind your RV will relieve stress and make your trip a little bit easier.  Most late model cars and trucks can be equipped from the factory with a backup camera.  Many of us have gotten so used to that screen that it has become your primary source of information when backing up.

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According to the NHTSA, approximately 200 people are killed each year and 14,000 are injured by “backover” accidents.  Most of the victims are children who are harder to see.  Because of this, a new federal regulation will require that all vehicles 2018 model year and later have a backup camera.  Why not have that same safety and convenience when backing up your motorhome, 5th wheel or travel trailer?

In the past running wires all the way from the front of your tow vehicle to the back of your RV was the only way to add a rear view camera to your travel trailer.  Thanks to improvements in technology you can now install a wireless RV backup camera system that has good image quality with minimal installation time.  You can install a camera system like the Tadibrothers – 7” monitor digital wireless backup camera  in an afternoon, and enjoy the benefits every time you hitch up your RV and hit the road.

Too many options, How do I choose?

A search on Amazon for “RV backup camera” results in thousands of products from hundreds of suppliers.  How do you pick the right rear view camera for your travel trailer, 5th wheel or RV?  The first step is selecting a dependable manufacturer.  With plenty of cheap options by no name brands it would be easy to select one, but what happens if you need support, replacement parts or to file a warranty claim.

For this reason, only brands that have reputation for selling reliable products have been included.  These manufacturers are established companies that will be able to provide support for years to come.

  • TadiBrothers – They have been producing Wireless backup camera systems and car electronics since 2003.
  • RVS – Rear View Safety, according to their website “Rear View Safety has become the fastest growing commercial backup camera system supplier on the market”. Many RV manufactures install their hardwired systems at the factory.  RVS is a division of Safe Fleet, a company specializing in safety equipment for all types vehicles including on-road, off-road and railroad.

Is wireless right for me?

Before going any further, you need to decide if wireless is the way to go for your tow vehicle and RV.  While installation is easier with a wireless system they do suffer signal losses.  The more metal you have between the monitor and the camera the more signal loss you will experience.  If you are towing an toyhauler, Airstream or other metal skinned RV you might want to consider a wired system. The Tadibrothers 7 Inch Monitor and a 120 Degree CCD Mounted RV Backup Camera is a great option.  Click here to check it out on Amazon

This video explains the difference in cost and installation between wired and wireless systems.


Top Camera Picks (based on your needs)

 Top PickBudget PickMulti-CameraSmartphonePortable Hitch Camera
ModelTadibrothers 7 inch Monitor with Digital Wireless RV Backup Camera with AudioRVS2CAM Wireless Backup Camera System with Dual Screen Monitor and Cigarette Lighter AdaptorTadibrothers 7 Inch Wireless Ultimate CCD RV Trailer Backup Camera System with Premium Side Cameras (High Range 95ft)RVS WiFi Backup Camera SystemRVS Wireless Hitch Camera with Rechargable Battery
HighlightsBuilt-in wireless, Long range, High resolution CCD Camera with night visionBuilt-in wireless, CCD Camera with night vision, Option to show gridlines on displaySuper long range, Upgraded CCD night vision cameras 1x rear, 2x side, Multiple camera display optionsLowest Cost, Compact wireless camera, WiFi transmitter with smartphone app, Night vision requires ambient lightEasily portable, 3.5" monitor, Magnetic camera base, rechargable battery powered, night vision
View Price and Reviews on Amazon View Price and Reviews on Amazon View Price and Reviews on Amazon View Price and Reviews on Amazon View Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Overall, Wireless Backup Camera

Tadibrothers – 7” monitor digital wireless backup camera with audio (SKU90113)

If you are looking for a simple single camera system that is easy to install and works great, this is the one for you.

Click here for pricing and reviews on Amazon

This system features an upgraded CCD camera for the highest image quality. The antenna are built into the camera and monitor so no external transmitters or receivers need to be mounted. In addition the digital signal on this model helps keep the image on the screen even when driving in areas with interference.

Another upgrade on this wireless rear view camera system is the built-in microphone. Not only can you see what is going on behind your RV, you will be able to hear it too.
One negative of this system is it does not have grid lines. While not a deal breaker it would be nice to have the option to turn them on.
All Tadibrothers systems include a 1 year warranty and 24/7 tech support based in the USA.

Camera Specifications:

  • Water Resistant
  • Built-in Wireless Antenna
  • Roof / Rear Mount
  • 120 Degree Viewing Angle
  • 60 foot Night Vision Range
  • 250:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Metal Housing
  • CCD Sensor
  • 720 Lines of Resolution
  • Built-in Sun Shade
  • Built-in Microphone

Monitor Specifications:

  • 7” LCD display
  • 1024×768 Resolution
  • Sun Shield
  • Dual Camera Inputs
  • Wireless Range 100 feet
  • Detachable Sun Shield
  • Dash and Window Mount

Budget Pick: Wireless Backup Camera

Rear View Safety, Wireless Backup Camera System 7” Dual Screen Display (RVS-2CAM)

This camera budget pick is also a very close second place finisher for single camera wireless systems.  This is also a great choice for anyone looking for a simple easy to install system that is full of features and a great price.

Click here for pricing and reviews on Amazon

There are 2 reasons this model was not the best overall.

  1. The range is stated to be 70 feet coming up 30 feet shorter than the Tadibrothers system.
  2. Camera and display resolution. The camera is rated at 540 vs 720 and the display is rated at 800 x 480 instead of 1024 x 786.

If you are hauling a shorter RV and don’t mind a slightly lower image quality, this model has some great features.   It has a 2 camera split screen mode.   It also has guide lines that can be turned on or off with the press of a button.

This system is covered by RVS’s 1 year warranty and lifetime tech support.

If you are considering this model and want more information check out the installation manual here (pdf).

Camera Specifications:

  • Water Resistant
  • Built-in Wireless Antenna
  • Roof / Rear Mount
  • 130 Degree Viewing Angle
  • 50 foot Night Vision Range
  • Metal Housing
  • CCD Sensor
  • 540 Lines of Resolution
  • Built-in Sun Shade
  • Built-in Microphone

Monitor Specifications:

  • 7” LCD Display
  • 800×480 Resolution
  • Sun Shield
  • Dual Camera Inputs
  • Split Screen
  • Distance Grid Lines
  • Wireless Range 70 feet

Best Multi-Camera Wireless Rear View System

Tadibrothers, 7 Inch Wireless Ultimate CCD RV Trailer Backup Camera System with Premium Side Cameras (High Range 95ft) (SKU123100)

Do you tow a large rig that is hard to see around?  Do you want the best possible view all the way around your RV?  If you answered yes to either question this is the system for you.

Click here for pricing and reviews on Amazon

This is the Mac Daddy of wireless camera systems. With a 7” display, 1 night vision CCD rear view camera and 2 night vision CCD side cameras you will have a great view everywhere. If you frequently have to back up without a spotter, or just want to see for yourself this is the system you need.

All the cameras are upgraded to Tadibrothers CCD models and have a wireless range of 95 feet. The monitor can be configured with several layouts to view 1 camera or all 4 at the same time.
Each camera in this system comes with a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter must be mounted in a weather proof location and is connected to 12V power. The receiver also needs to be powered and plugged into the display.

All Tadibrothers systems include a 1 year warranty and 24/7 tech support based in the USA.

Rear Camera Specifications:

  • 95 Feet Wireless Range
  • Water Resistant
  • Roof / Rear Mount
  • 120 degree viewing Angle
  • 60 foot night vision Range
  • 250:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Metal Housing
  • CCD Sensor
  • 720 Lines of Resolution
  • Built-in Sun Shade

Side Camera Specifications:

  • 95 Feet Wireless Range
  • Water Resistant
  • Side Mount
  • 120 Degree Viewing Angle
  • 60 foot Night Vision Range
  • 250:1 Contrast Ratio
  • CCD Sensor

Monitor Specifications:

  • 7” LCD display
  • 1024×768 Resolution
  • Split Screen (1,2,3 or 4 cameras)
  • Sun Shield
  • 4 Camera Inputs
  • Detachable Sun Shield
  • Dash and Window Mount

Best WiFi Backup Camera (entry level system)

Rear View Safety, WiFi Backup Camera System (RVS-020813)

Low Cost and fast installation.  This is the perfect entry level system.

Click here for pricing and reviews on Amazon

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money or aren’t interested in installing a dedicated monitor in your tow vehicle this is the way to go. Simply install the camera and transmitter on the back of your RV. Then download the GoVue app on your apple or android device. In addition to watching the live camera feed, the app also allows you to record video and save still images.

If this sounds too good to be true, keep in mind there are some drawbacks of this systems.

  • The resolution is the lowest of all the systems reviewed so far at 490 lines.
  • The night vision is passive with no built in LEDs. That means that if there isn’t any ambient light present you won’t be able to see at night.

Camera Specifications:

  • 100 Feet Wireless Range
  • Water Resistant
  • Roof / Rear Mount
  • 130 degree viewing Angle
  • Night Vision Requires Ambient Light
  • CMOS Sensor
  • 490 Lines of Resolution

Best Wireless Hitch Camera

Rear View Safety, Wireless Hitch Camera with Rechargeable Battery (RVS-83112-BA)

Completely portable, magnetic mount hitch camera.  If you aren’t looking for a full time rear view camera and just want to make the occasional hitching or backing job easier this is for you.

Click here for pricing and reviews on Amazon

This portable camera is perfect for temporary use or to move from vehicle to vehicle. With a magnetic base, rechargeable batteries and a compact 3.5” display you can take this camera anywhere and hook it up in minutes when needed. This camera was designed to give you a view of your hitch and RV while backing up to connect.  But, on a full charge the camera will last about 6 hours, long enough to use as a rear view camera for shorter trips.

Camera Specifications:

  • Water Resistant
  • Built-in Wireless Antenna
  • Magnetic Base
  • 120 Degree Viewing Angle
  • 30 foot Night Vision Range
  • CMOS Sensor
  • 540 Lines of Resolution

Monitor Specifications:

  • 5” LCD Display
  • 480×230 Resolution
  • Sun Shield
  • Wireless Range 70 feet

Features Explained: Wireless RV Backup Camera

With all the camera models and specs it can be tough to decide which one is right for you.  Here is a brief explanation of the main features and options you need to look at.  If you still aren’t sure just look at my top pick, or you want to save some money the budget pick and start towing more safely with less stress.

What is the difference between analog, digital and Wi-Fi signals?

Most wireless rear view cameras for your travel trailer or 5th wheel operate around 2.5Ghz to send and receive the signal between the camera and monitor.  This frequency is packed full of devices including cordless phones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and microwaves.  All of these devices can cause interference on you backup camera monitor resulting in an image that is blurry or not there at all.  To eliminate the problem of interference higher end systems use a digital signal.

 

Analog signals

Think of an analog system like this.  You are in a bar with 100 people trying to talk to a friend while a band is playing.  You may hear the person you are trying to talk to, but you will also hear the conversations of the people around you and the music from the band.

 

Digital signals

A digital system would be like giving you and your friend a set of noise cancelling headphones that only transmitted your voices.  Even though all the other sounds are still there, you would be able to communicate much more easily.

 

A digital camera system pairs the camera or cameras with the monitor providing a much more reliable connection.  This also allows the signal to be transmitted with less loss giving you a better picture than analog.

Wi-Fi Signals

Some systems using Wi-Fi do not come with a monitor.  For these systems you view the image by loading an app on your smartphone or tablet.  Because you are only buying ½ the equipment these systems can be a lower cost option.

 

How many cameras and how are they displayed?

.  Last time you backed into a tight campsite wouldn’t it have been nice to see all the way around your RV.  Just like the split between many cameras?  The same thing can be done with a backup camera system for your RV.  You could choose a basic system with only 1 camera mounted on the rear of your travel trailer.  Or you could install a system with 4 cameras, 1 on the rear, 1 on each side, and 1 in the bed of your truck aimed at your 5th wheel hitch.

 

The main difference here is how the cameras are displayed.  Some systems only display 1 camera at a time so you have to toggle between cameras while driving.  Others monitors allow a split screen view showing you 2, 3, 4 or more cameras at the same time

Size matters

Another key feature when choosing a wireless rear view camera is the size of the monitor.  Monitor sizes range from small hand-held versions to huge 9” displays that could cover ½ of the windshield in a small car.  If you want a multiple camera system with split screen capability a larger monitor is a must.

 

I recommend that you sit in the driver’s seat, pick the best location to mount the monitor, then decide how large of a monitor you can comfortably and safely use.  One way to judge the size is to take a cell phone and a tablet out with you.  If the cell phone seems the right size look for monitor in the 4” to 6” range.  If you have room for the tablet without blocking your view out the windshield or the operation of the vehicle look at the larger 7” to 9” models.

 

For most users, a monitor between about 5” and 7” should be ideal.  This size range is large enough to see what is going on at a quick glance.  Obviously, a larger monitor would be even easier to see, but they are also more likely to be in the way when installed.

Camera sensor type: CCD or CMOS?

Backup cameras can be found using both CCD and CMOS image sensors.  There are technical differences between how each type works and you can read more about that here at howstuffworks (http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/cameras-photography/digital/question362.htm).   CCD sensors usually produce clearer images and are more sensitive in low light conditions.  This usually makes them better when in night vision mode.

That doesn’t mean that CMOS sensors cannot produce a great image, in fact some high-end systems use CMOS.  The problem is that to get a high-quality image with a CMOS sensor you need more electronics to process the image creating higher price camera.  On the other hand, CMOS sensors themselves are cheaper to produce than CCD.

The bottom line is for low end cameras CCD will outperform CMOS giving you a better picture.  When you get into more expensive systems either image sensor can produce great results.

Do you want to see at night?

Even the best image sensor cannot work well at night with little to no light.  This is where night vision comes in.  Night vision works by illuminating the area with infrared light from LEDs mounted around the camera.  The infrared light is not visible to the eye, but the camera can “see” it.  When the rear-view camera system detects a low light condition the LEDs will automatically turn on and the display will change from a color image to a black and white image.  The main difference between a high and low quality night vision is the distance illuminated by the LEDs.  Low end models may only have a 10’ range, where most systems allow you to see about 20’.  Top of the line systems illuminate up to 50’ from the camera.

Mirroring: a must-have feature

Image mirroring is a feature you must have in a backup camera.  All backup cameras installed in cars from the factory mirror the image.  Mirroring makes the image appear on the monitor the same way it would if you were looking in your rear-view mirror.  If the camera image was not mirrored left and right would be flipped making it confusing and dangerous.  Some systems mirror the image at the camera while others mirror it at the monitor.  It doesn’t matter which you choose as long as the image can be mirrored.

Field of view (viewing angle): width of image

You don’t want tunnel vision not covering your blind spot.  You also don’t want a fish bowl effect eliminating depth perception.  The Field of View (FOV for short) describes how wide the camera can see.  Your eyes have a FOV of about 115 degrees so looking at a camera with a FOV close to that seems natural.  The FOV is determined by the size of the image sensor and the camera lens.

  • 90 degree – NOT RECOMMENDED – cameras around this range will result in tunnel allowing you to see right behind you, but not covering you blind spots. This is dangerous because there may be a car or other object right behind you and you have no way of seeing it.
  • 130 degree – RECOMMENDED – This is the ideal viewing angle. Around 130 degrees gives you a natural looking image covering your blind spots and still maintaining depth perception.
  • 150+ degree – NOT RECOMMENDED – While cameras in this range provide a very wide image allowing you to see what is right next you, they have a major flaw. The image creates a fish bowl effect distorting what you see and removing almost all depth perception.  If you back up using a very wide angle camera you will almost certainly miss-judge the distance to objects causing and accident.

 

Weather resistance (IP rating)

Your backup camera will be out in the weather all day every day.  It will also be pounded with rain while driving down the highway.  By purchasing a camera with the proper IP rating you will be sure to have reliable performance for years to come.

Backup cameras should have either an IP68 or IP69 rating.  This means the camera is dustproof and waterproof.

Another feature for weather resistance is a sun/rain visor on the camera.  This will help keep sun glare and water beads from blocking your view.

 

Wireless isn’t wireless (getting power to your backup camera)

To be completely wireless the cameras would have to be battery powered.  While some portable models like the RVS-83112-BA Wireless Hitch Camera are, you will have to run power from a 12V source on your RV for most cameras.

 

Most likely you have clearance lights near the roof line on the back of your RV.  Because the center light is close to where you will be mounting the camera it is a convenient place to tie into.  You will have to turn your lights on for the camera to work, but towing with your lights on is a safer way to go anyways.

 

No matter where you choose to get power from make sure to seal all holes from mounting hardware and wiring with a high quality non-hardening sealant like Proflex RV.

Your RV might already be factory prepped for a camera

Thousands of campers are prepped at the factory to accept a Furrion backup camera. If you camera is pre-wired at the factory installation should be quick and easy. Even if you choose a camera from another manufacturer (not Furrion) adapter are available to plug right in. Click here to see a list of brands that are prepped from Lippert Compoenets (the largest manufacturer of RV frames and parts).

 

In addition to the Furrion models that you can install into the factory prep, RVS makes the RVS-155W. This system features a 5” screen and a single wireless backup camera with and adapter for the Furrion mount.
Click here to check it out on Amazon


Other notable brands and models

Both Furrion and Voyager are well respected brands in the RV industry and they both make very good camera systems.  There is only one reason they were not chosen for any of the recommended backup camera systems…Price.  Both Furrion and Voyager seem to have no problem charging 1.5x to 3x more for a system comparable to the TadiBrothers or RVS systems recommended

If you are interested here are a few models I suggest you look at.

Furrion

Founded in 2004 they produce products ranging from home appliances to products for yachts and RVs.  Many RV using Lippert Components Inc. frames come from the factory prepped to accept Furrion camera systems.

Wireless High-Speed Ovservation System (S48TAPK-BL)

This system features  4.3” display  and wireless and wireless CMOS camera with night vision.  Also included is a camera mounting bracket with a built in sun/rain visor.  The advertised range of this system is 100 feet.

Voyager

A Jensen brand.  Jensen is one of the largest manufacturers of RV electronics.  They produce everything from TVs and Radios to backup cameras and more.

4.3” Digital Wireless Observation System (WVOS43)

This system features a 4.3” monitor and a wireless CMOS camera with night vision.  You can pair the monitor wit up to 4 wireless cameras with the press of a button.  The advertised range is up to 60 feet.  If it weren’t for the small size and higher price of the monitor this might have made the cut for one of our top picks.

5.6” Digital Wireless Observation System (WVOS541)

A similar system to the WVOS43 only larger this system features a 5.6” monitor and a wireless CMOS camera with night vision.  You can pair the monitor wit up to 4 wireless cameras with the press of a button.  You can also connect the monitor to 1 wired camera.  The camera in this system features an integrated microphone to hear what is going on behind you.  The advertised range is up to 60 feet.

Spare Wireless Camera (WVCMS130AP)

You can pair this camera with either of the above Voyager systems.  Use these to add side view cameras or to add a hitch camera to the back of your tow vehicle.

7” Wireless Observation System (WVOS713)

This is the largest Voyager system.  It features a 7” display and 1 wireless camera.  In addition to the wireless camera this monitor can be connected to 2 wired cameras.

Wrap-Up

No matter which system you choose for your RV adding a rear view camera will improve safety and peace of mind while you drive.

 

If you aren’t sure how much you will use the camera or if you are finding it hard to justify the price just start with a lower cost system like the RVS WiFi camera.  If you decide you like having that camera back there sell it on craigslist or ebay and upgrade later.

For Larger RVs I highly recommend going with one of the Tadibrothers systems due to their higher range wireless transmitters.

 

If you have a wireless camera you love or have any questions please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading and happy camping.

best wireless camera

best wireless camera

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