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The Magellan RoadMate Pro 9165T GPS Made for RVers – Part 1

November 29, 2011 by · 5 Comments 

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Having a reliable GPS riding shotgun with you in a large RV is probably the best way to keep your rig out of trouble.

Note the wordreliable – it is absolutely the key to avoiding dead end roads and low bridges with a rig that is 3 times (or more) the size of an average four-wheeler.

Conventional GPS units simply do not suffice for RV use.

They have no setting to determine routing based on your width, length, weight, or height.  My “conventional” GPS will direct our RV to weight restricted bridges, low tunnels, narrow streets and advocate U-turns that are impossible with our rig.

Rather than suffer through all of these obstacles and possible traffic tickets or damage to your RV, many of us have elected to purchase GPS units specifically programmed for commercial truckers.  These units do an excellent job of avoiding weight, height, or width barriers.  But, the POI (Point Of Interest) or  information database contained in a trucker GPS doesn’t necessarily concern an RVer.  What I mean is; RV’s are not concerned about weight stations or every truck stop along their route.  Rvers are more concerned about where to camp, eat and buy fuel.  Once at their destination, they often enjoy sightseeing, recreation and shopping.  Those with pets also want to know which POI’s are “pet friendly” so Fido doesn’t end up locked in a hot vehicle while mom and day peruse the sidewalks of a shopping mall.

Well, the folks at Magellan have come up with the RoadMate Pro 9165T.  This GPS is designed especially for RVers.

Size comparison of a conventional GPS and the Magellan 9165T

The 9165T is a large screen GPS covering a full 40 square inches of windshield space with its 7-inch diagonal high-resolution screen.  Just for comparison, a conventional 4.5-inch diagonal screen GPS only requires about 15 square inches of real estate. That makes the Magellan Roadmate Pro 9165T “about” three times bigger than “conventional”.  For a big rig like a class A MotorHome or a class 8 truck such as we use, the size is welcome – but on a small vehicle or pick-up it can be an impairment to having a full view of the world outside your windshield.  In short, when going bigger be sure you don’t block your vision of the road in front of you!

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Magellan 9165T hardware is pictured above the yellow line. Conventional hardware is on the bottom.

The mount that comes with the 9156T is HUGE compared to a conventional GPS mount.  It has a large suction cup to attach to the windshield and then an arm that measures 9” retracted and a full 12” extended that can be configured to most any angle or position desired.  The driver of the big class A MotorHome with a windshield several feet beyond the him can now reach the GPS screen easily to take advantage of the one touch features.

What I believe the folks at Magellan have done is to take the best of two worlds and pair them together.  The map data and routing are from the North American Truck Routing Database – the same one you would find in a trucker GPS but without all the trucker info.  You see, Magellan and Trailer Life got together and agreed to use the entire TL directory as the campground database for RV spots.

Personally, I do not believe there is a better directory tham Trailer Life and we depend upon their rating system and park info almost exclusively when choosing a park.  Now, just so I don’t upset my editor at Woodall’s – the Woodall’s directory is also great, but both Woodall’s and Trailer Life are owned by Trailer Life Enterprises (formerly Affinity Media) so I guess I can get away with praising Trailer Life’s directory on the Woodall’s site. :)

Anyway, having the Trailer Life Directory included in a GPS with all of the locations and essential information about a camping spot is nothing short of fantastic.  I have had a ball just sitting in my recliner at home putting in possible destinations and then being able to see all of the Good Sam parks along my route – as well as other camping sites and every imaginable place to eat, shop, rest, get medical care, fill the tank, go to Church, get a spa treatment, buy groceries, fix a flat tire or see a movie.  Whew!  That was a lot of stuff and the list still is not complete.  Having all of this data right at your fingertips, neatly arranged and requiring just the push of a button or two is mind-boggling.  I really love having this accessibility. Kudos to Magellan and Trailer Life for a great marriage in GPS functionality.

Screen Shot of campground detail offered by the 8165T

The 9165T also has built-in Bluetooth.  This feature allows me to pair my mobile phone with the GPS for making or answering on-the-road calls.  Some may wonder why I like this.  Well, first off I have a big screen rather than a small smart phone screen.  The speaker and microphone in the GPS are excellent – IMHO much better than the phone when used in speaker mode.  I also have the option of transferring all of my contacts in my smart phone to the GPS.  If their street address is not in the smart phone it can be added to the GPS.  When this is finished, you will have everything at your fingertips:  routing to your contact’s home, instant speed dialing of their phone number and, of course, caller recognition.  It is an extremely safe way to answer smart phone calls on the road.

I’ve devoted a lot of page-space talking about the database features of the 9165T and haven’t even addressed the routing options and functions – particularly those that should be specific to an RV.  It will be a few weeks before we get back out on the road with the “Great White” to give it a real workout.  But, until that opportunity, I will continue to explore the features and options of yet another large screen GPS device marketed specifically for RV’ers.

Camping World Stores carry the 9165T.  If you are a member of the Good Sam Club you may also be eligible for the prices extended to members of Camping World’s Presidents Club.

I’ll be writing more on this new and fascinating device in the coming weeks – in particular, how well it works to get you safely to your specified destination.

Did I mention that I really like the Trailer Life/Good Sam park database features?

HAPPY CAMPING TRAILS TO ALL!

Comments

5 Responses to “The Magellan RoadMate Pro 9165T GPS Made for RVers – Part 1”
  1. eric says:

    Okay, so I got the impression you liked the Rand McNally RVND7710. And it sounds like you’re liking what you see of this Magellen.

    Any chance you might be considering doing a “side-by-side” comparison of the two? I’d sure love to see one. We’re preparing to purchase a new GPS (our current one is so out of date, that when I downloaded new maps recently, I was only able to put HALF the US into the GPS!) to use both when RVing and in our sedan.

    Based on your articles about the 7710, I almost ran out and purchased that one based on your review of it alone.

  2. jimJan says:

    Hi Randy,
    As you know, I’m still looking for a replacement for the gps that was stolen from my truck. On my way home today, I stopped in at the Chattanooga Camping World where I was assisted most ably by a lady named Amy. We looked at the 9165T and was very much impressed but, like you mentioned, the real estate required on the dashboard of a one ton pickup can be limiting. We also looked at the little brother to the 7710, namely the 5510. With a 5″ screen, it is a more likely candidate for those of us still driving ‘small’ vehicles.
    There is one drawback that is still being addressed. It isn’t compatible with my apple computer. Amy made a call and was informed that the folks at the manufacturer expect that bug to be ironed out in a few months. Interestingly, that time frame coincides with our next trip to the sunny south. Amy invited us to drop in and see her then.
    Thanks for your always infomative blogs. \
    See you down the road
    Jim

  3. Professor95 says:

    eric and jim –
    If you want the bottom line I like the Magellan for the Trailer Life Directory over the All Data resource but the I prefer the RVND7710 for overall GPS features and convenience. Both appear to use the same base maps and the Magellan 9165T is making the same mistakes the RVND7710 did that I noted earlier. I am hesitant to say buy one over the other and I “may” do a side-by-side feature comparison but it will not be here – perhaps over on the RV.net forum. Anyway, I will provide the link here if and when that happens. BTW – just finished a 450 mile routing with the Magellan so I do have some on-the-road experience now. Both appear to be great enhancements for RV use and either one would be “miles” ahead of a car GPS and more user friendly that a trucker unit (pun intended :) ) I promise to be fair to both in what I write and hope the info will help the purchaser make the best decision for their preferences.

    Randy

  4. eric says:

    Randy,

    Thank you for the information. I’ve been researching these two off and on all day, when work permits. Near as I can tell, we won’t go wrong with either, but the Magellan may be the better choice simply for the TL Directory.

    Just took a look at your profile, and discovered you must be one heck of a great man! From our dachshund puppy, Ixchel (that’s pronounced EE-shell), to your dachshund, Oscar, and from the Hays-Strom household to yours…

    Happy Holidays!

    eric

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