CoPilot GPS is an app that should help you safely navigate when towing your caravan. It's not free; there's an annual subscription.
Our Score: 1.5/10
- - Installs onto your phone; you don't need to buy a separate device.
- - Navigation instructions were clear.
The not so good
- - Didn't work well when towing a caravan.
- - Inaccuracies in speed limits shown on maps.
- - Icons displayed on the map are useless and confusing.
- - Subscription payment.
This was a hands-on product review.
CoPilot GPS App Review for Towing a Caravan has a recommended retail price of £25.99.
CoPilot GPS App Review for Towing a Caravan Photos
Before we got a caravan, I didn't particularly relish the thought of towing one. However, after trying out towing with the Camping and Caravanning Club, it was much more comfortable than feared.
With years of towing and thousands of miles, we've encountered many situations on the roads.
What can make a break your trip with the caravan is the route. Especially as many great campsites are in remote rural areas, with narrow lanes and sharp turns, and not somewhere reversing back out is going to be viable.
Today, we should have the technology to help us out; a SatNav that knows you are towing a caravan and makes sure you don't end up in these situations.
Unfortunately, all too often, SatNavs can still direct you down 'interesting' routes, which don't save any time. Not something you want to experience when towing a caravan.
The Garmin Camper
The Camper GPS has caravan towing designed into the unit. And while it worked OK a few times it took us on those interesting little detours.
An Alternative: The CoPilot GPS App
After reviewing the Garmin Camper, people mentioned that they like the CoPilot GPS App. So, time to check it out :-)
Using Apps for Navigation
We never had a car with a built-in SatNav for years. Now, we do, as built-in SatNavs have been around so long, when we bought our car second-hand, it had one :-)
Unfortunately, the maps aren't up-to-date, and finding places with it isn't easy. :-(
Recently, I have been using Google Maps to navigate using my phone. The maps appear to be up to date, and it re-routes traffic problems. It isn't perfect, though, and we still end up on those interesting detours SatNavs like to provide.
Like all SatNavs, it isn't reliable when towing a caravan.
CoPilot GPS App
The CoPilot GPS App installs onto your phone like Google Maps. CoPilot isn't a free app; there's a subscription, though you do get an initial 14-day free trial period to test the app out.
You set up your towing profile, entering the length, height, and weight of your unit so that CoPilot can plan Caravan-friendly routes.
Note that it's not just for caravans. The app works with motorhomes, too.
Quirky User Interface
I find most GPS Apps work the same. However, using CoPilot was slightly different from regular apps, which sometimes became frustrating when trying to plan a route.
Test One: Going to the Campsite in Wales
We headed off to a campsite on the shores of Lake Bala in Wales.
The quickest route from where we live is over the Berwyn Mountains, which is not the best route when towing.
The best towing route is along the main roads. Occasionally, holiday traffic causes congestion on the main roads, but it's a very straightforward towing route to the campsite.
Route Good, Maps Not So
The CoPilot GPS picked the best caravan towing route via the main roads and avoided SatNav's favourite over the Berwyn Mountains. That immediately a big plus to the CoPilot GPS App over Google Maps.
While driving, it spoke clear instructions and helped display which lane to be in at junctions.
The map display has icons with warnings and information. I found these icons too small while driving, and were not clear what they were telling me.
It also displayed the speed limit on the screen. The speed limit was just for the road and didn't consider the speed limit while towing. It would show 60mph instead of 50mph, for example.
It also got the speed limit wrong, often showing 60mph through 30mph villages (and some of these have speed cameras in Wales).
Test Two: Returning Home - A complete fail!
After picking the best route to the campsite, the return trip was not the same. Instead, it insisted we took the caravan over the top of the Berwyn Mountains.
I kept checking it was in caravan mode, and it was. But it just would not plot the best route, despite my trying.
What is worse, is that as we drove back along the caravan-friendly route, the CoPilot GPS App kept trying to direct us down narrow lanes back up to the Berwyn Mountains.
I know the area quite well, and it was instructing us to take hairpin turns, down single lanes and farm tracks, and I know there are some very narrow bridges with sharp corners. CoPilot GPS was obsessed with directing us down the most unfriendly caravan-towing route possible!
We ignored the CoPilot GPS, stuck to the main roads, and returned home in excellent time.
Using CoPilot GPS was a little frustrating, but I was happy to let that pass after it plotted a good caravan-towing route the first time around.
However, the app was extremely unhelpful on the journey home.
All-in-all, I found it worse than sticking with Google Maps.
I might try CoPilot GPS App again in the future, but for now, I won't be buying a subscription.
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