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Choosing the Right RV Backup Camera

Choosing the Right RV Backup Camera

pros and cons of wireless RV camera systems as well as how to install an RV backup camera system


Light vehicles sold in the United States — including cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans — will be required to have backup cameras by 2018. It's no surprise that more and more manufacturers are answering the demand for aftermarket RV versions. After all, RVs have fewer rearview mirrors, but bigger blind spots and more horsepower. Here’s what you’re going to need to look for when you’re trying to find a backup camera that will work for an RV released before 2018.

The right features

As you look for the perfect camera or camera kit for your RV, it's important to decide which features will be the most important to you. Do you want a stable, reliable connection from your camera to your screen, or is it more important to have sensors, remotes, and other add-ons?

Where will you mount the camera, and how much depth perception do you need? These are the types of questions you want to ask yourself.

The Screen

Of course, a camera is useless without a monitor to view its feed. Your interior screen will play a big role in your safety and visibility after you install your camera, so it's important to pick one that gives you a clear and reliable picture. Instead of eyeing the size of the screen, pay attention to the resolution. A smaller screen with a higher resolution won't have the dots and fuzziness that bigger screens develop if the resolution is low. You can also choose between black and white or color screens, making it easier to distinguish between obstacles.

Your camera and wireless transmitter or cable will also affect picture quality, so it's important to make sure every component of your camera system works together well. Your monitor should be able to display the picture quality that your camera provides, making your camera investment worthwhile. And if you want the option of adding side-mounted or front cameras later, start with a screen that already has multiple camera input ports.

Find the right connection

Will your camera share a wired or wireless connection with your viewing screen? It's important to know the advantages, drawbacks, and available features of each choice.

Of course, with convenience comes a few setbacks. Wireless signals can interfere with one another, so if you pass another vehicle with a wireless backup camera or any other digital device that transmits a similar signal, you may no longer see your own camera feed on your screen. Fortunately, there are now digital no-interference wireless cameras that prevent this communication lapse.

Wired RV Backup Cameras

Wired backup cameras include one long cable, which runs from the back of the camera all the way to the video screen or monitor inside your RV. This cable must be at least as long as the distance between your camera mount and your dashboard, but because the connection is consistent and physical, this ensures a more reliable video feed than wireless options.

Wired RV backup cameras include the following options:

  • Single RV Backup Camera – This camera is part of a "plug and play" system, and you can choose which parts to purchase.
  • Side Mount RV Camera – Side-mount cameras often work in conjunction with rear-mounted cameras, giving you more visibility of potential blind spots and increasing your viewing radius to 120 degrees.
  • Full RV Backup Camera Kits – These complete camera kits come with everything you need to install and connect multiple cameras, and you can choose the size of your screen to accommodate all the different viewpoints. They can also allow you to find the best RV observation camera setups out there.
  • Heavy Duty RV Camera – If you like to veer off-road with your RV, it might be worthwhile to invest in a heavy duty backup camera that is designed to withstand intense vibration and extreme weather conditions without jeopardizing your visibility or damaging the system.
  • Waterproof Cameras – Excessive or deep water will damage most cameras, but not waterproof RV backup cameras, which can be used to safely unload and re-hitch boats.

Wireless RV Backup Cameras

Wireless technology is changing our whole world, and RV backup cameras are no exception. Now that it's possible to connect a camera and video monitor without a physical wire. Many RV owners are opting for this connection instead of investing in – and taking the time to install – a very long cable. Wireless RV backup cameras still offer clear vision during day and night driving conditions, without the need for a cable. There’s also smartphone driven backup cameras, which you can learn more about here.


Your RV backup camera installation process will depend on the camera you decide to purchase, so make sure you understand how the components work together. Camera kits are a great way to save money on the accessories you'll need, and they also come with the wiring and instructions to get the system fully working in time for your next trip. It’s also important to determine the right type of mounting system and type.

Mounting types

Your next decision will determine where and how your camera is mounted. Do you want a camera that is flush in the center of your RV, or would you rather take advantage of existing license plate holes to mount it outwardly and near the road?

Surface-Mounted Cameras

Just as the name implies, surface-mounted RV cameras can be mounted on any external surface. Most of these cameras are mounted high up on the back of the RV, maximizing your depth perception. If your RV is large, this is your best option. These types of cameras work better if you’re looking for a wireless backup camera for 5th wheel RV.

Flush-Mounted Cameras

Would you rather mount your camera through a hole in your RV? If so, only the camera lens and bezel will protrude from the RV, which looks cleaner and less invasive than other aftermarket options. However, this will affect your depth perception. A flush mounted camera might not be the best wireless backup camera for a travel trailer.

License-Mounted Cameras

Your license plate already has a hole, so you don’t need to modify your RV by drilling a new one for this camera. Your RV backup camera will be close to the road if you choose this option. It can also be a great spot for a wireless rv rear view camera.

If you’re looking for installation tips, this guide is here to help.

FAQ: Common Questions About RV Backup Cameras 

  1. How do you hook up a backup camera?
    Depends on the camera, and your RV setup. Luckily, we have a handy guide for helping you get it all figured out.
  2. How much does it cost to get a backup camera installed?
    It depends on how much money you’re willing to spend. If you’re installing it yourself, you’ll only need to spend whatever the cost of the camera is combined with any tools you might require.
  3. Which is better: wired or wireless backup camera?
    The answer to that question depends on what you’d like to accomplish, and your pre-existing setup. Wireless cameras are easy to install and power, but occasionally can run into issues with connectivity. Choose the setup that makes the most sense for what you want to do.
  4. Is a backup camera worth it?
    Absolutely! The additional protection from liability combined with the unprecedented level of control a backup camera gives makes them a must buy.
  5. What are the best backup cameras?
    That always depends on what you need. Camera Source sells high-quality cameras, and all of them will work very well right out of the kit. We’ve written an article on great features you might not know about that will help you answer this question too. Finding the best wireless rv backup camera in 2019 has never been easier.
  6. Do wireless backup cameras work well?
    Absolutely! They are extremely functional and reliable. Here’s a list of potential pros and cons. 
  7. Can you put a backup camera on any RV?
    Yes! Though the displays might differ, as well as the mounting system required for donig so.
  8. How durable are backup cameras?
    Most backup cameras are designed to withstand all of the elements--come rain, snow or mud. While some might take a beating, most of them will remain durable no matter what you throw at them.

Get Your RV Rolling With A Backup Camera

Ultimately, any increase in rear visibility will make it easier and safer to drive your RV. However, if you really want to back up with peace of mind every time, it's important to be careful about the camera or camera kit that you select. Make sure you can depend on the connection, see the feed clearly, and install it easily. After you have your new RV backup camera in place, you'll never want to back up without one again. And, if you’re looking for more information about finding the right backup camera, check out this Camera Source guide, or get in touch with one of our customer associates. If you’re ready to start shopping, browse our collection of cameras for RV and fleet vehicles.