I first reviewed this App in July 2015 http://www.annie-and-chris.com/2015/07/04/rv-companion/ I loved it then although it had some missing features and a few bugs at the time. However, I continued to use some of the App, in particular the Trip log and Campsites were excellent reminders of where we had been and when.
There had not been an update to the App in a long time and in April 2017 I contacted the authors to ask if they were going to do an update as I was concerned that the App may not survive the next upcoming version of iOS. I had a very swift response to say they were indeed working on a significant update adding many new features and at the same time asking me if I would take part in the Beta testing and also provide suggestions for improvements. The nerd in me could not resist especially as I had used the app so much in the previous two years.
I should also state at this point that I have no financial connection with the authors and am a fully paid up purchaser of the product. I am writing this review because this is simply the best RV Motorhome App I have come across.
So, over the last 6 months I have been given access to the Beta program and the authors have been extremely responsive to suggestions made. So, here is the review – I run the software on an iPad Air with latest version of iOS however, it also runs on iPhone and there is an Apple Watch add on. The review focuses on the iPad version.
The App launches with a left hand menu bar with the main functions displayed. This bar can be ‘slid away’ if you require more screen space which you might when perhaps looking at a Map View. Running down the menu main functions:
The To Do section lets you create multiple categories I.e. different types of To Do relating to the motorhome. It comes pre populated with some suggestions. I am using half a dozen different categories related to things like medicines not to forget, work I want to have done at suppliers and what documentation and cards we should have with us when we travel.
You add individual items to your categories and this can consist of a name and then a large text box allowing you to add a significant amount of detail. Each item has a tick box so you can check them off as they are completed. Clearly, some of us will have very long lists and lots of detail and will also want to ‘reuse’ a list after ticking it off. This is where the authors have put some real thought into additional functions you can do with your To Do lists:
- You can filter the categories to see only one or some of your lists
- You can view checked, unchecked or all items on your lists
- You can ask the system to delete checked items, or
- You can ask the system to reset the checked items so you can simply use the list again
Finally, one of the most useful facilities is the ability to export the information using the standard share facility – so, for example, I can create a maintenance list with detailed notes, I filter my categories to show just this list and then I export it to say a document or an email to give to the service agents.
Camps and its associated Trip Log options are where many of us will spend most of our time especially when you want to easily recall that camp site you visited in France some time last year but you can’t quite remember where or when!
Adding a campsite is simply a matter of pressing the + symbol. Give it a name, a star rating if you wish and then you can add a campground type. You can have as many campground types as you wish – this is a terrific feature because it means that later when you are looking for a site you can search C and C sites or Britstops or France Passion etc. Also, you can tap on Location and add the map location and view the campsite on a map. There are many other fields you can also enter data into including fees, website address and contact details.
Back on the main camp screen the initial view is of a list of all your campsites in alphabetical order. The ‘cog’ button at the bottom of the screen enables three possible options:
- You can choose to sort by name, by star rating or by camp type eg sort into C and C sites, Britstops etc
- You can filter by ratings I.e. show me only sites with 3 stars or above
- You can filter by campsite type eg show only Britstops or State Parks
Then, the really clever bit, once you have searched and filtered click on the Map option to reveal all the selected sites on a map which can be zoomed in and out and moved around so you can pinpoint sites you have in your list of Camps.
The above map shows my recent tour of the US and Canada. Each pin represents a campsite and clicking on a Pin reveals the name of the camp and allows you to open up the details for that site including the date of stay (this is the integration between Camps and Trip Logs)
Which brings us to trip logs. You can enter a Camp ‘on the fly’ in Trip Logs or select one that has previously been entered into Camps.
When adding a Trip Log item you can note the start and end stay dates and also record costs, mileages and fuel costs to reach your destination.
There is space for a detailed log entry and you may also record photos using the camera or photo library on your device. This is great if you want to remember where exactly you pitched last time, the view etc.
In Trip Logs, once again you have a number of useful controls:
- Sort your Trip Log by Date, by Camp or by Camp Type (eg Britstops)
- You can Flag trip log entries and then view only flagged entries if you wish
- You can filter by date which gives lots of options eg last 30 days, last year or custom from and to dates
- Filter to just see a particular camp site type.
This section becomes an invaluable log book and they have added the option to produce a printed report of your trips which responds to the selections you have made. The report can be emailed, printed etc.
There are three elements to this section, firstly, as you would expect, you can record in detail the specifications of the vehicle, weight, dimensions, tyre pressures etc.
The second section allows you to maintain a complete log of scheduled maintenance events, a history of maintenance undertaken and finally to be able to produce a maintenance report.
This operates a little like To Dos and would be where you keep a list of regular items such as winterising the van. As you check off To Dos there is an indicator to tell you what percentage you have completed.
You can ad as many procedure types and procedures as you wish. It is another very useful area within the App.
I have self levelling legs and didn’t think I would use this feature but in actual fact I have found it quite helpful. Very simple – you place your device on a work top and then adjust the van till it is level.
Simple but very effective.
There are a number of options worth explaining and taking time to set up when you first start using the App.
Link to Dropbox
If you don’t have a Dropbox account it might be worth getting a free one because by enabling this option you can make an all important Backup of your data which will become more and more important to you over time. This includes automatic backing up of photos and all the rest of the data in the system.
From this section you can also restore from a previous back up.
Drag and Drop Backup and Restore
Taking advantage of iOS if you haven’t got or don’t want Dropbox then you can create a Back up using this simple drag and drop feature.
The choices are US, Metric or Custom and for the UK you will need to select custom which will enable you to record distance in Miles but Fuel in Litres etc
Connect RV Companion to Facebook and Twitter
This is a ‘can’t do without it’ app as far as I am concerned. Lots of Pros and hard to think of any Cons. There is a Free trial app RV Companion Lite with limited functionality and then there is the full version when you feel ready to buy which at £4.99 for the paid version (US $4.99) is a bargain.