Get the Right GPS for Your Off-Road Vehicle
As any avid off-roader knows, off-roading is about more than just the adrenaline rush you get from cruising and flying over rough terrain, it’s also about the beautiful scenery you get to feast your eyes upon while exploring the unknown. There is something about the thirst for adventure that draws people to this sport.
That said, the line between “exploring the uncharted” and simply “getting lost” isn’t always a fine one. To ensure you don’t cross over into the latter category, you need the right navigation system for your off-road vehicle.
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. These systems were first launched in 1973 by the US Department of Defense for military use but today they are a public commodity; most people have and use GPS on their smartphones and in their vehicles.
Common GPS systems work well in populated areas but when it comes to off-roading in areas where network coverage is inconsistent, you need a GPS system that transcends what’s common. A GPS system is one of the most important off-road accessories you can have.
Here we’ll be discussing what you should have in an off-road GPS and various features in these systems to help you decide which off-road GPS is best for your vehicle.
Features You Want in an Off-Road GPS
- Offline Mode: You don’t want your GPS to become just a useless collection of parts when you enter an area with no network coverage. Offline mode allows you to use your GPS even if you aren’t connected to the internet. There are plenty of affordable GPS options for off-roading with this feature.
- Points of Interest: While off-roading, you don’t want to miss any of the cool landmarks the area has to offer. Most navigation systems will indicate interesting landmarks, buildings, historical sites, and basically anything one would want to see while off on their adventure. Beyond that, points of interest could be fuel stations, campsites, or simply places that offer the best view.
- Topographic Mapping: To keep you safe, you want a navigation system that warns you about excessively rocky terrain that can damage your vehicle, closed roads and dead ends, approaching cliffs, and anything else that could be dangerous or simply inconvenient.
Different Kinds of Off-Road GPS
What follows are off-road navigation systems deemed to be in the GPS upper tier by numerous off-road experts.
Garmin Oregon 650t GPS
This GPS’s 3-inch touch screen (with multi-touch capability) can be read easily under direct sunlight. It includes three terrain sensors and dual-band satellite positioning for highly accurate geo mapping; you can rely on this system to give you all the information you need while out on the trail. Other features include:
- Sensor (barometric altimeter, accelerometer, and 3-axis compass)
- Bluetooth or ANT technology – share waypoints, routes, tracks, geocaches, custom maps, and photos wirelessly. You can auto switch between portrait and landscape views with it dual orientation.
- A dual battery system – 2 AA batteries or NiMH battery pack
- 8MP autofocus camera with LED flash/torch and digital zoom
Magellan TRX7 CS Dual Mount Trail and Street GPS Navigator
With over 115,000 designated OHV routes preloaded into it, this off-road navigation system is one that will give you plenty of ideas on where to go. It also features a street navigation database – you can easily get to where you need to go right from the road. You can also get information and personal observations from off-roaders who explored these trails previously so you can decide where you want to go based on location, trail difficulties, rankings, and other factors. With so many options available, you’ll never be at a loss on where to go or how to get there.
- Track Recording and Community Publishing, One-Touch Social Sharing, and Crowdsourced Track Database
- Turn-by-turn Trail and Street Navigation
- Free Lifetime Map and Software Updates
- RAM Dual Mount
- Hi-res (10M) 2D Topo and 3D Baseman of the USA and Canada with Lifetime Free Updates
- Over 115,000 4WD, ATV, Motorcycle, ATV, and Snowmobile Trails
Trail Tech 912-4010 Voyager Stealth Black Moto-GPS Computer
This GPS has a mounting system that’s very easy to use on motorcycles, snowmobiles, and ATVs. The screen can be read in bright sunlight, and when it’s dark, its LED backlight makes reading just as easy. It includes “smart logging” that automatically pauses when you stop your vehicle (so random data points aren’t included throughout your trip).
Another great feature of this navigation system is that it can track the performance of your engine as you blaze the trail and show the diagnostics to you. This way your next off-roading adventure can be done with confidence and security as you know what state your engine is in at all times.
- Smart data logging – random data points won’t be included in logging because your GPS trail logging stops when your engine does. Your tracks will be clear and accurate.
- Fits: Kawasaki Brute Force 650/750 4 wheel drive 05-11
- View, edit, organize, and share the trail in 3D with the Track Manager CD. The waterproof MicroSD card gives you the ability to download and share trail maps online.
- Back-lit 240 x 400 WQVGA LCD screen. It will display altitude, distance, compass, maps, GPS speed, ambient and engine temperatures, customizable user screens.
With any of the above navigation systems, your next off-road adventure will not only be much safer, but also much more enjoyable. It’s an old cliche, but it holds true: Safety First.
And remember, even with an awesome navigation system: bring a map!