The 12 Best Off Road GPS
The 12 Best Off Road GPS
While there are few things that compare to the open road, there just might be one thing… The open off road!
It’s always great to get back to nature, especially if getting back to nature involves a Jeep, an ATV, an off-road motorcycle, a dirt bike, or even just a simple pair of hiking shoes. But, heading onto the road less traveled presents its own array of difficulties, not the least of which is navigation.
Sure, you may have your trusty map, and maybe you even know the trails you’ll be travelling upon very well. However, preparation is always key when heading off the grid, and in this technological age of ours, there’s really no reason to truly be completely disconnected.
That’s why many off-road enthusiasts opt for adding an off-road GPS to their tool bag. These handy little devices, much like the one you’ll find in your car or on your phone, help you to stay aware of where you are at all times.
This is no small thing! For one, should you ever get lost, you’ll only be a GPS tracker’s directions away from being found again. Even better, having one of these little tools can help you to take the off-roads even less travelled, given that you’ll never have to worry about finding your way back home again.
Best Off-Road GPS
Magellan TR5 Street and GPS Navigator
In the word of exploration, the name Magellan is well known. It turns out this is true in the world of GPS systems, which really isn’t much of a coincidence come to think of it.
We’ll be taking a look at a few different Magellan systems, but the first one on the list is probably their best all-around off-road GPS system. It offers a 5-inch color touchscreen with an 800-by-400 pixels resolution. The system comes preloaded with more than 115,000 trails in the U.S. covering those appropriate for everything from snowmobiling to ATVing. These are high quality maps, too, as they provide you with detailed topography.
Of course, new trails are being added all the time and old trails are changing. That’s why you’ll be glad that Magellan provides a lifetime’s worth of software and map upgrades, which can be downloaded to your device conveniently over Wi-Fi. And, here’s the kicker! When you’re not using this device for your off-roading needs, you can take it with you in the car, as it offers turn-by-turn directions on city streets, too!
Magellan TR7 Street and GPS Navigator
This next device from Magellan is a step up from the previous one. Most notably, you’re going to get a much larger screen. This one features a seven-inch touchscreen again with 800-by-400 pixels resolution. The larger screen real estate you’ll enjoy with this model makes it an ideal choice for larger off-roading vehicles, particularly jeeps and beefed up ATVs.
As before, you’ll be able to enjoy a lifetime’s worth of map and software updates for this device, which again can be downloaded over Wi-Fi. One great feature of this model is the ability to set waypoints along your trail. Not only can these be used for conveniently getting yourself back to home base, they can also be used for plotting out your course. With the device capable of providing audio directions from those waypoints, you’ll be able to keep your eyes where they belong: on the beautiful surroundings you’re enjoying while off-roading.
And, there’s even more that this device can do! Have a particularly good trek in the great outdoors? From the touchscreen you can provide updates to all of your friends through social media. How cool is that?
Magellan TN1700SGLUC EXplorist TRX7 Off-Road GPS Navigator
So, you want an ultra-premium option for your off-road GPS system, and you want to stick with a trust brand like Magellan. If that sounds like you, then this is the device you’re looking for, as it’s basically the souped-up version of the one we just took a look at.
This one, like the previous model, features a seven-inch touchscreen, but there’s a big different. The TRX7 features an HD display, making it far easier to see the trails laid out before you. Even more, there are some sweet upgrades to the software that comes loaded on this model. Amid the features you’ll find in the rest of Magellan’s line, you’ll also be able to create curated wish-lists of all the trails you want to visit. You can even make use of the device’s search functionality to find awesome trails near you that you may never have heard of before!
There’s also choice when it comes to how you’d like to view your maps. This device allows for you to seamlessly switch between a 3D view of your trails to a 2D topographical map. Finally, the device also provides alerts and notifications which can help you to navigate and that will let you know if you strayed too far from the beaten path. As anyone who’s spent anytime off-roading will tell you, this is a clutch safety feature.
Magellan eXplorist 510 Waterproof Hiking GPS
Now, if off-road bicycling and motorcycling is the order of business for you, then you’d be wise to check out this handheld offering from Magellan. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the full-sized GPS systems outlined above, it has plenty to make sure you stay on the trail and find your way home again if you’re in a smaller off-roading vehicle.
One of the best aspects of this unit is that it can take a licking and keep on ticking, even providing a waterproof exterior should your travels land you in the drink. And, as you’re out motoring (or biking around), you’ll never be far away from snapping a picture of your environs. That’s because this handy little unit comes with an excellent 3.2 megapixel camera and even the equipment you need for recording voice memos. All of this is powered by two simple AA batteries that should be enough to provide you with 16 hours of use.
Magellan eXplorist 200 Water Resistant Hiking GPS
This is the device you’ll want to look at if you simply need a handheld GPS system that’s no fuss and no muss. It comes in at a much lower price point than the previous model, while offering all of the features that most weekend warriors will need when they’re heading of the main roads!
This device features TrueFix technology, which should give you a very accurate picture of where you’re at along any of the trails you embark upon. In addition, this device allows you to set up to 500 waypoints and 20 routes, which should be more than enough for your off-road adventuring needs.
Like the previous Magellan model we looked at, this one is powered by two AA batteries, which should provide 17 hours of use. Because this device only has 8 MB of memory, you won’t get as detailed of maps as you would with the previous models, but again, what you get should be perfect if you need something low impact at a decent price.
Garmin DriveTrack 71- in-Vehicle Dog Tracking and GPS Navigator
Garmin is a well-known name in navigation, having released many of the most popular GPS devices over the past decade. It should come as no surprise, then, that Garmin has also released some truly exceptional off-road GPS systems.
One of the noteworthy things about Garmin’s offering for off-roading GPS systems is the detail of it’s maps, something you’ll be able to take full advantage of thanks to this device’s touchscreen. In fact, one of the simple yet elegant features you’ll be able to enjoy with this unit is its pinch-to-zoom feature.
One thing to keep in mind, though, about enjoying those maps is this: unlike the Magellan units we looked at above, Garmin requires a subscription to access updated maps. However, these maps can be awesome thanks to satellite overlays, and this unit even provides the capability of keeping track of dogs, should you have a hunting dog or two that may be heading out into the wilderness with you!
Garmin eTrex10 GPS
If you’re looking for a great entry-level handheld off-road GPS unit, then this one from Garmin is definitely worth a look. It features incredibly rugged and durable design, which should allow it to stand up to whatever the outside world throws its way.
The best thing about this unit, though, is that it’s WAAS-enabled. It also features HotFix and GLONASS support, meaning you’ll never have to wait too long in order to get a read on precisely where your location is.
This handheld off-road GPS unit is powered by two AA batteries, which should provide you with 20 hours of use. And use it you will thanks to this units ability to set and follow waypoints, something that can be quite useful when you’re out exploring! These waypoints can even be used to figure out how long your journey may take.
Garmin eTrex 20x
While the previous handheld unit from Garmin is incredibly bear bones, this one is a bit more fully featured, making it appropriate for someone who’s a step above your garden variety weekend warrior. The key feature here is the display with is 2.2 inches and full color, even offering features that make it far easier to read in direct sunlight.
It also comes loaded with much better maps than you’ll find in the previous model. Like before, though, you’ll need to pay for a subscription if you want to enjoy the features of satellite imagery overlays.
When it comes to connectivity, which is what is truly important, you’ll find a lot to love here. As before, this unit is WAAS-enabled, with HotFix and GLONASS, so getting a read on your location is always quick and effortless.
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera
Now, if you want to Cadillac of the Garmin handheld GPS offerings, then you’ll want to opt for this model, which features topographic maps of the United States. But, the key feature here is without a doubt going to be the touchscreen display, which is completely readable in direct sunlight.
Offering the same degree of GPS connectivity as the previous two models that we looked at, this device also offers three additional tracking sensors: an accelerometer, a barometric altimeter and a 3-axis compass. In addition, it also comes loaded with an 8 megapixel camera, perfect for snapping pics of your amazing off-road discoveries.
Trail Tech 922-125 Route Tracker
Moving away from the major brands will yield some great finds, too! For example, take this offering from Trail Tech, which comes loaded with a number of amazing features.
Most importantly, this unit has some great color maps, which feature things like hill shading and topography. With this unit’s maps pulled up, you can also outline your path, as this unit supports waypoints.
It features a 4-inch touchscreen display that can even be operated while wearing gloves, making it great for your winter off-roading enthusiasts out there. In addition, this unit is incredibly durable and rugged, being IP67 rated for anti-dust and water intrusion.
Trail Tech 912-301 Voyager Stealth Black Moto-GPS Computer
If you’re looking for a great GPS off-road unit for your motorbike, then this could be just what you’re looking for. This particular model fits a number of Suzuki motorbikes, with models available with the tools necessary to attach it to models from a number of other makes.
The display on this unit is a 240×400 WQVGA display, and the unit comes with a number of different sensors for measuring distances, altitude and even temperature. It’s also incredibly customizable, allowing you to load in your own maps with a MicroSD card (which is sold separately).
Alpine Electronics X209-WRA-OR 9″
If there’s one vehicle that’s synonymous with off-roading, it’s got to be the Jeep Wrangler. In fact, if you’ve read this far, we’re willing to bet you’re likely the proud owner of one of these exceptional vehicles.
Well, you know what they say about saving the best for last, right? This unit is an excellent choice for outfitting your Wrangler. It features a 9-inch touchscreen with an FM / CD / DVD receiver. But, what really counts are the maps, and this one has them in spades. Not only that, it also features an off-road mode that provides you with at-a-glance vehicle data, ensuring that you’re always operating in peak form!