For many off-roaders, driving into the unknown and cruising on roads less traveled to view beautiful vistas and admire never-ending horizons is what makes this sport so enticing. The magnetizing pull of “The Great Unknown” has driven people to explore and has kept them exploring throughout the entire world. For centuries, all great pioneers and pathfinders have used a navigation system to keep them on course and moving forward as well as, help them find there way back home. And while our ancestors successfully navigated their expeditions using the stars as their guide, our navigating systems have gotten a bit of an upgrade.
GPS or Global Positioning Systems were first launched by U.S. Department of Defense in 1973 for use by the United States military and became fully operational in 1995, Since then, GPS has replaced most physical maps and many people use the GPS on their smartphone, tablet, or a dash-mounted GPS for directions during their daily commute, road trips, and for off-roading purposes.
Most navigating systems (even the one on your smartphone) are suitable and designed for daily driving in and around populated areas, however, if you plan on taking your rig to where network coverage is spotty at best, you’ll want to make sure you have the best off-road GPS that’s designed for this type of terrain from a St. George off-road accessory store.
This article discusses what to look for in an off-road GPS along with, the best off-road GPS, their features, and cost to help you choose which is the most suitable for you in order to help you enjoy your adventure without getting really lost.
What To Look For In An Off-Road Navigation System
When purchasing an off-road GPS from a St. George accessory store there are a couple of things you’ll want to consider or look for in a GPS device. These include:
- Points of Interest – Most navigating systems will show you landmarks and points of interests such as historical sites, buildings, and other interesting landmarks. In the desert, up in the mountains or deep in the forests these landmarks don’t exist. For off-roading, you’ll want a GPS that shows you relevant points of interest or landmarks, such as campsites, fuel stations, and even viewing spots to help you get the best photo for the ‘Gram.
- Topographic Mapping – Should you decide to go exploring on the trails, you’ll want GPS that notifies you about approaching cliffs, dead ends, rocky terrain, closed roads and other topographical features that you’ll want to know about before you get there.
- Offline Mode– Ideally you should have a specified off-roading GPS purchased from a St. George accessory store that is able to work offline when you don’t have any network coverage. Choosing a GPS that doesn’t offer this feature works about as well as a cellphone would under water. Luckily there are some affordable off-road GPS that will work for most everyone’s budget.
The Best Off-Road Navigation Systems
The following St. George off-road accessories have been reviewed by numerous off-road experts as some of the best off-road navigating systems available.
Garmin Oregon 650t GPS
Capable of display readability under direct sunlight, the Garmin Oregon 650t comes with a 3-inch touch screen, three terrain sensors to give the most accurate geographic mapping information as well as a dual-band satellite positioning system. Other features include for this product, as provided by the manufacturer, include:
- 3-Inch sunlight-readable, touchscreen display with multi-touch capability
- Dual-band GPS/GLONASS satellite positioning
- Sensors (3-axis compass, accelerometer, barometric altimeter)
- ANT or Bluetooth technology -wirelessly share routes, tracks, waypoints, geocaches, custom maps and photos between units Dual orientation – auto switching between landscape or portrait views
- Dual battery system -2 AA batteries or NiMH battery pack charged by the Oregon (battery pack included with 650/650t; optional with 600/600t) 8MP autofocus camera (650, 650t only) with LED flash/torch and digital zoom
The Garmin Oregon 650t will run you anywhere from $420 to $549.
Magellan TRX7 CS Dual Mount Trail and Street GPS Navigator
Preloaded with over 115,000 designated OHV routes, including off-roading forest routes, the Magellan TRX7 features a street navigation database which allows for you to get from point A to point B from the road. According to this article, the Magellan TRX7 also entails personal observations from previous off-roaders which allow you to search for them by location, rankings, trail difficulties, etc. The options with this off-road navigation system are endless and if you’re serious about exploring as much as you off-roading this is the GPS for you.
- Turn-by-Turn Trail and Street Navigation. Free Lifetime Map and Software Updates. RAM Dual Mount
- Pre-loaded with over 115,000 4WD, ATV, Motorcycle, and Snowmobile Trails
- Hi-res (10M) 2D Topo and 3D Baseman of the USA and Canada with Lifetime Free Updates
- Track Recording and Community Publishing, Crowdsourced Track Database, and One-Touch Social Sharing
You can purchase this system from Amazon or a St. George off-road accessory store for about $450-$470.
Trail Tech 912-4010 Voyager Stealth Black Moto-GPS Computer
A truly one of a kind navigation system, the Voyager is the first GPS product that has a simple mounting that can be used on ATVs, snowmobiles, and motorcycles. Readable in even the brightest light, the Voyager also has an LED backlight for better reading in the dark and features “smart logging” that stops when your vehicle does to avoid random data points throughout your trip. With the Voyager not only can your explore off-road trails with confidence but this GPS will also be able to perform diagnostics of your engine’s performance throughout the trip. Additional features as stated by the manufacturer include:
- Fits: Kawasaki Brute Force 650/750 4 wheel drive 05-11
- The one and only GPS designed and manufactured for off-road; whether you ride motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles or 4 wheel drives, Voyager is your unit
- Back-lit 240 x 400 WQVGA LCD screen displays: GPS speed, distance, compass, altitude, ambient and engine temperature, maps, customizable user screens
- Track manager CD allows you to view, organize, edit and share entire trail systems in 3D while the waterproof MicroSD card lets you download and share trail maps online
- Smart data logging: when your engine stops so does the GPS trail logging – eliminating random data points from your track when you’re not moving, Voyager provides clear, accurate tracks even in the toughest terrain
Current listing prices for this GPS start at $250.
In addition to traveling with a high-tech navigation system, it’s always a smart decision to bring along a map of the area you’re traveling in just in case. For more off-roading accessories from a St. George accessory store, contact Red Desert Off-Road today or stop by our store if you’re in the neighborhood.