Are you like off road adventures for example riding or driving your vehicle through unnamed, often unsurfaced roads and terrains or through mountains, snow, mud, rocks? Or you may be an adventurous hiker? In all of these cases, the best off road GPS makes the difference between a memorable off-roading experience or one that can compromise personal safety.
How a portable GPS unit works is it receives a signal from the satellites, fed GPS transmitted coordinates into A map and show the name of the street or the building corresponding to those particular coordinates. For personal GPS use, the GPS device uses google map to pinpoint the geographical location of the user.
But during an off-road outing, the google map will not help you much since you are traveling in an area which name is yet to register on the Google map. Off-road navigation can be divided into three broad types. These are discovered type, waypoint navigation, and TrackPoint navigation.
Our Top 6 off Road Gps (Quick View)
|Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS||Check Price|
|Garmin Edge 1030 Cycling Computer||Check Price|
|Garmin Edge 520 Plus – Advanced GPS Bike Computer||Check Price|
|Garmin Edge Touring Navigator||Check Price|
|Magellan TRX7 CS Dual Mount Trail and Street GPS Navigator||Check Price|
|Trail Tech 912-301 Voyager Stealth Black Moto-GPS Computer||Check Price|
Our Best Off Road Gps Reviews
01 Garmin Edge 1000 Color Touchscreen GPS
Edge 1000 cycling computer and GPS navigator from Garmin comes with GPS-guided navigation and advanced cycling training features. It features a 3 inches color touchscreen display with dual orientation. It includes a heart rate monitor, speed sensor, and cadence sensor, and is designed for cyclists who do not want to choose between using a navigator or a comprehensive training device.
This Garmin offroad gps features preloaded Garmin Cycle Map, which includes OpenStreetMap (OSM) to guide you during touring, commuting or other activities requiring onboard navigation. The device stored your mapping data, so access to navigation and performance capabilities is not dependent on cell coverage.
In addition to EDGE 1000’s mapping and navigation capabilities, it also tracks and records more than 70 points of cycling data, such as distance, ascent/descent, grade, and more. This GPS unit also offers a training calendar, which you can plan, schedule, and upload from Garmin connect.
- Product Dimensions 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches
- Item Model Numbe 010-01161-00
- Weight 4 ounces
- Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
- Battery life Up to 15 hours
- Display 1.5″ x 2.6″ (39.0 x 65.0 mm); 3.0″ diag (76.0 mm)
- Smart notification Yes
- Track every detail
- Preloaded maps
- Round trip routing
- Provide real-time weather conditions
- Live Tracking allow friends and family to follow your races
- The unit’s battery life is poor. It only lasts around 100 miles
Question : How does the turn-by-turn navigation feature of the unit work?
Answer : You get visual cues, in addition, you can select to receive a series of beeps that notify you of upcoming turns.
Question : Would I need my smartphone with me on my rides?
Answer : Not at all, since maps are already preloaded onto the unit which is an open street map with the road, and bike path routes, elevation, points of interest, and even the ability to type in a direct destination via address. The unit’s turn-by-turn navigation will also direct you back home either the way came or using a more direct route. What’s more, you have the option of receiving call and text notifications too.
Are you are riding to improve your own personal best or see where you stand against the pros? Use Edge 1000 to connect, compare and compete. You can Turn every ride into a race by competing on Garmin Connect segments and seeing real-time results on your Edge, including alerts for segment start and finish and leaderboard rankings. The segment features will stimulate you to push for continual improvement.
02 Garmin Edge 1030 Cycling Computer
The Garmin Edge 1030 is a capable bike computer. It is designed for those who want navigation functions, longer run-times than the previous model and compatible with Bluetooth Smart sensors along with several interesting new features such as rider to rider messaging and training load analysis.
Edge 1030 is a preferable choice to a cheaper unit because of its navigational capability. The unit has a lot to offer here. As well as the ability to display courses created elsewhere and imported, the unit allows you to browse the preloaded Garmin cycle Map, search for particular places (points of interest, addresses, and so on) and create your own course on the device itself.
It includes one interesting new feature which shows the best on-and off-road routes. The feature is based on millions of miles of Garmin connect ride data. Another new feature of Edge 1030 is rider to rider messaging. How this feature works, you can set up a GroupTrack list that allows you to connect with other Edge 1030 users and see where they are in Realtime on a map.
You can send messages to all contacts or selected contacts on the fly. These are short messages, for example, need mechanical help, running late and wait at the next stop. Messages will immediately show up on another rider’s screen.
- Product Dimensions 2.3 x 0.8 x 4.5 inches
- Item Model Numbe 010-01758-00
- Weight 4.8 ounces
- Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
- Battery life up to 20 hours, expandable up to 40 hours
- Navigational capability
- Clear mapping
- Larger screen
- Longer battery life
- Messages from rider to rider
- Garmin 1030 turn off without warning. On average, you need to turn the device 2-3 times per ride.
Question : Does the product comes with an international warranty?
Answer : It depends on whether you are buying from authorized Garmin dealers. If you buy it from them, you get an international warranty.
Question : Does the unit come with the mount of any kind?
Answer : Yes, the mount has been included with the package.
The Garmin Edge 1030 has such extensive capabilities that it is not possible to go into everything here. We hope this review has explained some of the key characters and features. If you are directing the eyes for a dedicated GPS unit with mapping, the Garmin Edge 1030 is the most advanced among other units of the same class. It provides you with a larger screen and longer battery life than its counterpart Edge 1000.
This is not a mere GPS device for riding mostly on familiar roads where you do not need to use navigational capability much. But if you want to explore something, then it has something to offer.
03 Garmin Edge 520 Plus – Advanced GPS Bike Computer
This unit of Garmin motorcycle gps is built for on and off road cycling which features advanced navigation and comes with a user-friendly design. The unit is perfect for any kind of cycling ride. Strava Live segments have been fully integrated into the Edge 520 plus. This feature is used for motivational purposes.
It allows you to compete second by second with your previous best result or with other rider’s personal records. You can track your results in real-time while cycling and can push you to the very limits of your performance.
The Edge 520 plus uses GPS to pinpoint your location wherever you are on the glove, both for on and off the road. It includes preloaded Garmin’s cycle Map which provides turn by turn direction and letting you search for the best routes, trails and more. After connecting the Edge 520 plus with your smartphone or compatible tablet device, you can unlock further boundless options and features.
This allows you to use the Garmin connect App to share your rides and use LiveTrack and GroupTrack with a rider to rider to messaging. The device can also be used for receiving your smartphone’s notifications.
- Product Dimensions 2.9 x 0.8 x 1.9 inches
- Item Model Numbe 010-02083-00
- Item Weight 2.08 ounces
- Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
- Battery life up to 15 hours
- Smart notifications
- Advanced navigation
- Compatible with various cycling
- Shows your cycling-specific Vo2 max and recovery time
- Comes with live track and group track
- The unit is a bit heavier compared to other models
Question: Is the unit compatible with ANT + non-Garmin devices?
Answer: Yes, it is compatible.
Question: How much onboard memory of the device?
Answer: The onboard memory of the device is 14.4 GB. The US maps occupy about 6.5 GB.
The Garmin 520 plus is an excellent training computer with best-in-class navigation. This unit is not a huge step forward from the Edge 520, but it includes Garmin cycle maps with automatic rerouting which is very useable. It features all the standard and many high-end metrics, for example, VO2 max, and FTP monitoring.
The latter is something that you can use to monitor your daily training. The unit is designed to train you smarter and discover new routes. With the device, you can explore new routes or pushing your limits at the race time.
04 Garmin Edge Touring Navigator
The Garmin Edge touring navigator is more of route planner than a performance tool. It is designed for riders who are planning to spend long days in the saddle, who want navigational aids and the capability to record some data but do not need the full shebang of power, weather forecasts, and extensive connectivity.
The unit comes with the Garmin cycle Map microSD card covering the UK and Europe. The device’s menu lets you specify whether you want to stay on roads or use cycle paths (or off-road trails for mountain biking). It can display cycling points of interest, and there are the usual navigate to the point of and return home options.
The unit has a 2.6 inches screen with a display resolution of 160 x 240 pixels. The screen offers enough detail and color to give a decent enough display that is usable while riding. It has a nice battery saving feature. It darkens between junctions but brightens as you approach, and their audible notifications to alert you too.
- Product Dimensions 2.0″ x 3.7″ x 1.0″ (51.0 x 93.0 x 25.0 mm)
- Weight 8.8 ounces
- Screen-size 2.6 inches
- Display resolution 160 x 240 pixels
- Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion
- Battery life Up to 17 hours
- Warranty 1-year
- On-road or off-road navigation with preloaded Garmin cycle map
- Plan and download new routes to follow
- Relieve and share your rides with Garmin connect or Garmin adventures
- Points of interest(POIs) specifically for cyclists
- Affordable price
- The unit loses GPS for some time, and when that happens the GPS can sometimes lock up and send you off route
Question: Does the unit come with cadence and heart rate?
Answer: No, it does not come with cadence or heart rate.
Question: Does the unit work with a ride with gps?
Answer: It is a GPS unit which shows you the exact location on the map as you ride.
The Garmin Edge touring navigator is refurbished model which is tested and certified by Garmin to work like new. The product includes all original accessories and offers a 1-year warranty. Comes with an unbeatable price, the unit has many high-end features like on-road or off-road navigation with preloaded Garmin cycle map, points of interests, plan and download new routes to follow. This product is great if you are looking for a low-price unit with all basic features.
05 Magellan TRX7 CS Dual Mount Trail and Street GPS Navigator
The Magellan TRX7 CS features a 7″ HD touchscreen protected by a ruggedized IP67 casing. The TRX7 is dual mount which has both Suction Cup and Power Sports Mount to fit any 4×4, UTV/SxS or ATV vehicle.
The TRX7 CS comes preloaded with over 115,000 designated OHV routes from the forest and public lands and includes Magellan’s award-winning street navigation to get you from your starting point to the trail. You can search trails using your TRX7 or search for trails in a constantly growing crowdsourced database on TRXTrailhead.com. This is a community database which can be accessed by multiple devices including desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
Unlike other GPS units, Magellan TRX7 CS is easily configurable on both Mac and windows, and it includes intuitive surface, hi-res 3D basecamp view.
The unit comes with free lifetime map updates. The manufacturer, Magellan, provides all of their latest software and map content updates for free over Wi-Fi at no extra cost.
- Product Dimensions 8.7 in W x 0.7 in D x 5.2 in H
- Item Model Numbe TRX7 CS Trail and Street
- Weight 3.5 pounds
- Display Size 7 inches wide screen
- Display resolution 1024 x 600 pixels
- Rechargeable Battery Yes
- Waterproof Yes
- Turn-by-Turn Trail and Street Navigation
- Free Lifetime Map and Software Updates
- Pre-loaded with over 115,000 4WD, ATV, Motorcycle, and Snowmobile Trails
- Track recording and community publishing
- One-touch social sharing
Question: Does Magellan TRX7 CS come with everything to mount on a Yamaha grizzly?
Answer: The unit includes genuine RAM Mount with windshield and U-Bolt bases.
Question: Does the Magellan TRSX7 CS dual mount navigator waterproof?
Answer: Yes, the unit is waterproof, Dustproof, drop and shock resistant.
Two other similar models of Magellan are Magellan TRX7 CS Trail and Street GPS Navigator with 5MP Rear Facing Camera and Magellan TRX7 Trail and Street GPS with RAM Multi-Mount. Both of them offer on the road and off road GPS navigation functionality.
All of these models feature turn by turn trail and street navigation meaning they will prompt you visually and with spoken instructions regarding turning directions right or left and when to get on or off a freeway throughout your journey from start to end. They feature a built-in 5MP rear-facing trail camera with Flash LED which allows you to share your adventures with fellow off-roaders by taking photos and videos and sharing them on social media.
06 Trail Tech 912-301 Voyager Stealth Black Moto-GPS Computer
Voyager comes with a 400x 240 WQVGA LCD display which has no rival on the market. The display has incredible resolution and contrast. When exposed to intense sunlight, the display’s transflective properties come into play. Transflective displays both transmit and reflect light (so is the name), eliminating the need for a backlight under sunlight or ambient light conditions and thus, saving energy.
The unit mounts directly to your vehicle, bolted at or below the handlebars. This unique mounting solution makes Voyager an integral part of your vehicle. In fact, Voyager is the first GPS unit that can be mounted on a motorcycle for an off-road adventure.
The device has on and off the trail file sharing capability between units via the waterproof MicroSD card. So, you can share the experience with other fellow off-roaders. The unit provides both ambient and engine temperature. Engine temperature is saved in track data points, and altitude versus engine temperature is plotted to draw the graph.
From this graph, you can evaluate how the engine performs from past trails. The unit comes with customizable user screens. On this screen, data is intuitively arranged and can be quickly accessed using joy-stick navigation.
- Product Dimensions 4.5W x 2.5 H x 1.1 D
- Item Model Numbe 912-301
- Weight 1 pound
- Part Number 912-301
- External Power Input 12V-60V DC
- Internal Battery 3.7V 900 mAh Li-ion
- Battery Life (100% Backlight) 6 hours
- Screen 2.3 x 1.4 inches
- Specially designed for off-road adventure
- Can be mounted on multiple vehicles from a motorcycle to four-wheel drives
- Back-lit LCD screen displays speed, distance, compass, altitude
- Track manager CD allows you to view, organize, edit and share entire trail system
- Provides clear, accurate tracks
- It does not come with pre-loaded maps
Question: Does the unit originate with the mount?
Answer: Yes, the device comes with the mount. It mounts on the handlebar from 7/8 inch to 1-1/8 inch and can easily be de-mount.
Question: Can it be used on any motorcycle and does it come with maps?
Answer: Yes, this GPS unit can be mount on any motorcycle. If the motorcycle does not have a battery, you will have to recharge the battery with a wall plug and the engine temperature will not work. The unit does not come with maps. But you can download maps from a website that Trail Tech recommends and transfer to the device.
Apart from this model, two other units of voyager series Trail Tech 912-502 Voyager Stealth Black Moto-GPS Computer and Trail Tech Voyager GPS Computer are completed all with off road GPS navigation functionalities. When comes about off-roading, these units are only comparable to Lowrance off road gps devices.
Whether you ride motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles or 4-wheel drives, Voyager series is your ultimate GPS units. They feature smart data logging. It means when your engine stops these units will stop GPS trail logging eliminating random data points from your track when you are not moving. All of them provide clear, accurate track even in the toughest terrain.
Off-Road Discover Type
This type is for people who are not sure where they are actually going. In this type, the off-road navigation system keeps tracking the path that one takes so if one gets lost, he can go back using the track data or one can also track the progress to avoid going back to the same place. But only a few excellent mapping software have these features.
This type allows the user to plan prior to his adventure. In this type of off-road navigation, the user inputs the latitude/longitude of the place that he wants to go and then navigator of the device will plot a route map for the user along the off-road terrain. Then the user decides himself whether he will take the most challenging or the easiest path to the destination.
Compare to the other two types; this type can either be the easiest or perilous. Trackpoint navigation involves somebody has already done the hard work for you by going through the track, record the track log and then give you the log that you can put into your off-road navigator to follow the same path. The danger lies if the track is forested areas, then flora and fauna might have changed over time and can prove to be a different tack altogether.
Besides these types of off road GPS, they can vary in terms of vehicles where they use for example car GPS, cycle GPS. Amid such variations, finding the right one is challenging. In this GPS buying guide, we have reviewed 10 best off road gps units available on the market, so that you can pick the one right one for you.
Best off Road Gps – Buying Guide
In the GPS industry, a few well-known manufacturers are Magellan, Trail Tech, and Lowrance gps. Before buying an off road GPS, you must check a few physical features and of course its functionality and mapping technology. Physical features include below things:
If you do not have the plan to use your GPS outside of your car, then the weight is not an issue. But it is a big issue if you want to use it during hiking. In that case, you need to use handheld models whose weight vary from a couple of ounces to nearly a pound.
It is immensely important to have a screen that is easy to read. Direct exposure to sunlight can overwhelm a GPS unit’s built-in screen backlighting, rendering your maps unreadable. On better units, a reflective coating is applied behind the screen. Then coating uses sunlight to brighten the display enabling you to read maps quickly in any lighting.
It is significant that the GPS unit is designed to withstand exposure to extreme elements, particularly if you take part in a number of outdoor activities. In terms of durability, other things that also need to take into accounts are will the GPS survive being submerged in water? What would happen if you accidentally drop it?
If you plan to use your GPS unit mostly in the car look for units that includes a sturdy mounting bracket along with correct power adapters.
Average battery life of GPS device is twenty hours. You need not take extra batteries if you can recharge it or can charge it in your vehicle.
Buying an in-expensive model does not mean you will miss any basic features like current-location and destination display, pre-programmed points of interest, pre-loaded maps. But ready to pay a little more, if you want to get additional features, for example, Bluetooth capability, a larger database, a bigger screen, or more maps.
After check out above physical attributes, now you need to look for a few must-have functionality features. These are
An integral part of any GPS unit is its mapping software. The software allows you to acquire a detailed map of the region that consists of the roads you will take as well as area’s topographical characteristics, for example, lakes, streams, and contours.
The LCD screen of the device should show a great map page which will constantly display your location in reference to waypoints and overlay street maps with topographical feature maps. In addition, an ideal GPS unit will provide altitude, latitude, and longitude readings. The concluding feature of the mapping software is it will provide backtrack capabilities to guide you home.
The way GPS units work is they constantly search for and acquire information. But some units are designed to process data and provide updates far more quickly than others. In general,
The GPS unit contains information related to locations of gas/petrol stations, hotels, parks, coffee shops in a database. Most automobile GPS units come with a database that has millions of POIs. Since business changes faster than roads, sometimes POIs cannot help you much. Better POI list provides phone number along with the name and locations of services.
From starting point to a final destination, this feature prompt you visually and with spoken instructions directing you when to turn right, when to turn left, and when to get on or off a freeway. Today’s most GPS units even go further. They include text-to-speech functionality, which means that they not only directing you to turn right or left, they even pronounce the street name.
For example, they would not only tell you to turn left in 500 feet but also say something to turn left 500 feet onto the Elm street. Though it is a high-end feature, many low-end devices are also including the feature.
Waypoints are specific geographic locations which are represented by longitude and latitude. Waypoints are recorded in your GPS by pressing the waypoint record button. These points help you to find your starting point or where you actually started your journey. Waypoints feature is essential for handheld models but is rarely used in automobiles.
How To Use And Maintain Off Road GPS?
There is no shortage of settings and features even in a simple GPS unit. As preparation, read the owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with it. After that, practice in the neighborhood or a park until you are comfortable with how every feature works.
Whatever high-end product is, every GPS unit has four basic functions. Familiarizing yourself with these four functions first will allow you are using any device quickly. These are:
A GPS let you know where you are by displaying your coordinates. Your position will also be shown on its base map or top map.
As you move on either in your vehicle or on foot, GPS device records and displays a breadcrumb trail of where you have been. You use those later to easily backtrack to your starting point. Some GPS units will even let you download your track to your PC and view your travels on a topographic map.
One of the most important parts of executing an exciting off-road adventure is trip planning by using point-to-point navigation feature GPS device. If you would like to locate and go to a popular spot that you have heard from other people, simply connect the map software programs to the GPS, and it will find the general area.
Then the device will generate the map coordinates highlighting important points like freeway exits and even figure out exactly where to turn on the off-road trails. The planning can be carried out on our PC at the convenience of your home.
Display Trip Data
This odometer-like function presents you cumulative data like how far you have traveled and how high you have climbed. When not in use, you need to take care of your GPS device for long durability. Here are a few factors or things you should do.
It is important to put the GPS in a bag when not in use. You will get many bags that are specially designed for GPS but using an insulated camera bag is pretty useful. The bag serves several purposes. First, it protects the devices against high and low temperatures. Second, exposing them to elements or keeping them mounted on the dashboard dramatically reduce their longevity.
Another significant aspect of using a bag is it keeps the GPS hidden from view. This will save it from stealing since GPS devices are easy to steal and sell.
One of the most important elements of the device is its LCD display. Most owners are annoyed when they find that screen is either less responsive or duller after a few months or a year use. You can protect the screen by put into service a screen protector. This it will protect it from direct sunlight exposure. The protector will also stop the interaction of oil from your skin with the screen, which can lead to damage.
Avoid firmly poking the screen. This will damage the screen’s integrity, and it is one of the biggest reasons for screen failure. Instead, gently touch the screen since GPS devices are very sensitive and responsive. For better maintenance, clean the screen at least once a month using wipers specially made for electronic devices or a screen cleaning kit. Use of harsh soaps will damage the screen. So, they must not be used.
Protect the CPU
GPS devices are no different than computers or smartphones since all of them have CPU. This piece of hardware keeps the GPS running, and it ensures that the device carried it out its basic functionality like finding satellites and guiding you to your destination. So, protecting the CPU is vital. You can protect the CPU by properly using the GPS.
CPU has to work harder when it cannot find a satellite. This happens when you are in a building, or the device is on a for a long time. So, limit the GPS unit use and use it only when you are driving.
Avoid Power Surge
Normally, people do not expect that power surge can happen in cars because this happens mostly at home. But what happens in case of the car is when you start the car, the battery will surge for a few seconds. And if the GPS is plugged in before turning on the car, then it will be exposed to about 20 percent more power than it can handle. While this may be a trivial issue at first, but it destroys the battery eventually. So, make sure that GPS is unplugged that before turning on the car.
Upon proper maintenance of your GPS device, it is likely to last for many years. These devices are quite durable, but they are susceptible to damage if you aren’t careful.
Often time, off-roaders tackle rough weather conditions, for example, snow, wind, and dense fog. They also have to overcome natural obstacles like thick forests, flooded rivers, and wandering canyons. So, both geographical challenges and poor weather conditions can quickly confuse you, causing you to lose track of where you are, where you came from, and where you ultimately want to go.
The best off road gps provides you step-by-step directions that help to pinpoint your present location and enable you to backtrack.
If you plan to purchase an off road GPS unit, we hope our guide will help you extensively. We want to finish the article with a few pieces of advice. In case of cycling GPS, Garmin Edge 520 Plus – Advanced GPS Bike Computer and Garmin Edge Touring Navigator come with an affordable price, but the Edge 520 plus is a better option since it comes with Preloaded Strava Live Segments that let you compete second by second with your previous best or another rider’s PR.
If you are looking for a GPS unit that can be used for both on and off road adventure, then Magellan series GPS units would be a perfect choice. Magellan TRX7 CS Dual Mount Trail and Street GPS Navigator, Magellan TRX7 CS Trail and Street GPS Navigator with 5MP Rear Facing Camera and Magellan TRX7 Trail and Street GPS with RAM Multi Mount come with an almost similar price and have both on and off road GPS features.
The final conclusion is, for GPS unit that is specifically designed for off-road adventure, Trail Tech series would be great for you. Trail Tech 912-301 Voyager Stealth Black Moto-GPS Computer, Trail Tech 912-502 Voyager Stealth Black Moto-GPS Computer, and Trail Tech Voyager GPS Computer are designed and manufactured for only off road outing. Finally, the choice is yours. Happy shopping!
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