Trail riding is a fun and adventurous outdoor event usually done following bush trails, forest roads or paths and can range from short to long distances. Trail riding is usually not done on roads or highways for safety and several other reasons. Trail riding majorly includes activities such as hunting, fishing or camping and you get to experience nature and wildlife you don’t get to see regularly.
It is fun to take out your UTV on an open trail, but when you choose to explore new trails in your UTV, one of the dangers is getting lost or wandering off the path especially if it’s an uncharted path. This may be a little issue if you can easily find your way back on track, but can get more serious than that especially if you are lost in the wild and the tracks are not clear enough to track.
In recent times though, technology has come to the rescue as you can now find your way back on track using any of the Best GPS for UTV trail riding. Every adventurous UTV trail rider must therefore take a GPS along with them, especially when exploring new trails.
Importance of using GPS
Using the GPS is very efficient for a lot of reasons, which is why the GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) is growing more popular among hikers, campers and trail riders. It serves as an efficient means of finding your way around the woods or forest to avoid getting lost or hurt without anyone around.
With a GPS receiver, you can confidently trail ride a long distance of a new area knowing fully well that you are safe, you know where you are and can always find your way if you get lost, and should you need help; you can easily share your location or coordinates so that help can easily reach you.
Most GPS devices for UTV work by using the longitude and latitude coordinates and has other features such as instant messaging, smart tracking and recognizing other devices within a range which make them safer to use and highly recommended.
Types of GPS available in the market
There are lots of choices available to you when looking for GPS for UTV trail riding mostly because they are of different types and different categories. This section will describe the different types or categories of GPS devices so you can have an idea of what works best for you.
- Hand-held GPS system
They are also known as portable GPS systems and most common among trail riders. Hand-held GPS devices are very efficient in the wild and point out locations for fishing spots, campsites and other spots in that area.
They serve as digital maps and alongside showing your location, they also indicate all the topographical features around your location. One extra feature that makes this type better is that they can pinpoint your exact location and send for help in case of an emergency situation.
- In-vehicle GPS system
These are more standard to most vehicles and as such not a new system for UTV riders as most riders are used to their features and spoken instructions in cars. It is no different for trail riding because it provides the map direction and comes with the voice support, high connectivity except that for trail riding, they have the trails and tracks in addition to the roads on them; which makes it easier to lead you from home to the start of the trail and back. The in-vehicle GPS system works with improved accuracy of map direction so that you are not confused or at loss for directions.
- Sport and fitness GPS systems
These are more like the rave of the moment especially for fitness freaks who love to have an update of every little detail of their exercise such as the heart rate, distance covered, calories burned and cadence. These GPS systems give all information alongside the location details needed while trail riding.
- Water-based GPS systems
Suitable for sea divers, jet skiers and other water-based activities that require one to have a real-time update on the location inside water. People also get lost in water which is even riskier, but with a GPS system, they are able to find their path, avoid obstacles and detect sea animals so as to avoid them on time. The water-based GPS system also triangulates your exact location in case of emergency.
Top Best GPS brands
There are so many GPS devices on sale and you can easily be at loss for what to choose. We have therefore come to the rescue by selecting a few of the best GPS for UTV trail riding. The following factors were put into consideration before compiling these brand choices; functionality, affordability, portability, ease of use, battery life and durability among many other factors. The top GPS brands are:
- Garmin GPS
Garmin GPS products are well-designed, highly sensitive and have long-lasting battery life. This brand rolls out different products with the GLONASS satellite system and a quad-helix antenna to pinpoint your position regardless of how dense the area is.
- Margellan GPS
The Margellan GPS brand designs all its products with high-definition touch screen and well-advanced trail navigation technology for direction accuracy. They have over 100,000 installed routes and works well for road and off-road navigation.
- Wahoo ELEMNT GPS
All Wahoo ELEMNT products are designed with a large screen that makes it convenient to read directions at a glance. They are compatible with other apps for direction and works well for workouts, road navigation and real-time location sharing with friends.
- Trail Tech Voyager moto GPS
All Trail Tech products are easy to use ATVs, motorcycles, 4 wheel drives as well as UTVs and alongside location accuracy, they let you know your speed and the distance you cover in time and also indicates the altitude of your location.
- Bad Elf GPS
Bad Elf GPS uses the Bluetooth technology to share direct data to paired devices and allows apps to read your real-time location.
Top 7 Best Off Road GPS Listing
Magellan TRX7 CS Dual Mount Trail and Street GPS Navigator (TN1740SGLUC)
- Turn-by-turn trail and street navigation. Free lifetime map and software updates
- Built-in 5MP camera with LED flash. Ram Dual mount. Free lifetime map and software updates
- Pre-loaded with over 115, 000 4WD, ATV, motorcycle, and snowmobile trails. Ram Dual mount
- 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. Contact the Magellan OHV product team for questions and support: [email protected] trxsuport.Magellangps.Com
The Magellan TRX7 CS Dual Mount Trail and Street GPS Navigator is an excellent all-around, affordable navigation solution that has a 5MP camera with LED flash.
The device also provides turn-by-turn trail guidance for driving on the streets as well as offroad paths to help you find your way back home when exploring new areas of interest.
With preloaded maps in over 115, 000 4WD, ATV, motorcycle and snowmobile trails it’s like taking a mapmaker around town without having to ask directions from gas stations along the way or risking getting lost in unclear terrain just waiting – this item will get you where you need quickly!
Trail Tech 912-114 Voyager Polaris Sportsman Ranger RZR ACE 2000-2019 ATV UTV Powersports GPS
- Off-road GPS with 4 inch color touchscreen anti-glare display, sealed and rated IP67 for anti dust/water intrusion
- GPS enabled, active compass, elevation readings, distance and the ability to record ride data to SD card
- Speedometer and tachometer readings in real time, shows current/total ride time and battery voltage
- Fits 2008-2018 Yamaha Grizzly 550, 700, 2006-2018 Yamaha Kodiak 700, 2004-2008 Yamaha Rhino; 2008-2016 Can AM DS 450; 2013 Artic Cat Wildcat 1000; 2008-2018 Kawasaki Teryx; 2009-2016 Suzuki LT-Z 400, 2006-2009 Suzuki LT-R 450
- Fits 2016-2018 Polaris Ace 900, 2000-2018 Polaris Sportsman 400, 450, 500, 550, 700, 800, 850, 2015-2018 Polaris Scrambler 850, 1000, 2002-2008 Polaris Ranger, 2008-2016 Polaris Ranger 570, 2008-2018 Polaris RZR, RZRS, RZR4, RZR900
Trail Tech Voyager Pro 922-125 UTV GPS 4-inch Touch Screen, Fits All, Black, Universal utv
- Off-road GPS with 4 inch color touchscreen anti-glare display, sealed and rated IP67 for anti dust/water intrusion
- Color navigation screen, topography maps and hill shading, supports tracks, routes and waypoints
- Tracks speed in mph using the GPS or wheel sensor; displays speed, temperature, distance, elevation and voltage
- Buddy tracking displays the current location of up to 20 members of your ride group on the map screen
- Bluetooth enabled for intercom, phone dialing, messaging and media controls
Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver
- Sunlight Readable 2.6 inches color display. Display size : 1.43 x 2.15 inches and 2.6 inch diag (6.6 centimeter). Battery life : 16 hours. Water rating IPX7
- Expanded Internal Memory 8GB.Display resolution 160 x 240 pixels. Interface: high speed USB and NMEA 0183 compatible
- DUAL BATTERY SYSTEM Use with 2 traditional AA batteries (best with Polaroid AA batteries), or the optional rechargeable NiMH battery pack that can be charged while inside the device.Weight 8.1 ounce (230 grams) with batteries
- Receive Smart Notifications* and pair with optional ANT+ sensors, such as heart rate monitor, Tempe temperature sensor, speed/cadence, or use to control your VIRB action camera (64s/64st only)
- Wirelessly upload data to Garmin Connect and view on smartphone, plus share activities as they happen with Live Track (64s/64st only). 3 axis compass with barometric altimeter.Routes:200
Garmin eTrex 30x, Handheld GPS Navigator with 3-axis Compass, Enhanced Memory and Resolution, 2.2-inch Color Display, Water Resistant
- UPGRADED DISPLAY Features a 2.2” 65K color sunglight readable display offering increased resolution (240 x 320 pixels). Physical dimensions: 2.1" x 4.0" x 1.3" (5.4 x 10.3 x 3.3 cm)
- LOAD MORE MAPS Large 3.7 GB of internal memory and microSD card slot lets you load a variety of maps, including TOPO 24K, HuntView, BlueChart g2, City Navigator NT and BirdsEye Satellite Imagery (subscription required)
- PRELOADED BASEMAP Includes a worldwide basemap with shaded relief
- BUILT IN SENSORS eTrex 30x adds a built in 3 axis tilt compensated electronic compass and a barometric altimeter which tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude, and you even can use it to plot barometric pressure over time
- WIRELESS Wirelessly share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches with other compatible devices simply press “send” to transfer your information also wirelessly connects to compatible Garmin devices, including VIRB and accessory sensors
Garmin GPSMAP 60CS Water Resistant Hiking GPS
- All-purpose handheld 12-parallel-channel GPS+WAAS receiver with electronic compass and barometric altimeter
- Sunlight-readable, 256-color, 2.6-inch-diagonal transflective TFT display; rapid automatic route calculation
- 56 MB internal memory for storing map detail; supports both USB and serial port PC interfaces
- Includes geolocation games such as Virtual Maze, Nibbons, Geko Smak, Memory Race, and Gekoids
- Runs for 20 hours on 2 AA batteries; measures 2.4 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches (W x H x D); 1-year warranty
Garmin GPSMAP 276Cx
- GPS AND GLONASS - Internal antenna with GPS and GLONASS satellite reception to track your position in more challenging environments than GPS alone
- OPTIONAL MAPPING - Built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief, and also upports Garmin TOPO maps, BlueChart g2 HD marine charts, Custom Maps, raster maps, and vector maps
- SEE YOUR SURROUNDINGS - Includes a free 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription for real-life terrain views on your device
- ADVANCED NAVIGATION - Advanced navigation options include automotive mode for street navigation and Curvy Roads routing (with optional mapping)
- WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY - Pairs with your compatible mobile device for automatic uploads, smart notifications, LiveTrack and more; also compatible with Wi-Fi and ANT+ technology
How to use GPS for UTV trail riding
To use a GPS device on your UTV, install the GPS device by attaching to a clamp and fix it anywhere convenient and easy to view on the UTV. Start the device, open the map and type in your start point and destination. The map will calculate the distance and time it will take to get to your destination and bring it on the device screen.
You will also see the various stops, landmarks and other geographical information you need to know before you begin the ride. Once you are ready, then press starts and it automatically re-centres the map to your start point and readout directions as you go.
What to do if I go out of network coverage?
Most GPS devices allow you to switch to satellite mode when there is no reception, so in a situation where you go out of network coverage,
- Know that you can still send or receive text messages, a text message to your friend or family to make them aware of the situation may seem good.
- Activate the SOS buttons on the GPS device in case of a life-threatening emergency
- Share your real-time location to gives others an idea of how far you went before the signal loss.
Is there any GPS that can work without network signal or coverage?
There are many GPS apps you can download before the trip that allows you to navigate or find locations without network connections. Download the apps for offline use and pinpoint your location. These GPS devices can also work as a text messaging device when there is a signal loss, which means you can still communicate with your friends and get directions or location details from them. Most offline maps allow you to trail ride with the stored information about your location without the need to connect to data.
Important things to consider when buying GPS device
In order to have the right GPS that works perfectly with your UTV, there are important details to look out for such as the portability of the GPS device, its battery life, the display size, ease of navigation while using the device, and how much topographical information it provides. These factors are indicators of how effective a GPS will be. The best GPS for UTV trail riding, however, should be able to provide these features and also work offline. Some of these features are outlined below:
· Easy to read display
A good GPS device should have a large screen and bright or adjustable display so that you can read off directions on the go without having to stop frequently. Colour screens are more popular in demand because let you see clearly under bright sunlight. But in all, try to find a balance between the size of the device and its screen because sometimes, the larger you want the screen to be, the bulkier the size of the device.
· Correct mapping
One of the features you will need a GPS device for is to alert you to important topography and unsealed roads including familiar 4WD trails. Following a well-known vetted 4WD track is a guarantee to keeping safe.
· Easy smartphone connectivity.
Since you carry smartphones around these days, it should be useful for connecting your GPS system which gives you access to different apps and other functions related to your off-road GPS device. Some apps allow you to record your off-road trail.
· Battery life
Battery life cannot be over-emphasized as one of the key features you would need in your GPS device. You wouldn’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere because your GPS runs out of power.
Your choice of GPS device should be one that is strong and durable and especially weather-proof or water-proof since you’d be using it mostly outdoors
You need to consider how convenient it is to operate the GPS device whether you are driving or not. It is best to buy a GPS device you can mount on your UTV that won’t get in your way as you navigate the trail. A compact design will be preferable for easy movement without being too bulky to mount or carry about
The trail ride is a strenuous activity that exposes you to different weather and road conditions. This is the same for any item you carry along on the trip, which is why any GPS device you purchase should have durable features such as weather resistance, abrasion or scratch resistance and most of all water-proof or water resistance so that it can last through the outdoor conditions it will be exposed to without you worrying about changing GPS trackers frequently.
Frequently asked Questions
Question: Is a GPS system totally reliable and accurate?
Answer: GPS systems are very accurate and reliable. They show your exact location and the topography around you so you can know what you will come across on your trip. These devices can even find a location within a dense or thick jungle or woods and give you the altitude details of your location. If set properly and all necessary measures are taken, a GPS device can be trusted.
Question: Can a GPS system work for both trail and road navigation?
Answer: depending on design and brand, some devices have both the road map and trail map and can give directions right from your doorstep until you begin your trail ride and back. Others however are only designed for trail rides. Using a dual GPS system saves you money though because it serves both functions efficiently
Question: Are all GPS systems waterproof?
Answer: Product features and specifications are listed on the products before buying, and you can get to see the listings to know which is water-resistant or waterproof. Most GPS devices with silicone covers are waterproof while some are only scratch or impact resistant. Do ensure that you read the specifications before the purchase.
Question: What is the main feature to look out for in a GPS device?
Answer: There are several features you will need to consider but the three most important features are location accuracy, battery life and device connectivity as you don’t intend to get stranded in the wild.
Question: Can I attach my GPS device to the UTV ?
Answer: Yes, you can attach your GPS device to your vehicle somewhere you can easily read off directions and view the map. A clamp or device holder can be used to hold the device in place while you drive.
Trail riding just got better with the dependable off-road GPS technology and now that you are well aware of the choices available to you, it’s time to make the best selection and enjoy your off-road adventure.