Never get lost again on your ATV with one of these ATV GPS systems
The Best ATV GPS system is perfect for those of us who like to explore the (off)road less traveled. We’ve done the research and compiled the best available GPS for trail riding options together in one article.
I can proudly say that I’ve never been lost. I just have found places that I haven’t been to before and from where I may not quite know how to get back to where I started from, but that doesn’t mean I’m lost. That’s what I always tell my wife when she asks if we’re lost. She doesn’t always believe me, but like Inigo Montoya said in The Princess Bride, I know something that she does not know. No, I’m not left-handed, but I do have a backup plan. I always have a GPS with me to help me find my way. Today’s GPS systems available to off-road enthusiasts have more features and are much more user friendly than ever before. Here are five of the best ATV and UTV GPS systems that will help you find your way home, avoid any arguments and are less expensive than you might think. You can thank me later.
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Magellan TRX-7 CS - Editor's Pick
The top-level Magellan off road GPS system has the same 115,000 ORV trails and easy-to-use touchscreen navigation as the lower cost units. This unit, easily one of the best ATV GPS systems anywhere, adds a built-in digital camera with GPS tagging to upload your journey in new and fun ways. It also has full Bluetooth connectivity and one-touch social media sharing to Twitter or Instagram. ATV.com’s own Rick Sosebee has played around much with the unit. See what he has to say here. People often ask, what is the best ATV trail GPS? This is the model we most often recommend as the best ATV GPS for trail riding. The reason is simple, too. It’s the one we’ve been using and enjoying for a long time and it works great!
Magellan TR7 - Mid-Range Winner
Magellan has gone and made some of the best ATV GPS systems for the off-road community, and for 2019 , they have not only improved on the lineup, but made them more affordable. The TR7 retails for under $400 and is loaded with 115,000 trails! Yes, you read that right trails – not roads. They have those on there too, but 115,000 trails is HUGE. It has a 7-inch touchscreen display that is shock, dust and water resistant. You can expand on the trails available by using the TRX Trailhead website where users map out and upload even more maps. No matter what vehicle you ride, this is one of the best off road GPS devices available.
Garmin zūmo XT - Compact Powerhouse
One of the newer ATV GPS systems on the market, the Garmin zūmo XT all-terrain navigator is built to help you find your way along the trail. It has an ultra-bright 5.5” display that is glove-friendly and water-resistant. It can withstand all kinds of weather, extreme temperatures and vibrations, just don’t drop it in the lake and expect it to work perfectly. The GPS has routes with turn-by-turn directions when used on-road for navigation, and it uses topographic or birds’ eye satellite imagery for off-road guidance. The zumo gives you rider alerts to what’s ahead on the trail. Easily manage and review routes, tracks and waypoints across your navigator, smartphone and computer using the Garmin Explore app, and you don’t need any subscription. You can pair with a compatible inReach satellite communicator (sold separately) for interactive SOS, two-way messaging and location sharing. Leave it to Garmin to come out with a sweet new way to stay on the trail.
onX Offroad App - Alternative to GPS
Most all of us have smartphones, tablets or laptops these days. And I’m sure you’ve at least seen an ad for the onX app, especially if you’re a hunter. onX started as a hunting app to help people mapp and navigate their hunting property, but it has evolved way past that. The onX Offroad App is loaded with over 400,000 miles of off-road trails in all 50 states, and with the most accurate and intelligent off-road GPS mapping tool you can get. View private and public land, including national forest, BLM, national parks and OHV riding areas. Trails are color-coded to quickly see which are open: green = open and red = temporarily closed. Tap a trail for information including trail details, closure dates, difficulty ratings, photos and more. onX Offroad covers more than 985 million acres of public land with thousands of recreation points such as campgrounds, non-ethanol fuel stations and trailheads. You can use the app to plan out the perfect ride and then go do it. Sounds great! When do we leave?
Garmin GPSMAP 276Cx - Most Compact
Garmin has been in the GPS business for a long time and bring considerable technology to the table. The Garmin has GPS and GLONASS satellite reception that helps get a stronger signal in remote areas. It is preloaded with topographic maps and supports active weather updating and tracking, which can come in very handy. In addition to the topo mapping, you can choose Garmin’s HuntView mapping for those of us that use our ATVs for hunting and other outdoor activities. It has pushbutton controls and is sealed for duct, water and guarded against shock, making it a great option for off-road use. It’s not cheap, with a price around the $600 mark, but if you use your ATV or UTV GPS for more than just riding, and want accuracy in remote areas, it makes a great amount of sense.
Lowrance HOOK2-5 Baja Overland Offroad Chart Plotter GPS - Perfect Plotter
I know what you’re thinking – that’s a fishfinder! It isn’t anymore. Lowrance makes some of the best GPS chart plotting system technology in the world and they have been slowly building into the off-road world. This unit is their popular HOOK2 system, but they have stripped out the sonar technology that you wouldn’t need or want in a UTV GPS system. With this GPS plotter, you’ll need to load off a map service, like a regional map. It also works best with an external GPS antenna. Where this plotter has found a home is with competition UTVs and trucks. Properly set up, this plotter can keep you on track regardless of the conditions, making it a winner to us.
Garmin GPSMAP 64st - Bonus Handheld and ATV Unit
When we started this list, the GPS units listed above were the easy picks for the Five Best available. There are several others that could make this list, they just are a tad more specialized in application. The Garmin GPSMAP 64st is a seriously cool ATV trail GPS. Why didn’t it make the top five? Well, it’s a hand-held device, so the screen is small at 2.6 inches, making it harder to use while riding. However, this is one packed little handheld. It has full topographic mapping, and it has wireless capability meaning that you can share the screen and information to your cellphone, tablet or more, and you can share the info with others, too. Being a Garmin, it is fully waterproof, shock resistant and has a quad-helix antenna for serious accuracy. It has bird’s eye view topographic mapping, too.
Are There Factory Options?
There are currently two off road GPS systems offered from ATV manufacturers that are somewhat brand specific. We’ve talked a lot about them, too. Polaris’ amazing Ride Command system is offered as a factory-loaded special edition in the RZR, Ranger and General models. You can add it as an accessory, too. It provides a full readout of your machine’s information, such as speed, engine temp, RPMs, etc. and can provide diagnostic information if there is an issue. It also has full GPS and can link to other machines that have Ride Command, or through a cell phone app, for those without Ride Command. Ride Command is a cool product in that the 7-inch screen is glove-touch capable, meaning you don’t need to take off your gloves to navigate the screen options. Polaris was the first to come out with such a system from an ATV manufacturer, and they are definitely not the last.
Yamaha released its Adventure Pro tablet GPS system developed in conjunction with Magellan and it is outstanding to say the least. This tablet-style GPS is water and shock proof and has full GPS mapping capabilities. It also has access to a wide-range of trail system maps and other topographical maps to help you navigate through wherever you should end up. The 2020 Yamaha Grizzly is pre-wired for the tablet and has a special dock to let it ride right under the bars. Expect more Yamaha machines to offer options involving the Adventure Pro system, too. Amazing stuff!
How Does ATV GPS Work?
I’m glad you asked. GPS, or the Global Positioning System, is a network of roughly 30 satellites orbiting the Earth. Originally a US Military tool, regular folks like us have been able to use the signals generated by these satellites to triangulate our positions for some time now. The best part is that today’s GPS units are extremely user friendly and not complicated to use.
Wherever you are on the planet, at least four GPS satellites are within range of your GPS device. Each satellite sends out its position and the current time at regular intervals. These signals are picked up by your GPS, which then calculates how far away each satellite is based on how long it took for the messages to arrive. As long as your GPS has received signals from a minimum of three satellites, it can pinpoint your location using a process called trilateration. Trilateration is pretty cool. Basically each of the three satellites’ signals will say you’re within a given area, calculated as an oval. Your GPS then pinpoints your exact location by finding where the three ovals interconnect. As software and signal strength has improved over the years, accuracy of best ATV GPS units that we use has greatly improved.
Do You Need Off Road GPS for your ATV?
Well, do you like getting lost? I’m kidding, of course. Seriously though, the newest crop of ATV GPS systems are amazing. They help you stay on the trail and even help you find your way to new trails. Systems like Magellan’s and companies like Yamaha and Polaris are making it easier to find new trails through GPS by having online data you can download. These websites provide you with complete trail maps right on your GPS, and have waypoints and trail info from other users inputted right into the data stream. Very cool stuff.
The best ATV GPS systems also work well when you’re trying to ride as a group, by keeping everyone on the same trail. Some systems even communicate with each other for you, letting you know where everyone is at all times – sort of an ATV GPS tracker. That way when you have that one guy that always gets lost, crashes, goes off course, etc… you can find him. And we all know that one guy.
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