Never get lost again on your ATV with one of these ATV GPS systems
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 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.
Editor’s Pick – Magellan TRX-7 CS
The top-level Magellan off-road 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 GPS for trails? This is the model we most often recommend as the best ATV GPS for trail riding.
Mid-Range Winner – Magellan TR7
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.
Budget Pick – Magellan TR5
It made sense to also include the Magellan TR5, a lower cost option with a 5-inch touch screen and a price a hair under $200. This smaller GPS packs the same features in as it’s bigger brother. You get the same 115,000 trail database and you can also add more as you go. Like the TR7, you can start your journey with a single touch, track your progress and get notifications if you veer off course. Both units can link via Bluetooth to your smartphone for connectivity and other features. It’s all the key features you need in the best ATV GPS systems, but for a much better price.
Most Compact – Garmin GPSMAP 276Cx
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 GPS for more than just riding, and want accuracy in remote areas, it makes a great amount of sense.
Most Surprising Entry- Lowrance Elite-5 Ti
I know what you’re thinking – that’s a fishfinder! It is. But Lowrance markets it as both a marine GPS and fishfinder AND as an off-road GPS system, and it’s pretty cool how it works. Yes, if does have marine functions that are designed to work on your boat to bring in the big catch, but those can be disabled for off-road use. In off-road mode, you have access to marine GPS reception, even on land. You also have full plotting capability with top map overlays. The system is also sealed against water, dust and more. These are very durable units and highly accurate, a major plus when trying to find your way. Easy-to-use touch screen navigation, sealed buttons and more make this an easy to use option, that can also work on your boat when you’re not hitting the trails. Plus, you can get one for well under $600.
But Wait, There’s More!
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 choice for your ATV rides. 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 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 their 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 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. 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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