Which of these off-road GPS units is best?
Searching for a GPS that’ll help find your way back to civilization? We compare the pros and cons of the Magellan TRX7 CS and Garmin Overlander GPS units to help you decide which is best for you.
Look – we get it. Not everyone has the latest and greatest infotainment and mapping system in their off-road rig. In fact, some of the best off-roaders your author has ever wheeled barely had functioning gauges, let alone a snazzy touchscreen and Apple CarPlay.
With that in mind, we decided to pitch a pair of popular GPS systems that’ll permit you to find the way out of That New Trail you found instead of fumbling around the Back Forty until dark. We’ll break the Magellan TRX7 CS and Garmin Overlander down feature by feature, pointing out advantage and obvious deficiencies.
Sound good? Now, clean up the wiring for that power point so you’ve got a place in which to plug these things. Let’s roll.
We’ll start with specific navigation features because, well, it’s why people buy these things. The Magellan TRX7 CS comes preloaded with over 160,000 designated OHV routes from forest and public lands, which should be enough to keep even the most avid off-roader busy. Trails include those for 4WDs, ATVs, and snowmobiles. This is in addition to the brand’s well regarded GPS street maps that’ll help you get to the trailhead. Expect about 8 hours on a full battery charge.
The Garmin Overlander features topographic maps, including public land boundaries, 4×4 roads, and forest service roads. This is helpful, especially since the maps also point out waterways, trails, and other land use data. There are topographic maps for North and South America plus 64GB of built in storage if you’re bringing some of your own satellite imagery. After wheeling, its street maps can provide spoken directions and its battery life is about three hours.
With one touch, the Magellan TRX7 CS permits ATV and UTV enthusiasts to start GPS tracking while off-road. Included is the feature allowing this tool to automatically bread-crumb your track, meaning even the most ham-fisted among us should be able to find their way out of the wilderness. When recording a track, the TRX7 CS makes it easy to save waypoints and personal observations. There’s a crowd-sourced database from which you can draw, too.
The Garmin Overlander does something similar, allowing one to record their tracks and save them to your Garmin Explore account. This way, you can review them later on any device or share them with friends. The Overlander is also preloaded with iOverlander POIs and Ultimate Public Campgrounds, meaning you don’t need a cell signal to route your wagon train to the best-established, wild, and dispersed campsites.
A 7-inch high def touchscreen is onboard the Magellan TRX7 CS, including a built-in camera with LED flash. Using either a saved trail from your favorites or a preloaded trail on the device, simply tap “Follow” once the trail is selected. Once you’re on the trail, the Magellan helps identify land features to minimize surprises. Also helping with safer off-road navigation are a high-resolution 3D terrain map view and a 2D topography view with contour lines covering the Unites States and Canada.
The Garmin Overlander also boasts a 7” color touchscreen with large icons that’ll look instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever held a smartphone. It also permits you to sync all of your GPS data between devices when you have a WiFi connection, in case you’ve plotted something on the Garmin mobile app during a wheeling session in a buddy’s rig. The Overlander comes with integrated pitch and roll angles to help you and your vehicle navigate difficult terrain. Other commonly used overlanding equipment such as a compass, altimeter, and barometer can be found in the interface as well.
Mounting & Cases
Magellan promotes its RAM Dual Mount, which is included, as allowing users to attach their TRX7 to a windshield via a rugged suction cup. There’s also the provision to mount the thing on 1″ to 1.25″ tubing. An IP67-rated dop and shock resistant casing is water- and dustproof on the Magellan TRX7 CS.
The crew at Garmin says the Overlander is built to the U.S. military standard 810 for thermal and shock resistance. It can be mounted virtually anywhere, thanks to its powered magnetic mount that comes with a suction cup and 1” RAM ball compatible adapter.
Here’s the big one. Magellan has priced the TRX7 CS at $549.99 in the American market, a sum which includes the dual mount and a bunch of power adapters. Meanwhile, the Garmin Overlander costs $699.99 and also comes with the various mounts mentioned above. One trick up the Garmin’s sleeve? It can be paired with up to four of the brand’s wireless backup cameras (sold separately, of course), giving you full view of the what’s ahead and behind your tow vehicle or UTV and trailer.
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