USGS topo maps have taken a back seat for navigating off road trails to handheld GPS units, tablets, smartphones and dedicated navigation solutions. It’s a blessing being able to go into the backcountry to explore some great terrain without being completely blind in it. Each of these options for guiding you through various trails has various benefits.
Lowrence Trophy-5m Baja
Lowrance GPS units are very popular in racing circles for many great reasons. The Trophy-5m Baja was designed specifically with off-roading in mind. It has been ruggedized to be water and shock resistant and can be fitted to be installed in your dash or mounted to a bracket. The Baja includes Topo Adventure topographical mapping covering the contiguous 45 United States and Mexico. How can you beat that deal? Third party off-road mapping options are also compatible with the Baja. Mounting the external GPS antenna onto your roof will give nice and clear satellite reception.
Tablets and smartphones are great tools to use while off-roading. Most tablets with Android software are already equipped with a built-in GPS, getting you off the road quicker. iPad’s are Wi-Fi-only and will have to have an external GPS receiver connected to the dock or lightning connector. Bluetooth GPS receives are also an available option to use along with your tablet and smartphone. Depending upon your use, weatherproof housing may be required to protect your smart device from all the fun you’re having.
You’ll want to double check GPS apps for their use. Some are geared more towards hiking or camping. Apps with multiple map options can be your best bet using them for street maps, topo maps, satellite images, or some other map database to navigate. Remember you may need to download the map before heading into areas where you cannot access cellular or Wi-Fi data.
There are some amazing options available to use for guiding you on your off-road trips. Take your time and research what solution fits your needs best.