If you asked most explorers, not many things beat the fan of an adventurous trip. Whether it’s to a mountain, desert, forest, beach, or unexplored terrains, adventuring unleashes fan of its own kind.
However, losing the track when in the middle of unfamiliar territories can spoil the entire trip. Things become even worse when nothing seems to work for your good- No network coverage. The vehicle’s built-in GPS gave up a few meters after diverting from the main road. No one around to consult. The nightfall seems to be approaching quicker than on other days- you are all on your own!
Now, to avoid such a scenario, investing in a good off-roading GPS is the best way to go. These devices pack special off-roading features including hundreds of thousands of maps to keep you on the right track even when exploring areas you’ve never been into before.
Nevertheless, not all off-roading GPS navigation systems are dependable. So, how do you identify the reliable ones from the rest?
Well, we have already done the homework for you: through our in-depth research, we have successfully sifted out the 11 Best Off-Roading GPS Navigators. Go through our review to identify your ideal model.
- Rugged handheld navigator with preloaded worldwide basemap and 2.2 inch monochrome display
11 Off-Roading GPS Reviews
#1 Garmin GPSMAP 64st High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver
Approach every off-road journey with confidence by investing in this high-quality off-road GPS. The device packs plenty of amazing features that deliver a user experience like no other.
The premium device has a quad-helix antenna and a GLONASS receiver to precisely show your position even when in hard-to-track areas such as in deep canyons and heavy cover.
The GPS navigator comes preloaded with over 100K maps covering all the United States including Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and more. Also, it offers topographic maps and other information such as on rivers, mountains, game parks, and more.
The Bluetooth-enabled device arrives with a Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription that runs for a year. Also, it supports BaseCamp, free software that allows you to conveniently plan for the next adventure.
It comes with a 2.6-inch color display. The most impressive thing about the screen is that it is easy to read even when in the sun. Therefore, in case you love exploring in the summer, you won’t go wrong here.
High-sensitivity GPS has a battery life of 16 hours. Also, it features a dual battery system. Thus, you can use it with the traditional 2 AA batteries or a rechargeable NiMH battery that you can charge in your vehicle.
The unit also boasts an 8GB internal memory, larger than you will find in other models. However, in case you need more space, you can expand its storage as you please since it features a micro SD card slot.
#2 Garmin Edge 520 Plus GPS Cycling/Bike Computer
Our second suggestion is designed with cyclists who love to train smarter in mind. It packs lots of great features that make racing and off-road cycling more convenient and enjoyable than ever before.
For instance, it is preloaded with Garmin Cycle Map. This feature provides turn-by-turn navigation and lets you know when approaching a sharp corner. Got lost on the way? No problem- its natty features will guide you back to the right route.
The bike computer also supports rider-to-rider messaging. The highly convenient feature lets you share prewritten messages from the computer to those of other fellow riders without having to use your smartphone.
The gadget leaves a room for the user to customize it as they please. I mean, the user can install more apps from the Connect IQ store. Among these apps include AccuWeather and MinuteCast that predict the weather for easy scheduling of a ride.
The navigation unit comes with a bright color screen. The high-quality display is easy to read and shows real-time results to keep you updated with every bit of information you need in your ride.
However, we must also acknowledge that this unit has some flaws. For instance, it isn’t a touchscreen. Nevertheless, it has smooth analog buttons that are extremely easy to use even with gloves.
The third option on the list also comes from Garmin. The single unit combines the functionalities of 2 devices. I mean, although it’s a GPS navigator, it also has an in-vehicle dog tracker.
With the combination it packs, one thing comes out clearly; it’s an ideal option for dog lovers who have a great passion for off-road adventures- forget about spending hours searching for your furry friend after a solid day of work!
The top-notch equipment pairs with the Garmin GPS dog system to allow the user to accurately track the whereabouts of their four-pawed colleague from the comfort of their vehicle.
Also, this device comes with plenty of preloaded TOPO maps for Southern Canada, North America, and detailed maps of the United States to give you confidence in exploring unconversant sceneries.
When you buy this gadget, the manufacturer sends it with a 1-year Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription as a welcome gift. But in case you want to use it with Huntview maps, it’s also compatible.
The GPS navigator arrives with a 6.95-inch display- larger than those of the majority of competing models. Hence, you will be able to see more data on the screen. The pinch-to-zoom design lets you view data clearly in a larger format.
The Wi-Fi connectivity affords a way of receiving new updates for maps and software. Also, this unit connects to another device within 250 feet through Bluetooth wireless technology for hands-free calling.
This device comes with a 5-inch color screen. The display boasts the resolution of 500 x 800 pixels while the touchscreen capability makes it easy to make several adjustments.
The slim and compact design implies that this unit is made with serious hikers in mind. Also, the small and manageable guarantees to take minimal space in the car- it’s ideal for vehicles with limited space.
The reliable accessory is designed to allow the user to track when driving on the basemap. It also gives the user an easy way to save personal observations as well as waypoints with a few taps on the screen.
Also, we like that this navigator has a pause mode. When activated, this feature lets the user perform several functions such as marking waypoints and adding photos that relate to it.
It comes preloaded with TOPO and street maps for the United States and Canada. Furthermore, it has Wi-Fi connectivity for up-to-date maps from the manufacturer as well as the latest software.
Magellan TR5 will also warn the user when he/she takes the wrong route to keep them on the right track. The Backtrack feature safely guides the user to the starting point- you will never get lost again in the wild.
There are lots of things that make this navigator one of the top-notch models out there. For instance, it is a high-sensitivity WAAS-enabled GPS receiver which makes it easy to know where you are.
The top-class device also makes use of Hotfix Satellite prediction and GLONASS Support that also play a central role in pinpointing your location even when in heavy cover or deep canyons.
Garmin eTrex 20x comes with a 2.2-inch screen. The color screen has a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels and remains bright for quick and accurate reading of data in low light and well-lit spaces.
The accessory offers an internal memory of 3.7 GB. Although it isn’t the largest for a device of its kind, it’s adequate for downloading a variety of maps. But in case you need larger storage capacity, the device still has you covered; it features a micro SD card slot for space expansion.
Garmin eTrex 20x comes with a worldwide basemap to serve you right off the bat. Finally, it comes with an affordable price that most avid adventurers can easily take in their budgets.
#6 Garmin Oregon 650t Handheld GPS
When going for an adventure, a decent camera is a must-have for capturing beautiful memories. Now, with this GPS navigator, you don’t have to invest in a high-quality camera since it doubles up as one.
The built-in 8-megapixel camera takes clear photos for sharing with your friends and family. Also, the high-quality cam has automatic flash and will save the geographical information for future reference.
The device has touchscreen capability. And unlike some touchscreens that do not work with gloves, the screen of this GPS navigator is compatible with most gloves for increased user convenience.
The screen utilizes a reflective display technology. This cutting-edge innovation ensures that the display remains as bright and clear to read in the sunlight as it is in the shade.
On the GPS navigator side, Oregon 650t features topographic data for the whole of the U.S and a worldwide basemap. These maps capture details on state and local parks, lakes, trails, rivers, and more.
The 3-axis electronic compass shows where the user is heading while the barometric altimeter displays changes in pressure. The high-sensitivity GPS receiver pinpoints your location quickly and with precision.
The next navigator on the list has a 7-inch screen. The display is clear and remains bright in the sunlight for easy and convenient reading. The touchscreen capability renders it easy to operate and convenient to perform several settings.
The accessory offers turn-by-turn directions for on-road guidance. Also, when off-road, it directs you using the pre-installed topographical maps. Nevertheless, since the preloaded maps are of North and South America so you will have to download your area map if you don’t come from these regions.
To facilitate this process, this GPS navigator is designed to seamlessly connect to a Wi-Fi network. That said, you will also find it easy to keep your software up-to-date.
The most commendable feature of this device is the large internal storage. Offering up to 64 GBs of storage, this accessory will hold more maps and other files than any of the previous models- you won’t even need a micro SD card.
Multiple Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) supports this device. Therefore, it is more reliable even in most challenging environments as compared to other navigators that use GPS alone.
Other convenient features include 2-way text messaging and weather forecasts. However, since these services require the unit to pair with the inReach satellite communicators, a subscription is needed.
To ensure that you reap maximum value from it, this GPS navigator supports use with up to 4 BC 35 backup cameras- it’s now easy to see what’s behind you on the display.
Whether you want to read it in the shade or sun, the 65-K color screen of this GPS navigator is readable in all lighting conditions. The screen is 2.2 inches with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels.
The eTrex 30x arrives with an already installed basemap of the entire world. And with the internal storage of 3.7 GBs, it gives you enough space for downloading more maps such as TOPO 24K, BlueChart g2, and more.
Although this internal storage isn’t the biggest for a device of its kind, you can increase the holding capacity by utilizing the micro SD card slot. That said, you can save more content just like with other high-end devices with larger spaces.
Like the eTrex 20x, eTrex 30x has a 3-axis tilt electronic compass. Also, a barometric altimeter comes on board to give details on your altitude and show any changes in barometric pressure.
The device wirelessly connects with other compatible devices for easy sharing of information on routes, waypoints, tracks, and more. Transferring information from one device to the other is a snap- a simple press of “send” option is all it takes!
#9 Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro (Black/Silver)
This unit is designed to give the user reliable information on location. It displays data on direction, longitude, latitude, altitude, time, battery life, and speed. With all these, it’s simple to tell that it’s far from an ordinary navigator.
Amazingly, all this information is displayed simultaneously on the screen. Thus, you won’t need to interact with the buttons when you want information on any of these. That said, it makes for a perfect entry-level GPS navigator.
The large LCD screen shows the data in a large and readable format. Also, this display has a backlit feature to keep the readouts visible even when using it in bright light.
Among the most commendable features about the unit is that it can connect with up to 5 devices at once through the wireless Bluetooth technology- that’s like literally having 5 other GPS receivers of its kind.
The GPS navigator pairs with new iPad, iPhone 5, iPad 5, and other devices of your travel colleagues. The refresh rate of up to 10 times per second guarantees comparable up-to-date details through all the connected devices.
When utilizing Bluetooth, the battery will keep going for up to 16 hours. However, when using it in the data logging mode, the battery should last for about 36 hours making it perfect for those long trips.
And with all these features and others not covered, this unit still maintains a compact design. The size of 3” x 2.5” x 0.7” fits comfortably in the palm while the rugged construction stands up to the toughest outdoor conditions.
#10 Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
This device is perfect for cyclists who are looking for reliable off-roading GPS. It comes with plenty of bells and whistles that make it more than just an ordinary off-roading GPS navigator.
For instance, you can pair it with your phone to receive emails, texts, call alerts, and other notifications on the screen. Therefore, it’s a device that will keep you in touch with your loved ones when out riding.
The top-class unit comes with a crisp 2.7-inch screen. The large display lets the user read the data in a simple glance whether in a brightly-lit area or a low-light environment.
Although it’s easy to use, the device gives you the option of utilizing the intuitive interface of your phone through Wahoo’s free companion app. Once linked, you can perform a variety of settings from your phone.
It comes with free preloaded maps of different areas around the world but you can still download more apps. In other words, with Wahoo ELEMNT, you can follow any road in the world with the confidence you won’t get lost.
#11 Garmin inReach Mini (Gray) Satellite Communicator Bundle
This off-roading GPS takes the final spot on our list. However, it’s not in any way inferior to the earlier-reviewed models. In fact, it comes with awesome features you could probably be looking for in a GPS navigator.
For instance, it is 4.2 inches tall and 2 inches wide. Therefore, it’s very small and easy to bring along on your next trip. The waterproof device is also lightweight at just 3.5 oz. but very rugged to withstand the abuse of regular adventures.
In case of an emergency, this gadget lets you activate a GEOS distress signal. It will then bring verification that your message went through successfully and keep you informed on your rescuer’s status and the expected time of arrival.
Forming part of the package is a backpack tether. This accessory keeps your inReach stored securely and within your reach. The Iridium Satellite Network will keep you in touch with your family and friends no matter your location.
Our hand-picked model comes in a beautiful gray color that goes with nearly any design. Nevertheless, it’s also available in a stylish orange color if gray doesn’t match your preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Garmin or Google Maps better?
Although they are all great, Garmin’s TOPO maps are more accurate than Google maps. Also, these maps show more ways as compared to Google maps making them more reliable.
Is Garmin GPS better than phone?
It all depends on the basis of comparison. In terms of cost, smartphones are generally cheaper and offer larger screens. However, the GPS unit gives more accurate and consistent. Also, the GPS device has a longer battery life than most smartphones.
Which Off-roading GPS is most accurate?
Although it’s impossible to get a GPS device that will give the exact value, we still have some good models that give something closer to exact. Among these models are the top-notch models on this list.
Does Garmin work without phone?
Yes. Garmin models do not need to connect with a phone to work. However, some devices will require to link with your phone to enjoy smart features.
What is the best GPS for trail riding?
A good GPS for trail riding should have an accurate mapping, decent battery life, and should offer smartphone connectivity. A good off-roading GPS should also show landmarks and POIs.
Off-roading GPS provides more information and convenience than paper maps. Apart from providing directions, most of these devices have more features onboard to enhance your outdoor experience. That said, it’s a must-have device for every adventurer.
- 11 Off-Roading GPS Reviews
- #1 Garmin GPSMAP 64st High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver
- #2 Garmin Edge 520 Plus GPS Cycling/Bike Computer
- #3 Garmin Drivetrack GPS Navigator
- #4 Magellan TR5 Street and GPS Navigator (TN5771SGLUC)
- #5 Garmin eTrex 20x Handheld GPS Navigator
- #6 Garmin Oregon 650t Handheld GPS
- #7 Garmin Overlander Navigator for Off-Grid Guidance
- #8 Garmin eTrex 30x GPS Navigator with 3-axis Compass
- #9 Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro (Black/Silver)
- #10 Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
- #11 Garmin inReach Mini (Gray) Satellite Communicator Bundle