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GPS for Offroad

Please forgive me if my questions are pretty dumb but I know absolutely nothing about gps units other than an app on my phone for directions. I am looking for a unit to use in my jeep for offroading. I have seen where people have listed files on their websites to download the tracks of various trails that they have done and would like that capability. I would like to keep it in the under $400 range. Is this possible?


  • alanb 556 Points
    edited September 2015
    Something in the Garmin zumo (motorcycle) line or the Garmin Montana (handheld) line comes to mind. but you will have a hard time staying within your $400 budget with either.If you go with a refurbished unit, you might find the GPS itself for under $400. On the montana you will need to buy the automotive cradle mount and maps separately, And on any of the models, you will need to purchase a heavy duty mount to attach it to your vehicle. Those accessories can easily add $100 or more to the purchase price.
  • Boyd 1999 Points
    You might try a few apps on your phone before investing in a dedicated unit. Large phones and small tablets are becoming very popular in the off-road community. On Android you could have a look at OruxMaps, it is free. On iOS you could check out Galileo, it has a free trial period and then you can purchase a full license for under $10 (iirc).

    These apps are fairly complex and there will be a bit of a learning curve. There are also simpler apps available on both platforms. If you find an app you like, you could get a rugged case for your phone, which will should cost under $100. If you don't like the idea of using your phone, then there are very nice 7 or 8 inch Android tablets in the $100 to $200 range. Again, even with a rugged case and mount, you should be able to keep it well under $400. A data connection is not needed for the apps mentioned above. You can load maps into them at home using wifi and they will work on the trail without wireless access.

    Most of the tracks you find on the internet will be .gpx files. They should be compatible with these apps as well as Garmin's devices.

    I have Montana 600 and like it, so that is certainly a good option. But as Alan said, you aren't likely to meet your $400 goal this way. If you can handle a smaller screen, I saw a refurb Oregon 600 going for about $235 at gpscity the other day. Garmin factory refurbs carry the same 12 month warranty as a new device.
  • I've come to realize that I might need to up my budget a bit. I think I have narrowed it down to either the Montana 600 or the Lowerance elite 7 he Baja. I would like on that is very user friendly to start but also something I could grow into.
  • Boyd 1999 Points
    Personally I would go with either Garmin or a smartphone/tablet. Lowrance is a very small player and their devices are old designs that only use proprietary maps. There's a huge assortment of free, user created Garmin compatible maps such as those at

    Garmin also offers satellite imagery for unlimited download with a $30 annual subscription (but you can keep what you download forever). Additionally, the Montana is compatible with their normal street mapping (City Navigator) and also makes a nice handheld device for hiking.

    The smartphone/tablet solutions also offer quite a variety of free maps.
  • Thanks Boyd for the recommendations.
  • For Android, My Trails (topo) is OK. Its no Garmin.
    Coming up with a cheap holder that will hold a Android tablet, phablet, or phone is more easy.
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