Some wise old soul once said that there’s a world out there just waiting to be explored. That particular pearl of wisdom has been taken to heart by the generations who followed in whoever it was’ wake, all of whom are eager to see what lies just beyond the horizon. Like Magellan before them, they long to set sail and discover what secrets lie hidden in the vast uncharted wildernesses that cover most of the planet’s surface.
However, while most of these places may remain untouched by man, they’ve almost certainly been logged, documented, and assigned a grid reference and number by the extensive satellite array locked in orbit that forms the GPS (Global Positioning System) network.
There isn’t a place on Earth that hasn’t been mapped by satellites and entered into the GPS system. So while the urge to seek out pastures new, just as Magellan did, remains part of the human spirit, providing you’ve got the right equipment, you’ll never get lost again.
Unlike Magellan though, you don’t have to dedicate your life to traversing remote and unfamiliar places. Instead of spending months at sea bound for strange shores, you can throw a tent and sleeping bag on to the back of your ATV and venture into the deepest realms of a national park. It’s the perfect way to escape the hectic pace of modern life and relax in the relatively untouched natural realm.
At least it would be if you knew where you were going and how to get there and back again. The problem with trying to find somewhere untouched by humans is that traditional maps just won’t cut it, they’re not up to the job. If you put your faith in conventional cartography, you and your ATV will almost certainly end up becoming hopelessly lost. This is why you’re going to need a GPS system for your ATV, one that’s been purpose-made to keep you on the right track and make sure that you get wherever you want to go and get home safely.
But, with a multitude of GPS systems flooding the market, choosing the one that will do everything you need it to and not let you down is a dauntless task. So we’ve stepped into the breach for you and found five of the best ATV GPS systems that make hitting the trails and heading into the unknown as easy as taking a trip to Walmart. Trust us, with one of these GPS systems, getting lost when you get away will become a thing of the past
Best ATV GPS
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
If you go down to the woods today, you won’t want a big surprise. What you want is a GPS system from one of the world’s foremost, and most well established and famous brands, that’ll make sure you know exactly where you are every step of the way. You don’t want a surprise, you want a Garmin GPSMAP 64st.
If you’re heading into the great outdoors on your ATV, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be doing it while the sun has got his hat on and the weather is on your side. Much as we all love the sunshine, it can make reading screens on smartphones, tablets, and GPS systems incredibly difficult. With the GPSMAP, the glare that used to make you scramble for shade so you could read the screen isn’t a problem. You’ll be able to see where you are on the two and a half-inch full color display no matter how high, or low, the sun is in the sky.
With sixteen hours of battery life and a dual power system that means it’ll run off AA batteries or its built-in rechargeable unit, the GPSMAP has enough juice to make sure you’ll get to wherever you want to go, get home again and still have enough charge left over to do the same journey all over again. You’ll never have to even think about your battery life with a GPSMAP, you just switch it on and it’s good to go for two-thirds of the day.
And if the heavens should open, your GPSMAP will just keep on trucking. The Garmin is IPX7 water-resistant, which means that you can drop into three feet of water and it’ll work just fine even if it’s submerged for thirty minutes, so a little bit, or a lot, of rain isn’t going to bother it in the slightest.
Those nightmare stories about GPS systems running out of memory and going haywire when you try to download the latest software and latest maps? They’re now, at least as far as the Garmin GPSMAP is concerned, nothing more than urban myths. The sort of stories that you tell around campfires to scare children and the faint of heart. With an internal memory of 8GB that can be expanded, you’ll never have to worry about running out of storage space again. If it seems like there’s nothing that his Garmin system can’t do, that’s because there isn’t. It’s the whole ATV GPS enchilada with extra hot sauce that you’ve been dying to try.
- As much as we love it, the sun can be a complete GPS buzzkill and ruin your day if you can’t read the screen of your system because of reflection and glare. That isn’t something that you have to worry about with the GPSMAP as you’ll always be able to read the screen whatever the weather.
- Speaking of the weather and the trip spoiling disasters it can rustle up at a moments notice, the waterproofing system on the GPSMAP means that rain won’t stop play, it’ll just add to the fun. Providing of course that you like that sort of thing.
- We can’t overstate how important the dual battery system is. As long as you’re carrying a couple of AA’s as spares, you’ll never have to think about seeing a blank dead screen staring back at you when you look at your GPS for directions.
- It’ll even, thanks to Bluetooth, connect straight to, and can be operated from, your smartphone. Will digital miracles never cease? Not as long as you’ve got a GPSMAP they won’t.
- All of the technology and guarantees that come with the Garmin name aren’t what you’d call cheap. At just over three hundred dollars, this all-singing and all-dancing computerized compass will give your pocketbook a beating, so unless you’re serious about heading into the unknown on your ATV, you might want to think twice or even look elsewhere to get where you’re going at a more wallet-friendly price.
- In order to take advantage of the battery life, you’re going to have to switch off the other functions and par the Garmin all the way back to being a simple GPS system. But as that’s what you’re looking for anyway, maybe all the other accouterments aren’t all that important to you.
We’re heading back down to Earth with our next choice, the Ohrex Touchscreen, which comes with your pocketbooks seal of approval. At a fifth of the cost of the GPSMAP, this seven-inch touch screen GPS system is more suited to the casual ATV explorer who enjoys the occasional weekend sojourn into the unknown.
A more conventional GPS and satellite navigation unit, the Ohrex comes with a dash mountable fixing that’ll keep it in place while you’re doing the important stuff like steering and keeping your eyes on the trail. It’s wide, brightly lit screen won’t be troubled by sunlight and will keep you on track no matter where the sun is in the sky during the day and pumps out enough light for you to be seen from space at night.
With every known map of North American already built into its memory and the option to download every European, Australasian, and African map, there isn’t a place in the world that the Ohrex can’t take you and your ATV to. If a place exists, the Ohrex can show you how to get there.
Detail is everything and Ohrex pride themselves on the fact that their GPS units use some of the most detailed maps in the world to make sure that even if you have absolutely no sense of direction, you’ll never wander off the beaten path if you’re using one. It also comes with a lifetime map update guarantee and, as long as it’s connected to the internet, will download and store the newest and latest maps as soon as they’re available.
- It’s an astonishingly affordable GPS unit that comes action-ready with a whole lot of technology for an incredibly low price.
- Its user-friendly seven-inch screen makes navigation easy and it’s surprisingly loud and clear speaker system lets you focus on controlling your ATV instead of having to think about controlling your GPS.
- If you want to go there, the Ohrex will pave the way, and all you and your ATV have to do is follow its lead. And the incredibly comprehensive and exhausting instructions it gives you.
- The Ohrex might be a more orthodox GPS unit, but it comes with a UTV / ATV off-road setting that’ll guide you through any and all of the backwoods and mountain trails in North America or anywhere else.
- The stability of the dash/tank mount over rough terrain might be a problem. While it can be used as a handheld GPS at a push, it’s size doesn’t make it comfortable to use in any capacity other than being snugly cradled in its mount. It won’t appreciate being carried around and you won’t appreciate carrying it around which could end up spoiling your relationship. If you’re heading for really rough roads, this isn’t the GPS you’re going to want to show you the way.
- It’s powered by a rechargeable battery, so unless you can top it up directly from your ATV when it runs out of power, it’ll leave you stranded.
If you haven’t heard of Magellan, don’t worry, you’re probably not supposed to have. Beloved by the off-road, ATV, and UTV set, they’re a well kept and closely guarded secret that’s rarely mentioned outside of certain circles. But if you want an ATV GPS that gets the thumbs up from the people who know more about off-roading and going where no-one else has gone before than is probably healthy, then the Magellan is the GPS for you.
That name had to come from somewhere, didn’t it? If you’re going to name your product after one of the world’s most famous explorers, it had better live up to its moniker and legacy of the man who inspired it. Which the Magellan does.
With over 115,000 off-road trails and tracks already programmed into its memory, a camera that can record all of your adventures in full-color, social media, and smartphone connectivity, the Magellan is the GPS for the modern-day explorer seeking internet based fortune and glory.
Fully mountable to your ATV, the Magellan is dust, water, and shock resistant, so wherever you want to go, it can go too. All of that jaw-dropping functionality also comes with a one year warranty, so if the unexpected does happen, Magellan will replace your unit so that you can get straight back out there on your ATV.
- Its seven-inch display screen is easy and intuitive to navigate and use, which when you’re off-road and riding through the woods and backroads of the paths less traveled, can be a blessing.
- It’ll take whatever you and your ATV can throw at it, shrug it off and tell you where to go. In the nicest, most informative, and direct way it can so that it, and you, will always know where you are.
- If the lure of social media stardom is irresistible, the Magellan can make reaching it that little bit easier, as it’ll upload your off-road escapades, thanks to its high-resolution camera and all manner of connectivity options, directly to your social media accounts.
- Nothing in the ATV world is cheap, and if you want the best then you’re going to pay for it, and believe us, you will pay for the Magellan. At over four hundred dollars, it’s unashamedly expensive. The more you get with your GPS, the more you’re going to pay for it.
- Some reviews have highlighted warranty issues and that Magellan can make it difficult for you to actually use it as it was intended to be used. Which is slightly off-putting and a little worrying given how much the unit costs.
It’s time to return to more familiar territory with the next GPS on our list. If you’ve ever used a GPS system before, it was probably a TomTom as the brand and GPS are synonymous. Like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other. That said, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering why a GPS that’s made its name guiding families to their holiday destinations has made our ATV list. It’s simple. No-one does GPS better than TomTom.
In fact, that’s where this GPS excels, in its simplicity. It has every road and trail, both the known and relatively unknown, stored in its memory and if you want to get there, the TomTom will take you. Even if you end up thinking you’re lost, the TomTom will get you home. We’ve been there and we know. In our moment of doubt when all hope seemed lost, it was a TomTom that helped us to get to where we needed to be.
The touch screen interface is the same as it’s always been, which is one of the main reasons TomTom became a GPS institution. It was, and is, incredibly easy and straightforward to use. TomTom cuts through all of the GPS red tape and keeps it simple. Coupled with its lifetime software update guarantees and ridiculously low-price, the TomTom is still a favorite, even in the ATV world.
- There’s a whole host of TomTom options, including larger screen sizes and memories and improved functionality, so you’ll be able to hone in on, and select, the model that suits you to a tee.
- While it isn’t in the same jaw-dropping price range as the Ohrex, the TomTom is still a far more affordable option than the GPS units designed for the serious off-roader and dedicated ATV purist. If you’re more relaxed about your ATV adventures, the TomTom could be a serious contender.
- Then there’s that famous TomTom map and software lifetime guarantee - just plug it into your laptop or tablet and it’ll do the rest. It’s an internet thing, we don’t understand how it works either, but it does.
- It isn’t built for outdoor life. It isn’t waterproof, won’t stand up to the shocks that your ATV will doubtless send its way and won’t cope well with dust and dirt. But if you’re not looking to make that sort of ATV dedication part of your life it’ll probably cope quite well with whatever off-roading demands you make.
- Some reviewers have noted that you need to read the fine print on the lifetime guarantee very, very closely as it can, and often does, involve additional charges.
Our final choice is another Garmin GPS because if you’re looking for the very best, you go with the global brand who value innovation and don’t believe in standing still or resting on their laurels. Like the GPSMAP, the Montana is built to go wherever you want to go and is water-proof, dust and dirt proof, and shock resistant. Unlike the GPSMAP though, the Montana can also be used while you’re wearing gloves, so when you’re hitting those tougher trails and the temperature drops below freezing, the Montana will still guide you to where you need to go.
The Montana is both GPS and GLONASS enabled, so even if it loses the signal from one satellite array, it’ll lock on to the other and never lose track of where it is. Equipped with a three-axis compass, a barometric altimeter, an eight-megapixel camera and a four-inch full-color screen that’ll shrug the sunlight off, the Montana is made to go where no other GPS can and record the moment for posterity.
This is the only GPS that the most serious-minded, wholely dedicated ATV enthusiast will ever want or need. It’s an astonishing bit of kit that’ll get you out of any potentially sticky situation in less time than it takes a bear to roar and a wolf to howl. If you’re going to put your life in anyone’s hands, you might as well put it in the safest pair of hands in the GPS business; Garmin.
- It’s a hardy, tougher than tough GPS that adores the outdoor life almost as much as you do - or will if you start using it.
- Thanks to its GPS tracker, it’ll remember exactly where you’ve been and when so that you don’t have to.
- It comes with a year’s pre-paid subscription to BirdsEye, a satellite imaging app that provides a true representation of the terrain, if you pre-plan your ATV trips, that you’ll encounter on your travels. It’s an invaluable resource if you’re looking to get as far away from civilization as possible on your road trips.
- At close to five hundred dollars, it is, as you’ve probably already guessed, insanely expensive and is one of those rarified air GPS beasts that should only find their way into the hands of the most passionate and devoted of ATV aficionados
Best ATV GPS Buying Guide
Before you leap into buying an ATV GPS and head straight out onto the trails and backroads, pause, take a breath, and a stop for a moment to think about some of the following factors before you make your final decision.
It may not seem important, but when you’re out there in the middle of nowhere relying completely on your GPS, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s going to have enough energy to last for the duration of your trip. And if it isn’t going to make it, you’re going to need to make sure that you can charge it from your ATV or that it has a back-up battery system. Seriously, out of everything you need to think about before choosing your GPS, battery life is probably the most crucial. It could be the difference between life and death.
Here, There and Everywhere
If you’re looking for a GPS for your ATV, then the chances are, you’re going to be going off-road and looking to hit the sort of trails that the tourists usually avoid. You’re going to want to challenge yourself and your ATV and as such, you’re going to want a GPS that won’t steer you wrong.
While almost all modern GPS units have an extensive system of maps in their memories, they may not have been programmed to incorporate all of the strange, weird and wonderful tracks and trails that lie outside the mainstream road network. That’s why you’re going to want a GPS that has access to that information. If you’re out on the trails, the last thing you’ll want is for your GPS unit to fail and leave you, and it, in the middle of nowhere.
Easy LIke Sunday Morning
If you’re on the go and need to make adjustments to your route or change it, as quickly as possible, you’ll want a GPS that makes it as easy as possible. You’re going to want a unit that’s easy to use, simple to program, and straightforward enough so that you, and it, can make decisions in the blink of an eye. It needs to be easy when you need it to be easy.
Whatever the Weather, Wherever You Are
If you’re going to be out in the wild in all sorts of weather, you’re going to want to make sure that your GPS isn’t going to die an ignominious death when the first drop of rain hits it or when you barrel headlong down a dusty trail. It’s going to need to be water, dust, and dirt proof, able to handle being outdoors, and keep on ticking no matter what the elements throw at you.
It’d also be prudent, given that you’ll be driving and riding the sort of trails and “roads” that’ll shake your bones loose to ensure that your GPS is shock-absorbent and resistant. You don’t
want it to cash its chips in as soon as the path you’re traveling down begins to get bumpy and uncomfortable.
Set Your Price
A good GPS system can cost as much as you’re willing to pay and in some cases, a whole lot more, so set your budget and stick to it. Don’t be tempted by sugar-coated, technobabble, you know what you’re looking for and what you need to make your ATV adventures more exciting. We’ve said it once and just in case you missed it the first time, we’ll say it again - set your budget and stick to it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which ATV GPS Is The Right One For Me?
That’s entirely dependent on two very different factors. What your budget is and what you want your GPS for. If you’re just looking to get out for the occasional weekend and hit a couple of backroads on the way to a few days filled with camping, fishing, and hunting, then the Ohrex Touchscreen will get you to wherever you’re going in one piece.
However, if you’re looking for a life filled with daring-do that pits you and your ATV against the unknown, then you’re going to want a GPS that’ll have your back at every stage of your journey. In which case, there’s only one choice. You’re going to want to invest a little more and make friends with the Magellan TRX7 GS.
Whatever GPS you decide is right for you and whichever roads you travel down, have fun, and stay safe. And we’ll see you somewhere on the trails...