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Handheld GPS Units

Also known as sport GPS units; Handheld GPS Units have increased in popularity among today’s active outdoorsman. New GPS units for hikers have found their niche as geocache locators and routefinders.

Many ATV or motorcycle GPS systems have preloaded topographic (topo) maps with the capacity to add additional more detailed maps. These GPS topo maps are a great help to any one venturing out into the wilderness. The ability to find access roads, existing trails and avoid obstacles is invaluable to anyone traveling in remote areas. Here are just a few outdoor activities where GPS navigation can be helpful.

  • Hiking and camping
  • Mountaineering
  • Mountain biking
  • Fishing (in boats or on foot)
  • Sailing
  • Hunting
  • Prospecting
  • XC skiing (Cross Country skiing)
  • Dogsledding
  • Navigation for ATVs, dirt bikes, dune buggies and other off road vehicles.
  • Snowmobiling
  • Geocaching
  • And more
    Hiking clubs, snowmobile clubs, ATV clubs and other organizations have built thousands of miles of off road primitive trails. These trails make it easier to get in to wilderness areas and easier to get lost. Some organizations even offer downloadable GPS hiking maps and snowmobile GPS trail maps for handheld GPS systems. Sport GPS receivers make wilderness navigation easier and safer.

    There are three categories of sport handheld GPS units. As you would expect, GPS price varies with features and options included.

    Basic Handheld GPS Unit

    These handheld GPS systems are not much more than an electronic compass with “waypoint” reminders. These “Routefinders” will show you how to return to a previous waypoint entered into the device. This type of GPS walking receiver is not a “routeplanner” that can help you locate a new position. Maps are not available for Basic Handheld GPS Unit. The more advanced Handheld GPS Unit can be used for geocaching.
    Brands include; Bushnell, Garmin

    Intermediate Handheld GPS Systems

    These handheld GPS systems (GPS hiking receivers) have preloaded maps in either color or black & white. Here you can “see” your destination and plan your route there. Additional features may include internal memory upgrades for more detailed maps (user installed), connection to (Subscription required) altimeter, barometer and touch screen operation.
    Brands of GPS hand held systems include; Garmin, Lowerance, Magellan

    Advanced Handheld GPS System

    The Advanced Handheld GPS System (GPS for hikers) have preloaded maps in color are water resistant or water proof. Here you can “see” your destination and plan your route there. Advanced Routeplanners make excellent off road motorcycle GPS units and mountain bicycle GPS units. Optional features found on the Intermediate Handheld GPS Systems are standard at this level. Internal memory is greatly increased and most have additional microSD slots to add more detailed maps (user installed). Altimeter, barometer and touch screen operation is standard on most models. Additional features may include camera, flashlight.
    Brands include; Garmin, Lowerance, Magellan

    ATV GPS Units & Snowmobile GPS Units

    If using a Sat Nav GPS for off road navigation, the Advanced Handheld GPS System is the best GPS. Snowmobile GPS trail maps and off road ATV GPS maps can be added easily via the additional microSD slots. The difference between off road Sat Nav GPS and conventional street GPS systems lies in the physical properties of the device itself. ATV Sat Nav GPS units must work under adverse conditions and must cater to the driver’s unique situation.

    Thing to address when selecting an ATV GPS or snowmobile Sat Nav GPS:
    • Glove-friendly touchscreen
    • left-handed controls makes it easy to operate
    • High brightness, sunlight-readable, UV-resistant display
    • Suitable mount compatible with your vehicle
    • Dual functionality ATV and automotive mount for riding or driving
    • In helmet voice commands
    • Sturdy, waterproof, fuel-resistant and able to withstand the elements
      GPS price for ATV Sat Nav GPS are generally higher than Automobile GPS units do to the additional physical requirements.

      Be safe; along with your normal survival gear, carry extra batteries and map & compass. Any electronic device can malfunction and satellite tracking is weather sensitive and may be marginal in remote areas.

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