How Tos & Tutorials

How to Get the Ideal Off road GPS

Share the fun!

How should you choose your offroad GPS?

In this article, we’ll guide you on the things you should know when looking for the right offroad GPS to help you quickly but safely get in and out of your 4×4 destinations.

What Is an Off road GPS?

An offroad GPS is similar to an ordinary global positioning system that generates an image of your current location or where you want to go with the help of satellites. The only difference is, it gives you an outline of where the trail starts and ends so you don’t get lost.

When Should You Use an Off road GPS?

map out a trail

Using an offroad GPS arises when you need to get a clear layout of the trail because you’re unfamiliar with it. There are some that have pre-installed offroad GPS maps which not only provide you with an outline of the trail but also give you a brief info about it like; history and customer-supplied photos.

In some instances, they can even give you a trail rating (e.g., 4/10, 6/10, 9/10.) so you have an idea if the trail is entry level, average, or meant for extreme off roading. This is useful, especially if you need to:

  • Watch out for certain obstacles.
  • Do the necessary 4×4 modifications.
  • Check if you have the correct emergency items or supplies.
  • Update one another of your present situation.

Are Off road GPS 100% Reliable?

how gps works
Diagram shows GPS signals at times are either blocked or weakened due to reflection.

Truth be told, offroad GPS devices are not 100% reliable. They’re useful but will always be bound by a certain level of inaccuracy because it’s very difficult to pinpoint a purely exact location. In fact, they can only tell where you are by means of their physical distance from the various satellites in space to where they’re connected to, which’s only an approximation. And such an approximation can still be affected by:

  • Weather condition
  • Radio signals
  • Mountains and buildings

Can Off road GPS be Used Everywhere?

on and off road gps

Believe it or not, there are offroad GPS that can also be used on the road. Some offroad GPS maps are a jack of all trades in a way because they’re equipped with a traffic mode that automatically senses which areas will be congested at specific hours of the day.

Obviously, this will come in handy when you’re on your way to work everyday because it helps you look for alternative routes or secondary roads that save you time, energy, and money.

What’s the Recommended Screen Size for Off road GPS?

gps screen size comparison

There’s no recommended uniform offroad GPS screen size because the screen size basically depends on the type of vehicle that you own. Generally speaking, jeeps can have offroad GPS screen sizes that range from 4-6 inches on average.

If you have pickup trucks or larger 4x4s, where the windshields are big, obviously, you need those with large screens about 7 inches wide, that you no longer have to squint your eyes or bend forward to read them. Plus, large screens meant you can easily input your truck’s weight and height for accessibility.

What’s Better for You; A Mounted GPS or Handheld GPS?

handheld off road gps

If you’re someone who’s really into hiking, mountaineering, or camping, handheld offroad GPS are what you need. This is because these types of GPS are compact enough to be kept in your bag or pocket (that can be about the size of an iPhone or iPad mini). Moreover, in cases when you need to step out of your vehicle to go exploring, they’re waterproofed to a certain level to make them more resilient against the harsh elements. But mounting them is also possible with the right hardware.

Garmin Montana 700i

garmin montana 700i
Photo courtesy of

An example of a handheld offroad GPS would be the Garmin Montana 700i which is IPX7 waterproof; where the Ingress Protection X means it’s not tested for intrusion of solids like dirt, dust, etc., but 7 means, 1 meter of water level won’t enter it for 30 minutes.

If you’re wondering what IPX means, refer to the infograph below.

ipx rating

Magellan TRX7

magellan trx7 off road gps
Photo courtesy of

If you’re more of an overlander or a 4x4er, mounted GPS are your option. This is because such GPS versions like the Magellan TRX7, can be fixed on a specific place in your vehicle (e.g., dash, rear, window, etc.,) where you can conveniently look at them, without interfering with your driver’s view.

However, you have to install them which meant they may either require the rewiring process or you need to purchase mounting hardware like clamps and bolts. You can even attach them to a 1 to 1.25-inch tubing.

Are Off road GPS Voice Activated?

gps with voice command

Some offroad GPS can be voice activated depending on the design. Unlike those requiring you to tapping screens or pushing buttons, these rely mainly on your voice commands so you need to give your full attention to the trail and say your orders loud and clear, lest one wrong command can easily get you stuck or lost.

Garmin DriveSmart 65

garmin drivesmart 65 with amazon alexa
Photo courtesy of

One example of a voice-activated GPS is the Garmin Drive Smart 65 that does the same thing and offers system assist function as well, which notifies you when you’re approaching a steep surface or when there are vehicle speed changes.

How Much Is an Off road GPS Unit?

Offroad GPS prices are divided into three categories that also determine your preference and need level.

  • Cheap off road GPS – are GPS with prices ranging from around $70-$100. These are recommended for light off-roading purposes which are useful for newbie 4x4ers due to their standard features.
  • Affordable off road GPS – are GPS ranging from $250-$675. These are intended for optimal use of the average 4x4ers; from waterproof options to extra safety functions.
  • Expensive off road GPS – are GPS that go $700 and beyond. They’re meant for hardcore 4×4 enthusiasts.


What to look for in an effective offroad GPS may vary from one person to another based on utility. But staying on track of what you need and for what reasons, will help you maximize your trail adventure and prevent it from turning into a disastrous version of hide and seek. Share us why you need an offroad GPS by commenting below.






Back to top button