Welcome to GPSFileDepot!

Main Menu

Need a GPS for ATV trail maps.

Started by A Atwood, March 09, 2014, 11:39:58 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

A Atwood

OK, I have never owned a GPS yet. I need a GPS unit that its primary purpose is ATV/UTV trail maps.
I like touchscreen units and bright clear screens.

Since I have never owned one, I do not know how nice the Garmin loaded topo maps are. Do the Garmin loaded maps show ATV trails? I really like the maps with the color coded trails for the area and difficulty level. If the Garmin maps show this (which I an not sure of), Ill get one with the pre-loaded topo maps.

Price is not my primary concern (I'm not loaded with money, but will pay for what I like, especially since I believe this will last for a long time, so it should be worth a little bit of investment).

Loading maps?! This is what I'm most concerned with. I will need a unit that is not so difficult to load maps on. Simplicity is very important to me. I want to be able to use the thing and be able to load new maps. I really like the idea of using the removable micro sd cards.

Headed to Wind rock TN in two weeks!! Have to be ready by the 24th!!

Maybe I need some sort of newb tutorial.

All help appreciated.



Probably a Montana is your best choice.

You can get all the maps you need free here.  They are easy to use and load and the tutorials are here.  Once the maps are loaded, you don't need to do it again.  The GPS will hold as many maps as you want.

Whether or not the ATV trails exist on the maps depends on your local area.


With the purchase of any new GPS their is a learning curve to go through.  Since you have never owned a GPS there will be a big learning curve to go through.  The touchscreen models are a little more intuitive making the learning curve somewhat easier, since you just look for the touch icon for what you want to do on the GPS.

The Garmin topo maps will not show what your are looking for in the way of ATV trail maps in TN, VA, WV, AR.  Free topo maps can  be downloaded from GPSFileDepot.

Some UTV riders are now using Tablets for their trail maps for the large screen size.  The automotive Garmin NUVIs that accept additional maps can display custom ATV trail maps, but you can't do much more than save waypoints and view the maps as compared to the handheld GPSes that will allow you to do so much more.

If your wanting a handheld Garmin GPS then the Garmin Montana will probably meet the requirements best for what your wanting to do: good map display, full featured, easy to view touch screen.  If the Garmin Montana is out of your budget then the Garmin Oregon 600, or the Garmin Oregon 450 (discontinued - but still a very good touchscreen GPS) can be bought for around $200 or a little less and has similar features as the Montana, but with a smaller screen and not quite as easy to view the screen in bright indirect sunlight, but still very readable.

You will also need to learn how to use one of Garmin's programs: Mapsource or Basecamp to download custom ATV trail maps from GPSFileDepot into, and then to transfer the map from Mapsource or Basecamp to your GPS.  Not difficult, but more of the learning curve.

If you have a friend who is very familiar with GPSes it will greatly help in the learning curve.


I'll second the Montana. In fact, it is arguably the only thing that meets your description. Garmin also has the Monterra, which is a new Android based device with a glass multi-touch screen. However the problems with this model that have been discussed on other sites would be enough to scare me away (especially considering it costs more than the Montana). A year from now (maybe two?) it will have matured and might be a good option, but not today.

For maps, start with the free ones on this site. Download basecamp as described in the tutorials here and install the maps on your computer. You can see if they have the detail you want this way, no purchase required. You can also view Garmin's commercial products online. Find the webpage for the topo map you're interested in and click on the coverage tab. There should be link there to launch the map viewer.


Pretty much agree with everything said so far.  I have a Montana and a 7" Android Tablet.  The tablets are very popular with the SxS crowd since it is inside and protected with a windshield and roof (mostly).  This allows you to see them in sunlight a lot better.  The Montana has the best screen for outdoor use in the sun.  I just recently posted on another thread on here about BackCountry Navigor for Android.  I has become very popular with the SxS guys.  I know this is a Garmin map site but I must say that maps and trails show up many times better on the high res tablets.  The advent of the phones and tablets is putting a lot of pressure on Garmin and it will be interesting to see what they do.  By the way I have ran my Montana and Tablet on the same rides and the accuracy of the track is almost identical, usually within 20 feet and I don't know which is the more accurate.

A Atwood

Thanks for the help guys.
The tablet sounds like a great idea, but don't tablets require cel towers for service? Are tablets able to lock on the satellites like a gps?


Most tablets have a built in GPS.  Most actually do not have cell radios...  They are not rugged or waterproof though, so you would need a suitable case.


iPads don't have gps chips unless you get the model that includes a cellular radio. You can, however, use an external bluetooth device such as the Garmin GLO to provide position data. This is likely to be much more accurate than the built-in GPS in most tablets as well.

Some software allows the maps to be loaded on the device itself, other software requires a cellular data connection to operate. I never really understand the terminology - what is a "UTV"?? If it's an open vehicle driving on bumpy trails, that will be pretty rough on a tablet. The Montana is waterproof and shockproof. Also designed to be a dedicated device with a simple user interface so it's easy to use.

I do understand the desire for a big screen however. Garmin also makes some devices with 7" screens such as the Nuvi 2757, Dezl 760 and RV 760. They are compatible with Garmin topo maps and give you a big bright screen. The 2757 is just a little over $200, might be worth a look. Unfortunately, they lack many of the advanced features of Garmin's handhelds, such as track management though.


The link below will take you to the GPS threads on the Polaris RZR Forum.

You will see a lot of discussioin on it and how they are mounting them.  Mac people use MotionX, Android people use BackCountry Navigator. 
The Android devices will use the GPS with out cell or data service.  If you want to see a map background you have to download/cache it ahead of time for the area. 


Quote from: Boyd on March 12, 2014, 04:19:24 AM
I do understand the desire for a big screen however. Garmin also makes some devices with 7" screens such as the Nuvi 2757, Dezl 760 and RV 760. They are compatible with Garmin topo maps and give you a big bright screen. The 2757 is just a little over $200, might be worth a look. Unfortunately, they lack many of the advanced features of Garmin's handhelds, such as track management though.

And the Nuvis have no water resistance, so no good for ATV use without waterproof case and I don't think they exist.

iPads are rediculously overpriced.  An Android tablet can be had at 1/3 to 1/2 the price.  Nice 7" tablets with GPS are under $200 when not on sale.


     I must agree with the recommendations made here. I have used this site  over the years and it has great maps, advice and technical know how. Plus  there is ATV, OHV, UHV, UTV and other off-road (acronyms) maps available by most states. Not all are available on this website. The Montana, Oregon 450, are viable options. The Monterra is a risky option. (It does still have many bugs and coding issues. ).
     The NUVI, DEZA, RV  are possible options but they lack options you stated you wanted. For most of these you can buy antennas for them that may help boost your signal. My self, I have stuck to a standard 3ft whip (Digital) and old ham radio tubes. They have boosted my signal up to 50 miles on a analog system( CB ) and around 63 on a digital system. This is very difficult and a risky option. I don't recommend you try this!!!  You would be voiding  ALL warranty options and lose everything. Unless you are willing to crack the case and alter the system board itself and possibly Destroy your unit. Plus you lose your Money   It is a huge risk I don't advise anyone not trained in this field to try it. ( I had a Board Certified Repair Tech do mine!! It cost $900 and I had NO Guarantee it would work)
     There is a few other resources for maps that are or can be digitized and saved as maps. Some of the maps I use are issued by the USDA, BLM, Department of Interior ect.. In most States they have Map Breakdowns such as the GIS maps in Digital and PDF maps. Here in Oregon we have ATV/OHV maps on Paper, PDF, Digital ect. They are all released by BLM, USDA, Department of Interior Corp Of Engineers ect       
     Now Garmin as well as  many other manufacturers  have antenna boosters. Beware and make sure they are returnable before purchase. Many don't boost the signals a helpful length if at all and will be useless in most applications.
     Tablets, Nuvi, DEZA, RV, Monterra and laptops give you better screens but they limit or don't have the options/uses you are wanting. Plus they are not near as rugged as the standard GPS units and are way more costly to replace or repair. I hope this is helpful.


All good advise!
There is one more option you might consider. As much as I hate to mention it, I have used the 24K Garmin topo maps for the last 2 years on the Montana 650.

Their maps show a different line color for ATV/UTV trails and Hiking trails. This might be important if there are large fines associated with being on a hiking trail with an ATV/UTV.
Good luck!