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Old 05-26-2015, 10:55 PM   #1
4 dog knight
 
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Default Best GPS for ADV....

I've never owned a GPS. I have used my phone for misc. driving assistance, but I'm wondering what brand or specific models work well for ADV use? I see that there are map updates to be had, etc. Are all maps equal? Do all of them show dirt roads? What's the best way to get the best forest road info, etc.
I'd Love your input!
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

Well............I am glad you brought this up!!

I currently have a garmin nuvi 1490 (cheap 5" car unit) that I have loaded the Garmin topo maps on. I can see some roads on google earth that do not show up on my garmin but they are typically USFS roads closed to the public. The garmin topo maps is great with elevation lines, hiking trails, rivers and POI's. The unit itself is a bit cumbersome and the Base Camp PC software is hard to use for planning (at least for me). Overall it is a good, inexpensive option and has not let me down yet......but difficult to plan routes with.

However...........I am looking at the Delorme Earthmate app for my phone. It claims to have super detailed maps, drag n drop route planning, picture marking, route tracking (bread crumbing), cloud storage and auto phone sync. This option looks very easy to plan at home on the PC and then send routes to ones phone. I also love the route tracking so I can either find my way back or save the trail as a route for later use. Would love to hear if anyone is using this!!

The downside is the Delorme Earthmate is $30 for year 1 and $15 every year after. It really is pretty cheap figuring I have $150 into my cheap nuvi with the topo software.

I am curious to hear more on 4 Dog's original question!!
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

I've been struggling with this for some time now... and I still can't bring myself to trust a piece of electronics with my life...

If/when I head into the boonies... it'll be with a paper topo map, a piece of laminated card stock, a grease pencil, and a compass... lensatic preferably.

I use my phone in and between towns/cities... but that's convenience... hard to get "lost" in the city.

So to reply simply to the thread topic...

None.
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Old 05-27-2015, 11:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

I use a Garmin GPS Map640. It is a smaller chartplotter made for marine use but also has standard automobile type turn by turn guidance. The nice thing about the GPS Map 640 is you can load topo maps and easily switch between topo and road maps while traveling. The unit also has satellite radio capabilities and satellite weather mapping and general weather type forecasts for additional subscription. It is a little large but the screen is very good and easy to read even in bright sun. I modified the marine mount and rubber mounted it to my handlebar cross brace. It also just snaps off with a clamp lever on the mount. Being a marine unit is is very rugged and built for vibration etc. and is waterproof. I use a bluetooth link to listen to the sat radio on my helmet headset.

It is my understanding that a lot of the baja and desert riders use this unit. Although the unit has been discontinued recently by Garmin you can still find them. I found mine at Fry's Electronics on clearance for 150.00!!!

Here it is https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-t...prod14898.html

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Old 05-27-2015, 11:43 AM   #5
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

Jeff, I'll check out the Delorme software. I've used it in the past for market work in my job, so maybe their interface will seem more intuitive. I have a Samsung Note which is the largest phone I could get my hands on. Easier to read driving down the road!

Robert, I'm kind of with you...I just see GPS's on so many MC's/ADV's that I'm starting to wonder what I'm missing? In many of the off-road areas around me cell service is really sketchy. Without investing in a Satellite phone, I don't think I can depend on it. I'd still like to be able to "follow my nose" and still have a way to find my way out should I get totally lost and running out of gas (literally and physically!)

The State of MN. has some decent maps available online and I've downloaded some of them. Maybe I just need to get out my card stock and highlighter?

Keep 'em comin'!
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

Need road directions in my ear to get through and out of, cities and towns while travelling cross country, plus eliminate the frustration and time loss fighting with paper maps or missing a needed turn.

Took a Garmin Nuvi 50LM and modified it to plug headphones in, then added headphones from Cycle Gear to the helmet. The Garmin rides in my shirt pocket or in the tailbox and is powered by the bike.

This worked out quite well for Wisconsin to Arizona and back with wildly varied random wanderings. Fully adequate. It even knows BLM dirt roads.

The only navigation problem is when it was powered off and first starting out from a gas or food stop it takes the Garmin a block or two to figure out which way you're going and give proper directions. After that first minute or so audio directions are perfect. You don't notice this problem in the car when you can view the display, but it's a minor problem on the bike with audio only.

Was of immense value when looking for Gas, Motels, Food, campgrounds etc., as the built-in database gave far more choices than needed.

Only change I want to make is to put the Garmin in a padded waterproof case somewhere near the speedometer so it is in easy reach for programming but out of my pocket. Nuvi screen is mostly NOT viewable in sunlight, (but would be great at night!), and NOT built to survive the vibration and shock, so all I'm looking for here is the ability to program it and shove it into a holder that keeps it safe, dry, convenient, and talking to me!

-edit- Sounds like I need a tank bag.
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Z View Post
I've been struggling with this for some time now... and I still can't bring myself to trust a piece of electronics with my life...


If/when I head into the boonies... it'll be with a paper topo map., a piece of laminated card stock, a grease pencil, and a compass... lensatic preferably.

I use my phone in and between towns/cities... but that's convenience... hard to get "lost" in the city.

So to reply simply to the thread topic...

None.
I made this to fit my saddlebag racks.... FWIW
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 dog knight View Post
I've never owned a GPS. I have used my phone for misc. driving assistance, but I'm wondering what brand or specific models work well for ADV use? I see that there are map updates to be had, etc. Are all maps equal? Do all of them show dirt roads? What's the best way to get the best forest road info, etc.
I'd Love your input!
Depends what you want the GPS to do I suppose. When I got my 1st GPS 6 or 7 years ago, I just wanted something simple and easy to use (and waterproof and durable) to leave a breadcrumb trail that I could follow back if I got lost in a strange area. I bought a Garmin Etrex Legend HCX (the current equivelent is the Garmin Etrex 20.) I've since bought a couple of cheaper Nuvi's for my wife's and my cars but the old ETrex is still my fave for the KLR. It's small, light, easy to ram mount, easy enough to read for an old man, and has more than enough features to suit me.
One thing, if you get a Garmin that requires installable maps, it can be a bit finicky to get it started, but their customer support was very responsive and helpful. I received quick and detailed responses to several emails I sent them. (That was then, maybe it's different now...)

Mine is currently loaded with road maps for about 20 of the states (the ones I've visited or hope to visit in the coming year or two) and the map has not been updated since I bought it and it is a rare occasion I find a dirt road that is not on the map.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

So far, for me, the Garmin Zumo 660 has been perfect for my riding needs.

I've owned one since 2009. When the price dropped last year, I sold my old one and bought a new one with lifetime maps.

I don't baby my gear. It's been everywhere, man. To include more than a few "dirt naps." It's still going strong.

They're waterproof, come with North America and Mexico maps (and new maps are easy to buy/install). I use it to listen to music and take/make phone calls as I ride.

If it has a downside, it would be the limited number of tracks you can USE at one time. You can INSTALL hundreds, but only use a limited number at once. If you ride off-road and need tracks, that would be something you'd want to know.

I've found it to be the perfect GPS unit for ADV riders.
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Old 05-22-2016, 06:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

The Garmin Zumo 660 LM is running about $326.00 for the 4.3" display... on eBay.. Still the cheapest place for a new one I can find.. and the Garmin GPS 640 is running at $300.00 with the 5" display.. but has the marine software etc.. .. The mount may be some issue for a KLR.. The 660 LM I can mount direct to my KLR Dash... flat..... I may have to mod the 640 mount to get it to mount flat on the dash.. But it comes with 2 of them one Automotive and one Marine... and you can get topo maps on an SD card... see link... https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-t...ml?zebratwo=CJ
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Old 05-23-2016, 02:42 PM   #11
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Diego View Post
So far, for me, the Garmin Zumo 660 has been perfect for my riding needs.

I've owned one since 2009. When the price dropped last year, I sold my old one and bought a new one with lifetime maps.

I don't baby my gear. It's been everywhere, man. To include more than a few "dirt naps." It's still going strong.

They're waterproof, come with North America and Mexico maps (and new maps are easy to buy/install). I use it to listen to music and take/make phone calls as I ride.

If it has a downside, it would be the limited number of tracks you can USE at one time. You can INSTALL hundreds, but only use a limited number at once. If you ride off-road and need tracks, that would be something you'd want to know.

I've found it to be the perfect GPS unit for ADV riders.
I am glad to see the vote of confidence in the 660LM. I've been without a GPS for several years since my Magellan Crossover stopped charging.

After putting off the purchase of a new GPS for sometime I saw where several vendors have highly discounted the 660. I spent an enormous amount of time reading reviews, both good and bad, on the 660 and given the price decided that it would work well for my needs. My new Garmin is scheduled to arrive sometime today. In anticipation of it's arrival I have already converted a library of music to Mp3 from Youtube.

Hard to say no the price. $319.95 shipped from GPS City.

Over the years I've adapted to not having a GPS by navigating the old fashioned way. Printed and hand drawn maps.

Now I'm looking forward to re-entering the "High-Tech World" of navigation again.
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:00 AM   #12
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Post Re: Best GPS for ADV....

i guess i am lucky as i can just follow my nose. to most anyplace i need to go.

never understood the reason for a computer to know where to go?
sure i sometimes use the sat view able maps of places i drive to for my job. but that is just to know how to get on the propriety and park the rig. 65 foot of truck needs a little thought in parking.


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Old 05-09-2017, 11:55 AM   #13
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

I can tell you from experience......If you find yourself in the North Woods with the sun dropping fast, a working GPS is a great tool to have in the bag.

On the other hand, I am not one who is bound by GPS tracks. Follow your nose and your heart. Wandering is a great way to discover incredible sights that might never have been discovered if you're a slave to a map, or GPS.

But again.....when you need it, it's a great tool.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

A GPS unit is a fine thing to have when navigating the streets of Mexico City or Cochabamba, Bolivia for the first time.

But, hey...follow your nose if that works for you.

I find it amusing that a fellow rider asked for recommendations for an ADV GPS and he receives a lot of "I don't need no stinking GPS" posturing.

Last edited by Dan Diego; 05-09-2017 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:47 PM   #15
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

My choices

Mostly on road, but also capable of handling tracks.....Garmin Zumo 395lm

Mostly off road.....Garmin GPSMAP78. Rugged and great for trails.

Best of both worlds....Run dual
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Old 05-23-2017, 03:05 PM   #16
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Post Re: Best GPS for ADV....

school me on gps. please.
as why?
why not?
sure i can find my way out of a wet paper sack. i do have a great sense of direction.

i am off for a vacation up in Was state. there is a good possibility need for something there, paper might do the trick. but was thinking along the deal of being able to post/print out my ridden routes, include photos (maybe with location details?).
cost can be a deal killer.
as in i do not want $1000.usd hanging off my handle bars.

looked at a montana and a garmin maps 78. both about the same in screen size. who can attach a add on antenna?
hook up to a Iphone5, (settings, sharing, gen controls, etc).

who has the stronger unit (crash protection), best mounts etc. connected to the bike so as to NOT drain the batteries. (and keep them at full charge while hooked up). i seem to have batt problems with most things.

this trip is mostly off rd. but he unit MUST be able to do dirt and hwy's, back roads, etc (i try to stay out of citys). thinking down the way also, as it would need to be body carried at later days. (hunting trips, etc).
work with/with out gloves????





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Old 05-23-2017, 04:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

Quote:
Originally Posted by packnrat View Post
school me on gps. please.
as why?
why not?
sure i can find my way out of a wet paper sack. i do have a great sense of direction.

i am off for a vacation up in Was state. there is a good possibility need for something there, paper might do the trick. but was thinking along the deal of being able to post/print out my ridden routes, include photos (maybe with location details?).
cost can be a deal killer.
as in i do not want $1000.usd hanging off my handle bars.

looked at a montana and a garmin maps 78. both about the same in screen size. who can attach a add on antenna?
hook up to a Iphone5, (settings, sharing, gen controls, etc).

who has the stronger unit (crash protection), best mounts etc. connected to the bike so as to NOT drain the batteries. (and keep them at full charge while hooked up). i seem to have batt problems with most things.

this trip is mostly off rd. but he unit MUST be able to do dirt and hwy's, back roads, etc (i try to stay out of citys). thinking down the way also, as it would need to be body carried at later days. (hunting trips, etc).
work with/with out gloves????



.
I'll give you my basic knowledge viewpoint on GPS and what has, and has not, worked for me.

~ Why? vs Why not? Some have posted that they do not like GPS and prefer to rely on good ole paper maps and/or to roam where the wind and stars take them. I agree that being slave to a GPS and destinations is not my idea of adventure or fun travel. I too like to just go and see what I find. However, as I noted previously in this thread, there are times when GPS is either really nice and convenient and there are times when it might just save your butt. As to convenience, not having to stop and scan paper maps is nice. As to saving your butt....If you find yourself on a trail in the North Woods (or wherever) you might have a hard time navigating with paper or the stars. There are times when you might not be able to get a GPS signal, but with all the hardware they have up there, that situation is becoming less of an issue. Thus, I prefer to have GPS with me when I head off on a grand adventure.

~ Somewhere up above I posted a link to GPSKevin's site. I don't know Kevin but his background, experience and info seems to be pretty solid. Thus when I read his review and recommendations on GPS, it was a factor in my purchase decisions. Kevin notes that the guts of GPS is all basically the same. So what it really boils down to are a few key features.....Screen size and type (touch screen or not), features, and waterproof/ruggedness. Do you really need your GPS to be your MP3 player? or your camera? or your microwave? (I made up that last one for effect). For me, I just wanted my GPS to be a GPS.....go figure.

As with the KLR, the key question is where do you plan to ride? If you want to venture off road you'll need a GPS that can work with tracks and not just routes. Routes are roads. Tracks are anywhere you (or others) have made them. Thus if you're going to ride the TAT or CDR, you'll want a GPS that can handle tracks.

While you can pay $1,000 for a GPS you can get a fully functional GPS for less than $200.....I'll come back to that. Get the GPS that fits your type of riding and your wants.

~ Regarding the brand.....Stick with Garmin! Garmin is anything but perfect but they are the world standard. Most publicly available maps to download are in GPX (Garmin) format.

~ Regarding the model of Garmin, the Montana is great but it will cost over $600. There are MANY Garmin models to choose. After reading up on a lot of them I purchased two of them. I bought the Zumo 390lm and paid about $400, and I bought the GPSMAP78. The Zumo is a great all-around GPS that can handle both routes and tracks. It has a fairly large touchscreen. It receives good reviews and thus far for me, it has been durable. I also bought the GPSMAP78 based on Kevin's recommendation to run dual. See his website for an explanation of the virtues of running dual. The 78 is actually a marine GPS so it is completely waterproof and rugged. The 78 can also work with tracks. As per Kevin's recommendation it features a much larger and more durable plug that is less likely to fail than the typical micro USB ports. You can get the 78 for well under $200. If I was only going to buy one GPS, I would buy the 78. It does all that you need a GPS to do.....unless you want it to zap your PopTarts.

~ Regarding mounts, go with RAM. They are included with the higher end Garmin's, including the Zumo. They can be added on for the lower cost Garmin's for small change. The RAM mounts are durable and offer lots of options.

~ Regarding wiring, I would highly recommend pulling the tank and wiring the GPS into a fuse block. I installed a 3 circuit switched setup from Cycle Terminal and I am a total NOOB when it comes to electrical. If you wire it in with the a switched block you'll never have to worry about batteries or running down the motorcycle battery.

I think I covered your questions, but if I missed one....Fire away. Or, better yet....Go here: https://sites.google.com/a/gpskevina.../home/gps-help

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Old 05-23-2017, 04:45 PM   #18
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

I think the GPS phone Apps are the way to go. One device, one charge cord and just another APP. I use GAIA and the premium package is like $40 per year but the PC planning, printing and endless host of maps is awesome. You can also buy by the month of turn it on/off any time you want. Once you plan routes/tracks on your PC (with printing ability) they automatically sync to your phone........no special steps.........it just happens.

Planning routes/tracks on your big PC screen is awesome and super easy with the "snap to trail" function so you don't have to trace map lines with your mouse.......and you can do it in your underwear with a beer! Then you can sort, label and save them. On your phone you can attach pics, notes and they show up as a marker right where you took/wrote them. Also on your phone you can change maps or better yet layer maps! I usually run with topo, satellite and trail maps overlayed and it makes a great view. I pretty much just switch my phone to airplane mode to save battery and follow the blue dot (usually keeping it on the route/track) and ride. If you get off route/track it is easy to find your way back to it or you can switch on the bread crumbing to leave a dotted line to make it even easier.

There is a bit to learn but as an 53 year old guy not real phone savvy, it is pretty easy to learn and use. You can sign up for a free month and play with it all you want. Shouldn't take you a couple hours to figure it all out and their customer service is great. You can call and they actually answer the phone AND the help section on their website has 95% of everything you will need to know with step by step picture instructions. If they don't answer the phone they call you back really quick.

There are also plenty of maps on line yo can just download. I found every section of the Georgia Appalachian Trail (about 22) and downloaded them to my folder in just a few hours. Once I opened the app on my phone they were there and ready to click and follow along with all the way points made by the originator. I had to wade through lots of premade section maps to find the ones i like best but it was interesting to see how other people made their routes and markers.

They do have cheaper packages and even a free version i think. However you lose some nice stuff like the PC route planning and printing.

The ONLY thing i miss from my beloved Trimble Outdoors App is the interactive weather map overlays. GAIA says they are working on that because I asked!

Oohh.......and there are some really nice, secure mounting brackets for Iphones that can really take a beating on the trails.

Check them out......... https://help.gaiagps.com/hc/en-us/ca...5000707988-iOS

There website is a bit hard to find stuff if you haven't been there before or have an account. I suggest calling them and they will send you all the links to all the important stuff........and ask for the free trial while you have them on the line!
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Old 05-23-2017, 08:34 PM   #19
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Post Re: Best GPS for ADV....

thanks mitch, and jeffsdarkside.
i need to learn as much as i can. i tried one "app" for my phone, and even with there service on the phone it would never work for me, thats how much trouble i have with all these gismos.

paper can not be beat, but when you do not know what maps to have on you it gets bulky just trying to cover ones bases.
will look into some of the lower cost units. but as the closest place that stocks anything is a good 100 miles from here. (a third of the miles is getting across a major city), sure there is best buy, but very limited to even look at and NO information or service help.

now off to linkey world.


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Old 05-23-2017, 09:05 PM   #20
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Default Re: Best GPS for ADV....

I'll note that phone apps like Gaia are typically going to be a lot easier to learn and use than Garmin's Basecamp software. If simplicity is high priority, then you should check out Gaia.

I prefer a separate GPS unit for a couple reasons. I don't like having my primary communication device mounted on the handlebars, especially off pavement. On a ride last Fall Big Dan's brand new cell phone crapped out due to excessive vibration. I'm not saying that's always going to happen, but if it does you might not have a phone. Secondly, if you can invest the time to learn Basecamp it's pretty solid and powerful.

But no doubt, there are some excellent phone apps. Like Jeff I previously used Trimble Outdoors and thought it was excellent.

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