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March 16, 2003

Guide to Choosing a GPS for Off-road Driving
 — by

How Useful is a GPS?

GPS navigation can make the difference between an off-road adventure and disaster.

Points of Interest

4WD vehicles can take you to some amazing places. When you find a great back-road, marsh, desert flat, etc., record the spot with your GPS receiver. The GPS can guide you back there again in the future so you can relive the adventure. Or you can share your trip into with others, even over the Internet.

Pre-Trip Planning

GPS is great for pre-trip planning. Mark the location of good places to set up camp and mark off dangerous areas that you want to steer clear of. Off road racers can use GPS receivers to determine paths that will cut time off a course. Also use GPS to establish rendezvous coordinates so you can meet up with fellow off-roaders.


Getting lost is not always dangerous but it is a hassle that can be avoided. A GPS will let you know where you are at all times so it is very helpful especially when you are heading into unfamiliar territory.

If you get into serious trouble however, you can use a GPS unit and a two-way radio to communicate your exact position to rescue teams.

What Do I Need?

Nice features to have in a GPS: big screen with good back lighting, long battery life, ergonomics (easy-to-use buttons and menus, etc.), reliable brand with good service support, ability to have an external antennae, etc…

What Accessories Should I Get?

Consider an external antenna, as it will improve your reception. The Vortech Reradiating GPS Antenna is a good choice. The Vortech Antenna System sends boosted signals to your GPS and since it doesn't require a direct connection to the GPS, it will work with any model and is ideal for vehicle use where roofs and overheads block satellite signals.

What Else Should I Know?

Learn the basics of how to read topographical maps. Mount the GPS unit in a good, visible location where you and perhaps also your passengers will be able to see it.

Purchase GPS products through our online store, Shop the Outdoors.

For more GPS and mapping related resources please visit delivers GPS navigation solutions, maps, and gear at prices below the manufacturer's suggested retail pricing.


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