Anyone use a gps to map trails?

If so how do they work. Is it worth buying.

Can it help you if your lost.

Can you build maps ie. goto trail head and enter a point, then goto next trail head and enter a point. after a while you might have the whole trail system mapped.

Can you put transmitters on your kids and find them when they are lost?

Thx in advance for any info or advise.

i use a garmin etrx gps (cheap and small)

I simply set a mark where I leave the car, the gps automatically maps the trail. If i ever get lost i just say 'goto car'and it tells me which direction and how far to go. As long as you have clear view of the sky, it's near impossible to get lost. It also has a 'track back' function which will tell you turn right, then left etc, but it's more trouble than it's worth. Then I delete the tracks at the end of the day. You could save them if u wanted to.

As far as tracking the kids goes, the technology is there (taxi's use it) but it's expensive. In OZ we have pretty good mobile phone coverage, so I just take the mobile and GPS, that way if I eat it pretty bad i can give the ambo's the co-ordinates


Think of a GPS as a small computer, if your smart enough to run it right it can do most of what you want. Making maps and marking trails, not getting lost, average speed, top speed, elevation it can do. Learning how to use it takes some time to master.

I have been using a Magalan Meridan handheld for several years. Does everythhing you asked about except being able to strap to the kids. As said before, it is computer like & takes time to learn to use all of the features. Somewhat expensive. Goto there is a lot of info there.

I use a software program on my computer that allows me to put my track from the gps on an aerial photo or topo map. You can also find maps for the area you will be going to and transfer points to your gps so you can find them. I use ExpertGPS but there are other similar programs.

If you are willing to spend some time learning the gps & software it is a very good tool for riding new areas.

A GPS can definitely help you if your lost, a long as you know hot to use it. Get a good one, it may be all that stands between a long life and a short one. I had a bad experience that wouldn't have heppened if I was carrying a GPS. I bought a Garmin Legend the day I got out of the hospital and am now fully fluent. If you get a mapping cd from Garmin, you can swap info between your GPS and PC. You can plot trips on your PC and upload to the GPS in a few seconds. You can also download trips from the GPS to your PC and print off maps of your trips. Here's a map of a trip from a few weeks ago. The dotted line is exactly where I rode, the GPS tracks automatically. The purple line is a route that I have programmed in. The names are waypoints that I programmed in. You can do this either by standing at the spot and pushing the "save waypoint" button, or you can enter the co-ordinates into the GPS, or you can mouse click on a spot on the map in the GPS software and upload to the GPS.


When Search and Rescue found me, they had to leave the bike behind. They also use GPS with tracking and I called them the next week and they gave me the co-ordinates of where they found me. Here is a map printed from the S&R GPS. Point 026 was my sno-tel.


I programmed them into my new GPS, pressed "go to" and followed the arrow for 16 miles or so. It led me directly to my bike. I would've found it even if it had been completely buried.


Don't leave home without it! :):D

Wow, thats increadible. I'm definately going to get one.

Amen!!! :) Even though it may not have to save your life, it can save a lot of grief. I broke a chain last summer after riding away from town for nearly an hour. It would've been a long hike back along the trail with wet MX boots on. I locked the GPS on "home" and walked a nearly straight line and saved a lot of miles compared to the twisty sight seeing trail that I would've had to follow.

Glad you are still around. Sounds like quite a night!!

So....I liked the photo of the spiked wheels, but I really need to see the ski on the front too!!

thats quite some story you've got to tell to your grandchilder Frosty! Sounds like u r lucky 2 still b with us!

You know the old saying....Freeze me once shame on you, Freeze me twice, shame on me.

Here's the ski. 2nd best winter riding investment I ever made.



So can you mount the GPS on the bars, or do you just carry it in the pack?

I've got a Magellen Sport Track. They got them at Costco right now fopr $199 with $50 rebate. Best thing is it comes with the topographic map software (A MUST) and the cable to connect to the PC. Although I've yet to get lost it has a great breadcrumb feature so you can backtrack were ever you've already ridden. I used it on Sunday to mark some sick spots I found in a new area so I could get back there next time I go. After riding out in the June Lake area with my buddy I was convinced that a GPS is a must. Oh, and I just keep it in my backpack.

So can you mount the GPS on the bars, or do you just carry it in the pack?

I just got a Magellan and mounted it to my handle bars! I have used it on only one trip, it was a 63 mile ride. It worked great! I liked the handlebar mount- nice visability! :) These things are toys for the most part. You hopefully will not have the need to use it, i.e. emergency!

Actually now that I think about it, my Sportrack came with a little neophrene belt carrying case. I could probably rig that sucker to my bars super easy. I guess mine is waterproof too so I don't have worry about the mud factor.

Initially I had mine mounted to the bars with the cheap little garmin handlebar mount.(see first pic) It would shut down from vibration at high rpm. I wrapped a piece of elecrical tape around each of the 2 AA batteries to make them thicker so they would be held tighter in place and it worked. Then I noticed that looking down at the gps while riding at speed was tricky. That may not be important to people riding trails, but I ride a lot of open cross country in the summer, no trails no tire tracks. I use the back track feature to keep me on track on my return trip so I'm checking it constantly while I'm riding. If you are on a trail you only need to check at intersections. I now have mine mounted behind my headlight/numberplate. (I don't have a pic of that)


Now I can see it without taking my eyes off the road. It is just below the top of the ABS so it is out of the weather and is sort of protected, and since the number plate is flexible it doesn't vibrate nearly as much and will flex in a crash. Lots of guys use quality anti vibration mounts, so far i'm happy with my setup.

I also use it on my sled. The screen freezes at around -20, which is a lot of the time here. The unit is still functioning and recording, but it's useless if you can't see the screen. I bought a little belt clip case for it and slid a polaris handlebar heater inside. I put a twist throttle on my sled so the thumb warmer wasn't used. Now I plug the GPS heater into the thumb warmer slot and can adjust the heat to low medium or high. The case is mounted between my gauges and I've run it down to -47, -67 windchill and it did not freeze.




Actually now that I think about it, my Sportrack came with a little neophrene belt carrying case. I could probably rig that sucker to my bars super easy. I guess mine is waterproof too so I don't have worry about the mud factor.

Hey, for $40 I bought a handlebar mount! It was definately worth it! It works great! Super visability! I can blast down trails and check speed and distance while I ride! I am a believer!

Hey Frostbite,

Dude, I want to buy the rights to the movie! You and I will make a fortune! What a story! Your a freakin legend! :)

These things are toys for the most part. You hopefully will not have the need to use it, i.e. emergency!

I hope the most important thing you ever have to find with a GPS is easter eggs your kids hid around the house. Unfortunately, s&*t happens. You may never have to depend on helmets and riding gear to save your life either, but if you like wearing it, hopefully it'll be there when you need it. A GPS is a lot more fun than a compass, so maybe you'll bring it more. PFD's aren't much good sitting in the cabin of a boat.

Didn't mean to sound preachy, but I guess I do.

OK, I'm sold. What brand/model do you guys recommend? Lots out there I've been looking at seem to have a lot of features I don't think I'd use. Just looking for a basic GPS that will sync with the computer and keep me from getting lost in the woods/desert

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