Snowmobiling is an incredibly fun and exhilarating experience. There’s nothing quite like zipping through miles of snowy countryside with nothing around but ice on your breath and the wind in your hair. However, when winding through the woods, it’s easy to lose your way. That is where a good GPS comes in.
The models laid out in this guide are perfect for any and all snowmobilers. While they have a few differences, each option comes with a good screen, excellent features, and a tough shell that can handle freezing temperatures. We’ll explore that more below.
- Snowmobilers on a budget will love the Garmin eTrex 30x. This model is affordable but manages to command a low price tag without sacrificing any premium features. The model also has no glare, making it particularly useful for those who snowmobile on sunny days.
- The Trail Tech Voyager Pro is a well-rounded GPS built for users who want a little bit of everything. The Bluetooth compatibility makes it perfect for those who need to constantly communicate with large groups as they ride, and the interface gives you information on routes, speed, waypoints, elevation, and more.
- Filled with 11500 pre-loaded maps, the Magellan TR5 Offroad Navigator is a great device for users who want options. This GPS records your trails and enables you to customize your route with waypoints, points of interest, and photos. You can download both maps and software updates as you see fit.
Who Should Get This?
Anyone who snowmobiles on open or uncharted areas can make use of a good GPS. The small devices are easy to overlook, but they come in handy time and time again. Even when you’re traveling around familiar roads or well-known paths, it’s quite easy for areas to get covered by snow. A GPS ensures you don’t get lost when that happens.
Though every snowmobiler should own a GPS, the devices are especially useful for riders who venture out into unmarked terrain. Staying on track is easy when you know where you are. However, if you’re someone who likes to speed off into the woods or backcountry, you need to be able to find your way around.
Best GPS for Snowmobiling: What to Consider?
Fire and foremost, your GPS needs to be tough. Snowmobiling takes you out into the elements. If you don’t have a device that can take the wind and snow, especially when traveling at high speeds, you’re going to be in for a bad time. GPS’s can be expensive. Rather than having to get a new one every winter, invest in a device with a strong outer shell and a sturdy base. Water-proof options are excellent as well.
You never know just how long you’re going to be out on your snowmobile. Even a short trip can quickly turn into a few hours. Always do your best to get a GPS with an extended battery life that will easily cover the amount of time you tend to spend on the trail. While not a strict rule, you should try to get a device that lasts at least 10 hours. That ensures it won’t die unexpectedly and gives you enough leeway in case you forget to charge it before going out.
It always helps if your GPS is easy to read. Not only does that mean a bright display, but it also means an anti-glare screen that you can see in any type of weather condition. A good pixel display resolution is critical here, and a crisp, colorful interface doesn’t hurt either. As long as you can view your device on both sunny and overcast days, you’ll be good to go.
Best GPS for Snowmobiling: Our Picks for 2020
If you’re someone who wants a high-quality GPS that doesn’t cost a lot of money, the Garmin eTrex 30x is the way to go. This handy device keeps you updated on your surroundings with a bright 65K color display that looks great in all conditions. It also has 3.7GB of internal memory, comes with anti-glare technology, and has excellent contrast. You can also load a range of different maps onto the device, which offers a lot of versatility you won’t find in similar models.
What We Like:
- Fantastic 65k display
- Bright, clear colors
- Base map with shaded relief
- Can connect with other Garmin devices
- Able to upload maps to the device
- No glare
- Runs smoothly
What We Don’t Like:
- Instruction manual could be easier to follow
- A bit slower than similar models
The Trail Tech Voyager Pro is easily the most expensive device on our list. Even so, it’s incredible features and exceptional performance make it worth the steep price. This off-road GPS is durable, trusty, and comes fully equipped with a 4-inch anti-glare touchscreen. It’s also water and dust-proof, and includes both hill-shadings and topography maps. It supports routes, tracks, and waypoints, while also showing information like temperature, distance, and elevation.
What We Like:
- Bluetooth technology
- 4-inch touchscreen
- Bright display
- Water and dust-proof
- Excellent construction
- Provides a range of information (speed, distance, etc.)
- Topography maps and hill-shadings
What We Don’t Like:
- Cable a bit short
- No pre-loaded maps
The Magellan TR5 is a GPS device for snowmobilers who want a lot of extra features. This quality product is fully touchscreen and utilizes a bright, clear display that can stand the test of time. It also gives you many ways to customize your routes, enabling you to map your trails with relative ease. You can add in points of interest and put in photos, while the thousands of preloaded maps make it navigate anywhere across the United States.
What We Like:
- Easy to mount
- High-resolution display
- Easy to customize trails
- Can add photos to your trails
- Plenty of software updates
- Preloaded with maps and streets
- Free software updates
What We Don’t Like:
- Can’t operate touchscreen with gloves
- Not the best for extreme weather conditions
- Small screen size
Useful Tips and Information
Snowmobiling is a great experience, but it’s not always easy. Though you might be able to ride around your house or cabin, venturing out into the backcountry is another experience altogether. If you’re curious about such endeavors and want to know more, this video is a good way to learn some of the basics.
Snowmobiling can also be quite dangerous. Taking a powerful vehicle into the snow is a risky process, and there are no doubt problems can arise if you aren’t careful. The tips listed here are all good ways to keep yourself safe.
For any outdoor activity, it helps to know where you’re going. Though many people think they understand their surroundings, a little bit of extra snow or bad weather can throw you into complete disarray. A solid GPS stops that from happening and keeps you on track.
Every GPS in this guide offers excellent map functionality alongside a number of other premium features. It is those attributes that put them above so many similar models, and why you should choose one before your next snowmobile adventure.
Where do you like to snowmobile? Do you use a GPS? Let us know in the comments below!
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.