Gear Pick: Garmin GPS Map 62

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Gear Pick: Garmin GPS Map 62

Ride a dirt bike? Then you need a handheld GPS unit like this one to help you navigate fire roads and trails. The Garmin GPS Map 62 is affordable and high-spec. It’s also water and shockproof and doesn’t have trouble finding a satellite signal, even under a dense forest canopy.

Price: $300

Why we like it: The color screen is easy to read and the whole thing fits easily into a small pocket on your jacket or pants. The 20-hour battery life will last through a three-day dual sport trip and the 1.7gb of memory is enough to hold a bunch of detailed topo maps.

Less expensive competitor: Stick with your smartphone and download one of the available GPS navigation programs. Those can just about get the job done, but you won’t get anything like the same battery life, signal or ruggedness and operating one in the field can be a real pain.

You should also check out: The $650 Garmin Zumo 660LM GPS is a more total navigation solution, but obviously much more expensive.

  • tbowdre

    This looks like a pretty nice piece of kit!

    Any suggestions for a good/the best GPS app for an iPhone 5 with coverage for the Southwest USA, SoCal and Baja Mexico

    • BillW

      There are really two components here: the app, and the map. I’m not sure about the best app (there are several), but check here for maps:

      Many are free, but note that few of the free maps are “routable”, i.e., they can’t be used to get turn-by-turn directions.

      A few of the apps are listed here:

      I downloaded DIY Map GPS to install these maps, to use as a backup to my Oregon 450. The downside of using your phone is that it’s not water and impact resistant (though you can fix this with a case), and the touchscreen won’t work with most gloves. Oh, and battery life is generally less than a dedicated GPS.

  • Jason 1199

    I have a GPSmap62 attached to my klr’s bars w a ram mount. Works well enough but I found the software hard to use/navigate

  • BillW

    I have a 660LM on my sport-touring bike, and it’s great for on-road, but you can’t load topographic maps on it for off-road use. Plus, it’s pretty big for a dirt bike. I just picked up an Oregon 450 (discontinued, I think) for $170 from Amazon. I think it’s gonna work pretty well for trail riding, but I haven’t done much with it yet.

    • Ryan Kiefer

      I’m pretty sure you can load topo maps on a 660LM, but maybe that’s only Garmin-provided maps. Third party maps are hit or miss on most Garmin devices.

      • BillW

        Yes, you’re right. You can load Garmin’s topo maps on the 660. My memory was faulty. I recall there was some limitation there that led me to get the 450, but I’ve forgotten what it was.

  • skeelo221

    I would recommend the 78 instead. Identical unit except the 78 is a marine unit so it is a big larger but also takes the durable 4 prong power instead of the fragile USB power

    • skeelo221

      The 78 fitted to my DR down in Baja:

  • Davidabl2

    Re the iPhone/smartphone solutions..commonsense would dictate that the rider also install a usb charging circuit on their bike. Or carry one of those external backup batteries. Or both. And download everything before you go somewhere where there’s no signal :-)