When it comes time for your snowmobile trip, you want to make sure you have everything you need to keep you safe and get you where you need to be. You want and need the best snowmobile GPS out there.
A GPS device is an essential part of your gear when out on your snowmobile for the day. You need a GPS that you can count on to be accurate and withstand extremely cold temperatures. A device that cuts out could leave you lost at the most inconvenient times.
Below, we discuss the best GPS devices for snowmobilers. These devices are top picks specifically with snowmobilers in mind. Read below to see our choices, detailed information about each choice, and a pro and cons list for each.
At the end, you can also find a list of key features to look for when shopping for a snowmobile GPS. This information will help you find the best snowmobile GPS device for you.
Best Snowmobile GPS Comparison Guide
Our Choice: onX Offroad Mobile GPS
Our favorite snowmobile GPS is, surprisingly, not an actual GPS device at all. Instead, it is an app for your smartphone. The onX Offroad Mobile GPS has all the features of a separate GPS device, but is located conveniently on your phone. While many of the features of the app are the same, it does have some differences.
First, the cost for this GPS will be different than the others on this list. Most GPS devices have a single, up-front cost. The onX Offroad Mobile GPS app has an annual fee of just $29.99. So, this option will be cheaper than the others initially. Once you have the app paid for and downloaded, you can access and download thousands of preloaded maps.
Loaded with Maps & Trails
At the beginning of 2020, the app boasted more than 400,000 miles of roads and trails. Since then, they have expanded their reach and are continuously adding maps almost daily. To develop their maps, onX Offroad Mobile GPS has been using trail guides who turn on their maps to explore back trails and uncharted places. They have also been pushing users to interact with the app more by dropping waypoints, adding photos to locations, and placing scenic spots or awesome campgrounds on the maps. This develops the app even further and gives you more information about the area that you are exploring. If a campsite is something that you are interested when using, the onX app allows you to actually reserve a spot ahead of time.
Packed with Useful Information
If all of these previous features aren’t enough, there’s more. onX Offroad Mobile GPS app gives you as much information as possible to make your trip as great as possible. On any given route that you choose, a plethora of more information is available. You can find what time is best to go on the trail, whether a permit is required, what vehicles are allowed on the trail, and if it is open for the season. You can also find a difficulty rating on each trail so you aren’t caught by surprise with something too difficult or too easy.
Web App Compatible
Once you have an account created on onX, you can log into your account online and see all the maps. You can see all your waypoints, trails, information, etc.
We love jumping on the web app and scouting gnarly terrain to check out on the sleds and dropping a pin on right there on the web app. It automatically pushes over to your mobile app so when you’re out in the backcountry or on the trails, you’ve got a waypoint to get you to where you want to go!
But what about Burning the Battery and Cell Service…
The onX Offroad app allows you to download maps to the app so that you can access them in app without needing cell service. By not needing cell service, you can turn your phone over to airplane mode and conserve battery life when out in the backcountry. And you still have a working GPS!
- Operates completely through your smartphone
- Lower initial cost
- Over 400,000 miles of roads and trails, and growing fast
- Difficulty ratings
- Screen size limited to your smartphone screen
- Yearly recurring payment
- Smartphone may not be suitable to withstand extreme cold temperatures
If you choose to go the route of a separate GPS device, Garmin is the way to go. Over time, Garmin has been consistently producing high quality GPS devices that are reliable and that users love. The Garmin 610 has all the bells and whistles that you could possible want in a GPS. 250,000 geocaches are preloaded into the device to allow you to navigate wherever you find yourself. It has a decently sized, bright, touchscreen display that is easy to use the first time you pick it up. The screen is also completely visible in bright sunlight, perfect for that snowy glare while snowmobiling. Another plus about this touchscreen is that it is glove-friendly, meaning you won’t have to take your gloves off each time you need directions.
The Garmin 610 allows you to quickly and easily navigate through all the features you need to find your way. Easily toggle between routes and waypoints, and track logs of where you are going. You also have use of a three-axis compass and barometric altimeter. This system has a highly sensitive, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver with GLONASS support so that you can rely on your directions even under heavy cover. Your purchase of the Garmin 610 comes with a one year subscription to the BirdsEye Satellite Imagery service.
- Preloaded with 250,000 geocaches
- GPS and GLONASS support
- Glove-friendly touch screen
- One-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery service
- Smaller screen size
- Can take a good bit of time to set up and learn to use properly
The TR7 Street and GPS Navigator from Magellan is both a street GPS and a general navigator. It gives you turn by turn navigation on trails while snowmobiling or hiking, so that you don’t get lost any step of the way. This navigation system is particularly great for snowmobiling because it comes preloaded with over 115,000 authorized trails that are suitable for snowmobiles, ATVs, motorcycles, and OHVs. When using these maps, you will get detailed topographic information. Your purchase of the Magellan TR7 Street and GPS Navigator comes with a lifetime of free map and software updates via Wi-Fi. The device itself has a full color, seven-inch touchscreen that is easy to see in all types of lighting environments.
- Large, full-color, touchscreen
- Preloaded with over 115,000 authorized trails
- Free map and software updates for life
- Can be used for topographic or street maps
- Software doesn’t work great for longer trips
- Adding maps that aren’t preloaded is difficult
Next on our list is the Trail Tech 922-122 Voyager Pro GPS Kit. Although this GPS device is on the expensive side, it is a high-quality, top of the line choice with plenty of useful features. This device offers a Bluetooth feature so that you can connect to your smartphone. This allows you to control the music on your phone, change the volume levels on your headphones, and access phone calls and messaging as well. The maps that are loaded onto this device give you information on the topography of the landscape, hill shading, and waypoints. You can also see your speed, temperature, distance, elevation, and voltage on the screen as well.
The most unique feature about the Trail Tech 922-122 Voyager Pro GPS Kit is its buddy tracking feature. This feature uses localized radio signals to allow you to view other members in your group on the map screen. You can even speak to others in your group through the Bluetooth intercom system. The brightly colored touchscreen display is visible in all different types of light conditions, even glaring sun from the snow. The 4” display can also be used while wearing gloves, important for snowmobilers and the frigid temperatures that they explore. To keep your device safe in the snow, this GPS is sealed and rated IP67 for anti-dust and water intrusion.
- Glove-friendly touchscreen
- Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone
- Buddy tracking feature
- Sealed for protection from water and ice.
- Small screen
- May need to purchase additional maps or mapping service
Another option from Garmin is the Montana 680t handheld GPS device. This device has many of the coveted features from the other devices on this list, however it has one important difference. The Montana 680t has an 8 megapixel digital camera incorporated into its design, allowing the user to capture beautiful moments along their adventures. This camera takes surprisingly high-quality images with great resolution. It also automatically geotags your photos with coordinates of where you are so you can find the same beautiful spots on repeat trips. Having this camera feature built-in to your GPS device means that you have less to carry with you, and less devices to juggle when you see something beautiful on your trip.
In addition to the camera feature, the Garmin Montana 680t comes with 250,000 preloaded geocaches from all over the world. If this isn’t enough, you also get a one-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery service as well. The GPS and GLONASS work together to give you a highly sensitive device that tracks you and maintains its location even in bad weather or areas of thick cover. Use the 4-inch, full color touchscreen to easily start and stop recording track logs, navigate through waypoints and routes, and organize your stored information.
- 8 megapixel camera that geotags photos with coordinates
- 250,000 preloaded geocaches
- One-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery service
- Easy to use touchscreen
- Smaller display
- Information not given on if touchscreen is glove-friendly
Key Features to Look For in the Best Snowmobile GPS
If you have never shopped for a snowmobile GPS before, then you may want to take some time to read the list below. There are certain features to look for, and if you aren’t familiar with GPS devices, then you may overlook some important qualities. Before choosing the GPS device that is best for you, take a look at the list below to learn about some key features that should be included in the device you choose.
One of the most important features that you should look for in a snowmobile GPS is its user interface. While snowmobiling, you will want a GPS that is user friendly. The last thing you need while enjoying a fresh snow is to struggle with finding your way. Make sure the device that you choose has simple and easy to follow commands. You want a GPS that helps you find your way quickly. Look for either a touch-screen or a device with only a few buttons required to control it. If shopping online, a great way to learn about how user friendly a GPS device is would be to read the customer reviews.
Most separate GPS devices come with a battery that can be recharged. With a fully charged battery, you want to be sure that your GPS will last you for your entire snowmobiling trip until it can be charged again. If you tend to take long rides, battery life is one of the most important features to consider. If your battery life is not long enough, it could shut off during your ride and give you trouble getting to your destination.
One of the reasons why we like the onx Offroad app is that you don’t have to pack multiple chargers. And, you should already have some sort of rugged usb charger in your snowmobile pack for emergencies so getting additional battery should come easy for you with the onX Offroad app.
A GPS for a snowmobile is obviously meant to be used outdoors, so it needs to be able to withstand the elements. Also, not all snowmobile rides are smooth sailing. You will likely encounter bumps and turns that could rattle your device. Make sure you purchase a GPS that will continue to work during bumpy rides so you don’t temporarily lose function.
It may seem obvious, but a large screen is best for your GPS device. The snow on a sunny day can give off an incredibly bright glare. Having a large screen makes your device easier to read, and see, in these times of excess glare. A large screen also allows for easier understanding of a map, allowing you to get where you are going with less of a struggle.
When purchasing an electronic device for a winter activity, you must know if it has the ability to withstand the cold temperatures. Not all technology has the capability to be used in freezing temperatures. Check the information for the GPS that you prefer before purchasing to make sure it will be able to function in the cold.
Accuracy is perhaps the most necessary feature of a GPS. What’s the point of a GPS that isn’t accurate? Accuracy is a feature that is hard to know about unless you have used the GPS for a certain amount of time. One way to learn about the accuracy of your GPS system is to read customer reviews. Make sure that accuracy is not a common complaint of users. Additionally, you can make sure that the GPS has maps that are updated frequently.
And there you have it! Our little take on the best snowmobile gps out there! Sure, we provided a few different options for you while including what has worked the best for us. We understand that some folks need that big clunker gps handheld device to feel comfortable out there in the backcountry. And that’s fine! We’ve really enjoyed the convenience of having it all on our phones. Plus, onX Offroad is constantly improving and adding in new features so they are on top of their game!