Between in-car navigation systems like Android Auto and dozens of GPS-based navigation apps for smartphones, most people really don’t bother using a dedicated GPS navigator whenever they’re driving. Most drivers just need basic turn-by-turn directions for daily driving, after all, and they can usually get that without having to buy a specialty device. You know where those apps and factory nav systems don’t usually work? Backcountries and remote areas – the kind of places where you’ll usually take your side-by-side ATV for a weekend adventure. If you want help figuring out your way around those areas, you might want to trade in your phone in favor of something like the Garmin Tread.
That’s right, Garmin made a dedicated GPS navigator for ATVs, snowmobiles, and other recreational off-road rides, which should make it a whole lot easier to find your way when exploring unpaved terrains. Whether you’re driving across a snowy mountain, a scorching desert, or a muddy trail in the middle of nowhere, this thing brings the convenience of guided navigation to your dashboard.
The Garmin Tread is actually a combination GPS navigator and radio communicator, allowing you to use it for off-road navigation and off-grid communication alike. For navigation, it comes preloaded with both topography maps and street maps, along with U.S. Forest Service roads and Motor Vehicle Use Maps for full sized 4x4s, ATVs, side-by-sides and motorcycles, so you can figure out exactly where you are and where you can go at any point in time. They also preloaded all public land boundaries for national forests, wilderness areas, and Bureau of Land Management, along with private land boundaries and land owner information for all parcels greater than four acres, so you’re likely to know when you’re trespassing on erstwhile private property.
For off-grid communication, it comes with a multi-use radio service that allows you to stay in touch with up to 20 riders in your group using a push-to-talk fist mic, with the ability to pair with your Bluetooth headset for hands-free voice communication. If you own one of the outfit’s InReach satellite communicators, you can also pair them together, so you can send text messages directly from the navigator’s screen. You can even keep track of your friends’ locations on the map display, so you’ll know exactly when someone has split from the group.
The Garmin Tread has a 5.5-inch touchscreen display that can be operated with or without gloves, while an IPX7-rated and MIL-810 build ensures rugged and weather-resistant operation, no matter what challenges you encounter. It comes with a powered mount and wiring harness that makes it easy to secure it on the dash of your side-by-side, ATV, or whatever other vehicle you’re riding.
Garmin also offers an optional accessory called PowerSwitch that takes control of a vehicle’s 12-volt accessories, giving you six outputs with up to 30 amps each, all of which you can manage from the Tread’s display. They also sell a compatible wireless camera, called BC 40, up to four of which can be controlled directly from the device’s interface.
The Garmin Tread is available now.