GPS Map for offroading

dchemphill1

Well-Known Member
First Name
David
Joined
Oct 20, 2020
Messages
296
Reaction score
519
Location
Nebraska
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Rubicon Recon
Occupation
School Administrator
I am in the process of planning a trip to Colorado this coming July. I have me cell phone, installing GMRS radio, have an older GPS Garmin. What do I need to be using to follow the trails that I am planning on running....I see videos with what appears to be ipads, etc.... Another question, If planning on tent camping do we need to make reservations at national parks, state camp sites, etc....

Thanks for all the assistance on helping my wife and I plan an awesome, safe adventure.
Advertisement

 

calemasters

Well-Known Member
First Name
Allen
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
688
Reaction score
792
Location
Springfield, Mo.
Vehicle(s)
2021 Rubicon Unlimited, & Escalade
Occupation
Retired Mechanical Engineer
It is always a good idea to make reservations. July is a busy time for campsites. You should be OK with a smartphone and your Garmin. Trail maps would be good as well. Just make sure your Garmin shows the trails you want to do.

My wife and I will be back in Ouray / Telluride in early July. We will be returning home from Santa Barbara from our daughter's wedding. Maybe we will run into you. Our Jeep looks like yours but it is the Unlimited.
 

JeepFan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
171
Reaction score
179
Location
Arizona
Vehicle(s)
2021 Sport
I am in the process of planning a trip to Colorado this coming July. I have me cell phone, installing GMRS radio, have an older GPS Garmin. What do I need to be using to follow the trails that I am planning on running....I see videos with what appears to be ipads, etc.... Another question, If planning on tent camping do we need to make reservations at national parks, state camp sites, etc....

Thanks for all the assistance on helping my wife and I plan an awesome, safe adventure.
Take a look at the Garmin Zumo XT. It is marketed for offroad motorcycles; and it comes with topo/offroad maps, but it also comes with all of the Garmin street maps.
 

jeepoch

Well-Known Member
First Name
Jay
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Messages
493
Reaction score
1,358
Location
Longmont, CO
Vehicle(s)
2019 JL Wrangler Sport S 3.6L Auto 2 door, 2.5" lift, 35s
David,

Yes, earlier the better at making reservations at any Colorado State or National Park. Especially with Covid restrictions.

However, I would also explore the National Forest Service published Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) throughout the entire state. These can be obtained online at:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/arp/maps-pubs

Find the National Forest(s) of interest and download whichever maps are most appropriate for your journey. Every map is organized by Ranger District. Furthermore, each map typically also highlights all the authorized dispersed camping sites along each and every designated trail.

In addition, there is a mobile app called "Avenza" which will also help you download any US Forest Service MVUM for free or many other State or Commercial maps for a small fee.

Along with the MVUM's (which are the official authoritative source for all National Forest motor vehicle access), you can also download free Topographic and/or Motor Vehicle Travel Maps (MVTMs) which show a lot more detail but are not the officially declarative source for showing which trails have legal access. Only the MVUMs show which trails are legally accessable to the type of vehicle you are driving based on seasonal or special instructions.

Furthermore, when using the Avenza app in real time with GPS Location Services enabled on your phone or tablet, the app will track your live position on any downloaded map while offline. Better yet, by downloading corresponding maps to a 'Collection' folder, the app will automatically follow you from map to map between any Forest Service Ranger Districts or National Forest Boundaries. It will do this for any map type: MVUM, MVTM, Topos or any other map that you purchase or acquire through it's online store.

So with a little organization and planning you should be able to camp in literally tens of thousands of possible locations (free) in any of the authorized dispersed spots anywhere within the National Forest system. Of course the primary downside to 'dispersed' camping is there are no amenities. You get what you pay for (or bring along). The up side is there are so many more locations available to camp with absolutely no reservations required. Clearly however, this is always explicitly on a first come basis.

In addition, every MVUM also indicates all the primary contact resources, such as the Ranger District office address and phone number contacts for any additional and all up to date Forest trail access / closure information.

My wife and I live very close to Rocky Mountain National Park but rarely go there due to the crowds and now the covid 'reservation.gov' red-tape. With the Roosevelt along with many other National and State Forests nearby, we're never very far from truly amazing trails. Some are highlighted in the published Jeeping Trail Guide books but most are not. So we are frequently out exploring our really incredible 'backyard'.

We only ask that while visiting please 'Stay the Trail', be respectful, and resposible. Please don't give the governmental authorities any further reasons to close our public access. It seems that we're loosing more and more access every year due to irresponsible and improper trail usage. It doesn't take much trail abuse for the Rangers and District Managers responsible for this Forest land to close trails either temporarily or even permanently these days. Our local Jeep Club along with many other Public Access minded people are always struggling to prevent closures and foster public land access. It's more of a problem than most people realize.

Hope this helps. Welcome to colorful Colorado. Very happy trails. Enjoy...

Jay
 
OP
OP
dchemphill1

dchemphill1

Well-Known Member
First Name
David
Joined
Oct 20, 2020
Messages
296
Reaction score
519
Location
Nebraska
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Rubicon Recon
Occupation
School Administrator
Jay thanks for the great info. I believe in tread lightly so that others may enjoy who come after me.
 

MarkY3130

Well-Known Member
First Name
Mark
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Messages
1,095
Reaction score
1,206
Location
Denver
Vehicle(s)
2019 JLUR
Vehicle Showcase
1

Stormin’ Moorman

Well-Known Member
First Name
Michael
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
Messages
1,632
Reaction score
6,013
Location
Georgia
Vehicle(s)
2019 JLUR, 2020 JLUR, 2021 JL, 2021 GCL,1989 YJ
Occupation
Forester
Vehicle Showcase
1
I'm going to vote for Gaia. I've been a forester for 25 years (fuck I'm old) and it's been my job to travel to places and find things for most of those years. I've used everything there is and Gaia is the best for trails and what-not that I've seen. Avenza works but lacks the flexibility of a true GIS foundation. And you can download all your maps onto your phone or iPad for when you lose service. I would also recommend a supplemental GPS unit to boost the weak GPS built into your phone/ipad.

The stand alone GPS units are fine for hiking and backpacking but the reality is that the hardware is pretty crappy when comparing it to a relatively new phone or ipad. I use an iPad Pro with about 5 GIS programs but Gaia is the one I fall back on when I'm trail riding.
 

jeepoch

Well-Known Member
First Name
Jay
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Messages
493
Reaction score
1,358
Location
Longmont, CO
Vehicle(s)
2019 JL Wrangler Sport S 3.6L Auto 2 door, 2.5" lift, 35s
For the record, I too have both Gaia and onX Offroad. I concur with Michael that Gaia has its advantages, as does onX Offroad in certain instances. But to get started, not be overwhelmed and have almost everything available (free) through its online store, I'd still recommend Avenza.

However, I believe none of the apps are free themselves. They all require yearly subscriptions. I do believe Avenza is free, without subscription only if you restrict your download to some minimal number of maps. I don't recall what that limit is. I personally likely have about a hundred maps downloaded. Almost the entire state of Colorado (mostly west of I-25) except for the Pawnee National Grasslands, a few from Utah and many for Southern California mountains and deserts.

Fortunately Gaia also seems to work flawlessly on all the same MVUMs, MVTMs and especially the Topo maps I've acquired through Avenza. Gaia really (really) shines with the detailed topographic maps for certain.

So it's just a matter of preference and how you want to harvest all the mapping files.

The MVUMs however give you the absolute best (and legal) dispersed camping locations regardless of whichever mapping app you choose.

Again, have fun. Be prepared, especially at altitude. Have a Jeep full of that Colorado Mountain High. Not the idiots version, but exactly that in which John Denver intended.

Jay
 
Last edited:

KansasJL

Well-Known Member
First Name
James
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
244
Reaction score
165
Location
Kansas
Vehicle(s)
2019 Sting Grey JLUR
Some of the trails have dispersed tent camping that you can stay at for free. Engineer pass has a really nice campsite just outside of lake city. The Funtrek trail guide shows where dispersed camping are.
 

Renegade

Well-Known Member
First Name
Zac
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Messages
293
Reaction score
311
Location
Signal Mountain, TN
Vehicle(s)
‘20 JT
GAIA basic is free. You can add some satellite imagery for $20/year (example image below), but the hiking/backpacking stuff is mostly in their full subscription package.

484EF67E-8DC1-4C49-AAF0-0541B6BB4F50.png
 
Last edited:

wibornz

Well-Known Member
First Name
Ted
Joined
Aug 3, 2018
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
12,681
Location
lansing, Mi.
Vehicle(s)
JL Unlimited Rubicon
Occupation
Retired from Corrections....I have stories.
If you are wheeling in Colorado and Utah, this web site is by far the best you will find for trails. It cost $12 a year. It has just about every trail in Colorado and Utah, with pictures, dash cams vids, comments and info about each trail and most importantly you can download the gps files for each trail.

Thank me later.....

https://traildamage.com. This is a user driven web site and is packed full of great information that is current. It is easily worth a dollar a month.


Also I vote for Gaia. It is my goto for mapping my off road adventures. I always download the maps in Gaia and google maps of the area that I will be wheeling at.
 

RubiconRon

Member
First Name
Ron
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
13
Reaction score
12
Location
us
Vehicle(s)
2021 JLU billet silver Rubicon
I bought a bullet point mounting solutions tablet mount, cheap android tablet from amazon (kingpad K10) and gaia premium upgrade. I love the layer options and satellite imaging. The best $200 ive spend on the Jeep.

Tablet mount.jpg
 

Idmt

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
Messages
11
Reaction score
16
Location
ID
Vehicle(s)
JLURD, F350
There is a definite learning curve to utilize the features available. I used a Montana in my SxS and later upgraded to a 276CX for a larger screen. I bought the 24k Topo maps for the western part of the US and was content until recently. I upgraded my desktop machine to a new Macbook Pro and now find that I can't load the Topo DVDs onto the new computer. Garmin CS told me that they no longer support the old DVD Topo maps (Mine were around 2014) and people were abusing the license and that if I read the fine print I'd see that. The license is only good for one machine - making Basecamp more worthless than it is. Garmin seems to have a problem with supporting the Mac way of doing things, and has not impoved over the years. With a recent Mac OS update, Garmin Express - the firmware updating system for the Garmins doesn't work any more. I don't want to buy a Windows machine just to update the firmware on my Garmin GPS so I'm trying to learn how to use Gaia on an iPad for my Jeep. Maps like the MVUMs for my area (Idaho) are old and the FS updates many of them annually. I also purchased All Trails and settled on trying to make Gaia work for me. I think maybe a younger, more savvy mind might not have problems, but its tough for me to get into a new way of thinking to make my GPS work and tell me the things I'd like to know. Gaia does have very nice map options.
 

wibornz

Well-Known Member
First Name
Ted
Joined
Aug 3, 2018
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
12,681
Location
lansing, Mi.
Vehicle(s)
JL Unlimited Rubicon
Occupation
Retired from Corrections....I have stories.
I also run a tablet to display Gaia for mapping.

1619607273423.png

What I like most about Gaia is I can use my laptop and do plan routes and explore and then save my work to the Gaia and open it on my tablet or phone with zero issues. I can also share it over to my friends that wheel with me so they know where we are going also.

The nice thing about running the tablet for mapping, is I use google maps on the tablet to map my travel and to navigate as I Jeep travel around the US. This frees up the Uconnect for searching for gas and other side stops without having to mess around with my main route.
 

Sublime

Well-Known Member
First Name
Tom
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
80
Reaction score
174
Location
Farmington, MN
Vehicle(s)
2021 HellaYella Rubicon
I also run a tablet to display Gaia for mapping.

1619607273423.png

What I like most about Gaia is I can use my laptop and do plan routes and explore and then save my work to the Gaia and open it on my tablet or phone with zero issues. I can also share it over to my friends that wheel with me so they know where we are going also.

The nice thing about running the tablet for mapping, is I use google maps on the tablet to map my travel and to navigate as I Jeep travel around the US. This frees up the Uconnect for searching for gas and other side stops without having to mess around with my main route.
What mount are you using for your tablet?
 
Advertisement

Jim Marsh Chrysler Jeep
 
Advertisement
Top