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  1. #1
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    Device to Find My Way Out of the Woods

    I'm riding a new area where the trials go on forever. I need a device that will quickly get me back to my vehicle with minimal effort. I don't have a smartphone and I don't plan on purchasing one. Ideally, a device that remembers my tracks and using that information gets me back to my vehicle without having to retrace my tracks. Am I asking too much? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Device to Find My Way Out of the Woods

    Paper map.

    Yes, you are asking too much.
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  3. #3
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    Oops, missed the "without backtracking" part. I suggest a guide dog or a good horse that can find the barn always.
    Last edited by slocaus; 08-04-2013 at 06:37 PM.
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    yes, asking too much. you are relying on the concept that the trails are all already mapped, and that those maps would be routable like streets. SOME limited number work that way, but it's a very small number, and you will pay dearly for those maps in most cases.

    If you use a GPS, backtrack functionality tends to be pretty common, though, if you loosen your requirements.

    The paper map works wonders. I was out riding today for about 7 hours on a nice network of trails. I carried my Forerunner for track recording and basic stats like time and distance, but all my navigation was done with the paper map. It worked great, partly because the trails were well marked and intersections were numbered.

    at a location where the trails are not mapped, tough cookies. you can carry a GPS, compass, and a topo map and you can use old school trilateration to locate yourself. You can also plot GPS coordinates manually using the coordinates in the margin of the map. But you kinda have to develop those skills before you hit trails like that. but even then, some conditions are not very good for sighting landmarks with a compass (deep forests...good luck with that...featureless terrain like prairies and cornfields...not gonna happen).

  5. #5
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    Re: Device to Find My Way Out of the Woods

    Compass: $20
    Map: Free
    Knowing how to use both correctly: Priceless
    Here is the thing about equality, everyone's equal when they're dead. - Gavroche, Les Misérables

  6. #6
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    You would think there would be some sort of basic model...wishful thinking I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigwooten View Post
    You would think there would be some sort of basic model...wishful thinking I guess.
    Lots of basic models will backtrack. I think the cheapest I've seen that does that is about $50. The key that makes it mostly unattainable is the "gets me back to my vehicle without having to retrace my tracks" part. I say mostly because it's possible IF (big if) you have a mapping receiver with a detailed trail map of the area you're riding AND all of those trails are routable. No GPS I know of will automatically consider your history and generate such a routable trail map on the fly.

    There are a few pc-based programs that will do something like that, but they're fiddly to get the outputs close to what you want. For twisty trails densely packed into an area, the tools don't work well, either (and I find it more effective to manually draw them out). Another additional problem becomes loading those maps onto a GPS. They cannot be loaded as .gpx files (the easy way you'd think they OUGHT to be loaded). They have to be converted to Garmin basemap .img files and loaded with other basemap data. And that's just making it so they're only a visual reference (if you're okay with that, then look into the program GPX2IMG). To make them routable, the only software I know of costs a few hundred dollars, which is a steep price to pay for just that functionality.

  8. #8
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    If you rely on a piece of modern technology to get you out of the woods, then you are going to be lost in the woods, end of story.
    MAP+COMPASS=EGRESS

  9. #9
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    this must be a troll....


    Quote Originally Posted by nojacketjoe View Post
    I'm riding a new area where the trials go on forever. I need a device that will quickly get me back to my vehicle with minimal effort. I don't have a smartphone and I don't plan on purchasing one. Ideally, a device that remembers my tracks and using that information gets me back to my vehicle without having to retrace my tracks. Am I asking too much? Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Device to Find My Way Out of the Woods

    Why GPS devices can not be relied on as your only navigation:

    I recently noticed that Apple Maps showed a large state park near me.
    Checked Google Maps, and it also shows a state park with the same name, but smaller and in a different location.

    There is no park in either location. No state park with that name. No park even close to either area.
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  11. #11
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    Like stated a map.
    Won't need a compass if the map is decent and the trails are marked.

    GPS may get you back if it tracks your path but that can be sketch especially on a close knit trail system and either way, you will have to back track.

    All I have ever gone in to the woods is with a map.
    Sometimes I may be checking it every intersection but it has never failed me.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  12. #12
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    many thanks.

  13. #13
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    A GPS will give you "track back" or "bee line" guidance back provided you made a waypoint at the start. I've ridden different trail routes back while using the GPS to close in on the original start point. A compass is ok but this is the 21st century.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Why GPS devices can not be relied on as your only navigation:

    I recently noticed that Apple Maps showed a large state park near me.
    Checked Google Maps, and it also shows a state park with the same name, but smaller and in a different location.

    There is no park in either location. No state park with that name. No park even close to either area.
    A hand held GPS, attached to the handlebar, will track where you are and where you have gone. You can return to "point A" by tracking back. A map showing or not showing state parks is irrelevant.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nojacketjoe View Post
    I'm riding a new area where the trials go on forever. I need a device that will quickly get me back to my vehicle with minimal effort. I don't have a smartphone and I don't plan on purchasing one. Ideally, a device that remembers my tracks and using that information gets me back to my vehicle without having to retrace my tracks. Am I asking too much? Thanks!
    Ignore all those confused who call you a troll. I get your concerns.

    It seems to me that all you need is one of those older "hiking" handheld GPS units. The reason I say "hiking" is because many late models are specialized for their activities — cycling, skiing, driving, etc. — and more expensive as a result! The older handheld units were only different from the in-car "driving" GPS devices.

    So any will display your traveled "track" as a line on the map. And you just follow the line back. No need to retrace your unique tire patterns in the dirt.

    You can then "delete current track" in the device the next time you start out if you're riding the same area. The older units can be had for cheap.

  16. #16
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    Device to Find My Way Out of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by jiw71 View Post
    A hand held GPS, attached to the handlebar, will track where you are and where you have gone. You can return to "point A" by tracking back. A map showing or not showing state parks is irrelevant.
    The OP plainly stated he did NOT want to backtrack and wants to be shown how to return via unridden trails. This makes the accuracy of the digital maps very relevant, but even if they were correct it will not give turn by turn directions.

    The backtrack will not either. Just tell you when you are off course.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    The OP plainly stated he did NOT want to backtrack and wants to be shown how to return via unridden trails. This makes the accuracy of the digital maps very relevant, but even if they were correct it will not give turn by turn directions.

    The backtrack will not either. Just tell you when you are off course.
    I must comment — I don't know what you're reading or how in the world you've interpreted the OP's concerns as "NOT wanting to backtrack and wants to be shown how to return via unridden trails." Did you give yourself that "supermoderator" title? Because your reading comprehension sucks. And you can make things really wacky stupid around here.

    Just sayin'.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nojacketjoe View Post
    I'm riding a new area where the trials go on forever. I need a device that will quickly get me back to my vehicle with minimal effort. I don't have a smartphone and I don't plan on purchasing one. Ideally, a device that remembers my tracks and using that information gets me back to my vehicle without having to retrace my tracks. Am I asking too much? Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by solidass View Post
    I must comment — I don't know what you're reading or how in the world you've interpreted the OP's concerns as "NOT wanting to backtrack and wants to be shown how to return via unridden trails." Did you give yourself that "supermoderator" title? Because your reading comprehension sucks. And you can make things really wacky stupid around here.

    Just sayin'.
    Reading comprehension, uh, huh, uh, huh.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    Reading comprehension, uh, huh, uh, huh.
    now now boys, lets play nice in the sand. no need to make this personal, please... I'm a newbie and it just doesn't scream "welcome"

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    Reading comprehension, uh, huh, uh, huh.
    Exactly. How can "without having to retrace my tracks" be interpreted as wanting "unridden trails?"

    In the CONTEXT of the entire OP, it means more like "without having to eyeball my own unique tire patterns in the dirt."

    Uh huh, uh huh.

    Any other lessons in reading comprehension? No wait. You don't need me to define "context" now do you?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigwooten View Post
    now now boys, lets play nice in the sand. no need to make this personal, please... I'm a newbie and it just doesn't scream "welcome"
    I should mention that I've been a "victim" of shiggy's misinterpretation in my own topics. He just flames it to the extreme and others just keep piling on.

    Welcome to these intelligent forums!

  22. #22
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    Common misconception

    One of the most common misconceptions about biking/hiking GPS units is people think they are like car GPS units with the roads already on them. With the exception of some major trails, e.g. Arizona Trail, virtually no maps come with trails on them. And they certainly won't have smaller local trails. You have to put them on yourself.

  23. #23
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    To me, it's obvious that the OP doesn't know the answer to his own question (what an outrageous concept!), and therefore was unclear in his words. Maybe the OP is always vague about what he wants in general. The OP should definitely return to clarify.

    In the meantime, perhaps I should rewrite his question to conform to most of the replies (answers) given so far.

    Device to Find An Alternate Way Back From Point B

    I'm riding in a new area where the trails split into many different routes. I need a device that will get me back to my parked vehicle at the trailhead with minimal effort. I don't have a smartphone and don't want to deal with the complexity or high costs. Ideally, a device that remembers my tracks, and using that information, produces a different route to get me back to my vehicle without having to retrace my original track. Am I asking too much? Thanks!


    Last edited by solidass; 08-11-2013 at 10:54 AM.

  24. #24
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    Device to Find My Way Out of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by solidass View Post
    To me, it's obvious that the OP doesn't know the answer to his own question (what an outrageous concept!), and therefore was unclear in his words. Maybe the OP is always vague about what he wants in general. The OP should definitely return to clarify.

    In the meantime, perhaps I should rewrite his question to conform to most of the replies (answers) given so far.

    Device to Find An Alternate Way Back From Point B

    I'm riding in a new area where the trails split into many different routes. I need a device that will get me back to my parked vehicle at the trailhead with minimal effort. I don't have a smartphone and don't want to deal with the complexity or high costs. Ideally, a device that remembers my tracks, and using that information, produces a different route to get me back to my vehicle without having to retrace my original track. Am I asking too much? Thanks!


    And the answer is still he is asking too much. Such a device does not exist at this time.
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  25. #25
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    Device to Find My Way Out of the Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by solidass View Post
    I must comment — I don't know what you're reading or how in the world you've interpreted the OP's concerns as "NOT wanting to backtrack and wants to be shown how to return via unridden trails." Did you give yourself that "supermoderator" title? Because your reading comprehension sucks. And you can make things really wacky stupid around here.

    Just sayin'.
    OK, so he did not say on "unridden trails." He did say "without retracing."
    Not going to happen.

    And you have no clue what a SuperMod is.
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