Routes without computer- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Routes without computer

    Currently on a road trip and I am finding that most trails have little to no signage and a lot have no cell service. I've been using my laptop to download gpx routes and load them onto my Etrex but I'd actually prefer to not travel with a laptop, or have to fire it up just to load a route. I'm looking for a very simple GPS unit that with give me a track to follow that I can load track to from my phone, or potential simply an app for my phone to interact with my Garmin.

  2. #2
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    TrailForks has about the most comprehensive set of trails Iíve seen. You can download as .gpx to a device as well as use their app.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catmandoo View Post
    TrailForks has about the most comprehensive set of trails Iíve seen. You can download as .gpx to a device as well as use their app.
    varies from place to place how good their coverage is. just like any other trail listing website.

    But, they do have an advantage with their Garmin app, though.

    However, I was going to suggest a bit better pre-planning to OP.

    Riding locations vary extremely widely on which navigation method(s) are best. I remember when if the local park didn't provide a map, you got basically squat. Or, you had to rely on old USGS topos that may or may not show the trail (but at least showed the terrain).

    So step 1 is going to be figuring out what resources are best. If paper maps are best, then it's worthwhile to order the maps before you trip if possible. Or if not, figure out how to obtain them.

    Downloading .gpx files for rides in the areas in question before you leave is probably a reasonably good idea, too. It's a little more involved, but if a trail network is digitized as a basemap for Garmin devices, I'd like to have that, too (gpsfiledepot.com has a bunch of trails).

    Both the Trailforks and MTBProject phone apps work offline, so no need for cell reception there. That method is on my list, too. Just make sure you download the most up-to-date trail data for the relevant states before your trip.

    I have ridden places where each one of these methods wound up being a failure. Worse than nonexistent data on the trail mapping services is bad data on those services, and I've encountered bad data on both mtbproject and trailforks, though usually one of them has it right. However, I was in one spot where neither matched the signs on the ground, which also differed from the paper map the local shop gave me (probably the worst printed trail map I've ever been given). On that trail, I ended up relying on someone who knew the trails because there really wasn't much else I could do.

  4. #4
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    I've actually never got MTB Project to work offline. It just shows a dot on a blank background. I have never tried Trail Forks. But either way, I would prefer not to mount my phone on my bike as i'd be afraid of smashing it, and don't want to stop to dig it out all the time.

    My current technique involves using MTB Project or Trail forks to research and area and find trails, downloading the GPX files, importing them to Base Camp, then loading them onto the Etrex. Not terrible, I know, but this means I have to have a computer to load files, and WiFi to download them. Being able to load routes from my phone would drastic simplify the process.

  5. #5
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    Yeah, that specific function is not exactly offered by anyone exactly that way. There are some technical hurdles to offering it, for that matter. I am not sure how difficult they would be to deal with, but either way it's a challenge for developers.

    The closest you are going to come to that is the trailforks app for garmin connectiq devices.

    You could also download the region in question from trailforks as a garmin map image as I mentioned in another thread. This is on the "better planning" side of things. Do it at home before you leave sort of thing. There are caveats, though. As far as I know, the file that trailforks supplies isn't routable. So you can see the trails on the map and that's all. If that is how you already do it, then that method might do what you want without the cell phone data transfer thing being needed at all.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    I purchased a cheap second hand large screen phone off eBay just to use with GPX mapping apps and download routes to it before I leave home. In flight mode with a power pack it lasts all day.
    What a perfect waste of time

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackWare View Post
    I purchased a cheap second hand large screen phone off eBay just to use with GPX mapping apps and download routes to it before I leave home. In flight mode with a power pack it lasts all day.
    That's a good idea. I can actually add another line to my plan for $10 a month and buy a new phone for $30.

    In other news a friend showed me he can add routes to his Edge from his phone via the Trailforks app, like Harold mentioned, but he said there is an issue if the route's start and finish are too close, and his unit quit twice during the ride on the route he loaded.

  8. #8
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    You don't need a line. Phone GPS works without cellular and you can download maps and routes via wifi without a cell plan.
    What, me worry?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    You don't need a line. Phone GPS works without cellular and you can download maps and routes via wifi without a cell plan.
    You beat me to it - no need for a sim plan

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    You don't need a line. Phone GPS works without cellular and you can download maps and routes via wifi without a cell plan.
    True, but I think $10 isn't much to pay for the convince of downloading routes anywhere I have signal. If it saves me from searching for WiFi once a month it'd be worth it. Plus, I'd have a backup phone with me just in case I unexpectedly dive into a river while trying to squeeze between the bank and a tree...again.

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