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Navigation Aid for Trail Riding?

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  • Navigation Aid for Trail Riding?

    I am taking my "sporthorse" for a 3-week trail riding vacation and expect to go out unaccompanied from time to time. I used to ride in this part of the forest several years ago, so know that I can get lost, even on a trail savvy horse e I can't see the screen on my phone very well in the sunshine to count on it for navigation so a breadcrumb app is not a solution. But I'd like to have some backup ...

    Wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a good hand-held GPS (generic breadcrumb thingie) for trail riding. (or are those screens just as difficult to see?)
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  • #2
    How about a good old fashioned...MAP?

    I know good trail maps are sometimes hard to find in the US. But if the area is known for trail riding / hiking etc. they have maps, surely?
    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!

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    • #3
      Maps are nice for planning a ride and seeing what sort of terrain you'll be dealing with. A GPS is a good and useful tool for a "reality" check. Who hasn't looked at a map and not known which way was up? I know I have and I learned how to read one in the Army and when I got my pilots license....I still love my GPS.
      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

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      • #4
        honestly, my smart phone works just fine. Before we went to Coldwater this last time I downloaded the trail map for reference on the screen. Once I got into the woods I had service so I pulled up the map and used the navigation tools to follow it on the GPS. that was kinda neat.

        We have a 'real' GPS but I gotta say that small screen is a PITA vs my phone. either way glare is going to be a problem. That's what shade trees are for, or standing in the lee of yon pony.

        just a thought.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Maps I've found are not detailed enough to figure out what's on the other side of that stand of trees or whether the oak is a small obstacle or the beginning of much hardship

          I have tried to use my phone and the glare makes it impossible. As far as the lee of yon pony, it is my fervent hope NOT to have to dismount since getting back on is sometimes tricky

          Thanks for replies!

          A lot of the forest is primitive and not heavily used, which is what makes it ultra special. I'm REALLY bad at navigation. The gal who owns the farm where my horse is staying suggests pink ribbons as physical breadcrumbs, which makes the most sense.
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          • #6
            If all else fails when you get lost and can't see the screen or you battery just cut out, drop the reins to the buckle and let him choose the next turn. They always know where "home" is--even if "home" is your trailer!

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            • #7
              My riding buddy carries a GPS unit, and the screen is tiny! So we also carry maps, topo and trail maps just in case, tho I find it kind of fun to get lost, I've discovered some neat trails that way!

              The GPS is useful in that she takes it home, downloads it into her computer, and superimposes the trail onto a colored topo map.

              We joke that my mare has GPS in her head. That girl always knows where the trailer is!
              Facta non verba

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              • #8
                Map and compass are the most reliable methods of location technology, but are also the most difficult to learn and are susceptible to "operator error."

                GPS is pretty good, but not perfect. In areas where the horizon is limited (deep woods, canyons, etc.) signal can be lost. I understand that there are some electronic signal phenomina that can also cause gross errors in GPS signals when no clear radio horizon is available or the signal can be disrupted by trees.

                If you're going to use GPS then a dedicated unit would be optimal. You can get just what you want in an operating system.

                A phone with GPS can work but is very dependant on the software in use. With the most common, like Google Maps, you have to have continuos GPS and data connection. If data is lost the phone will continue to search, draining the battery. If the software is "stand alone" and is just using the GPS (like Sygic) then the problem is not so severe. Still, battery life is significantly less than a dedicated GPS unit.

                G.
                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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                • #9
                  Check a camping equipment retailer for a small hand held GPS.
                  Man plans. God laughs.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by katarine View Post
                    Before we went to Coldwater this last time I downloaded the trail map for reference on the screen. Once I got into the woods I had service so I pulled up the map and used the navigation tools to follow it on the GPS. that was kinda neat.
                    What app did you use? It sounds great.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                      Map and compass are the most reliable methods of location technology, but are also the most difficult to learn and are susceptible to "operator error."

                      GPS is pretty good, but not perfect. In areas where the horizon is limited (deep woods, canyons, etc.) signal can be lost. I understand that there are some electronic signal phenomina that can also cause gross errors in GPS signals when no clear radio horizon is available or the signal can be disrupted by trees.

                      If you're going to use GPS then a dedicated unit would be optimal. You can get just what you want in an operating system.

                      A phone with GPS can work but is very dependant on the software in use. With the most common, like Google Maps, you have to have continuos GPS and data connection. If data is lost the phone will continue to search, draining the battery. If the software is "stand alone" and is just using the GPS (like Sygic) then the problem is not so severe. Still, battery life is significantly less than a dedicated GPS unit.

                      G.
                      Goodness, your posts are always so sensible and thorough

                      Years ago an attempt was made to school me in compass use. (A triple canopy does not guarantee good teaching skills.) If I'd had to actually use the compass to find my way around the English coastal paths, I wouldn't be here today. I can't even imagine doing it astride!

                      And I'd forgotten about battery life. I have to plug my phone in to use navigation in or the phone dies in 3 hours. If I'm lost on a horse, I don't want to have to worry about THAT, too!
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                      • #12
                        I wish someone made decent maps for my area. There are some maps but they are approximate at best. I guess all those French IGN maps ruined me for anything else, lol.
                        I actually got laughed at when I went to my local outdoors sports store, to ask about maps so I could find riding trails near the barn. I was told, Oh only the State Parks have maps. Then a few years later I heard that a Mountain Bikers Association had some. But they're no good! They're huge, so very unpractical to carry even on foot, and they're not even accurate.
                        *sigh*
                        I'll take a map and my sense of direction over a GPS any day. Whenever my husband and I have a disagreement about directions when driving, he and his GPS are always wrong.
                        I wish I had my sister's skills with map and compass. She organizes yearly riding treks and is a pro. We never, ever got lost with her in the lead.
                        Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!

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