As we near the 9th of July RCMC Dual Sport Ride in Capitol State Forest’s Middle Waddell Creek Campground, here are some thoughts on beginner dual sport navigation. You don’t have to be a Garmin genius for this to work. If you have a smartphone, you’re in business! Just be sure to run it in airplane mode and turn the display off between uses so you conserve battery. Might be nice to keep a small external power pack in a pocket with a charging cable just in case. My mounting recommendation is a RAM X-Grip mount on the handlebars and your phone in a good case like Otterbox or Lifeproof.
- The easiest solution is to use Avenza PDF Maps app. It’s available on both iOS and Android. Follow the directions on this web page from DNR and you’ll be navigating on their own purpose-built map in a matter of minutes. You can save your tracks but won’t be able to navigate turn-by-turn, only see that you’re on track.
- I’m a huge fan of OSMAnd, which started on Android and is now on iOS as well. You can get it free and download the Washington mapsheet and be in business. The paid version adds contour/topo with a plug-in and is the best $10 I’ve spent on navigation. You can also save your tracks and run them turn-by-turn later. It’s a very comprehensive app and can be intimidating, but it’s extremely functional. (Sorry, can’t talk to the iOS version because I’m not an apple guy)
- Rever is a possibility that a lot of people like. I’ve had a half dozen recorded rides lost and have washed my hands of it, but others seem to have good luck with it. Just don’t attempt to save while in airplane mode or out of range–it seems to fail 50% of the time.
- Apple guys rave about Gaia. I think it’s $20. Money well spent!