The navigation system that comes built into your Jeep Wrangler is great. As long as you're on mapped roads. Head off into the wilderness, or even down a trail, and there's a good chance that your route is suddenly just a blank swath on the map. You can't tell where you're going or where you've been, making it useless. Of course that's if you have built-in nav. There are still millions of Wranglers on the road that don't. What you need is an off-road GPS system. One that has much more than just paved and gravel roads built in. Here are the best off-road GPS systems for your Jeep, as picked by you and our team of automotive experts.

Garmin Overlander

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Garmin is a leading name in GPS units for the road, as well as for ships and aircraft. So it's no surprise they have units that can help get you to and from the trail as well. The Overlander comes with topographic maps for North and South America and can be expanded with more maps. It includes public land boundaries, forest roads, 4x4 trails, waterways, and many more maps other systems don't offer. Using Garmin's app before you leave, you can download satellite imagery and USGS quad sheets. Plus you can even enter the size and weight of your vehicle and it will let you know if a trail or roadway is too small for you to traverse. Garmin also includes a pitch and roll display to let you monitor your off-roading, and you can connect up to four wireless backup cameras. Of course, the Overlander works on paved roads too.


Magellan TRX7 CS Pro Dual Mount Trail Navigator

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The Magellan TRX7 CS Pro comes loaded with more than 160,000 designated OHV routes including forest roads and public lands. The trail database can also hold user-generated tracks created by off-roaders so you can add new paths and find the best spots when you're in a new area. The user-sourced tracks have notes and can be searched by location, difficulty, and more. A 3D terrain map shows the wilderness with high resolution and covers both the US and Canada. The TRX7 will lay a breadcrumb track helping you to easily find your way home, and can let you set waypoints along your route. Through the GPS navigator, you can save trail conditions and mark obstacles for future users. You can also use the included 8MP camera to take photos of the highlights of your drive.


Trail Tech Voyager Pro

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The Trail Tech Voyager Pro offers loads of trail and terrain maps, displayed on a color touchscreen meant to be read in bright sunlight. So it won't be washed out when you've got the top off your Wrangler on the trail. Trail Tech also lets you edit the maps you want to see and build custom maps including historic forestry maps, satellite imagery, and loads of other selections. It can also be used to show you custom gauges like average speed, voltage, and odometer readings. Plus the map screen allows GPS and radio-enabled Buddy Tracking. With this feature, you can keep an eye on the rest of your group, watching to make sure everyone is staying on-track and on the move without keeping too close for comfort and safety.


Garmin eTrex 22x

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Handheld GPS trackers like this one don't offer all of the same features as their larger siblings, but they do have some advantages. Like they're easy to drop in your glovebox between trips (keeping them safe and out of sight) and they're much less expensive than the big systems. The eTrex 22x has a long battery life and profiles for recreation, marine, fitness, geocaching, and, yes, automotive use. With 8 GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot, you can add plenty of base maps for the area you're going to be driving and wheeling. There are on and off-road maps, so you can navigate to the trail with turn-by-turn directions.


Garmin Tread XL

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Yes, it's another Garmin, but the company is one of the few remaining that is dedicated to meeting the needs of off-road drivers. The Tread XL features OpenStreetMap and US Forest Service map data, giving you access to hundreds of thousands of trail and paths. It also has available satellite imagery from BirdsEye and POI information that includes campsites. With a subscription to inReach, you can even use the Tread XL to communicate via satellite when you are out of cell signal range. Then you can use the Tread XL to pair with Garmin's PowerSwitch digital switchbox to control 12-volt vehicle accessories. Light bars, differential lockers, air compressors, and more. All through the Tread XL's touchscreen.


What Makes a GPS Off-Road Ready

Off-road GPS units come with more features than just maps that show you the world beyond the pavement. The best off-road GPS units come with screens designed to be seen in the bright sun. They are able to withstand the vibrations and bouncing that come with long stretches of gravel roads and trails. They are also water and dust-resistant, so you don't need to worry about protecting the GPS unit on your dashboard if you take your Jeep through deep puddles, water splashes, or into the desert.

Lead photo by Sternstunden/