Travel technology, especially GPS devices, can be both handy or navigation and too complex to use for those who only need the basic functionality. If you’re an intrepid backcountry hiker, you may want all the bells and whistles. But what if you’re a casual hiker, cyclist, or runner who just wants to know how to get back to your starting point? The Bushnell Backtrack D-Tour is for you.
The simple interface has pretty much what you’d expect in a full-featured GPS. It records your path as you go, and measures the distance you’ve traveled, your current speed and the average speed of your trip. It also works as a digital compass and provides the current time, altitude and temperature. You can mark up to five locations and store up to 24 hours of data. And when you get back from your hike, all you have to do is connect the GPS to your computer to save your favorite routes and share them with your travel companions.
The Backtrack D-Tour is a compact tool to pack, and weighs only 6 ounces. You do need three AAA batteries to keep it going, do don’t forget that element when you pack things up. It’s not a power hog like many of its brethren. Those batteries will keep the GPS running for about 20 hours. Although it’s not bulky, its weather-resistant construction (meaning you can use it in the rain and snow, but not underwater) gives it a rugged, badass feel.
The simplicity also makes it easy to learn to use. You don’t have to pack an inch-thick instruction manual when you bring the GPS along on your travels. On my first use of the device, it took me only a few minutes to figure it out, and I didn’t need to consult the instructions after that. Serious adventure travelers may miss the more complex features that Bushnell left out in the attempt to keep this GPS simple. There are no base maps—only arrows indicate the direction you should follow. There’s no turn-by-turn navigation or a list of points of interest, like trailheads or campsites. But for those who want to track routes, distance and speed (and even use as an aid to find where you parked the car), it’s an easy, inexpensive option.