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Attention Motorized Users!

With the major influx of 4×4 and recreation users, the 4×4 community is facing some difficult issues. From teaching others about outdoor etiquette and removing tones of trash. To engaging these users in policies that threaten motorized access, we must step up our game to maintain positive public perception and persevere motorized access for future generations.

Motorized access comes at a cost. Not only do we need to stay on the trail, pack out trash, and maintain our roads. But we also need to understand that motorized access is constantly threatened. In the past 3 years alone, Arizona has faced over 13,000 miles of backroads threatened by closure. Locally, a small group of individuals was able to stop nearly all road closures. But we barely made it by the skin of our teeth.

It is now more important than ever that industry leaders and content creators provide the leadership that used to guide motorized users. As leaders in the 4×4 world, it is our responsibility to teach newcomers the ropes.

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GPS | Your best friend on the trail

An essential tool in the Arizona Backcountry


I'm a huge fan of the Backcountry Navigator apps. It's got to be one of the best GPS programs available. I'll be honest, I've never used anything else. Having a GPS is essential for many reasons. Knowing what type of land your on will help you understand what rules need to be followed. 

After fooling around with Backcountry Navigator Pro for about two years, I won't even consider any other program. It does exactly what I need and then some. After purchasing the app, I went out and got an Android tablet A. Using the app on a tablet provides better visibility, and you can see more areas on the map. With the tablet secured to my suction cup windshield mount, it serves as a great GPS unit.


I also have the app installed on my smartphone as a backup if my tablet gets lost, broken, or stolen. Plus, a smartphone is a much more compact set up for a backpacking or hiking adventure. I'm able to plan, prepare, and execute my adventures using Backcountry Navigator Pro.

Map sources


There are various base maps to choose from. You can also add custom base maps by using the documentation on their website. Maps are available worldwide. Integrated map sources include Topographical, Imagery, Marine, and Aviation maps.

These categories include Caltopo, AccuTerra, USGS, ArcGIS, USTopo, US Forest Service, National Map Imagery, Virtual Earth, MapQuest, ENC Online, NOAA RNC, as well as several hybrid maps.

Map overlays


You can add your custom overlays, or you can purchase one from Backcountry Navigator Pro. The overlays are quite exciting and become very helpful. I use the BLM land boundary overlay every time I'm on the trail, looking for a campsite, or planning a route. Available map overlays that I use every weekend include the following...

Land boundaries overlay shows boundaries of private, state, BLM, USFS, Indian, and other land management. Wildlife refuges, national parks, and state parks are also included. Available by state.

Fun Treks Trails overlay shows all GPS tracks related to the Funtreks 4x4 Trail books. If you have the book, then you defiantly need the trail tracks.

USFS motor vehicle use map overlay shows all current motor vehicle use maps in the US. It's your standard MVUM provided directly from USFS.

Offline use


One of the main concerns in the Arizona backcountry is being able to use your GPS offline. Backcountry Navigator allows downloads of a selected area on the map. This is where the app can get a little tricky.

It's best to save each downloaded in a separate map folder unless two downloads are in the same geographic area. You can choose any available map source to download. To view your downloaded map, you must select your map layer. You can choose from online & cached, saved map folder, or pre-built map. If you saved your download in a map folder, you will find your map under the corresponding map folder.


Pre-built maps 


The thing that I love about Backcountry Navigator is the ability to import pre-built Maps. There are a lot of Open Source maps available from various organizations. One that is readily available and highly recommended is the Open Andro Maps.

Backcountry Navigator links to open Andro Maps and makes importing seamless. The pre-built maps are installed into your phone and do not require an internet connection or map download. These maps use a lot of space on your phone. An SD card is highly recommended to store the map tiles and data.

Cheaper than the competition


The thing that sets Backcountry Navigator apart from the rest is the price. You can purchase the app in the Google Play store for only $24. Combined with a Samsung Tab A, 128-gigabyte micro SD card, CalTopo subscription, and map overlays, I spent around $140.

The app can be installed on multiple devices with only one membership. It's connected to your Google Play account and can be installed on any device that contains your Google account.

Other cool features


Import and export - Import or export tracks or waypoints as GPX, KML, KMZ along with all recorded GPS data. Effectively serves as a GPS file converter.

Tracks and waypoints - Attach photos or record audio for each waypoint—view graphs based on the elevation and speed of each GPS track. Records moving time, total time, distance, average moving speed, max speed, altitude gain, maximum/ minimum altitude, maximum/ minimum grade, and area covered.

Coordinate formats -  Use various coordinate formats including DDD.DDDDD, DDD MM.MMMMM, DDD MM SS.SSSSS, UTM, MGRS, OSRef (Numeric), OSRef (6 Figure), OSRef (XX EEEEE NNNNN) and NZTM2000.

Search for locations - Use the search bar to find mountain peaks, towns, rivers, and many other places.

Backup and restore -  Automatically save all your data to Dropbox or Google drive.

Compass - Avery accurate compass is included in the app.

Screenshots - Easily take screenshots inside the app and print or share it with your friends. Use your phones "print to PDF" option to render a .PDF file.

Search for trails - Use GPSies Trips to find and download new trails right in the app.

Not very user-friendly


The only downfall to Backcountry Navigator. It's not very user-friendly. This almost made me consider something else. Things are kind of all over the place, unorganized and hard to understand. To select a waypoint or track, you must center the object on the cross in the middle of your screen and press a separate button. Not to mention, Backcountry Navigator Pro is not available for iPhone.

Although it's a little confusing and takes multiple steps to complete a task, the developers did a great job with the "help" section. The documentation is detailed, straight to the point, and gives step by step direction.

The solution to it all - Backcountry Navigator XE 


If you haven't heard, Backcountry Navigator XE has been released! The app is still in development and includes all the features in the original Backcountry Navigator Pro, and then some. It is a user-friendly, seamless app that provides many additional features. I believe it's going to be a game-changer in the GPS world.

Oh, and did I mention its available for iPhone! iPhone users can now acquire the Backcountry Navigator XE app through TestFlight. The app is open for early access to anyone. The developers are asking for our opinions and suggestions to improve the app before the final version is released.

The price of this app is a little steep. However, it's still less than the competition.




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We are reader funded

Our supporting members make our efforts possible and help us inform the Arizona people about land use policy. By becoming a supporting member, you will gain access to members only content, commentary, and GPS tracks from our adventures.

About Us

Engaging Our Community

AZBCE is dedicated to keeping our community informed. We have successfully engaged our community in policy-making decisions that threaten motorized access in Arizona. We take pride in helping shape land-use proposals on Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service lands.

Going Against The Grain

When nobody else is talking about it, AZBCE is. We believe it's important our community engage in policy decisions that threaten motorized access to our public lands. We publish material through various online and print publications to create awareness about the radical environmental policy facing outdoor recreation.

Our Goals

Promote

Promote adventure and establish our backroads as an economic source for rural Arizona communities.

Engage

Engage our community in policy making decisions that threaten rural Arizona.

Unite

Unit the agriculture, mining and outdoor recreation communities to shape state and federal policy.

Empower

Empower our community and provide the tools to effectively stand guard for traditional Arizona.

Traditional Values

We believe in the western way of life and the founding principles of this great place we call home. We are advocates of limited government, states rights, the US Constitution, and opponents of radical policies that threaten our way of life.


Mapping Adventure

Using GIS data and advanced mapping software, we plan and take on the most memorable adventures across the western United States. Our fans can download our GPS tracks and follow our routes using existing roads and the most challenging trails that connect small towns across the state.

400+ GPS Tracks

1500+ POI

80+ Fire Rings

10+ National Forests

View The Map

Get in touch

We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please feel free to message us using the contact form or send us an email.

contact@azbackcountryexplorers.com.

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