Bushnell BackTrack Review
The folks at Bushnell said it's easy as 1-2-3 to; Mark it, Leave it and Get back. Hmmm! Nothing can be this easy or can it?
Being able to easily find my way to my deer stand at pre-dawn or back to a honey hole full of hungry fish discovered on a river or stream, instantly jumped to my mind. Or better yet... never again having to search for hours to find a downed deer in an unfamiliar area, if I had to leave it to get help.
The first test came when I scouted an area new to me looking for rubs and scrapes to photograph for an article. I do have a tendency to get turned around when moving from one spot to another while taking pictures and several times in the past have wasted more time than I care to, searching for my truck.
Setting the unit was simple when I parked my truck. I set my location in the BackTrack then headed into the woods. After shooting the photos I needed, I simply turned it back on and followed the arrow in the unit back to my truck.
I was impressed; it was as easy to use as Bushnell said it was.
Arrow in display panel is showing in this photo location of truck
and distance away 009 M.
Bushnell is already known for their quality optical products and outdoor GPS devices, but with the BackTrack they have gone a step further to satisfy the consumer who's looking for a compact, lightweight and weather resistant easy to use unit. Even with two AAA batteries and the lanyard attached, it weighs and takes up about the same space as a small cell phone. According to the manufacturer the batteries should last for 100 uses.
For the outdoorsman I can see a lot of uses. The ability of being able to store and locate up to three locations and get from point A to B and back again, with the unit providing distance and direction back in itself is worth the small price of the unit, versus the cost of a GPS.
To accomplish this task the unit utilizes a High Sensitivity SiRF Star 111 GPS receiver and a self calibrating digital compass. When a position is set the information is stored on the unit's built in memory until removed or changed by the user.
During my test I also found that the unit got better reception than any cell phone, even in heavily wooded areas where cell phones are next to useless.
Likes: Ease of use, size, weight, backlight function and its value versus larger GPS units.
Dislikes: If not careful when setting locations they can be erased rendering the unit useless if wrong buttons are hit. Familiarization with the unit prior to use can easily solve this problem.
Takes 2 AAA batteries which are not readily available in many places so carry extras and tuck them into an inside pocket next to your body in cold weather.
Not really a dislike... now that I have grown fond of the unit, I would like to see it have the ability to store more than three locations. That can be solved easily by buying two units, it still would be cheaper than a GPS unit.
Summary: For years I have wondered why no one had been able to develop a unit such as this now Bushnell has done it. I highly recommend the BackTrack for anyone who's tired of not being able to find there car in a crowded mall or stadium parking lot, and the outdoorsman who has better things to do with their time than trying to decipher an inch thick GPS unit's owners manual.
I own and use both the Bushnell and Garmin units and am satisfied in knowing that each will do what their manufacturers promise in their own way.
The Bushnell Backtrack because its lightweight, small and a breeze to use has now become my go to unit. In fact it's in my truck constantly because I know that I can point and go... it's as simple as that.
For more information visit www.bushnell.com. This unit also comes in several colors including camo and retails for around $69.00.
To be fair in this evaluation regarding size comparison between
the BackTrack and a GPS unit, I compared it to the Garmin Etrex
which to the best of my present knowledge is the smallest
available. As the photo illustrates the Garmin is longer.
Button on top left is used to Mark position and also serves as the
Backlight button. Button on top right is the Mode selector and Power button.
This photo illustrates the thickness and length between the two.
You will have to take my word for it but the BackTrack weighs much less than the Garmin also.
Hunt hard, hunt safe and hunt fair. H. "Bumper" Bauer is a freelance outdoor writer and wildlife photographer and is a pro staff member of McLaughlin Game Call Company of Reynoldsville Pa. and Pennsylvania Back Country Television.