The optics giant Bushnell had a rough start with its Google Earth-like Onix GPS unit — one of its first forays into the hand-held GPS unit market in a consumer world saturated with such gadgets.
But a couple years after the Onix was overshadowed by more functional smartphones with embedded Google Maps, the company took several steps back and made a product that’s simpler, cheaper and more appealing than yet another mapping unit.
The BackTrack was well under $100 when it was introduced and simply allowed users to pinpoint where they were, keep track of where they were going and have the unit walk them back to their original destination. Not much for finding this ridgeline or patrolling up that draw, but if you got your squad turned around in the back streets of Ramadi, this little device would help you get back to the COP sure as shootin’.
Well, Bushnell has updated the BackTrack, offering two models with just enough added features to make them attractive, but still keeping the price below $100. The BackTrack 3 and BackTrack 5 have added waypoint capability and a new design that’ll surely appeal to Joes and Grunts who have less and less room to carry added tech.
Like the original BackTrack, the Point 3 allows users to mark up to three separate locations or waypoints. In compass mode the arrow points north and displays the direction you are facing in degrees.
The BackTrack Point 5 can store up to five separate locations. It has an integrated digital compass that resembles an actual compass. The Point 5 also includes latitude and longitude coordinates when in compass mode. It displays time, temperature and altitude as well, giving the user a wealth of valuable information for their hike or trip.
Both units display an arrow pointing in the direction of the marked waypoint with the distance to the destination. They have a backlit screen feature for low light conditions. The auto off feature turns the units off 5 minutes after the last button is pushed to conserve battery life. Measurement readings can be changed from U.S. to metric and the clock on the Point 5 can be set for civilian or military time.
The BT 3 comes in at a bantum $69 and the BT 5 is $89. So all you friends and family of troopers heading to the box in the near term, here’s a perfect piece of kit that’ll help them find their way back from deployment.