Open main menu

Bushnell BackTrack

rated 2.0 of 5 stars

The BackTrack has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best handheld gps receivers for 2024.

photo: Bushnell BackTrack handheld gps receiver

Randy: Which BackTrack do you have? I had the same issue on the original until I learned that all digital compasses need to be calibrated, my Suunto is the same way. I flipped it in the air a couple of times instead of following the video I found on the website and it was accurate from then on, unless I moved a timezone or two away then had to do it again. 

I just bought the new BackTrack Point5 and it is great.  Still very simple, but adds temp, time, altitude and a pretty cool digital compass with lat/lon. I found this to be a great tool and have relied on it ever since.  I have also given a few as gifts with the same reaction. 

Try my flip (like a heads/tails coin flip) and then be sure to hold it level.  That's the way my old Suunto works and I got great results from BackTrack as well.

Price Paid: $59

I got my Backtrack on sale for $30, which seems to be a very good price. It's probably worth $30, but if I'd paid the $99 sticker price I'd be upset.

Summary: Good enough for its intended purchase, but don't trust "spot" readings. Use it while moving (walking, or in a car) and "average" the results mentally.

Discussion: The direction to something (North, your car, your house, whatever) is often 45 degrees off. When you are moving, the "direction to go" keeps jumping around, but generally in sort of the correct direction. When you are finding your car, or house, you generally cannot go in the "direction" anyway, you have to use a road or sidewalk and can only change direction at an intersection. Even in a large parking lot you have to go down lanes and sidewalks. You just keep zeroing in on the location. So if the "direction to go" indicator jumps around it doesn't really matter as long as it's generally correct.

Using it in compass mode is more of a problem. If you are using it to hike in some general direction, and don't trust instantaneous readings (see above), no problem. But if you have to orient yourself with relation to north, don't trust one measurement.

On the plus side, it's very easy to use. Other reviewers have written that it's easy to overwrite points. I've not found that. The button that says "where do you want to go to" is separate from the one that says "Record this point." If you got the unit upside down (which would be possible in low light) you might hit the wrong button by mistake. So just don't push any buttons until you can see the screen clearly.

Price Paid: $29.99

Got this at a fair price at Dick's.

It's a toy, and not designed for outdoor activity. They recommend to use it to retrieve your car in a wide parking lot, but it doesn't work inside, so screw level parkings.

I needed something to retrieve my treestand, or my car in the dark in woods I'm not familiar with. I like to explore new hunting area.

First of all, it is not sealed, so using it outside in cold and humid weather doesn't seem to do good. Most of the time it could not pick up satellite signal at all. It doesn't work in a house, which tell a lot about its efficiency. I used it once to retrieve my treestand at 4:00 AM and it never worked since. The display became all screwed up and I sent it back for a refund.

I went the next level above, and get an eTrex.

For $99.99, the eTrex is waterproof, works well and all the time (reliable), and record your path and about 10 000 markers. eTrex is a real GPS, not a toy, but it doesn't handle maps. eTrex is perfect for me.

Don't waste your time and money on a Backtrack, go the extra mile and get an eTrex. It's simple, reliable and way more functional than the BackTrack.

Price Paid: $49.99

Purchased this unit to locate my car in parking lots. The unit takes approx. 3-5 minutes to locate a signal. I am in a strong reception area and this is not the first time I have used GPS. When trying to use it to locate my car the unit is consistently pointing the wrong direction and the direction pointer keeps changing.

I have given this a fair test as I used it for 2 straight weeks before writing this review. I called Bushnell today and reported this to them and will be sending this back for another one. I am thoroughly disappointed as Bushnell usually has good products.

-Gadget Girl

Price Paid: $69

Bought 2 of these, one for me one for my wife, primarily to find the car in parking lots. After leaving the mall it points in one direction, 2 steps later it has you walk in another direction, every step or 2 it's another direction.

After wandering back and forth, back a forth finally there's the car right in front, maybe 10 or so yards it still says turn right, left, back and on and on. You could wander the lot and find it about as quickly.

My wife says she doesn't even want hers. I haven't even tried it in a downtown setting with buildings in the way. Close to worthless.

I am what you would call a non-techie. I know nothing about gadgets and gizmos so I prefer simple electronics.

This gadget is what I would call simple. It gets you from point A to point B just by telling you how far away you are. Simple as it gets.

I had to calibrate each time I started it up, per the manual by turning it in circles a few times, but worked like a charm.

Decent price, could use some altering on the back piece. Batteries were hard to get to and could use some easier pieces to get the back piece off.

Price Paid: $59

Could get you killed.

Was out hunting in big woods in blizzard conditions. It started getting late. Turned it on to find my way back to truck—the arrow was pointing in the opposite direction that I thought I had to go.

Luckily I went with my gut feeling. It got dark in the woods. Finally made it out. I was sweaty and exhausted, so happy to see my truck. The direction it was pointing me to go there is nothing but miles of woods. I would probably still be out there today.

Source: bought it used

I bought the BackTrack on a road trip in Alaska. It's done just what it advertised. Simple to use, and worth the price.

It is not completely weathertight, a ziplock baggie will waterproof it. It doesn't always get a signal indoors, but who really needs GPS in a building!

Other reviews taught me to be wary, but after trying it out in many remote places I put my trust in it. Just remember that it points your way AS THE CROW FLIES... winding roads or trails will make you wonder, but it shows the way.

Price Paid: 80$


  • Compass sometimes


  • Direction back correct sometimes

Worthless. Use a compass or buy another product. Have two friends that each have one and myself that got one as a birthday present. Would have died if I didn't have a backup. Don't use it as a serious backup.

Purchased one in Jan 11 - it could not point North or anywhere consistently. So I returned it for a new one...It was no better. It frequently would point about 160 to 180 degrees in the WRONG direction. 

Anyone who relies on this for getting out of the woods or snow country is a dead man. Bushnell needs to recall these before they result in a needless death (and yes I am an experienced with the various normal issues of GPS).

Too bad too, because the concept is a great one.I am not sure why they cannot get it right, but good gosh, you would be better off to go ANY direction other than the one it recommends.

Price Paid: 51 dollars

Your Review

You May Like


Price Historic Range: $29.99-$69.99
Reviewers Paid: $29.99-$80.00

Recently on Trailspace

The Best Tents and Shelters for Camping and Backpacking

Call for Reviews: Your Top Summer Gear

Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Bag First Aid Review