Our friends at Bushnell recently provided us with a great new toy—the Backtrack D-Tour. While Bushnell still sells the original Backtrack, the new D-Tour model is a huge step forward for a product hallmarked by a simple interface and affordability. We set out to test this award-winning little device and get a true Benosh take on it.
The D-Tour is a small GPS device with extremely basic functions that, at its core, is designed to help you simply get back to where you came from. It sports an easy-to-read black-and-white display with blue backlighting that all but idiot-proofs using a GPS device. The D-Tour allows you to mark your origin and save it to one of its five presets… and then walk away.
Let’s say you’re at the parking lot at your favorite urban wilderness; with just a click of the button you can mark that origin as your car, hitch up your pack, and start walking. Time to head home? Pull out the D-Tour and use large arrow and distance marking to see exactly how far you are way from your car and what direction you need to proceed to get there. Hiking from the car to campsite? Simply use the camp preset to mark another location before you set out on your day hike. Seriously, this was designed for trained monkeys—in a good way.
In addition to the obvious GPS features, the D-Tour includes a self-calibrating digital compass and can display the compass, the time, temperature, altitude, and latitude/longitude coordinates. With the included USB cable, you can even connect to the D-Tour to your computer in order to transfer up to 48 hours worth of data from a hike, which you can then check out on Google maps to analyze an exact route.
The D-Tour seems ruggedly constructed with water resistant buttons. It fits very nicely in a pocket or the storage area of a pack intended for your cell phone or MP3 player, and it proved very easy to use. I saw some reviews that said you didn’t even need the manual for using the D-Tour, but currently I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to GPS. I did have to read up on which button did what and in which order to use them. However, after just a few minutes of playing around with it, I was able to grow comfortable with the D-Tour and had absolutely no problem using its features even on my first hike.
Bushnell’s D-Tour retails for $120 on their website, but I’m afraid that success—including a selection for Best New Hunting Gear 2011 from Field & Stream—have made them hot commodities. As of the writing of this, the D-Tour is back ordered, so place your order now so you’ll have it in time for your next hike! The bottom line is that if you are hiking into the deepest wilderness of Alaska, you probably want a more enhanced piece of technology with a full-color screen and all the bells and whistles. For most of the rest of us, the Bushnell Backtrack D-Tour provides a ton of features in a functional, affordable package.