While writing my review
of the Magellan SporTrak Topo for BackpackGearTest.org,
I wanted some way to attach it to my pack and have it handy, and
perhaps be able to see it without having to hold it. I came up
with a very good solution, and I have assembled this page to
describe my 'invention'. This page should not be considered a
part of the Magellan
SporTrak Topo report, which is complete in and of itself.
In order to test the Magellan SporTrak Topo while
hiking, I wanted some way to attach it to my pack to have it handy,
and perhaps be able to see it without having to hold it. I was
sort of surprised that Magellan didn't offer such a thing. I
had the car mount for the SporTrak, and with a little elbow grease,
some rivets, an Outdoor Products sunglasses case, and a piece of
aluminum I had lying around, I reengineered the car mount and
created the SporTrak Shoulder Strap Mounting Bracket. I expect that
Magellan will pay me a handsome royalty for it, eh? Even if
they don't, I hope they will offer something like it in the future. It
has already proven very handy while walking around with a pack on. The
Outdoor Products sunglasses case is the perfect size to store the
SporTrak unit in while not in use.
In order to make one of these, you will need a couple of
- An Outdoor Products Strap Accessory Case, available at www.campmor.com
for $8.99 at the time of this writing.
- A Magellan SporTrak Vehicle Mounting Bracket. (The
kind with the suction cups, not the hard mount kit. See
- An aluminum (or other stiff metal or plastic) plate, about 2 inches
wide, about three inches long, and no less than 1/8 inch thick.
(A piece of road sign would work just fine.)
- Some tools: A drill, a Phillips screw driver (#2), a pop rivet gun,
a couple of pop rivets, a drill that's the same size as the pop
rivets, some heavy thread or thin nylon cord, a good needle or a hand
- About 1/2 hour of time.
This is the kind of mounting bracket you want:
This is what we're going to make.
Remove the four screws that attach the SporTrak cradle to the swivel
arm. You can see these clearly in the picture above. Remove
them completely and turn the cradle around so that it looks like
this. Put the screws back in and tighten.
I should have taken better pictures of this, but I didn't. You
should remove the three screws holding the suction cup end to the holder
arm, remove the suction cup end, and discard it. The holder arm is
just a piece of aluminum covered in plastic, and the end you are now
looking at is a T with three holes in it. Take your aluminum plate,
match one narrow side up with the holder arm, and mark where the holes
are. Drill the three holes in the plate and then connect the plate
and the holder arm with three pop rivets. I then flattened mine out
with a hammer just for laughs. You can see the three rivets in the
picture above. I'm pulling back the plastic cover with my thumb so
that you can see the holder arm.
Same thing here, but from the side. You now want to
drill four holes in the aluminum plate at the four corners. You will
then stitch these to the back of the Outdoor Products case with a heavy
needle or awl and some heavy thread or cord. I used something called
Nyltex made by Blue Mountain Industries.
Here's an open shot of the stitch work. I also slit the left side
so that the sternum strap would pass through. You may or may not
have to do this depending on your pack and where you put it on your
shoulder strap. There's a close-up of the stitch work below.
The Outdoor Products case is the PERFECT size to store the SporTrak
when not in use.
assembled, this holder weighs 7.8 ounces (222 grams), which is lighter
than the cartography set I carry when mapping, and provides a couple of
benefits. You can see the unit at all times while hiking, and you
don't have to hold it. That means that you can use a set of hiking
poles. For mapping, the unit stays on and away from your body which
keeps the antenna from detuning and a better satellite signal is
maintained. If you're just going to take the unit out and get a fix
from time to time, then this probably won't be useful to you. It
might be useful to the SAR guys and military types.
I hope Magellan will offer something like it in the future.
In any case, I hope you have found this useful. If you have any
comments or suggestions, please use the web form at the bottom of this