TET Trails in the north of England - Scottish Borders.
The GPS is dead.


When Gary from Sideburn Magazine suggested a northern UK adventure in August, I suspect he’d anticipated keeping his feet dry. 

He was wrong. 

Very wrong. 

Last week we were out exploring TET trails in the north of England right up to the Scottish Borders. 

adventure spec linesman jacket

adventure spec linesman jacket linesman pant

The route takes in stunning farmland right in the middle of harvest, big rolling views, and water crossings. 

Lots of water crossings. 

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Perfect conditions to see how the soon-to-be-launched Singletrack Pant performs in warmer temperatures. 

Chris and I discovered that the front leg intake and rear leg exhaust vents do a wonderful job of encouraging much needed air flow. 

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And the Singletrack Pants did a good job of keeping the river water out, up to the point where the water was deeper than our boots, after which no pant will keep your feet dry. 

Fortunately the drying room at Wooler Youth Hostel had us sorted by the next morning. 

Gary was enjoying a few days out of the office after hitting ‘Print’ on the new issue of Sideburn Magazine (which you can buy here). 

I was trying to convince him that American flat track racers would love the lightweight moto adventure he was enjoying here in the lush English harvest. 

It was also great to see how well the Linesman Jacket and Pant fit into the countryside, a real example of ‘outdoor gear for adventure motorcyclists’.

adventure spec linesman jacket linesman pant

adventure spec linesman jacket

For the ride I used three new bits of non Adventure Spec kit that you may be interested in. We don’t sell this gear but it’s genuinely useful so I wanted to share my thoughts. 

Firstly Many Map.

This was put on my radar by my friend Wil. We’ve both used Garmin Basecamp in the past for our route planning, which in itself is a powerful bit of mapping kit, but not without its limitation / frustrations. 

Now, I’m not a route planning guru, but after a very short amount of time using ManyMap.IO to plan this Sideburn route I was totally sold, my Basecamp days are numbered. 

It’s an online platform that makes it super easy and intuitive to plan routes and create GPX files. You can turn different map layers on and off and it includes OS Maps, which here in the UK is pretty essential for making sure the dirt trails you are riding are legal. 

The most impressive feature is how easy it is to share your routes. It’s well worth an explore if you don’t already know about it. Take a look here

Secondly, the DMD T665 Navigation Phone

I mentioned this in a previous newsletter and had a ton of Helpdesk questions asking for more info so here goes. 

I have to admit I was a sceptic. I’ve been a Garmin Montana user for many years, firstly the 600 and then graduating to the 700i about 2 years ago. I know the software is a bit clunky and dated, but my 700i ran OS Maps, did what I needed it to do without distraction and was totally bomb proof, or so I thought. 

On a recent trip to Scotland my Montana 700i died. Firstly it stopped charging from the powered cradle, and then it just kept turning itself off. It’s ruggedness, the one feature that I had championed it to all who would listen, had now failed me. 


It was time to give the DMD T665 a go. 

I’d been reluctant to use a phone / tablet as a nav device for a few reasons. I didn’t want the distraction of all the apps, I wasn’t sure about the durability and the mounting options all made the unit very large on the bike. 

Pretty much all of those concerns have been addressed in this little unit. 

It’s been developed directly for riders like us, and so the first thing you notice is that it charges off a cradle but without the need for a special case. It simply snaps in place using a magnet / latch combo. So far it’s stayed on the bike despite being given a fairly rough ride. No need for any USB charging cables. Super neat. 


The screen is bright, and the unit is water resistant (without a case) so I’m fairly confident that it will put up with a wet British winter. Would it survive a river drowning? Honestly I’m going to do my best not to find that out.

The T665 comes with Drive Mode Dashboard (DMD) pre-installed which absolutely leaves the Garmin Montana for dust in all but one regard. It’s fast, intuitive, pulls in live data and supremely configurable. If you have a bluetooth dongle thingy on your adventure bike it can tell you all sorts about engine temp etc, but I wouldn’t have the first clue which hole to insert said dongle into on my KTM450 so I’m happy to just use the mapping features. 

The only area that I would say DMD falls down is the lack of OS Maps. It would be lovely to be able to turn these on and off to check what the legal classification of the trails are. I know the DMD dev team are listening so maybe one day it will appear in a future update. 

That said, the benefit of using the T665 Android phone is that it was easy enough to jump from DMD to the OS Map app when I needed to check the route. 

The third and final bit of kit was the Carpe Iter bluetooth controller that was paired to the T665.

This allowed me to zoom in and out, and scroll around the map without having to take my hands off the bars. 

Sounds like a gimmick doesn’t it? 

It’s really not. 

It was great being able to zoom out on the road sections to see what was coming up, and then zoom in as we approached a trail to make sure I turned off at the right point, all without stopping. 

I remember one of my first trail rides about 10 years ago involved the unfolding of a large paper map in the middle of a field. 

Yes I know that makes me a mere youngling by some standards, but the last few years have seen a leap forward in digital navigation tech. 

The fact that there are businesses out there that do what we do, and make tech specifically for you and me to get the most out of our lightweight adventure motorcycling is a special thing indeed. 

The world keeps turning and Adventure Spec is proud to be part of a community who share the same passion for exploring the great outdoors on lightweight adventure bikes. 

If you made it to the end of the email, well done, it was a long one. 


Greg Villalobos



This story was first published in our email Newsletter. Subscribe now for the most ADV email you will get all week!



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