Hema HN6 to the Test

Category: News, Date: 3 February 2014

The Hema HN6 is the friend you want with you when you’re about to go where few have gone before!

Packaging and Presentation

The first thing you’ll notice when you open your new Hema HN6 is the actual quality of the unit itself, the instant you pick it up the quality of the materials is evident with the unit feeling solid and durable but stylish at the same time.

The unit comes with the usual extras, including window mount, a leather pouch that allows you to store it safely and conveniently when not you are not in your vehicle plus various charging cables.

The screen is very generous in size (13.5 cms by 7.5 cms) and I cannot understate the benefits this provides from a user friendly point of view. Like most other gps units it operates by touch screen and having such a large screen ensures that it easy to operate.

When operating your vehicle at speed (obviously within the law) or when travelling off-road the large screen presents the detail and navigation to the driver in a clear and easy to absorb manner allowing the driver to quickly ascertain the information they need while not losing focus on the driving job at hand.

To put things in perspective the journey undertaken included crossing the Simpson and Stony Deserts with a starting and finishing point in Brisbane. The route taken was Brisbane / Bourke (see friends) / Broken Hill / Port Augusta / Cobber Pedy / Dal Housey Springs / Birdsville / Stony Desert / Innamincka/ Tibooburra / Bourke and home after a fantastic adventure.

Getting started

In comparison to other gps units I have used there is a little more reading and familiarising with the unit’s functionality to do before you start to see the real benefits of the Hema.

However taking into consideration what the journey involved and the combination of on and off road driving required not just any old GPS would do and the time spent familiarising myself with the Hema was time well spent.


To safely undertake this journey with confidence the Hema was chosen due to the combination package of on and off road mapping plus the availability of supporting printed mapping that when used in combination were invaluable. The map we used was specifically related to the Simpson Desert and surroundings. The level of detail allowed easy planning with the gps system allowing you to enter points of interest and land markers and when you are in the desert, you will be extremely appreciative of the track markings. Unlike sealed maps that usually link one town to the next with plenty of signage the desert while having a road system doesn’t offer the usual indicators to reassure you of your correct heading.

In addition to guiding you safely to your next point of call, the printed maps are loaded with points of interest and historical sites. Of the many places, we visited the Bourke and Willis sites near Innamincka are very interesting and the lone Gum tree in the Simpson is an interesting sight, make sure you look for the koala in it!

Additional Features

As the trip was quite extensive covering thousands of Kms over a number of weeks we were keen to record some information in reference to fuel, kms travelled, planning etc. all, which the Hema does exceptionally well.

The fuel consumption tracker was useful, each time you refuelled, you could enter the new odometer reading, litres added and the price per litre as this varied from place to place. It was not just out of curiosity that this information was useful, when crossing the Simpson – or any desert for that matter – fuel calculations and driving conditions need to be carefully calculated to ensure you are totally self-sufficient; you won’t find any Shell stations out there! Keep in mind that your vehicle will be on sand and you will be carrying extra weight in water, food, camping equipment, a fridge and anything else you require.

Additional features of the Hema also include the ability to search for local services such as accommodation, mechanics, doctors, shopping, pin point GPS locating providing exact longitude and latitude positioning in the event you are unfortunate enough to get lost or need emergency help.


If you are looking to travel in Australia, on and off the beaten track, you will be best served by owning a Hema mapping system. The whole package appears to have been designed for the Australian explorer, the maps are detailed, the unit is attractive yet durable and the mapping includes generous amounts of historical and useful local information.

While the mapping includes on road details and it does this as good as any other GPS its not until you really go exploring that you understand the value of the Hema HN6.  When you want to explore the outback or cross a desert like the Simpson, the Hema is the friend you will want with you every time.

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