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Old February 5, 2013, 10:04 PM   #1
shredder4286
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Simple GPS for starters?

Hi,

I've been looking at getting a GPS for hunting and hiking for a while now. The choices out there are pretty overwhelming. I'm looking for something simple- I just want to navigate from point A to point B and tag a few waypoints. Anyone have experience with a simple, fair-priced, reliable GPS they could reccommend? Thanks in advance
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:28 PM   #2
hogdogs
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A garmin e-trek should suit your needs...

I feel Garmin is the most intuitive and user friendly...

Magellean is the worst to me... I have one here that is useless...

I cannot even toggle to "course/track up" from the "north up" mode which means i am usually flipping the dern thing upside down and looking at upside down data...

I will make you a great deal on this little barely used color screen GEM...

Brent
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Old February 5, 2013, 11:26 PM   #3
shredder4286
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Quote:
A garmin e-trek should suit your needs
That's one I was looking at. Simple enough. I think I might try using one without a map and seeing if I can get by easy enough.

Quote:
I will make you a great deal on this little barely used color screen GEM
Feel free to PM me your offer
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Old February 5, 2013, 11:42 PM   #4
hogdogs
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BTW... The one I offered sort of tongue in cheek is a Magellan Triton color with map... initially i didn't care much for it as a handheld woods unit but it is pretty useless to me for use on my boats...

"North Up" mode is okay when walking around the woods but in not at all intuitive for a capt. trying to navigate sloppy seas unless running north or nearly so...

That and the small screen... i took the batteries out and socked it away...

Brent
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:30 AM   #5
bird_dog
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I've had good luck with my Garmin -- I think it's the 60Csx.

You can upload local topo maps for the region you're trekking. It has a bunch of features that I rarely use, but it's very accurate and has been helpful in blood trailing deer at night (when you lose the trail, you can look where you've been and note what general direction they were last moving in -- has been a great asset several times in recovering deer), and I've used it extensively to mark fishing spots in my canoe.

It's simple to use, doesn't eat a lot of batteries and is great for exploring deeper in the woods than you might normally be comfortable with.

One thing it DOES require is that you calibrate the compass each time you turn it on. This consists of spinning slowly in a circle (the GPS tells you what to do). It's an absolute necessity for using it in the woods/trails, as its directions are only as good as the compass's calibration.

It's very sensitive, and is good for things like recording the length of your bike rides, doing a little Geocaching, and other things like that too. I use mine all the time.

Good luck.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:55 AM   #6
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If you have a smart phone, Cabellas has a map APP. I think it is free.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:58 AM   #7
hogdogs
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While I am not knocking 2-bit's app idea... It reminds me to make a warning...

If you need your phone for possible emergency situations... refrain from using it as your GPS...

The GPS function soaks the phone battery with a quickness...

Brent
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:01 AM   #8
shredder4286
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I need a gps that gets it's signal from a satellite. I can't even get cell signal standing on my roof on one toe with a golf club taped to my head...


The 60 csx is a really nice unit, but out of my price range. I was lookin to spend about 1/2 that with the cost of maps included. (If I end up getting maps)
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:08 AM   #9
twins
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Quote:
I can't even get cell signal standing on my roof on one toe with a golf club taped to my head...
Make sure you're using a 3-iron...not your graphite-driver.

I have a Garmin E-trex that has work great for hiking/hunting. You'll need to buy the specific region-map-download you're hunting in and it should have all the trail-details you'll need. Been using it for the last 3 hunting seasons and wouldn't leave home without it (or I may not find home again).

The latest F&S magazine rated the Delorme PN-60 as a great buy and easy to use also.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:15 AM   #10
shredder4286
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Cool. There's an extrex h on another website for $50 that I was thinking about getting as a starter. Not the most advanced in technology, but might be a good starter gps.

I had the DeLorme for 3 days during Colorado's elk archery season last year- I sent it back asap. Have to disagree with f&s on that unit. Not user friendly and unreliable as a navigation device.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:16 AM   #11
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You really cant go wrong with anything from Garmin. They pretty much wrote the book on GPS and stay up with all the technology. There are a lot of aircraft that use garmin.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:22 AM   #12
hogdogs
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And I have sort of eluded to this already...

Garmin is ACE at making units that are "intuitive"... If you can navigate the features on any Garmin... You can walk up to any other Garmin unit and figure out the basics in mere seconds...

From the e-trek to the big bad interfaced units on big boats...

Some makes I cringe to see on the helm...

Before i walked up to my first DeLorme I thought it coundn't get worse than a Magellan

Furuno units were just a bit more user friendly than the Magellans...

Brent
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:34 AM   #13
shredder4286
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Twins- the extrex model I was looking at does not allow you to add maps. Maybe the model you're referring to is an upgrade from the etrex h?
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:36 AM   #14
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I bought the e-trex and quickly found I had wasted my money. On water, or in flat terrain it will work to get you from point A to point B. But that is about it.

I recently upgraded to th Garmin Oregon 450t. It comes with maps pre-loaded and very detailed maps are also available at extra cost. Without the maps you have no idea what may be between point A and point B such as steep mountains, rivers, roads etc. that must be navigated around. I have also found it much easier to use. It locks on in seconds and picks up signals in thick forests. I am part of a volunteer search and rescue unit. It has proven to be a great investment. I'd hold out for a better unit and spend money once instead of twice like I did.


Quote:
If you have a smart phone, Cabellas has a map APP. I think it is free.
If you have a smart phone this is a good idea, but not alone. You still want a real GPS. If you are in an area with no cell phone coverage they are useless. They are not very accuate either. When we compared GPS coordinates recently the phone aps were off by about 400' on average. That is close enough for many uses, but not for what we do.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:52 AM   #15
shredder4286
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How do you like the touch screen on your oregon? I have a nuvi touch screen in my truck, and it works fine, but I've read reviews that say the touch screens can fail below certain temps.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:54 AM   #16
Wild Bill Bucks
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Bushnell GPS BackTrack Marine Personal Locator


$53 to $72

Easiest to use, if all you want to do is find your way home, or back to the truck. It will set three waypoints, has one button operation, a one sheet instruction manuel that any 10 year old can operate within 3 minutes.
I have owned one of these units for about 4 years now, and it is accurate within 12" at a distance of over a mile.

You turn it on, let it find a satellite (requires about 30 seconds) and set your home point. Then you can turn it off, and know matter where you are within 999 miles, when you turn it back on, it will tell you how far you are from your home point, and the direction you go to get back.

It will require changing a AAA battery about every three years if used this way, or if you use it continuously you will need to change the battery about every 72 hours.
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Old February 6, 2013, 02:07 PM   #17
shredder4286
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Quote:
Bushnell GPS BackTrack Marine Personal Locator


$53 to $72
That sounds like a good deal. Simple enough. I'm just trying to decide if I need more capabilities in a GPS. The more I think about it, seems like if you're going to have a gps, you might as well have one that can show you what's in between point A and point B, not just point in one direction and hope you can get over/under whatever is in the middle.

I'm continuing my search. It's hard to justify one of the cheaper $100-200 garmin models, becuase you have to spend extra $$ on maps for them. At least for the US 100k topo it's like $100 roughly. Jmr40- that oregon looks like a pretty solid unit. I'm curious what your take is on the touch screen and battery life.
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Old February 6, 2013, 03:33 PM   #18
shredder4286
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I've done a good bit of research, and my conclusion is---- Garmin has A LOT to offer someone with a need for a GPS. It's kind of rediculous, really, but demand creates supply.

I've got my eye on the etrex 20 model right now. It has the ability to add a micro-sd card, extra maps and is pretty darn fairly priced, especially in comparison to the higher-end models.

Quote:
I bought the e-trex and quickly found I had wasted my money. On water, or in flat terrain it will work to get you from point A to point B. But that is about it.
Did you have an etrex 10, or etrex h model maybe? The 20 and 30 models have the basemaps, and you can install 24k topo maps to them. Seems like you would be able to navigate terrain changes pretty well with a good topo map.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:46 PM   #19
twins
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S4286,
I have the eTrex Vista HcX model. More features than I'll ever need but I wanted something that can download regional topo maps. Very useful for hunting since it shows trails, elevation, water source, and my favorite...satellite herd tracking (just kidding on this one).

Since you're just looking to get from A to B, a cheaper model would work. But if you can spend a couple of more bills, highly recommend this model.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:01 PM   #20
shredder4286
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Now that I've gotten comfortable with the idea of not having a barometric altimeter and electronic compass, it'd be pretty nice only spending +/- $150 on a GPS that can do what you need it to.

They have the etrex 20's on amazon for just over that.. I'm kinda surprised at myself that I haven't bought it yet..
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Old February 7, 2013, 06:11 AM   #21
FlySubCompact
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Shredder,

I know a lot about handheld GPS units. Owned Magellanm Bushnell and Delorme.

Rule #1.....Garmin.

The little Etrex 20 is an excellent unit. If and when my trusty 60csx ever dies, that will be it's replacement. The 20 not only gets American GPS sats, it also recieves Glonass sats. It is memory expandable and can connect to your computer.

Don't worry about the electronic compass or altimeter gizmos. Stuff you don't need and those functions just lessen battery life. All handhelds come with "compass rose" screen of some sort. All you have to keep in mind is to walk a bit to get accurate pointer directions when doing a "goto". The electronic compass allows you to get bearings while standing still.....and they need to be calibrated a lot. A week after I bought my 60csx, I disabled that function. Haven't missed it.

Don't buy topo maps. There are a ton of free ones available at GPSfiledepot.com

That site has a forum and tutorials on how to get maps on the Garmin units.

Last edited by FlySubCompact; February 7, 2013 at 06:20 AM.
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Old February 7, 2013, 07:53 AM   #22
bird_dog
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Quote:
Don't buy topo maps. There are a ton of free ones available at GPSfiledepot.com

That site has a forum and tutorials on how to get maps on the Garmin units.
100% correct. Got some nice topo / detail maps there last year.
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:03 AM   #23
shredder4286
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Flysubcompact-

I like what you're telling me, especially since I just ordered the etrex 20. The "rated" btry life on that model is 25 hours, and I can deal with +/-14 ft of accuracy. I can't wait to use it.

Thanks for the link to gpsfiledepot- thats a whole lot better than payin $100 for the cd from sportsmans warehouse.
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:31 AM   #24
Shep
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While using your GPS as your primary direction finding "tool", you might want to bring an "old fashioned" good quality compass and topo maps along, too.
If you're not experienced with compass navigation, the GPS is right there to correct your mistakes as you learn.

Compasses don't need batteries and their "signal" can't be turned off or intentionally degraded for security reasons. Paper maps don't usually fail.

I've rescued several boaters whose misuse of GPS units (or equipment failures) got them hopelessly lost - especially if they didn't have charts (nautical maps) with them, too.

Just my 2 cents...YMMV
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:46 AM   #25
shredder4286
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Quote:
While using your GPS as your primary direction finding "tool", you might want to bring an "old fashioned" good quality compass and topo maps along, too.
I totally agree. If a person has a good compass, you can shoot an azimuth or use cardinal directions to get you headed in the right direction. And I also agree with the use of printed topo maps. The gps should be a supplement to actual navigation skills, not your only source of guidance.
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