View Full Version : GPS.....?

January 12, 2010, 11:55 PM
Thinking about getting a handheld gps this year for a wilderness area hunt I'm applying for. I've done a little research and have landed on Garmin (good rep)....either the Vista hcx, 76csx, or the 60csx. Mainly because the features I want:

1. topo map compatable
2. expandable memory (sd card)
3. electronic compass
4. altimeter
5. color screen would be nice
6. reasonable price (under $200....I shop evilBay)

If you're still reading, here's the question: Is the Bushnell ONIX400 junk or OK?
I'm interested in it because of it's ability to use satellite aerial photos. (I use Google Earth a lot). Anyone who has used this unit please post your thoughts.

No offense, but if you've never used one, please don't post....I'd like to hear from those that have hands on....I don't care if your brother-in-laws cousin said it was cool....LOL

January 13, 2010, 09:31 AM
I'm not sure if this is completely relevant, but I'll share anyway as it might help to know.

Google Earth is mainly synthesized views now. I plotted a couple of locations using GPS & Google Earth & had a couple of issues. Not serious as I knew the area beforehand, but it could have been a big issue if I didn't.
Locations were dead on North/South, but several hundred yards off East/West, always in an Easterly direction. (I did have the correct datum info in place).

Also Google Earth has big issues with terrain views below about 45 degrees. Areas that Google Earth showed as gentle slopes were in fact vertical 150'+ cliffs. Intervisability was utterly false as well, Googler Earth showed visibility that did not exist in the real world, some blocked by trees, & some that were blocked by permanent terrain features.

January 13, 2010, 09:57 AM
I use a Garmin Oregon 400t often for Geocaching and have been very pleased with it's performance but it's slightly out of your price range. I would also recomend the Dakota 20 for your uses but it's slightly out of your price range also. I mention these because now that I've used a touch-screen GPS I'll never go back to one without it. I was a long-time Magellan GPS user until I tried my first Garmin touch-screen then I was hooked.

I don't have any experience with the 60CSx but it is a very highly rated unit. I would definitely pick it out of the 3 units you listed. Free topo maps can be found online for these Garmin units at gpsfiledepot.com or many other places.

I'd avoid the Bushnell units - they are LARGE and don't have the support the Garmin or Delorme units have. I hear that the Delorme PN-40 works great with sat image maps, etc., but the screen is smaller than the Garmins.

Good luck with your search.

January 13, 2010, 10:15 AM
I'm far from an expert but I looked at the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx and the Delorme PN-40 before settling on the Garmin. The PN-40 struck me as a nicer and more full featured GPS but I went with the Vista HCx for the longer battery life.

January 13, 2010, 05:21 PM
For price- the Garmin EtrexHC
For performance- The Garmin 60CsX

I use a 60CsX for search and rescue and it works great and can take a beating.

Dr. Strangelove
January 13, 2010, 07:13 PM
The only advice I have is stay away from Magellen. Their customer service/support is terrible. Once a new model comes out, they completely abandon legacy products.

The keypad went out on my eXplorist 400, when I finally got someone at Magellen, their only solution was to advise me to buy a new unit. I did... a Garmin.

January 13, 2010, 07:45 PM
The only advice I have is stay away from Magellen.
Yes absolutely.

January 13, 2010, 07:55 PM
I suppose a lot of it is going to be how gizmo oriented you are. Bells and whistles are nice and all, and I'm a sucker for them too, but realistically, any basic GPS will give you what you need, as long as it can get a fix, which isnt as bad these days as it once was.

The other reality is, the GPS is just part of a package, that, being in addition to the GPS, good quality topo maps of a reasonable scale (USGS 1:24000 are real nice), and a good compass. UTM/MGRS and the metric system are your friends too, and make things a lot easier. LAT/LONG will drive you crazy, especially if you want the map and GPS to talk to each other.

Persoanlly, I think going into the woods, even woods you think you know, with just a GPS is a mistake, but thats me.

January 13, 2010, 09:51 PM
I have 2 Garmin units. I bought the Etrex Vista for back counrty hiking. I then joined a 4x4 Search And Rescue group and it is not fast enough to use while driving the trails (unless crawling). I then bought the 60CSX. It is an awesome unit. There are better out there if you can afford it, but for me 60 CSX is your best option. Vista for sale if you decide to go that way.

January 13, 2010, 10:42 PM
Persoanlly, I think going into the woods, even woods you think you know, with just a GPS is a mistake, but thats me.
I agree wholeheartedly. I'm believer in having a GPS and a map and a compass. The GPS for the heavy work and the map and compass for a backup.

January 15, 2010, 12:20 AM
I'm a map junkie. I have several in my truck for my area and I know how to use a compass (and do). I'm thinking about a gps as a supplement, maybe for geocaching and exploring. I appreciate all you're comments, now I just have to figure out which one and how much I want to spend! Those touchscreen variants from Garmin are really appealing.

hknut: Vista for sale if you decide to go that way. .....how much do you want for it?....pm me.

January 15, 2010, 03:28 AM
I say go comando and use a leaf and the due on the trees.

Just think what would Chuck Norris do?? :D:D

January 15, 2010, 12:44 PM
Chuck Norris doesn't need to go into the wilderness to go hunting... :)

Dr. Strangelove
January 15, 2010, 05:59 PM
Chuck Norris doesn't get lost. He just decides where he wants to be and he is there....

January 15, 2010, 06:49 PM
Chuck Norris would probably cry like a baby if he was out in the park without his GPS. :)

January 16, 2010, 12:32 AM
LOL...how the hell did this thread go so wrong? And what is this unnatural obsession with Chuck.....this is probably the most publicity he's gotten in years!

January 16, 2010, 02:48 PM
Hahaha sorry i didnt mean to take this off track. And i take it you havnt read the chuck norris BA list.


Ok back to the GPS questions sorry guy :D

January 16, 2010, 04:09 PM
Pick up a used 60CSx and be done with it.

January 17, 2010, 09:48 PM
Chuck Norris will turn 70this March!

January 17, 2010, 10:32 PM
"I agree wholeheartedly. I'm believer in having a GPS and a map and a compass. The GPS for the heavy work and the map and compass for a backup. "

I take a little different take on the map/compas - GPS dilema. Paper map and a magnetic compass are always my primary. Electronic navigation aids are always the backup/validation. Land navigation skills will deteriorate rapidy if not practiced.
For the OP's wilderness hunt, the following tasks, in order:
1) Get the best, most current maps of the area you can find. Greentrails made excellant maps of WA when I lived there, not sure if they cover OR or not.
2) Get a good magnetic compass. I've used a Silva Ranger for 30 years, never failed. Don't know who else makes good orientering compasses.
3) Learn to use #1 and #2 together. Find someone to teach you. Master them. Practice. Understand and know how to use the following techniques: dead reckoning, intersection, resection, terrain association, offset, pacecount....
4) If possible, recon the area your hunt will be in. Familierize yourself with the area. Drive the roads, if any. Walk the areas you plan on hunting. Compare the ground to the great maps you have ( you are going in order, right?). Mark any easily identified landmarks or terrain features on the map. Use a .5mm mechanical pencil, ink may run and pens aren't fine enough for detail work.
5) Now its time to start looking at a GPS. The 60CsX is worth every dime. If #1 - #4 have not been done, its worthless.

I spent over 10 years doing SAR work in the Northwest, in the 80s and early 90s. I've spent thousands of hours looking for morons who get turned around in department store. Technology does not replace basic skills and fieldcraft.
I've also spent the last 20 years in the military, in one form or another. When I teach land navigation, if it takes batteries, its NOT allowed. There are other classes for using digital nav aids.
OK, the new guy will get off the soapbox now.....

January 19, 2010, 10:13 PM
I like madhatter use a Silva compass, but I like the NW Ranger. It has an inclometer in it that allows you to grade a hillside for slide/avalanche danger.

January 20, 2010, 12:13 AM
I dunno why some people insist on used. Fer chrissakes, buy new if you can. Its new; never been mauled by a bubba, hasn't been dropped on the trail and stepped on by an EarthFirster looking up at the trees between bong hits, you won't find elk blood, or GORP for that matter on the keys and it has a warranty!

In any case, everyone, including myself has ignored your plea not to post if one hasn't actually owned the Bushnell unit, but I need to weigh in here anyway. I have a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx and I don't need no stinking compass. :) With 1:24,000 topos, you'll have plenty of detail, you'll not get lost and you'll thank grymster in the end.

January 20, 2010, 06:44 AM
I don't need no stinking compass
Spoken like a person who's never had an issue with getting a fix or dead batteries yet. :)

Just a hint, but the compass, your pace, and a pace counter (no batteries there either) are big battery savers. ;)

January 20, 2010, 08:23 AM
If you're still reading, here's the question: Is the Bushnell ONIX400 junk or OK?

Available today on www.woot.com for $100.

I bought one last time they up for this price. I haven't done a whole lot with it, except find my house (which it did).

As I use a Mac, I really can't download the maps. The online map download feature is a little annoying, but it is certainly there. I was able to find maps of where I am thinking of going.

I really haven't taken it out yet. So It is hard to comment on function.

January 22, 2010, 12:32 AM
Madhatter.....A damn fine crash course on land nav. Some very good tips in there. But, unfortunately no one asked about land nav., we're talking about gps here. I'm already using a map/compass regularly and have been military trained on the subject, I'm just thinking of adding a gps to the equation.

Since I started this thread, I've had the chance to handle the Onix400, and man, that thing is HUGE! I played with a Garmin Dakota 20 and I really like the touch-screen function. Really easy. I think I've narrowed it down to either the 60csx or the Dakota 20, I just have to bring myself to cough up $250-300 for one. Ouch!

January 22, 2010, 11:25 PM
The one thing you have to think about with some of the unites you have listed is battery life. The more it has especially screen color and what not, the faster the battery is used. So if your planning on being out for a few days you should think about that.

I personally have a Rhino series unit that I love. It does every thing the other unites do plus gives you a two way radio that is tons better than most of the two way radios on the market know.

you should also look into this web site.http://miscjunk.org/ They have some really good maps that work well on your Garmin unites. also follow this link http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=657235&highlight=gps+maps+miscjunk I think they tell you how to down load and use the maps without getting map source. The miscjunk maps are way better than the standard map source maps.

Oh if you get a garmin off ebay I think the standard refurb from Garmin is less than 100.00 I think what they do is send you a newly refurbished one as soon as yours get there, that's what they did for my brother in law. I got a good used rino 130 for less than $200. Just have to look and wait till the right one comes along.

January 22, 2010, 11:36 PM
All I can say is stay far away from anything with the Magellen name. My unit about 13 months old stopped working. I was told they had no parts for my unit and they offered to sell me a newer model for not much under list.
They have what amounts to no customer service.