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GPS Units?

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GPS Units?

Postby InsaneBoost » Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:40 pm

Just got my REI dividend and I believe there's also a 20% off sale for just about everything or literally everything? Thinking I might as well use it to get that GPS unit I've been meaning to buy (my last big expense for now hopefully).

Been looking around and have been recommended quite a few, but wanted to see what everyone was using. I've heard some will show bodies of water near you and things like that, which would be nice of course, but really just looking for some tips on what to look at for a good unit.

Right now the two I've been recommended are Garmin GPS Map 64st Handheld and DeLorme inReach Explorer. Both have good and bad reviews, as everything I'm sure, so need a little help here.

Thanks!



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Re: GPS Units?

Postby rlown » Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:07 pm

One thing to look out for is what mapsets you can download onto your device, or even retrieve the tracks from the device when you get home if you wish. I'm using the Garmin Topo U.S. 24K West mapset. I've got an older Garmin Rino 530. Still accepts my map downloads/routes from Garmin's software (Mapsource and Basecamp).

My Rino will last a solid full 10 days on the rechargeable batt pack that comes with it. They have a secondary AA pack that you can use. I don't use it full on all the time, hence battery life; Just for reference now and then. When in new places and off trail, I might hit her up for more info now and then.

I've no clue about DeLorme.

Another aspect is if you just want to use a smartphone with GPS. Again I know nothing about how to acquire maps for those. Had a friend who used one when on our Glacier divide trip, but as he's in Boston now, I've no clue. He did have a nice solar charger for his phone though. I think you need that whenever you turn on GPS in the phone.
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Re: GPS Units?

Postby robow8 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:03 pm

If you were planning on using the 20% off coupon for your purchase, GPS units are excluded.

I have an inReach Explorer and really like it. You can't load maps onto it, but you can pair it with a smartphone that you've loaded maps onto. It has basic mapping/tracking features. I like it most for the communication abilities. You can also receive weather forecasts on it.
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Re: GPS Units?

Postby Steve_C » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:45 pm

After giving away a 10-year-old Garmin unit that was just plain too hard to use, I finally decided to try again.

I acquired a Garmin Oregon 600, and started trying it out. There is still a considerable learning curve, but I managed to get started. What really surprised me, though, is that for real mountain navigation, I had to purchase the topo map CD, another $100! :eek:

Once I ran the installation on my Windows 7 computer, I can select map sections and load them into the Garmin unit.

I also used gmap4 to build several tracks I wanted to use, and I was able to actually follow the track when I was out mountain biking last week. I still have lots to learn, but at least it is a useable unit now.
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Re: GPS Units?

Postby InsaneBoost » Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:43 am

robow8 wrote:If you were planning on using the 20% off coupon for your purchase, GPS units are excluded.

I have an inReach Explorer and really like it. You can't load maps onto it, but you can pair it with a smartphone that you've loaded maps onto. It has basic mapping/tracking features. I like it most for the communication abilities. You can also receive weather forecasts on it.


Damn Nazis! Welp, I might still buy it, I don't know. Not so excited now of course.

How does it work pairing? Bluetooth? In otherwords, can I use it while not having cell service?
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Re: GPS Units?

Postby InsaneBoost » Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:43 am

Steve_C wrote:After giving away a 10-year-old Garmin unit that was just plain too hard to use, I finally decided to try again.

I acquired a Garmin Oregon 600, and started trying it out. There is still a considerable learning curve, but I managed to get started. What really surprised me, though, is that for real mountain navigation, I had to purchase the topo map CD, another $100! :eek:

Once I ran the installation on my Windows 7 computer, I can select map sections and load them into the Garmin unit.

I also used gmap4 to build several tracks I wanted to use, and I was able to actually follow the track when I was out mountain biking last week. I still have lots to learn, but at least it is a useable unit now.


That's one thing I noticed that I wasn't too fond of. Having to pay another $100 for the maps.
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Re: GPS Units?

Postby robow8 » Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:10 pm

InsaneBoost wrote:
Damn Nazis! Welp, I might still buy it, I don't know. Not so excited now of course.

How does it work pairing? Bluetooth? In otherwords, can I use it while not having cell service?


It does use Bluetooth, and from what I've played around with, the App is okay. You can go here and check out what others have to say: http://forum.delorme.com/. You do have to preload the maps on your Smartdevice.
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Re: GPS Units?

Postby rlown » Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:54 pm

robow8 wrote:
InsaneBoost wrote:
Damn Nazis! Welp, I might still buy it, I don't know. Not so excited now of course.

How does it work pairing? Bluetooth? In otherwords, can I use it while not having cell service?


It does use Bluetooth, and from what I've played around with, the App is okay. You can go here and check out what others have to say: http://forum.delorme.com/. You do have to preload the maps on your Smartdevice.


Keep in mind now you're carrying two devices with recharge needs.
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Re: GPS Units?

Postby fishmonger » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:14 am

If you don't know what exactly you'll be using the GPS for, buy a cheap used one on ebay first.

I've been using a Garmin 60csx for almost 10 years now. Bulletproof, runs on AA batteries (lithium as well once you take the edge off in a little LED light). It has seen 10k miles on a motorcycle, been used on bike rides and in the Sierra for years. It just works. The only reason I bring it is to track my days, rarely to use it for orientation. More as altimeter than map, although with the 24k CA maps it is quite good. The new stuff is probably lighter, but you'll pay a ton of money for features I'd never use, and few of the current models run on AA batteries, which on a longer trip is the way to power these things unless you want to carry a pile of solar charging gear. Not the lightest unit, but in the scope of my gear choices it's just another thing I carry along.

App? Bluetooth? whatever. For pure orientation, I have a map, a compass and if I didn't have he GPS, I'd bring a proper altimeter. Everything else just gives me a headache. I've hiked those mountains before anyone knew what a bear canister, a GPS, a PLB, a sat phone or a smartphone is, and it was all good.
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Re: GPS Units?

Postby BSquared » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:54 pm

FWIW, I have a relatively old Garmin Foretrex that I carry for reference but seldom use for navigation. I use it once a day to record my camp location and occasionally when I take a photo, especially when I'm not sure exactly what scenery I'm looking at; I don't have one of those fancy cameras with built-in GPS & compass, and I can use the recorded location with any of several peak-finder applications after I get home, in order to figure out what's what. When I use it for navigation, it's almost always to locate myself relative to a specific location, for example a trail junction, proposed campsite, or cross-country pass. It's saved me a few times from wasting time going up the wrong gully, or from stopping at a crummy campsite when the excellent one I didn't think I could reach was really only a half-mile farther down the trail. I use Mac GPS Pro to mark these locations before a trip from freely downloaded USGS tops and other maps.

The Foretrex has the advantage that it's extremely small and light. The disadvantage, of course, is that it does not show a map.
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Re: GPS Units?

Postby dylanmcmanus » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:11 pm

InsaneBoost wrote:
Steve_C wrote:After giving away a 10-year-old Garmin unit that was just plain too hard to use, I finally decided to try again.

I acquired a Garmin Oregon 600, and started trying it out. There is still a considerable learning curve, but I managed to get started. What really surprised me, though, is that for real mountain navigation, I had to purchase the topo map CD, another $100! :eek:

Once I ran the installation on my Windows 7 computer, I can select map sections and load them into the Garmin unit.

I also used gmap4 to build several tracks I wanted to use, and I was able to actually follow the track when I was out mountain biking last week. I still have lots to learn, but at least it is a useable unit now.


That's one thing I noticed that I wasn't too fond of. Having to pay another $100 for the maps.



Also have the garmin oregon 600 with the 24k west map set (I think this is the map name). STEEP learning curve and I am a well versed techy guy.
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Re: GPS Units?

Postby Flatlander » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:05 pm

I have a Garmin 62s and absolutely love it. I did tons of research before I bought mine. I didn't want to use my phone because it drains your battery super quick and I didn't want a touch screen because they area harder to use in bad weather.

The 64 was nice but I couldn't justify the cost compared to the 62. I didn't get one with a camera, because I don't need a camera and I didn't get the "T" version because you can get free maps online. Definitely get 24k maps, the 100k are useless.

You can look at http://www.huntinggpsmaps.com for map chips. They are expensive but are super detailed and show public land as we all private land with owner information.

Www.Gpsfiledepot.com has tons of free maps also.
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