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Thread: Best GPS

  1. #1
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    Default Best GPS

    Have just starting shopping for a really good hand held GPS for use particularly on Kodiak Island. Will be hunting on foot and on atv. Doubt it will get used much for driving directions. I live in a village so am not on any road system.
    I'm 62, fairly computer literate, and willing to learn one of these things. The 62 part makes having a very readable display screen important. The ability to use arial photos would be great too.
    Any thoughts would be helpful - and save me a ton of time because most of the reviews (I have found) don't seem all that objective and assume you already know a lot about them.
    Thanks
    Ron

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default

    I've got a Garmin GPS Map76CSx which is an amazing unit. It's a bit bigger than many of the other hand helds, but still fits in a shirt pocket nicely. It is waterproof and it floats.

    If you go with a Garmin product, make sure it has the "x" designator. That signifies it has the updated software and programming which REALLY helps with maintaining a signal. My unit keeps a lock in places (heavy trees, deep valleys, inside my coat or pack!, etc...) that my friend's Magellan won't even think about.

    I'd go with a unit that has a color screen to help with visibility, it makes it much easier to read IMO.

    When you go to buy one, take a good look at Ebay. I got mine for about $80 less ("buy it now" type sale) than anywhere else I found and it shipped for free.

    Good luck!
    AKmud
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  3. #3
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Default Garmin HCX

    I bought a garmin HCX and I love it. I can get signal inside of my house and anywhere I have hunted so far. I also recommend buying from ebay. I saved about $40.00 and the shipping was free.

    I bought a 2GB micro SD card and downloaded all of the Garmin maps for Alaska on it. I believe the map detail was 1:100,000.

    You only need a 1GB micro SD card, but it was $1.00 more for 2GBs. I keep the micro to SD adapter with me and if I fill my SD cards from my camera I can use the GPS one as a back-up.

  4. #4
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Default ditto

    i'll ditto what AFHunter says, i bought a magellan triton after losing my garmin HCX bear hunting... only because it was supposed to work with Nat Geo maps but i'll never switch again, brought it back after one day and got a new Garmin HCX.

  5. #5
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default second the 76

    Ill second the Garmin GPS Map76, I don't have the color or the x, but I Like the bigger display and I have never had any problems getting a signal with it. And the waterproof floating aspect is great if you spend any time on a boat or in the weather. And mine has been to Kodiak several times so I can say it works.

  6. #6
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    Default Best GPS

    Has anyone had any experience with the DeLorme GPS PN-30 or the new 40.
    The hype says you can download arial photos and superimpose topo lines etc.
    The 40 is new enough that I'm not finding much in the way of reviews but did se one that raved about the good support which is a huge issue with this stuff.

  7. #7
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Garmin

    I'll third the 76 series as the best all around wilderness/boating handheld GPS on the market. Color display (the "C" designation) is a must and makes a world of difference. The 76 has the biggest screen of the handheld lineup, making it really easy to read. The accuracy of the "x" units is great and they are very fast.

    The Topo maps, which you have to buy separately and load into the GPS, are great. I've been very impressed with the overall accuracy of the maps for Alaska. The newest version (Topo 2008) has a lot of the trails and points of interest for Alaska added over the previous version (cira ~1998).

    It doesn't sound like you need the sensors model (the "S" designation) as that adds the internal electronic compass and the barometric pressure sensor, but it's not a bad investment. I have the 76CSx and love it, but still carry a "real" compass for getting accurate bearings. The nice thing about the electronic compass is when you're stopped or moving very slowly, it gives you good enough directional info to keep you navigating toward your destination.

    The battery life is outstanding, but I highly suggest investing in a set of NiMH rechargeable AA batteries. I use Energizer rechargeables in sets of 4 so there are 2 batteries in the GPS and 2 spares ready to go. I actually have a total of 12 of these with the other 8 in my digital camera bag. Great batteries. With a set of 4 batteries, I've run my 76CSx for several days with it turned on for 8 to 12 hours straight each day. I also have a set of Lithium AA batteries that I carry as emergency back ups for when I'm going way off the beaten path. There are several GPS units that can't use the lithium batteries, but they work great in the 76 series (but not in the similar 60 series).

    As far as satellite photos, I can't help you there. Not a big fan of photos as I don't find the info that I'm looking for over a topo map. But, if you must have sat maps, then you might want to be looking at some of the Pocket PCs to carry those. Some will link to an external GPS while some have a GPS rcvr built in. None of the built in GPS units are nearly as good as a stand alone GPS. It all depends on what you need to do. Can you just print out your sat photos on Rite in the Rain paper and use them alongside a real GPS? I've frequently made a color photocopy onto waterproof paper of a section of a 1:24K topo map (the GPS maps are 1:100K) for using alongside my GPS. Though with the new color display and mapping capabilities I've found little need to continue with that practice.
    Winter is Coming...

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  8. #8

    Default

    I have both the GPS map 76S and the 60 csx. Both work great and the battery life is excellent with alkaline or lithium batteries. The lithium batteries are good to -40 so they are my 1st. choice.

  9. #9
    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Default On Sale Now

    Sportsmans Warehouse has the Garmin Colorado 400t on sale for $325, normally $599.
    I just looked at the Garmin site and it has better resolution and a slightly larger screen than the 76CSX. There are a few more benefits listed.
    I have been looking to replace the old GPS IV that has lost all of my waypoints twice now.
    I think I am going for this unit. It accepts BlueChart cards where the 76 doesn't appear to.
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  10. #10
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    Default

    The new Garmin Oregon series is the one that intrigues me. Large touch screen, and can be had with topo or blue chart maps built in. Also from the looks of the ad, they are doing some map shading to make it look more like a regular topo map. Doesn't float though.

  11. #11

    Default Anyone have the GARMIN Etrex?

    Garmin makes about 5 models in the Etrex line going up to the Vista. I believe the first two are entry levels without SD card capabilities. There just seems to be so much in some of these units that you don't really need. I am trying to make the break from a Silva compass and a 7.5* topo map!

  12. #12
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    Default

    I used to have an eTrex Legend with B&W screen an 8MB of memory and no expansion options. It worked fine, but the color screen makes a big difference when trying to determine if the squiggly thing on the map is a topo line, or a trail. Also, without the memory card feature I was very limited to how much map I could get on at one time. It was enough for one area, but if I was going somewhere else I had to replace last map with another. And the serial port upload speeds were attorciously slow, and my new computer doesn't even have a serial port.

    I now have an eTrex Vista with color screen, micro SD card slot and USB port. I've loaded the topo map for all of Alaska on a 1GB card, and there is still plenty of room left. The 2" color screen is good, but far too small in my opinion. A 3" screen would have over twice the area, but would be larger to pack around, and get less battery life. I use the barometer and compass features, but could easily do without them for what I use it for.

    The newer versions with the "H" recievers could be a nice addition, but I really don't have trouble getting a clear signal where I'm using it.

  13. #13
    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Default Oregon 400c

    [quote=Jim Strutz;376960]The new Garmin Oregon series is the one that intrigues me. Large touch screen, and can be had with topo or blue chart maps built in. quote]

    It does look interesting. I am wondering how the screen will perform in sub-freezing conditions. By the time I buy the BlueChart for the Colorado I would have $700 in it.
    I found it on the web for $439, not bad.

    That's the problem. I start out looking at the $169 unit, then the $300 one and now $439 is "not bad"! On one hand, it's a wonder I have a penny left to my name and on the other hand if I had spent the money 2 years ago I wouldn't have lost all of my waypoints twice.
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  14. #14
    Member wolfkiller's Avatar
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    Default I have a colorado

    I baught it at R E I in Ancorage. I paid 350 plus they had a 50 dollar rebate. I love that it came with all the maps in it.
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  15. #15
    Member icb12's Avatar
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    I have a Lowrance H2Oc. Like it a lot. Waterproof, floats, get the nav charts disk and the ak topo disk and you're set. its a little bigger than the Garmin models and doesn't get signal as well as the 76csx... but its still a good all around unit.

  16. #16
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    A friend of mine bought the Colorado (400t) a few months ago. I played with it a little bit one day and it looked to be a pretty nice unit. Had the entire country in Topo 2008 preloaded, so that's pretty nice (just add $100 to any other GPS to see what you'd pay to get the GPS plus all the topo maps). The only down side that I could see was that the thing is built like a pocket PC. By that I mean it doesn't look to be as rugged in contruction as most of the other handheld Garmin GPSr.

    As for the eTrex, I used a Vista (the older B&W version) for many years. Hate the small screen and lack of external bells and whistles such as the ability to plug in an external antenna, but the pocket size was pretty handy. Accuracy was marginal and not as good as the GPS 12XL that it replaced. Anyhow, I still have it as a backup unit that can be tucked away in many small spots in my gear.

    The GPSMAP 76CSx will in fact take BlueChart cards (look at the specs on the Garmin website). It is a cross between a wilderness and marine handheld, so it goes both ways. IMO, the 76CSx is the best all around unit out there... but I think I already said that.

    BTW, do NOT get rid of your Silva compass or "real" paper maps when you get a GPS. They all work together and the GPS doesn't fully replace the other two.
    Winter is Coming...

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  17. #17
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Garmin

    Is the way to go. I have the 76s and the 76csx and loved them both. Just to let everyone know I bought the chip of alaska for it and have used it on 3 different trips and found it to be extremely accurate in locations and details, almost to the point of being unbelievable!

  18. #18

    Default

    I'll give a second to the Lorance H20 unit. I use it in the plane and it has served me well. As I remember it cost around $170.

  19. #19
    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Default

    I just picked up a Colorado at SW for my "Christmas Present" the day after Thanksgiving. Already used it and i like it alot, its pretty cool how you can look at maps in 3D.

  20. #20
    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Default I have owned several

    My first set was a pair of Megellan 4000xl's. Not bad, basic navigation. My next set was a pair of Garmin 12xl's. Better then the 4000's. I still use these because they are rock solid as far as navigation goes (you supply the map). My current new one is a Garmin eTrex Vista. Lots of bells and whistles. I like that I can put in my maps. Find someone with a GPS then ask them to play with it. You will find each has special gifts some do not have. The Vista even has a cheesy video game with it.....I don't like that....

    Ron

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