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Thread: Best GPS for Hunting Purposes?

  1. #1

    Default Best GPS for Hunting Purposes?

    I am in the market for a GPS unit, but am a little perplexed about what would be the best choice. Does anyone have an opinion about what unit would be the best choice for a hunter? I would like to have one that has a map feature that could be used in conjunction with a USGS map.

  2. #2

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    I use a Garmin 60CSx. They typically run around $350 but stores have them on sale quite often (Cabelas just finished a sale that marked them down to $200). I also splurged for the Alaskan Topo map from Garmin as well ( ~$80). This model has all kinds of storage space for tracks and waypoints and in addition to the harddrive, has a micro SD disk for additional data if you need. It is completely waterproof (but does not float), and is built fairly tough so no need to bubble wrap it before sticking it in your pack. Controls are moderate/simple (after practice), and the battery life on mine is around 5-6 days straight. They also make similar models with built in 2-way radios, although reviews on the radio part are fairly negative.

    Just remember that you should still be well versed in compass and map reading (and have both), AND be proficient with the use of the GPS unit you are carrying before heading off the beaten path.

    NOTE*** I do not work for Garmin or any other GPS manufacturer or affiliate, this is simply my opinion based on my experiences with different GPS units.

    Hope this helps and good luck!
    -Justin
    Do something brave today... then run like hell
    ~~~~~~~
    The ideas of tomorrow are fashioned by those who challenge the ideas of today.

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    I agree with the 60csx. At $200 that's a deal. I've had one since they first came out, nice GPSr.
    Recently I bought the 62s. Still some bugs in it, but Garmin will work them out.
    The 62s can hold more tracks (200 vs 20) and can hold more maps.
    Either one would work for you.
    Check out this site for free maps for Garmins.
    http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/

    I have a file with all the Alaska GMU boundaries for Garmins in track format. I can get all of those on my 62s (about 133), but only 20 on the 60csx.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Member Casper50's Avatar
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    All will work. Depends upon what you want the GPS to do. Whichever you get make sure you know how to use it well. You'd be suprised at how many people don't know how to use their GPS that they take with them. Remember to also take a compass.

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    Member oakman's Avatar
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    I use a GPS MAP 60cs (same as the guys above). It has worked great for me for about 6 years or so now. I bought a 3 CD set of topo maps with it from Mapsource. I just load the maps on for the area I am going to (and quite a bit more) and I'm all set. I also bring a regular map and compass of course.

    Now just last week I saw an advertisement for a new GPS that is paired with a SPOT tracker of sorts (same company as SPOT). Anyway, they have a GPS that you can type a message into from the field and send via satellite to people at home via text message, email message and even facebook. Looks pretty cool. The only drawback to this is they want 5 or 6 hundred bucks for it and there is an annual subscription fee. If you're really into the latest and greatest, you might look at this.

    Otherwise, I say you can't go wrong with the 60cs (I think now the new model is the 62cs or something like that).

    Good luck and if you get the SPOT one, be sure to let us know how it works out.

    Richard

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    They pretty much all do what they need to do. I like having an internal electronic compass so that the map is oriented the direction you are facing and it helps keep the arrow pointing in the right direction if you are using it to guide you to a location while walking. Without the electic compass you are relying on the unit to triangulate the direction you are facing based on your movement so if you are standing still or walking slow it will wonder.

    What do you want to do with it?
    If used durring the winter with gloves then the 60 or 62 garmin units would be great. I have the 60CSX and it is a great unit as mentioned above.

    If you like to canoe, raft, fish, or boat then the Garmin 76 may be a great choice since it floats. It has most of the same features of the 60 series but has a different layout with the buttons above the screen. For me that is a negative but some prefer it and many don't care.

    The new Garmin Colorado and Oregon units are great for what they are. The only drawback I have heard is potentially less battery life due to the larger screen and if you use it in the winter they may not work with gloves since they are tough screen. If you aren't going to be using it in winter then that isn't really a consideration.

    I have friends that hunt together and they all pack Garmin Rhino's. They have a built in radio so you can talk with your buddies (it is illegal to use them to aid in stalking game) and keep track of their location. It also will let you poll their position and show it on the screen. This is a great unit if you hunt with friends. It would also be great for using with kids (responsible ones!!) since you could use it to locate them if you got sperated.

    Delorme, I have not used one but they have a rabid following and I have heard that you can upload sat images to them which would be sweet in the field.

    Apple Iphone, seems weird but we have used them and they work great for quick trips. They have a GPS app that you can download to use it off the cell network. We have mostly used them on the cell network and specifically to access sat imges of the area we are in. I was in a river delta with 3g coverage and mine worked flawlessly to help us cover a series of delta islands. Very nice to know that there is a clearing ahead so that you can plan where to come out of the alders with a good view incase there are moose hiding on it. Seriously though, felt like we were cheating a little bit!!

    Magellan, I had high hopes for the latest series of Magellen units. They promissed to deliver compatibility with the Nat Geo topo maps. I gave up on them after repeated delays and a proven track record of not being able to deliver. They may be better now, I havn't looked at them in some time and honestly probably won't.

    Garmin e-trex vista. This little unit is uber cheap and does everything anyone could really need in a GPS. It will do a fine job of getting you back to camp or the wheeler or truck and do it all on a budget that even some of my "subsidized" friends have managed to afford. There are several varients of this unit I believe the HCX is the top one and is the only one I would have since it has the electronic compass.

    Bushnell backtrack, this unit will be purchased for my kids, it is not much cheaper than the etrex but is very simplistic. It has a built in e-compass and only stores 3 way points. It isn't really set up for way finding it's sole purpose if to help you find your way back to somewhere you have been. You know like camp, your fourwheeler, or truck!! The brilliance is in it's simplicity. Mark the truck and take off into the woods, when it's time to head back you just select the truck waypoint and it displays an arrow that points you back to it. It won't follow your old trial but as long as you keep moving the direction the arrow points eventually you WILL get back to it!


    As you can see the "best" one for me may not fit your needs. That said the 60CSX is the best I have found for a do it all at a reasonable price. With the Mapsource topo I have used it year round for 3 years now and it has never failed me. The e-trex would be my next choice if I couldn't pull off the 60 due to the cost. The one feature I do wish these had that the new colorado units have is a built in camera that can link the picture to the location it was taken. I hate trying to come up with names for waypoints, it would be sweet to just snap a picture of it then be on my way. When time to go back just scroll through the pictures till I find the one that looks like my camp, select it and be ready to go. Also a nice feature to have in case my camera breaks before I shoot a 43" ram!! (hey I can dream right?)

  7. #7

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    Thanks for the input. I know that Garmin sells a dvd with topo maps that are comparable to USGS 1:100,000 maps, but it appears they do not offer a 1:24,000 for Alaska. Do any of you know if anyone else does and if so are they compatible with the Garmin 62CSX?

    By the way, Cabelas still has it on sale for $199.99.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    The magellan was supposed to offer I think 1;64,000 with the nat geo software but I don't know if they ever got it to work. Again going off of rumor but the delorme is said to have good topo of AK. I am tempted to go with it in the future since it will work with the spot to send out text messages. Honestly though I will probably just pick up a sat phone and keep plugging along w/ my 60CSX. At this time there isn't any software available to run higher definition maps on the garmin. There may be a hack to do it but the mapsource maps work well enough that I wouldn't risk it. Personally I have never had a problem with the 1:100k for navigating.

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    Member Doug in Alaska's Avatar
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    I agree with the comments from the members above. I started with a 60CS quite a few years ago and now have a 60CSx. Another nice thing about the Garmin is if you are running a Mac, Garmin has recently released two software applications, BaseCamp and Road Trip. Before the release of this software, I had to keep a pc at the house even though we run a Mac. Now I can do it all on my Mac.
    Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

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    Member Sterlingmike's Avatar
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    I've been using the Garmin 60Csx for quite a while now for both topo and navigation charts. I strongly recommend it to anyone. I love the thing. Totally reliable for me.

    Mike

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    Member 2dawgs's Avatar
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    I just got a Garmin Rhino 530HCx, it'll do more than I need but I like gadgets, picked it up for a little over 350 bucks off Amazon. Has FMS and GMRS 2 way radio, compass, topo screen, alarm clock, tide tables, weather band radio, video games, and gives back rubbs (J/K). Way more than I need and still learning to use it all, but I like gadgets and being able to talk to members of our party should we get separated, when they key their mic, it gives me their location.
    Last edited by 2dawgs; 08-22-2010 at 21:13. Reason: adding info

  12. #12

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    2dawgs, how do you like the 2-way component? I've only read online reviews, never met anyone who actually had AND used it. I had to stand at the counter in cabelas for an hour before I could decide to go with it or not... wife eventually found me which meant "not" was the outcome...groceries are overrated

    -Justin
    Do something brave today... then run like hell
    ~~~~~~~
    The ideas of tomorrow are fashioned by those who challenge the ideas of today.

  13. #13
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    We used the rhino on our goat hunt w/ a party of 4. I met my friends after I got the 60csx. If I would have known them before I would have picked up the rhino.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdkodiak View Post
    Thanks for the input. I know that Garmin sells a dvd with topo maps that are comparable to USGS 1:100,000 maps, but it appears they do not offer a 1:24,000 for Alaska. Do any of you know if anyone else does and if so are they compatible with the Garmin 62CSX?

    By the way, Cabelas still has it on sale for $199.99.
    Here's a 1:63,360 for Alaska.
    http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/302/
    It's free. I've used several maps from this site and they have worked well.
    They will work on a 60csx or 62s.
    With the 62s you can use aerial photo's or scan a USGS quad to make your own map.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I have a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx. It's done everything I've ever needed a GPS to do.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  16. #16
    Member 2dawgs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvsujustin View Post
    2dawgs, how do you like the 2-way component? I've only read online reviews, never met anyone who actually had AND used it. I had to stand at the counter in cabelas for an hour before I could decide to go with it or not... wife eventually found me which meant "not" was the outcome...groceries are overrated

    -Justin
    I just got the unit a couple of days ago, so I haven't really got to test it in the field yet, but I was talking to my neighbor last night and he is about 1/2 mile from me, both mine and his 520 were loud and clear. And I've been riding around in the truck with it...makin trails, an way points and such. I think its as easy to use as yer cell phone, just need to spend some time with it. I know several people (probrably a dozen) that have both the 520HCx and 530HCx and none of them have a bad thing to say about them, except some of the older guys think they do to much, ya know the ones still tryin ta figure out how to run a VCR .

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    Member PatrickH's Avatar
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    The reason the Garmin GPSMap 60 series is on sale is that they just came out with the GPSMap 62 series. The newer units have a much better antenna, more memory and the 62s and 62st have a three-axis compass built in. I did not think much about the compass until a hunt in some downed trees and thick brush. The fog came in and limited visibility to about 100 yards. I could not walk in a straight line long enough for the old GPS to figure out which way I was heading. I ended up digging my compass out of the survival kit to get my bearings.
    My old GPS was from the mid 90's. I splurged on the 62s and will say that the new unit gets a fix much faster and will even pick up signals indoors. I did not buy the 62st with the topo maps. The newer units come with much larger memories and s and st have a micro SD card slot that will take a 4 gig card. I got the free maps from the link above. I am happy with it so far, but I have just had it for a week.

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    I've had really good luck with the Garmin 60CSX also. Great GPS!

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    I'll toss out an endorsement for the DeLorme PN30 or PN40. Super nice graphics, detailed maps, and for about $30 a year you can download all of the aerial photos you need to overlay on maps.

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    I have the first e-trex and it does alright.

    ( on a side note radio com. is not supposed to be used on a hunt, just thought I'd throw that in there as a reminder)

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