View Full Version : GPS units

Jul. 29, 2011, 11:38 AM
Does anyone have first hand experience with handheld GPS units? There appear to be somewhere around a gadzillion different types and they are coming out with new ones all the time.

What's good and what is to be avoided at all costs? What features have you found you can't live without and what features sounded good when you bought it but you found unnecessary after all?

Jul. 29, 2011, 12:29 PM
You want one that takes off-the-shelf batteries, has an easy to see color display, and the ability to use very detailed maps. If you get one built into a radio, so much the better, because you can use it to call for help and relay your location. That being said, Garmin is what I use because they make such products.

Jul. 29, 2011, 04:44 PM
It depends upon what you want to use it for. If you only want to know how fast you're going and how far you've gone, then the cheaper models, and smart phone apps, work just fine. If you're mapping trails, then you get what you pay for: the more expensive, the more accurate.

I'm happy with the Garmin GPSMap60CSx which I've been using for 3 years, and friends of mine are very happy with the newer touch screen Garmin Colorado 400t, which is what I'd probably get if I were in the market to buy.

Jul. 30, 2011, 02:01 PM
I have this dream of being able to take a map for an endurance ride, upload the route to the GPS and never get lost again! Even better would be one that tells me to turn right and left, but that is probably asking far too much. :)

Does such a GPS exist?

Jul. 31, 2011, 08:45 AM
Our Garmin is user friendly and reliable. Our Tom Tom is awful. Those are both the kind you use in vehicles. We have a really old Garmin handheld that still works great.

Jul. 31, 2011, 10:37 AM
My son uses his smart phone and the map my ride apps....there are related apps, map my run, map my hike( http://www.mapmyhike.com/ )etc that I think would work for mapping a trail ride. The app measures total distance, average speed and lays the route over a google map. I'm very intrigued and will soon be getting a smart phone for myself to see what it will do.

Aug. 17, 2011, 01:11 PM
That is what I do with my Oregon 450. I use Government Topo maps AND that neat "Bird's Eye" software to look at the area I plan to ride in, then make "tracks" using the Garmin BaseCamp software on my PC. I then send the "tracks" to my GPS, and use the "Where To" feature, and it will give me directions to follow my route, and display several tracks at once on the map screen (different colours if you want.)

The "Bird's Eye" is fantastic if you are in an area where the maps don't have very much marked. The Google-satellite photos allow you to see cutlines, unmarked roads, some existing trails, rivers and creeks...so it is very useful if you are exploring. You can get lost, but you can use the map screen to figure out where your nearest pre-planned route is.

The Oregon 450 will also give you heart rate information using any ANT+ sensor (not Polar but most others) so it can be a handy conditioning tool.

Aug. 17, 2011, 02:00 PM
speaking from the purely hobbyist trail rider, the droid app "mytracks" was great for just finding out data about my ride on an established trail, BUT it seriously ran down the battery on the phone, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a phone with you on a ride. Now I have a Garmin eTrex Legend HcX - basically at the top end of the not-very-serious handhelds. It does its job just fine, but I sure am not riding off established trails and into the unmarked wilderness. Intentionally, anyway. ;)

Aug. 17, 2011, 02:09 PM
It does its job just fine, but I sure am not riding off established trails and into the unmarked wilderness. Intentionally, anyway

;) that's the feature I forgot to mention on the Oregon...the waterproofness, which is quite helpful if you've wandered off your "track" and the weather starts to turn...

Aug. 18, 2011, 11:07 AM
I map my rides with a Garmin eTrex Venture HC. I like that it is easy to use, tracks how far I rode, how many minutes, speed, etc. It is not super fancy and I would like to eventually get a much nicer one but for right now, it works just fine. I am not using it to go far off a beaten trail, more to document where I have been!!!

Aug. 18, 2011, 03:31 PM
I love my Endomondo, the Iphone app. It tracks everything, and my husband can log on at home and see me riding "live". He can type in a note and it comes across the speakers of my phone. If I get tossed, he knows exactly where to find me. I was riding last night, he logged on to see how close I was and typed in "Dinner is ready" and my phone spoke ... how cool is that?

Aug. 18, 2011, 05:27 PM
^ some of those phone Apps are getting really good...but you need to live in a civilized area with cell phone service. No reception...no map! Sadly, even 100 yards out from my house, we have no service whatsoever. :(

With the new GPS chips, the conditions have to be HORRIBLE for them to not find satellites. Vast improvements over the past five years, when we used to have to jiggle and turn ours, at the top of the passes, protect them from even DROPLETS of rain, and usually give up and go back to compasses and topos.

Sep. 2, 2011, 06:41 AM
I'm on my second one. You can brighten the screen, download to National Geographic maps, mark crossings and trailheads, etc.