I'm looking at different models and getting a bit overwhelmed. Can anyone recommend one from personal experience? I'd like the ability to plot both the trails ridden and altitude, download trail maps to find new places to ride, display current speed, and be fairly rugged.
Thanks for the reply... The more I look at them the more I think I should get a more basic model so I won't feel as horrible when it breaks, as it invariably will. The eTrex H series seems to have the same degree of sensitivity and I can pick up the Lengend H fairly inexpensively. It doesn't have an altimeter but for $100 extra bucks I think I can do without.
I have the Garmin 60CSx. It does the job. But, as Garmins are notorious for, it is not the most user-intuitive device. I consider myself pretty good with figuring out computerized stuff, and this is a bit of a challenge! However, I find it useful enough to let me do some serious exploring of the trails in the State forest near me, which is good as I have given up on connecting with another local rider who could play Tour Guide for me. In fact, this afternoon I went off exploring a side trail that did not do, at all, what I'd assumed it'd do. However, having the GPS with me to at least point me to where my trailer was is a huge confidence booster. Obviously, I did find my way back -- and I have downloaded my "track" on my PC where I saved it on the map of the forest.
As for finding electronic maps of your local forests or trails or whatever: GOOD LUCK. The maps of the State forests in Connecticut STINK, for the most part. Do some searches online not just for horse trail maps, but look for dirtbike (what is that, "Enduro" or something?) and snowmobile maps, and you may find more. But really, chances are that the task (and fun!) will be up to you to get out and explore those trails & download them on your PC to make your own map.
I've never used the altimeter. In fact, even though I picked this model for the electronic compass, I haven't used that either (who knows, might find it useful SOMEday). The map & the trip computer (shows speed, distance traveled & time elapsed) have been tremendously useful. I'll vouch that the ability to pick up satellite signal is critical if you ride in the woods a lot.
If you get the Garmin (& maybe others, I dunno) -- you ABSOLUTELY want a backup attachment beyond the belt clip. The first time I used mine, the screw that holds the belt clip to the unit unscrewed itself, and I got back to the trailer only to realize that the danged unit had dropped off! Luckily it wasn't too, too far back on the trail and it wasn't buried in leaves (dumb color, grey, for a GPS unit, IMHO! bright yellow or orange would make more sense for anyone but a hunter). I promptly bought a tether that hooks onto a belt loop on my jeans, and use that in addition to the belt clip. You'll also want to consider a cover to protect the screen. I have a neoprene case with a clear plastic front that works fine. I think it's a tough unit; as I recall, one of the features of this model is that it's water resistant (if not waterproof -- I don't recall exactly). You're more likely to lose it than break it.
I was lucky that there is someone here in the STL area that really loves making free maps. I downloaded GPS trail maps for ALL of the local parks around me!! What luck! I'm not sure how many of them are truly horse-friendly but at least I know where to start looking.
I ordered a Garmin eTrex Legend H so at least it will be cheap and still have rudimentary mapping capability to point me in the right direction and help me get back to the trailer. I won't feel so bad when it gets trashed. now I can't wait to get it in the mail and try it out!!
Thought I'd bump this up to see if anyone had any more opinions on their GPS after the summer/early Fall riding season. Maybe there are some newer versions coming out for Christmas, etc.?
Similarly to the OP, I'm looking for basic functions such as mapping your route and being able to find your way back to the trailer. I have the technological equivalent to a "black thumb for plants," so I'm looking for something straightforward. I had been thinking of the wrist-mounted versions because I thought they'd be more convenient, but the screen on the one I got (and got rid of) was so tiny, I couldn't read it half the time, especially if we were in sunlight.
I love the Garmin that I bought. The reception is so good. It can be completely covered in my leather saddlebag in deep valleys with heavy foliage and still get a great signal. I can waypoint the trailer and find my way home and upload the tracks to plot on satallite images or MapSource.
My only gripe is that if I were actually using it to try to find my way around on an unmapped trail, I'd want a color screen. It's very hard to distinguish the lines for roads, your track, rivers, and the trails from each other. Turn on the topo lines and you can't make out anything. But the color screens are so much more expensive, I figure for the price of the Legend H, I can beat it up and not be too upset when it inevitably meets its end. It does what I need it to do. 99% of the time I just use it for the plotting feature. The one time I needed to actually read the map it was difficult, but possible. For $100 less I guess I really don't need the color screen.
I love my Garmin Venture. it's the bright yellow one. Never lost a signal, has wistood almsot 2 years of enduance riding now - inlcuding some in the rain and getting dropped. Affordable. I haven't paid for the topo maps, I find that I do fine without them, but it's an option.
We have always used Garmin GPS recievers. Their customer service is outstanding ... and their product wonderful. We also do a sport called Geo-caching. My husband was crossing a creek on a log. Tripped and dropped his GPS in the VERY muddy creek. It was in for 5 days! When we finally found it, Kenny scrapped the slime off the screen, put new batteries in and it worked! (Boy were we impressed).
My own GPS went overboard in a canoeing accident. I was not as lucky. But we returned it to Garmin. They sent a new one by return mail.
FYI we are still using our 60CSx. We've used them for a long time and after a short learning curve, its second nature now.
This tread caught my eye as I have been looking at GPS systems also. Does anyone have any comments on this http://www.equinemonitors.com/produc...?ProductID=309 I am located in Northern New Mexico and I am confused about what is more important the heart monitor or the GPS.
I see that the GPS is a great tool to leave a bread crumb trial and get you back home and to show you where to go. I am assuming (because I just don't know) that you need both of these items, so is it better to get just a heart monitor and just a GPS or to find one that combines them both? ekkkkk!
I have the Garmin 60CSx, and totally agree with the other comments - it's rugged, holds a signal in deep woods, and is NOT intuitive. Once I spent a few hours with the manual, I've managed to get the stuff I care about figured out.
I've also just ordered the Bushnell Trackback. It's a very small (looks like an oversized stopwatch), reasonably priced unit (found it online for ~ $50). It only has one feature, which is to track back to up to three waypoints. I'm not sure what the reception is like, but will let you know once I've had a chance to try it.
I have a stupid question, being totally clueless about these things. If I just want something that gets me back to the trailer, how does that work? Say I get to the trail, I assume I do whatever so it knows where I am. Then I ride off for two hours and want to get back. Does it take me as the crow flies or what? If I am on a large looped trail and don't have those trails in the GPS does it just backtrack me or what? Stop laughing...
I read the replies but am still confused. I'd love to ride alone more at different places, but am afraid of getting totally lost, especially when there's less daylight to work with.
No one is laughing. No! No! We are running over and clinging to your stirrup leathers for support, because we're lost too. :-)
The trackback or "breadcrumb" feature, which is the only one I really care about (mileage would be nice, but my goal is time rather miles so mileage is just an interesting aside), takes you turn by turn back the way you came, not "as the crow flies" (you would mark your trailer as your first waypoint or Home or whatever your particular GPS wants to call it, and then maybe pick a few other waypoints along the trail if you wanted). You could go back "as the crow flies," because depending on the scale of your screen/monitor thingy, you would be able to see that, but of course you run the risk of coming across terrain that your horse can't cross.
Unless you have done the trail before and marked the whole loop, or you have downloaded the trail or a map from some other source, the GPS won't know that you're on a loop trail. It can only work off of what data has been put into it. But, if you know that the trail you're on is a 6-mile loop, the GPS can tell you whether you're at mile 2 or mile 5.
I'm very curious to hear about the Bushnell Trackback that GreyDes mentioned -- it sounds intriguing, but I can't tell if it does have the breadcrumb feature or whether it just points you in the general direction of your waypoints. Keep us posted, GreyDes!!
Several of the guys I work with have some type of Garmin GPS that is handheld. They've got bigger screens and are in color (I think). Everybody uses theirs for the bread crumb trail and one guy stores his past trails. I tried the wrstwatch one, but I couldn't figure out the screen, too small.
I want one that's easy to use and easy to read. All I need it for is to find my way home. I used to have a horse that would return to the trailer via the same trail we went out on, but both the horses I ride now strike out cross country and most of the time we run into problems with canyons, creeks or heavy forest.
I'm writing to Garmin and telling them I want a GPS that has a screen that's at least 2" by 2", can store maybe 5 or 10 waypoints, has the breadcrumb feature, has speed and mileage, has a "send help to my coordinates" feature, is easy to read in daylight, and can find a signal in the woods. That's all I need.
I just purchased a GPS for trail riding this year. I am trail ride coordinator for the riding club I belong to. Thought it would be fun to be able to map a trail for the group to see where we had been etc. I too was way in the dark about GPS and am not that tech savy. I went to REI near me and asked some questions and got some basic answers. I ended up purchasing a Magellan Triton 400 with adventure pack from Walmart. It was a little more expensive than I initially thought I would spend, but after checking out some other models felt it was a good value. It comes with a basic map and the adventure pack part is discs from National Geographic with topo maps. You can also go online to www.topo.com and register(free) to download some mapquads which you have credits(25) for with the gps purchase. The gps has a color screen and since I have been playing with it seems pretty easy to use. Another thing I found on line was REI has a pretty good info section when I searched under "using a gps".