Biting the Bullet on a GPS

Kyle P

Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2013
Messages
73
Hey guys,

I'm finally going to bite the bullet and buy myself a GPS. I've made it this far without one, but I think its finally time. I'll be taking a trip in the Boundary Waters this spring, and from what I have heard, it can be hard to find the portages at times without a GPS. So with that in mind and also wanting to track my hikes, I think its time.

So far, I have been looking at mainly Garmin options as I might be able to get a deal from a friend on them. However, I am still open to others. The GPS's I have been considering are the Garmin Oregon 600, Garmin eTrex 30x, and the Garmin GPSMAP 64s.

And here are some questions I have for all of you on these:
  • Does anyone have an opinion on these 3 GPS's?
  • How reliable are the touch screens? I'm always a little wary of the screens not working.
  • Any other GPS's that I should be considering that you might like?
Thanks in advance for your help,

Kyle
 

IntrepidXJ

ADVENTR
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
3,368
I've been a Garmin Oregon user for over 8 years at this point (on my second one now) and have nothing but good things to say about it. I've never had an issue with the touchscreen not working in all that time.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,016
I would second what @Nick said. I haven't used those GPS you mentioned but I
use Motion X on an iPhone and it's awesome. Its reliable, functions perfectly, gives me all the stats
I want and more. Plus, it's only a couple bucks.
 

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
And I third that: I use mostly MotionX GPS on my phone, but I also use Gaia for some things. I haven't carried a dedicated GPS in years.
 

Kyle P

Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2013
Messages
73
I have a Samsung Galaxy S6. So that would limit me to Gaia in this discussion. Any idea how it performs on an android? Their website often mentions it can run on an Android, but most of the time they refer to using an iPhone so that has me a little worried that it won't perform as well.

What about battery life? I'd imagine this eats it up pretty quick.

I had no idea that GPS coordination can still work without reception. I often keep my phone on airplane mode while hiking so that I don't get bothered with texts or emails. So I didn't think my phone was even an option. This is pretty cool!
 

Brendan S

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2016
Messages
385
I use backcountry navigator on android. Works great. I tried Gaia a couple years ago but some of the tiles wold randomly disappear in offline mode. Might be fixed now but BN is working fine for me.
 

IntrepidXJ

ADVENTR
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
3,368
I prefer not to use my phone as a GPS. I don't like the ruggedized/waterproof cases on phones, so I prefer to have a separate GPS unit that is rugged and waterproof. I can get 3-4 days of constant use out of the Lithium AA batteries in my Oregon and it's easy to pack a second pair.
 

SKLund

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
459
Hey guys,

I'm finally going to bite the bullet and buy myself a GPS. I've made it this far without one, but I think its finally time. I'll be taking a trip in the Boundary Waters this spring, and from what I have heard, it can be hard to find the portages at times without a GPS. So with that in mind and also wanting to track my hikes, I think its time.

So far, I have been looking at mainly Garmin options as I might be able to get a deal from a friend on them. However, I am still open to others. The GPS's I have been considering are the Garmin Oregon 600, Garmin eTrex 30x, and the Garmin GPSMAP 64s.

And here are some questions I have for all of you on these:
  • Does anyone have an opinion on these 3 GPS's?
  • How reliable are the touch screens? I'm always a little wary of the screens not working.
  • Any other GPS's that I should be considering that you might like?
Thanks in advance for your help,

Kyle
I have a 62st and it has served well for years. When I replace it I will get a 64st.

The only issue I have had is that I killed my first one by getting it a little wet. Some thing to consider for your situation.



Sent from my E6810 using Tapatalk
 

Wyatt Carson

Desert Vagabond
Joined
Apr 15, 2015
Messages
307
Hey guys,

I'm finally going to bite the bullet and buy myself a GPS. I've made it this far without one, but I think its finally time. I'll be taking a trip in the Boundary Waters this spring, and from what I have heard, it can be hard to find the portages at times without a GPS. So with that in mind and also wanting to track my hikes, I think its time.

I am a die hard compass user and always will be but I've been using GPS starting in 1993 for aerial mapping work and got a hiking unit, a Garmin Etrex Legend C in 2004 or around that time, still have it and girlfriend runs it now. They are very useful tools but not without occasional flaws...(batteries, satellite lock). Get a good one but don't throw out your compass! LOL
 

MarkintheHV

Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
8
Cell phones certainly wont stand up to the abuse that a handheld GPS will. Last summer, my Garmin Montana 610 got dropped into the river....fished it back out and everything was good. My last GPS was an Oregon and it worked well for me. I only upgraded to the Montana for the larger screen.
 

mike_offerman

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
488
Backcountry Nav on a Samsung Galaxy S5, works great for me. I bring a battery charger and just top it off at night.
 

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
I keep my phone in a waterproof case and tie it to a lanyard on my belt loop and keep it in my pocket. I also carry a battery charger so I can keep the phone charged on long trips. You just download maps for the area you're going to be before you leave home and the maps will be available offline. I keep my iPhone in airplane mode while in the backcountry, and the GPS just works.
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
.
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
I'm firmly in the phone GPS camp. I always have my phone with me, even if it's in airplane mode. Why carry another device?

If durability or battery life are a concern, consider picking up a year or two old phone used and using it without a cellular provider as a standalone.
 

Nick

-
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,934
A lot of the newer smart phones are pretty resilient and mostly, if not completely waterproof. And if you want to deal with a case, you can pickup a shockproof and waterproof one for a lot less than carrying a dedicated GPS. My iPhone 7 Plus can easily go 2-3 days just using the GPS while I hike in airplane mode. For longer trips a small portable battery pack can give it as many charges as you're willing to carry.
 

IntrepidXJ

ADVENTR
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
3,368
If durability or battery life are a concern, consider picking up a year or two old phone used and using it without a cellular provider as a standalone.

Then I'd still need to carry my active phone for reading and possibly emergency cell usage...so I'd be bringing two devices that way anyway.
 

Nick

-
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,934
Then I'd still need to carry my active phone for reading and possibly emergency cell usage...so I'd be bringing two devices that way anyway.

If you're using a recent smart phone there's no reason it can't hold up to hiking usage. But even if you brought two it's still probably lighter and more effective than a Garmin.
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
.
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
Then I'd still need to carry my active phone for reading and possibly emergency cell usage...so I'd be bringing two devices that way anyway.

An old smartphone is still more lucrative in my mind based on it being lighter, having a higher resolution display, functioning as an emergency flashlight and not needing AA batteries than a comparable Garmin unit.

To each their own but it is a valid option.
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,476
I've used Garmin etrex and fortrex models for years and they work just fine but the user interface is so so incredibly bad, it's like pulling teeth just to name a waypoint. Look, I'm a professional of using shitty user interfaces, I've been doing this since like 1983, I'm a computer science professor, but I cannot stand dealing with garmin stuff, my existing products are sitting there on the shelf while I'm in the backcountry.

Recently I've used Osmand on a smartphone and it's like night and day. Don't get me wrong, the UI is not great, the Osmand folks are not fans of usability, but it's 100x more usable than the stupid garmins.

Summary: any old cheapo smartphone should be able to run Osmand. No need for a cellular plan, just download the goods on wifi and then you get perfectly good maps / waypoints / etc. without the horror of naming a waypoint on a foretrex using two little buttons to select each letter.
 

IntrepidXJ

ADVENTR
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
3,368
If you're using a recent smart phone there's no reason it can't hold up to hiking usage. But even if you brought two it's still probably lighter and more effective than a Garmin.

As a long time Garmin user, I disagree.
 
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