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Old 02-01-2007   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 246
Ever used a GPS in a kayak?

I got me this here sparkly new Magelan GPS. It's an explorist 210 with the works, including a vertical profile log. Can pick up the satilite signals inside a Pelican case? If it can, can it pick up the signals in a Pelican Case while in a kayak? See what I mean. That way I could log the vertical drop of a run. Maybe I'm a dork or maybe I am suffering from a really bad case of cabin fever, but that sounds like the coolest thing since kayaking itself.

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Old 02-01-2007   #2
ski/kayak bum
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line of sight


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Old 02-01-2007   #3
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One of those clear topped Pelican Cases would work in a raft right?
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Old 02-01-2007   #4
on your sister, ...
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yeah, you would have to mount it/strap it outside your kayak somehow. You could put it in a waterproof gadget pouch and would work fine. They are pretty durable and waterproof w/o protection but would do the gadget pouch deal for a yak.

I use them all the time on my raft trips...great way for river mileage,speed,location,ect. Every now and then you will lose signal in really steep gorges. But 95% of the time works well.

It has sloshed around on the floor of my boat for a while every now and then and still works fine. And even maytaged fully sumberged in a hole once without protection. Still fine.
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Old 02-01-2007   #5
Denver, Colorado
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You need something like this. I have put a gps on the outside of my kayak in one of these beefed up ziplock kinds of cases. It has to be transparent to get the gps signal. If you want it on a raft, get one and biner it in so its in a place that has a good shot of the sky. Sometimes canyon walls prevent good reception though.
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Old 02-02-2007   #6
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Newport, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
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Probably would work, but might behoove you just to buy a topo map.... plus, the vertical precision of the instruments is not as great as the horizontal position.

Sorry, I am in a grad GIS course right now, but if you got the military de-encryptor chip for your reciever and could read the Y (P) code, then you could have some accurate measurements (30 cm). The government only lets us read the rough signals(C/A code etc.) so we can't have that good of measurements. They used to deliberately tinker with the signals so that we could only view locations within a few hundred feet accuracy.

But then again, why not an altimeter watch?

But I like the idea for remote locations and maybe you can create a new niche sport of whitewater geo-cacheing!

"Paddle silently, boof loudly"
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Old 02-02-2007   #7
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Even without a differential GPS, the handhelds get ~+/- 10 m (30ft) accuracy, and often times are much better than that. That kind of accuracy is just about all you need unless you are really trying to dial in the total vert bagged. I personally just use my calibrated altimeter on my watch and make a note of the elevations of major rapids, camp sites (still just an estimate). That's all you really need. But it is true, the vert accuracy is much worse than the horizontal accuracy. The canyon walls are always going to be a problem, but I would go for it.
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Old 02-02-2007   #8
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Technology Partner, Littleton, Colorado
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ummm, the river flows down thataway..... why on earth would you be using a GPS in a kayak? I can maybe understand a sea kayak and navigating a coast...but a whitewater river?
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Old 02-02-2007   #9
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 169
You should send a PM to Cstork. He wears a GPS on his vest, I imagine it is waterproof because it didn't look like it was in any sort of protective case, though I'm not certain...and he can always tell us how far we've floated, how many feet until Little D, how many more miles till the take out, etc, etc. I think it would be handy on multi day trips and runs you haven't done before where you are going off distance and/or map beta for scouting, etc.
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Old 02-03-2007   #10
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Yes, I use a cheap Garmin etrex gps to give me the distance to key rapids, the take out, hot springs, and camps along the way. It's pretty useful on the Middle Fork, especially to hit the best hot springs. It also gives you average miles an hour, which can be useful to plan how soon you reach your destination. I've heard people on Grand Canyon trips use a GPS to phone in the exact location of a medical helicopter pickup.

The Garmin is mostly water proof. I've attached it to my paddle or life vest. It's gotten plenty wet but keeps on working.

It doesn't work in canyons. Needs line of sight.

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