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Old 02-20-2009   #11
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Yeah- most of the manufacturer's adhere to a standard called IPX-7 for waterproof and shockproof. You wouldn't want an IPX-7 rated device to spend 24 hours in 10 feet of water, but they're made to easily withstand 8 days in your PFD.

The thing about a manufacturer like Lowrance is that they make fish-finders and other marine GPS units that can live on the deck of a open-console boat, and withstand harsh sun / saltwater / rain for years. In other words, they have a great reputation for being durable for the outdoors. I had a chance to play with a beta version of the Endura at a tradeshow; I'm definitely planning on buying one when they're released. And I can get pro-forms on most any other manufacturer's unit...this one is worth waiting a couple of months for release. It will also eventually support spoken turn-by-turn road navigation too.

Garmin makes a nice unit, but you only can use their maps - they're locked to their content & that's it. Not as versatile, and more expensive.

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Old 02-20-2009   #12
cadster's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
I don't understand how having a topo map takes away from the river experience. It gives you a different perspective of the country you're passing thru and encourages off-river exploring plus they could be very helpful in an emergency.

My experience with GPS's is that they are rugged, but use up batteries fast. I like having a small unit without built-in maps in combination with printed maps. There are lots of websites where you can download topo tif's for free.

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Old 02-20-2009   #13
Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Just for clarification, this is a shortened list of some of the self-support kayak trips I've done over the years, without any "rapid by rapid" map with me, or the presence of any boater who had done the run before, and often we went without many of the topos that would cover the entire run, just beta from the guidebook (sometimes not even that), and the knowledge that we could probably reach the takeout:
I ran a self support down Shoshone, Gore creek and Dowd without a map!
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Old 02-20-2009   #14
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
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Posts: 254
Well, I didn't want to toot my own horn but a VERY shortened list of some of my self-supported kayak trips would include:

San Juan
Ruby and Horsethief
Labyrinth Canyon
the Dolores INCLUDING Snaggletooth

I could go on but my fists are sore from beating my chest
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Old 02-20-2009   #15
Gypsum, Colorado
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I could go on but my fists are sore from beating my chest
To funny!
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Old 02-20-2009   #16
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Boulder, Colorado
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This is a bit of a tangential rant, and some will disagree with it - so read at your own risk:

I always love this debate - how much beta is the right amount?

Some say - I want it all, maps with every camp and rapid marked, photos of everything, and a guide.

Others - Nothing at all. Having beta takes away from the adventure.

The problem here is that almost all of use use at least some beta - a guidebook, info from a friend, a road map to help us find the put-in - which, by the way, using a put-in means following in someone else's steps; someone who chose a put-in location after perhaps trying several times to get reasonable access to a river. The reality is that we all use some beta unless you honestly go hiking in the woods off trails looking for rivers or overfly areas looking for rivers to run, and run un-run rivers (For the few who do this I commend your spirit of adventure and exploration). Most of us fit into the middle ground, we want some beta, like good take out and put-in locations, an idea about difficulty, remoteness, the ability to hike out. Deciding where that line should be is a personal choice - and an arbitrary one. Two people can pick two different lines and both have solid reasons to back them up. Just like two people can go on a trip together for totally different reasons and have different experiences while seeing the same things.

When going down a river like the Grand where there are so many side canyons, camp spots, places to hike and rapids that having a guidebook with details about everything can enrich a trip in several ways. You can plan your daily mileage knowing that you have several great camp spots at the end of the day. You can plan mileage based on the side hikes you want to do. You can know if hiking several hours will bring you to a destination that you will enjoy. Without the guide you would either need several more weeks to explore and learn on your own or you would simply miss out on many of the treasures that the place has to offer. And this doesn't apply just to the grand - but really to any river you might only get to go down once or twice, or be pressed for time on. It takes a lot of time to scout when you don't know if the next rapid is a class IV or a class VI. All that said when I went on my Grand trip I debated about how much I wanted to know in advance - how much I wanted to discover for myself. But even then I knew that every rapid was runnable, that camps were plentiful, and that side canyons had a wealth of treasures worth hiking for. In short I already had much of the essential beta - bu having the guide books made it possible to allocate our 16 days to what we felt was the highest use of our time.

There is a real skill in learning how to read and recognize new rivers. When to be wary, what a good camp looks like, and the such. Without beta we go down stream knowing that without time to explore every side canyon that we will miss many things. But in exchange we get a sense of adventure and exploration. There is however a darker side, even great boaters can get into situations that kill them - When they could have gotten the beta or the benefit of an experienced guide - and probably lived. Some are happy with this choice - the adventures that they have, and the richness that was added to them from the sense of the unknown, the sense of adventure, outweighs the risk. But this is a deeply personal choice, and one that shouldn't be forced upon others.

The point of this rant is simple - there are advantages to both having all the beta in the world and having no beta. There are trade offs and compromises in each position. It is up to each of us to pick our spot, even if that spot changes drastically from river to river or year to year. And because the consequences of these decisions can be permanent - we shouldn't judge others for where they choose to stand.
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Old 02-20-2009   #17
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Really well said raftus. Which raises the question, what are yew doin on this forum?
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Old 02-20-2009   #18
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 283
Originally Posted by Mike Hartley View Post
Well, I didn't want to toot my own horn but a VERY shortened list of some of my self-supported kayak trips would include:

San Juan
Ruby and Horsethief
Labyrinth Canyon
the Dolores INCLUDING Snaggletooth

I could go on but my fists are sore from beating my chest
Nice list of Class II runs. Did you use your 'river maps?'
My guess is your fists are sore from beating something else, a little lower.
So many rivers, so little time..........
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Old 02-21-2009   #19
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254

Thanks to all (except WyoPadlr1) for your thoughts and suggestions. A GPS could be somewhere out there in the future but I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by technology (and expense) these days.

Raftus - I agree with the saying "it's all good". Everything has a pro. Everything has a con. My first trip down the Dolores was with a group of 3. We were rank, but game, beginners. The river was at near flood flows and we had some notes on a half a sheet of paper for a "guide". It was a great adventure. I also know, having done the trip again this last year - 24 years later with a guidebook, that we missed many great hikes, ruins, etc. I was very happy to have the guide with us. I wouldn't want to trade either experience.

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