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Old 10-20-2009   #1
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254
GPS recommendations

Well, I've been dragging my feet but I may move into the 21st century and get a GPS. I've done a little research but basically know very little about them. I'd be using it primarily for river trips but it would be nice to be able to use it for street locations/car use also. Priorities are 1. durability and reliability; 2. user friendly; and 3. cost.

Any recommendations out there?

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Old 10-20-2009   #2
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
I recently did the same research, although my use is more for field work and hiking. My thoughts: Garmin has far and away the easiest operating system (user friendly) and has very good GPS technology (gets signal even indoors). There is nothing more useful on a GPS than to be able to load topo maps (which cost extra). After relatively exhaustive research, I ended up with a Garmin Vista. Walmart had them $100 less than anyone else online. Maps are extra. Word of advice, get the maps on DVD or CD, not on MicroSD so you can make copies (there's some sort of lock on the MicroSD). Hope this helps.

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Old 10-20-2009   #3
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SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
There are many choices out there, best bet is to go to your local outdoor store REI or something and talking to their sales people so you can see side by side comparisons.

I personally use Garmin Vista HCx, it's waterproof, shock proof and allows me to upload topo maps on it. Then you want to go to GPS Waypoints and download the waypoints for the rivers you need. It will help you with the river maps.

I only use my GPS to show where I am at and use the river maps for the navigation purposes.


PS: I second DanOrion on DVD rather than MicroSD. That's exactly the route I took.
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Old 10-20-2009   #4
cadster's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
I've used a Garmin Geko on extended river trips for five years.

It's been thru rolls and swims. The screen went blank after getting moisture in it this year for the first time, but after drying out it continues to work.
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Old 10-20-2009   #5
CUBuffskier's Avatar
Erie, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 237
If you have an iPhone and don't want to spend a lot to get into it there is an app called - AccuTerra which has a lot of a dedicated devices functionality in it.
-Chadwick Shoults
Twitter: CUBuffskier
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Old 10-20-2009   #6
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Posts: 4,207
I have a Garmin Etrex GeoNav Venture. It was purchased initially for backpacking, but has been used primarily for backcountry skiing. I got the TopoUSA software for it, which provides detailed topographic maps for the entire US. The Etrex unit will only hold about 1/2 of Colorado (which is more than sufficient). The screen is about 1"x2" color, and provides enough detail for me to navigate in extreme whiteout blizzard conditions...that should also speak for it's water repellance...$299 brand new - $199 off ebay from an Iraq soldier who never used it.
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Old 10-20-2009   #7
Ft Fun, Colorado
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dont get lost and you wont need one!!! hahaha just kidding you
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Old 10-20-2009   #8
ngeoym's Avatar
Bayfield, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 109
I have a Garmin Colorado 400t. It came pre-loaded with topo for the entire country. I purchased the city navigator chip that allows it to give you turn by turn on the road. It is also water proof and I was able to download way point files for Deso/grey with all camps and rapids.
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Old 10-20-2009   #9
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Seattle, Washington
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Yo mike,

I too have the Garmin Etrex Hcx. It's da bomb. Kept my buddies from spending the night in the woods above timberline last winter. Easy to use. It's definitely waterproof - mine spent the night underwater in a sieve in the Clark's Fork Box. The peli case leaked 100%, which ruined my camera, but the GPS is fine. The Etrex is also compact for kayaking uses. Definitely get the DVDs. Also spring the extra few bucks for the electronic compass. If you don't get it, you have to be moving to get a GPS compass heading, which can be a pain in the ass. I love the damn thing.

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Old 10-20-2009   #10
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254
Thanks all! Lots of research to do yet but it's nice to hear of your personal experiences and suggestions.

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