GPS NEWBIE - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-04-2011   #1
 
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1999
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GPS NEWBIE

Would someone with GPS experience be willing to point me in the direction of GPS device I could use to help navigate a river? I have little to no experience with GPS devices but would like to know how to use one to gauge when rapids are approaching (e.g. 200 yards ahead, "Lonna's Lulu" is approaching) I'm thinking I could upload a map into the device (the main of the Salmon) to do this. I know it can be done I just have no clue where to start. Thanks!!!

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Old 08-04-2011   #2
 
Parker, Colorado
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I'm pretty happy with my Garmin Etrex Legend. It's pretty easy to get the GPS coords of riverside campgrounds input as waypoints and then easy to use on the river. They are waterproof and work well clipped onto my PFD. Be sure to get a small teather/leash/holster that will keep it in the boat with you if you drop it. I used mine to locate the camp spots downstream from State Bridge on the upper Colorado. The GOTO function shows the distance to the next waypoint and this let me pull off just in time to not float right by the camp.

There are flashier units but the Legend seems to work for me and they keep on working after others have broke. I also like taking something that I won't be too heartbroken over if it gets lost/broke/stolen.
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Old 08-05-2011   #3
 
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Mesa, Colorado
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Are you guys serious? Doesn't that take away something of the experience of floating down a river you've never been on? Maybe I'm just too old school, but Lewis & Clark didn't have no stinking GPS Neither did John Wesley Powell and they all survived (barely). I kind of like listening for an upcoming rapid instead of a computerized voice telling me to "start rowing now- upcoming rapid approaching" Maybe it's just me, sorry if I offended. See you on the river, and when your gadget malfunctions you can look at my map.
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Old 08-06-2011   #4
 
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Salida, Colorado
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I have to agree with Snake. The whole GPS thing is great for orienteering and navigating, but really, you know what directions you will be going on the river. Adding gadgetry really detracts from the river experience and will never actually make you a better paddler. A good river map and the paying close attention to river features and curves will serve you best.
That being said, I use a garmin 60csx for geocaching and some wilderness trekking.
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Old 08-07-2011   #5
 
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Snowmass, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakester View Post
Are you guys serious? Doesn't that take away something of the experience of floating down a river you've never been on? Maybe I'm just too old school, but Lewis & Clark didn't have no stinking GPS Neither did John Wesley Powell and they all survived (barely). I kind of like listening for an upcoming rapid instead of a computerized voice telling me to "start rowing now- upcoming rapid approaching" Maybe it's just me, sorry if I offended. See you on the river, and when your gadget malfunctions you can look at my map.
Powell and L&C didn't have maps either, so maybe they'd say the same to you 'cause you use one. Give the OP a break; if he wants electronic devices to be a part of his river trips, so be it and don't float with him.
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Old 08-07-2011   #6
 
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Mesa, Colorado
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"Give the OP a break; if he wants electronic devices to be a part of his river trips, so be it and don't float with him."


Sorry Matt & Bill, I'm just jealous because I don't have a GPS.
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Old 08-12-2011   #7
 
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Silverthorne, Colorado
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Garmin hcx. I've had a Garmin since the mid 90's when they had 400 meter accuracy. Now it's like 9'! You buy a DVD with all the us topos and you can upload which ever one you want. I prefer that but you can also buy a small sd card that is preprogrammed with certain maps. People give me a hard time on the river but somehow those same people ask me "are we close to camp?" "where are those petroglyphs?" who's laughing now
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Old 08-12-2011   #8
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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To extend the Powell analogy: He ran in a wooden boat and they ran with their backs to the rapids. You run in rubber/plastic boats with fiberglass oars/paddles and very effective PFDs, etc. It is hypocritical to berate someone's desire to use a GPS based on your arguments. True, it's both unfortunate and wonderful that we have tools that can reduce a great deal of guess work in our navigation. But, if you run a named rapid and know it's on the river well then, sorry, you're not only running it second, you're running it last (at least until the next boater comes along ) and no amount of river enthusiasm will change the fact that the water way you're on has been mapped, measured, and plotted, visible on google maps, and talked about ad nauseam. And no amount gps beeping will enable a boater to successfully get a boat out of a sticky hole.

There is a point to be made on failing tech though, and one tool is not something to rely on fully. Don't get out on a river only to find your gps has failed then blame the tech for your inability to complete the trip.


Oh.. and any garmin will do the trick. Water proof is better and some have better mapping.. but based on your requirements, any will do what you want it to do.
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Old 08-12-2011   #9
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Granby, Colorado
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Hojo makes a good point. I would say if you feel you need a GPS for navigation, then you probably also need to learn to use a map and compass for when the GPS runs out of go go juice.
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Old 08-12-2011   #10
 
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Mesa, Colorado
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Hojo said "To extend the Powell analogy: It is hypocritical to berate someone's desire to use a GPS based on your arguments."


HOJO did you not notice that I already apologized for berating the techno junkies? Even Powell had a chronometer and some other fancy gagetry of his day to plot their exact location, I forgot what it was called but it would only work if they could see the sun. Do you remember? It was similar to a sextant or something.
Originally I thought they were joking about plotting in the rapids because I've never used a GPS, not even in a car. I guess if you get used to using one you tend to rely on it instead of your own instincts.To each his own, and once again my apologies to Matt & Bill. Good luck with your Garmin. How far is it to the take out? Not Far Enough.~ Jake
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