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262
4.6 out of 5 stars
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
Color Name: SilverChange
Price:$169.99 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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478 of 490 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2010
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
I am currently deployed in Afghanistan and have used this GPS during my combat patrols for about two weeks now. I have found that it performs perfectly. It is easily configured for MGRS, the metric system, and the compass can be set for Mils which makes calling for polar fire missions very easy. I love the fact that I have a 10-digit grid on my wrist. It cuts down on weight, not having to lug a DAGR around, and as I am taking notes during Community Engagements I can grab the grid right off my wrist as I write. So far it has stood up to the insane temperature differences from day to night. It has stood up to the dust (which gets into EVERYTHING - and has ruined two of my digital cameras [including a so-called dust-proof one]) with flying colors. The batteries last about 8 hours and it takes AAAs which are easy to carry. You can easily beam waypoints from one GPS to another. Several guys in my platoon carry the same one which makes it very easy. I am looking forward to using this when I get home to track my runs. So far I have found nothing wrong with this to speak of. I would definitely recommend it for whatever purpose you would use it for. I haven't tested its water-proofness yet; however, it stands up to my sweat very well.
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151 of 160 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2013
After combing through reviews for a good hiking GPS, I couldn't decide whether to buy the Garmin Foretrex 301 or 401, so I bought both. The reason I bought the 301 was because I had read a review from someone saying that the barometer on the 401 wasn't accurate and that this person had returned the 401 for this reason and bought the 301 instead, which is the older version. The 301 has not barometer, just a GPS.

After buying the 301, I realized that it was absolutely useless to me because it didn't track elevation change, one of the most important things for hiking.

I have been very pleased with the 401. I find the barometer and the compass to be extremely accurate. You can set both for automatic calibration but I usually calibrate the compass before each use for optimal performance. It only takes a few seconds. I haven't really needed to calibrate the barometer.

The 401 tracks elevation and distance very well. I took it to the Catskills last weekend, where max elevation was 3700 ft and it was dead on. It has a lot of cool features and you can change the items it shows you on the screen to fit your needs. The main page has a little map of where you've gone, the second page has the compass and average speed (customizable), then you have the screen where it shows you elevation change over a certain number of miles, which is pretty cool; and lastly you can see specific stats like elevation gain, elevation loss, moving speed, average moving speed, current elevation, moving time, stopped time, actual time etc.

When you're done with a hike or walk, you upload the data to BaseCamp, Garmin's free software, and it shows you almost minute by minute data on what elevation you were at, what time it was, and you're moving speed. You can also open your hike in google maps for a 3D view, which is pretty cool and save all of your information to keep track of what you've done and where you've gone.

GPS tracks really well even under tree cover in the woods. Had no problem connecting to satellites in the Catskills with no phone reception for 20 minutes around, for example. Didn't drop the signal once during the whole 8 miles we were hiking. Also has good reception when walking in the city, ie Brooklyn or Manhattan, though it does take longer to connect to satellite. Still under a minute though.

My only complaint is that I haven't been able to get the 401 to transfer wirelessly to BaseCamp but it's not a big deal. I just plug it in via USB. I'll update if I figure this feature out.

Battery life is good. I only go on day hikes so it hasn't been an issue. I've used it for approximately 10 hours this week and I'm still at two bars. Investing in rechargeable batteries is a good idea.

The wrist strap is pretty sturdy and the device isn't heavy. Really convenient way to be able to see where you are going/how fast/and at what elevation while you are moving or when you are stopped. I wear it higher on my wrist and find that to be the most comfortable way.

Another issue I should address is that a review I read was complaining that the GPS doesn't have a stop function, which threw me off when I was trying to decide whether to buy it. It's true that the GPS does not have a "stop" function to record when you aren't moving but that sort of function isn't necessary, precisely because it IS a GPS. It syncs with satellites so when you ARE at rest it ISN'T recording you. This makes sense because it's a GPS and it can only record you when you are moving. At the end, it even gives you total moving time and total time at rest, which is great. For this reason too, it is more accurate in tracking distance than devices like iphones or simple pedometers. When we're done, I can see the mileage for only the time we were moving without stopped time while my friends see both stopped and moving time, which makes their mileage inaccurate and always longer than mine.

Overall, I am very happy with the 401. I immediately returned the 301. I'd say strictly for hiking/walking purposes it is accurate and convenient. I love it.

Wanted to share my own experience for folks like me who are on the fence about which hiking GPS to buy and can't decide between the 301 or the 401 from posted reviews. Hope this helps!
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120 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2010
Color Name: Silver
I have not used this item extensively yet, but the setup process is quite simple. Im using this product for military purposes and finding which datum to put in was i a breeze (just read the manual) and i also verified. The 10 digit grid with a military map so i know it works. I really havent used any of the other features like the compass but ill update once i do. P.S. for ang other military grunts out there you'll want to set it to MGRS (military grid reference system) and for stateside use NAD27 CONUS (continental united states).
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121 of 132 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2010
Color Name: Silver
Fantastic - buy one immediately. IMMEDIATELY!!

Much smaller than you may think - fantastic.

GPS speed -- super fast, fantastic.

Display and controls -- absolutely fantastic. As simple as they can possibly be, yet does every single thing you want. See your exact miles/yards walked, exact time (both moving, stopped, average, etc etc etc) and everything else from sunset time to height climbed or whatever.

Battery life, fantastic, 15 to 20 hours.

Works with computers PERFECTLY. If you have basic understanding of computers -- so for example you do know how to "Open A File" -- you will have a ball with this machine:

The 401 is simply a USB hard drive -- just connect it to your laptop using a normal compact USB cable. (They pointlessly give you a cable for free with the 401 package...like you don't have ten laying around already from your video camera, USB drives and everything else.)

So, simply plug in the 401 to your laptop. You will instantly see a file "Current.gpx" GPX is the label for GPS files.

Now, open the file -- so for example launch Google Earth and open your "Current.gpx" file in Google Earth. You will immediately see the track where you walked shown as a blue line on the Google Earth map!!

Or, look on the web for one of the awesome track measuring applets (eg at utrack dot crempa dot net) and get graphs, etc, of your speed and the like.

It literally could not be simpler -- nothing to install, no passwords, nothing.

Once again assuming you "know how to open a file" you will have no problem.

TIP: the 401 uselessly includes a digital COMPASS, as a freebie (much like the digital compass in say an iPhone). Digital compasses are of little or no value; however they use a lot of battery power. Look through the settings and turn OFF the digial compass.

Note that, of course, like any GPS unit, the unit will flawlessly and perfectly show you your heading AS YOU ARE WALKING, using the GPS signals (nothing to do with a magnetic compass). But the actual "digital compass" (i.e., you are sitting by the fire and you want to see which way "North" is) is largely useless (not because of the 401 -- all digital compasses are useless), so just turn it off in settings to save power.

Tip -- if you want rechargeable batteries, buy the terrific LaCrosse smart charger, and some eneloop batteries.

Enjoy your hike! Buy one of these before Garmin changes it to something confusing and not so good.
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98 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2010
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
Easy to use right out of the box. Gets a fix in less than 30 seconds and is water proof. This is a great piece of gear for any tactical environment or hiking and camping. I am currently using this in Afghanistan and would not want another GPS in this environment.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2010
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
This GPS is handy for equestrians for trail riding and competitive trail riding. Big, simple screen, yet GPS is small enough that it is worn on the wrist for easy viewing. Batteries last long enough for a weekend of riding.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2012
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
I found one of these laying in the road in my neighborhood and played with it for a couple days. I was able to find the rightful owner by scrolling through his waypoints. a little disappointed, i had to buy myself one! I use this all the time while mountain biking and hiking. very accurate, and you can import tracks from the internet to the device, and even from to the gps to google earth and other sites. great investment!
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75 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2009
Color Name: Silver
One of my Foretrex101s expired a few weeks ago and I decided to replace it with the just released Foretrex401. It arrived mid-week and I had no trouble accessing and opening the Foretrex401 generated gpx file with Easy/ExpertGPS and Topofusion. The 401 appears as a USB drive in Windows. I was hoping to use the 401 along with the Garmin heart rate monitor during my mtbike rides instead of the my Edge205 and separate HRM. The 401 had no trouble picking up the HR reading and displaying the values.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Garmin website has no substantial information of the 401 as of yet and no discussion of what software will work with the 401.
[...]
At this point the Foretex401 appears to be corporate orphan that no Garmin division is able or willing to support. It is unclear if it is intended for jumping out of airplanes (jumpmaster function), hiking (altimeter/compass), cycling/fitness (HR/cadence) or providing a heads-up when ordinance is going to explode (countdown-up/timer). In addition to the above, function wise, the 401 adds a USB interface, faster satellite acquisition and wireless data transfer to the venerable Foretrex101. It is slightly more compact in size than the 101, has a better strap attachments and stores the data is in a gpx file. Operationally the Foretex401 does what is it supposed to do but with no software included, undocumented functions and virtually non-existent technical support, most purchasers will be frustrated in trying to use the Foretrex401 right out of the box. A printed quick start guide is in the box but the manual in a pdf on the CD.

As noted above, with some tinkering and non Garmin software I've been able to list and view the Foretex401 tracks, waypoints, routes and other data as well as transfer the data to GoogleEarth. For what Garmin lists as a basic handheld GPS it should be much more straightforward to operate and transfer data. I'll give it 2 stars until it is better supported.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2010
Color Name: Silver
This GPS is excellent. I use it for military application in a tactical environment and also for long hikes in dense trees in the mountains. Truly a great product, extremely easy to use controls, easy to read and understand screen and very durable. I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a highly quality GPS that will be used in an outdoor setting.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
I purchased a Garmin foretrex 201 in something like late 2002/early 2003 (first year they were out, whenever that was), and tended to use it as a "backup" GPS. The foretrex 401 here is a really nice update on the 201, with significant new features:

-- A "high sensitivity" receiver. This means that usually you can get a GPS fix indoors, and outdoors the fix is generally much batter -- particularly if you're in a heavily forested area where there's a lot of canopy above your head.
-- A compass. For geocaching, this is invaluable -- being able to know which direction it is to your cache while standing still makes finding a cache MUCH easier!
-- Bicycle/heart rate monitor interface. It's now entirely viable to use this as a bike computer, which is a significant "value add" over a regular old GPSr. It's true (as one poster alludes to) that it's not really designed as a bike computer from the start (and that GPSrs that *are* such as the Garmin "Edge" series are better if all you're going to use the unit for is biking), but I still find it a very worthwhile addition -- especially in that it makes geocaching with a bicycle that much easier! (I do find the bicycle mount a little cheesy, however -- it's just a rubber cylinder that clamps around your handlebars, and you then strep the 401 to it as it the rubber cylinder were your wrist.)
-- A barometric pressure sensor. For me, this just means that the 1000' intervals I normally "count off" (inbetween rest stops :-) ) while hiking are a little more accurate

The only disappointment I had with this GPSr is that it can't be used with a laptop and, e.g., Streets & Trips or Street Atlas USA -- it doesn't output NMEA data. The Foretrex 201 did this, but I suppose they're figuring that these days when you can pick up a Bluetooth GPSr for such applications for <$50, it's not that great of a loss -- and it probably would have been difficult to implement in addition to the "plug this GPSr into your PC and it shows up as a regular drive letter" function which *is* quite useful. (I agree with the reviewer who mentions how easy it is to transfer waypoints, tracks, etc. -- this required extra steps and special software with the Foretrex 201.)

I'll also note that the instruction manual is a little light on describing all the features (particular what all you can do insofar as transferring data to and from the unit goes). There's really no good reason for this, although asking questions on the Garmin forum largely suffices for this oversight on Garmin's part.

But overall I'm quite pleased with this purchase. It really is a well-engineered device, and well worth the money.
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