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Customer Discussions > GPS forum

best gps for real expedition backcountry?

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 14, 2010, 12:14:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 14, 2010, 12:22:18 PM PDT
Emily says:
Im looking for a hiking GPS with excellent topo maps. I like the Garmin 60csx, looks great for my needs, except for the fact that garmins topo maps are expensive and poor quality in my experience and according to the reviews. If you think that garmins maps are excellent, please let me know that too.
I will be in very rural areas, very deep into mountains, canyons and forests. Most of the time, this will just be used for very remote hikes. However, I plan to also use it on a 8-month wilderness living excursion, where I will be hiking and camping by myself in very remote regions so it needs to be detailed and durable enough for that. I need a gps that has:
- a very long battery life,
-is waterproof,
-can handle being dropped and banged around,
-has very clear easy to read topo maps with superior zooming abilities,
- maps that show forest roads, blm roads, and even unmarked roads made by people just driving around the desert, like the ones you can see but arent named in google earth, (so maybe a gps that can display google earth info without a internet connection?)
- maps show even little-known campgrounds and trails
-and excellent reception even in deep canyons and forests
-easy to use would be nice
-the less expensive the better, money is a real issue.

Please help me out!! Ive done alotof research and it seems despite all the technological advances, all the GPSes still SUCK!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2010, 6:11:37 AM PDT
DON HUFF says:
Hey E - You are looking for something that is not on the market for the consumer. Even the U.S. Military with all its cash flow doesn't have anything like that. Sorry, just be careful in your adventures and good luck.

Posted on Oct 19, 2010, 10:31:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 19, 2010, 10:33:35 PM PDT
not in deep canyons. maybe someone will come out with one with an accelerometer that will estimate your position when untrackable via GPS sat. BTW: a personal locator beacon WILL work in that canyon but it is kind of a one way deal.
Even if it had all your other desires using a gps in a real world situation requires quite a bit of training. And they NEVER replace a compass and map.
You may look into models that allow the user to upload custom maps. I forget but there is a website where people share them. I think you might even be able to integrate some with google earth maps?? But you will be limited on available memory and it will bog the system down.
- maps show even little-known campgrounds and trails = no, you cant even find those in BOOKS!
For battery life, invest in eneloop rechargeables ONLY, they are the best! Carry spares.
And as far as money goes, dream on or wait for the technology to develop. The GPSes today blow away my $400 unit that is only 6 years old.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2011, 8:23:15 PM PDT
W. Canaday says:
To use Google Earth without an internet connection you would have to download and store one HUMONGOUS file. Google Earth is made up of a zillion overlaid photographs ... think of it as one huge jpeg of the earth with about a 3' resolution (1 pixel = 3'). Like Don says, most likely even the U.S. Military can't lay its hands on one of these ... but you may just have added to the Pentagon's wishlist!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2011, 8:28:33 PM PDT
W. Canaday says:
Yup ... he wants Low Self Discharge Lithium batteries and a solar recharger. The Solar 10 unit is about the smallest he should consider (it will fit inside a backpack for storage or hang off the back of it to recharge while moving) if he's going to rely on electronic devices in the boonies.

If money is a real issue, perhaps he should consider lower tech means of survival craft such as a compass, a map, the Army field manual explaining how to use same and some practice.
Your reply to W. Canaday's post:
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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 14, 2011, 9:40:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 14, 2011, 9:44:09 PM PDT
Pa Pa Bear says:
My vote for your use would be the Garmin GPSMap 78 series. I own one.
It is the 'most waterproof' of the Garmin Handhelds because it has a big marine-buyer following
like it's predecessor the 76 did. I believe the 76 & 78 are the only Garmin handhelds that actually can FLOAT on their own.

Most of Garmin's mapping handhelds are 'waterproof' to the same rating, but the 'GPSMap' units have the best reputations.

2nd choice for you would be a 60csx or a 62.
The CAMERA version of the new 62 (sc or stc) are pretty neat.

For perfect ruggedization get a GizzMoVest Case. It really adds protection.

Posted on Mar 17, 2012, 11:02:45 AM PDT
Awol says:
Everyone on here is correct, a GPS does not replace a 1:24000 topographical map, a good compass and a pace count string. That said, a good GPS can help location and works better than a pace count string. No one has good 1:24000 topographical maps on their GPS. Garmin has some that are close though. I use an old Magellan and it suits my needs fine since I only use it as a "location clarifier" :-). If I was going to buy a new GPS I would buy one of the Garmin's with an SD card like the Garmin eTrex 20 and load up their new "1:24000" maps which are not really 1:24000 (so I hear). I also like an altimeter when I am hiking in a mountain region. One of my pet peeves is people who think they can use a GPS without a map, just set a way point and tell the GPS to take them home. Yeah, this can work sometimes. Not always because the world around us is always changing. The fastest way back to camp during a thunder storm might be through a canyon according to your GPS. A nice high hill or "mountain" top meadow with a great view might look good on paper, but, if a heavy wind springs up it won't be much fun. Technology is great and anyone can use it which is a huge problem. Oh, and do yourself a favor and pack as light as you can so think about weight when you buy a GPS. When I did a lot of backpacking my pack was typically 65 pounds. My brother is a lightweight fanatic and he can pack for a week in the back country and not go over 35 pounds. Of course I take a chair and a shower and .... :-)

Posted on Apr 16, 2012, 10:20:44 PM PDT
Jasmine says:
Since nobody's mentioned it yet... android devices can cache large areas of google maps, which should include satellite imagery and terrain. You should be able to cache everything in the area while you still have service (or preferably wifi), then disable 3g and wifi for the duration of the trip and use juice defender to conserve battery life. There are many usb solar chargers out there.

That said, I'm sure there's a better way to go about this.
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Discussion in:  GPS forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  8
Initial post:  Oct 14, 2010
Latest post:  Apr 16, 2012

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