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on December 18, 2010
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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on January 17, 2016
I was able to download Alaska State Park maps onto my computer, import them into Garmin's Basecamp software, then convert the tracks (trail maps) into routes. Those routes can then be uploaded to this wonderful little device in seconds along with all of the waypoints (trail heads, campsites, ranger stations, etc.). In essence, it works as a true GPS with maps, despite its perceived limitations. At each trail juncture or fork, I create a waypoint in Basecamp that indicates the name of the respected splitting trail. Should I take that trail, I simply switch to the necessary route which I have also uploaded. It is nearly seamless. Topography is a no-go, but if you can't see the topography and don't have a map, you shouldn't be out there anyway.

Me and my buddy were on a hike and the trail was overgrown and riddled with newly felled trees. Thanks to this device, I could tell which tree to scoot under to regain the trail because of its ability to handle rudimentary map/trail info from my computer. A few hundred yards up and there it is, the vista we were looking for.

Tip: Turn on the WAAS GPS mode. It is accurate to 3 meters (only available in North America) and makes a huge difference in terms of raw accuracy.

I will never hike without this. Especially in the Alaskan wilderness, Anchorage backcountry or what have you. Waterproof, rugged, accurate, efficient (battery life), and smaller than you think. Additionally, it takes light AAA batteries, so recharging, even days out on the trail is never an issue, as you would find with the "fancier" and more expensive Garmin Fenix line.

No maps is a myth... See what you can find and link it up with Basecamp.
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on April 4, 2016
Fantastic functions and screen options for its size. Has many map options including MGRS.
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on November 23, 2016
Great product. I'm a Marine grunt and use this in the field for getting MGRS grid and elevation. Pretty much all officers and NCO's/SNCO's in the infantry use this b/c it's so small, accurate, and convenient on your wrist or plate carrier. Lat/Long is default, but you can go into settings and change. Antenna is so sensitive that I've received satellite link inside a building, cloudy days, thick forest, and inside an up armor HMMWV. I have not tried using it in a very built up urban environment like a large US metropolitan city (I imagine you'll have problems getting link), but small towns or villages, and you're good.
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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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VINE VOICEon July 6, 2017
It takes a little practice if you are used to a more graphical interface type GPS. This is definitely a no frills unit. It is wrist mounted and will always get you home. I have used mine in snow and ice and ocean water, from deserts to mountain peaks and it has always gotten me home. It was left in snow over night at about 5F (maybe warmer in the snow?) and after a battery change it kept on plugging. I once dropped it in a freezing stream and still it kept on working. It survived a mini sand storm. I would recommend turning off electronic compass to conserve battery. And make sure you read instructions and practice before taking it into the field. It will not be intuitive if you don't have experience. It is MGRS compatible.

It is due for an upgrade, and Garmin is exception to launch said upgrade in a month or two.
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on May 16, 2017
Works as expected (I had a 301 I gave to my son a few years back). This is a great product for backcountry skiers where we need to keep track of elevation and for navigating in complex terrain. Intuitive and easy to use. The only negative is that you cannot use it more than two days (10 hours total) in cold skiing temperatures without replacing the 2-AAA batteries.

As a side note, I had to fabricate a new wrist strap. The velcro on the original did not stand the use after only two weeks of use. But It did not change my recommendation. I am a heavy user under harsh climatic conditions, and they strap was not designed to stand that type of use.
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on April 19, 2017
Awesome, I couldn't be happier with my foretrex plus the shipping was really fast. thank you so much
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on November 29, 2016
The single best product I have ever bought. Made through multiple Afghanistan Deployments, Hiking in the Adirondacks, and general travel. I import the data to google maps and wipe it. Never quits, near breaks, has all the features and Marine Infantry Officer needs, none of the ones they don't. Not bulky.
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on November 20, 2013
I also own the 201 and this 401 unit is a big improvement. First of all it reads the satellites and is ready to go the instant you turn it on. The 201 could take up to 10 minutes in some environments. The 201 would also lose satellite contact in densely wooded areas. The 401 doesn't.

I love the ability to customize the main screen with the four primary bits of information that are best for you (there are about 40 to pick from). In addition to elapsed time for my hike and total distance covered, I choose maximum altitude gain (I hike to the top of mountains), and current altitude. You can pick from many others--average speed, distance to next waypoint, and lots more. Another improvement is a backlight if you need it which the 201 did not have.

The only negative thing is that the 201 automatically saved each hike/run/bike ride that you made and you could look at these individually or by week or month or year and see totals. The 401 doesn't do that but you can save and download individual sessions to your computer if you want to. It is still an outstanding product and I'm glad that I bought it.
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