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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-26-2008, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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Default GPS recommendations?

Fired up from hiking Berg Lake for the first time in 15+ years, thinking I should start doing this again, and looking over my old topos and thinking about hikes that aren't on most of the maps (some I've done before, others I've wanted to). Including a number of well-known trails here in the Robson Valley and some much older and generally unused trails in Robson/Jasper parks which mostly don't appear on modern maps, but a few do on older ones (I have a thing about old trails).

[For example, you can theoretically hike out of the Tonquin Valley via the old Meadow Creek Trail, which used to be a main route in and out and had telegraph poles(!) along it's entire length. The trail wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonquin_Valley) says "Unbeknownst to many is the older and unused access via the Meadow Creek trail. This trail is considered impassable as it has not been maintained for decades. Some portions of the trail are visible in Google Earth." I hiked this trail 15+ years ago, and a neighbour also did a few years before that. So now I'd like to revisit it and see just how impassable it is (when I hiked it, there was a LOT of deadfall across the lower half of the trail, but the backcountry campsite halfway down was intact complete with primitive bear pole and ladder, and despite the deadfall we persisted).]

And since I love maps and would love to mark these trails so other interested people can see or even hike them (and since most trails are not as visible in the satellite images as Berg Lake is), I think it might be time for a GPS.

I don't want to spend a fortune, actually I'd like to spend as little as possible. Here's what I need - something to track where I've been fairly accurately, that I can put the odd waypoint in, and download the lot to my computer after with a minimum of hassle, and not much more. I don't even need to put in maps (don't want to pay extra for those) as I'll be hiking with real paper maps and compass etc. (and do know how to use same) so I'm not looking for something to tell me where I am or how to get back to somewhere I was or any other fancy bells and whistles, just want to be able to record my tracks over periods of up to 5 days. Don't need music or weather or traffic reports. Elevation and time records would be nice but aren't critical.

Suggestions? There are tons of devices out there and I'd like simple and light-weight and not too many (expensive) bells and whistles.

Thanks in advance for suggestions.
Lelani
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-26-2008, 10:56 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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The Garmin Geko 201 is very small, very light, and doesn't do too much. I just use it to tell me where I am. It's also pretty cheap.

Unfortunately I believe it uses some older components, so it doesn't work as well in the forest etc. It seems that some of the newer GPS models can get a fix practically anywhere, which would be convenient sometimes, especially if you just want to toss it in your pack and record where you go.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 07:40 AM
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The Garmin eTrexH is the new base model of the eTrex line will do what you want and features a high sensitivity receiver for better reception under tree cover. It can be found for under $100 but the computer interface cable has to be purchased separately and is a serial (not USB) connection.

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=144&pID=8705

The eTrex Legend is about $30 more but comes with the serial cable and displays mapping. It is not a high sensitivity receiver,

http://www.gpscentral.ca/products/ga...trexlegend.htm

The eTrex VentureHC is about $180, includes a USB interface cable, has a color display and displays mapping.

http://www.gpscentral.ca/products/ga...enture-hc.html

Free topomaps for Garmin receivers are available from The Ibycus Topo Map Project

http://www.ibycus.com/ibycustopo/
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 11:18 AM
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I'm gonna second the suggestion on the Garmin eTrexH . All you need is a GPS with better antenna sensitivity and the basic functions are more than enough.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 01:46 PM
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I'm going to suggest E-bay or Craigslist for an older non mapping unit for your needs, save your money

SGrant had one on the Broken Islands trip I did with him and it was great because your right, all you really need is a UTM or LONG/LAT reading and your paper maps.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 04:02 PM
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I use the eTrex Vista HCX. I paid $270 for it at Wholesale Sports, and believe me it's worth every penny. For about 50-60 cheaper you can skip the Barometric Altimeter, and Compass, but those are features that I use all the time.

The Vista is pretty good on batteries comparitively to old models, and most importantly (especially when you are walking at the base of a mountain, or in a tight canyon, it has the High Sensitivity receiver. I can't stress enough about buying a unit with the high sensitivity receiver, it makes your map tracking that much more accurate.

When I was at Berg Lake, I was *astounded* at how quickly my unit ripped through batteries. Make sure that battery life is good for whatever unit you do decide on.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 06:16 PM
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I second what Avatar said about the HCx, it is a generation better both in battery life and reception than my old GPSMap76s. The H looks like it has not quite as good battery life as the HCx, but still has a high sensitivity receiver. If you're gonna be hiking in forest, spend the $100 and get the eTrex H. If not, buy a last generation one, save some $ and carry 2 extra batteries.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 08:59 PM
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Does anyone know if this GPS can be used with rechargable barreries?
The eTrex VentureHC is about $180, includes a USB interface cable, has a color display and displays mapping.
I have rechargable Energizer NiMH for my camera.
The book says to use Alkaline, NiMH, or Lithium batteries but it does not say if they can be rechargable.
http://www.gpscentral.ca/products/ga...enture-hc.html
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 07:02 AM
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I use rechargeables with my Vista HCX. They work fine. In fact there is a setting that you can toggle that allows the device to optimize power usage vs NiMh and Alkalines.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 09:16 AM
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I'm a luddite, but determined to buy a handheld GPS as a gift. I looked around a bit and decided on the Garmin eTrex Legend HCx, though it cost more than I wanted to spend ($260.00 + tax at Deakin). Yesterday I went on line, and found one on Tigerdirect.ca for about $100.00 less so I ordered it thinking I was a savy shopper.

However, on reviewing my order, I see its a Legend Cx (no H) which is apparently discontinued by Garmin. For those who have experience with these things, did I mess up? Is the Cx merely an older version, which would be the reason for it being discontinued?

Thx, Sally
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 09:27 AM
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The Legend Cx doesn't have the high sensitivity receiver that the H's do.

I went from a GPS Map 60 CS to Vista HCx for the high sensitivity receiver, the satellite reception is so much more accurate.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 09:56 AM
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I'm getting that the high sensitivity is ++ important, so I should send the Cx back once I get it. (So much for the savy shopper...d'oh).

Do you find altimeter and compass a "must have". The GPS will be used during hiking, skiing, and mountain biking but not in particularly remote areas.

I appreciate the feedback!

-Sally
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 11:30 AM
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Although I wrote these pages a few years ago, much of the info is still relevant:
http://members.shaw.ca/davepatton/gpspurchase.html
http://members.shaw.ca/davepatton/gpsintrees.html

I haven't kept up with 'the latest developments' in the GPS world for the last few years, but I'm going to have to 'catch up', because I'm finding that my Garmin eTrex Venture is starting to have 'the typical problems'(faulty click-stick; loose internal connection). Also, as most of what I use a GPS for involves forested areas, I want to get a GPS receiver with improved reception under forest canopy.

GPS Central (http://www.gpscentral.ca/) has lots of GPS receivers, and it used to be the case that they often had additional information beyond what was available on the manufacturer's website.

P.S.
(waves to "pdops" :-)

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post #14 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 11:50 AM
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I like the compass and altimeter personally. I try and get into the alpine and like to see how much I've climbed. I also do a lot of geocaching, so the compass is really helpful.

My sister has the same unit family I do( she has the Legend, me the Vista), without the barometric altimeter/compass. She mostly uses hers for geocaching. She's super happy with it as well. It all depends on what you want to do with it.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Wildman
The book says to use Alkaline, NiMH, or Lithium batteries but it does not say if they can be rechargable.
There's no such thing as a non-rechargable NiMH battery, so yes, the Garmin supports them. The Lithiums are non-rechargable - I dont think you can find AA rechargable Lithium-Ion anyhow.
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