Author Topic: Best GPS for touring  (Read 1741 times)

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Online jrswenberger

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2014, 01:30:50 pm »
Great guys for all the help, it appears the Etrex is the one to get.  Now what's the difference between Etrex 20 and 30 besides cost?

Then I noticed Garmin has two types of maps, Topo US 100k and Garmin Street Maps and Navigation called the City Navigator NT, which of the two is best for road touring?  or can both be inside the unit and accessed separately?

The etrex 30 adds a barometric altimeter, electronic compass and the ability to wirelessly transfer information. Other than that, the 20 and 30 are only different colors.

Open Street maps are free and can be downloaded for nearly any part of the planet. Here's a link

We've been using an older etrex for years with Open Street maps around the world. It recently was killed in a horrendous downpour in Turkey due to a well known (fixed in the 10/20/30 series) design flaw. We will be happily returning to touring in New Zealand and Australia in 6 weeks with our new etrex 30!  We don't need it for turn by turn directions, only to verify general navigation decisions on the bike. Off the bike, we regularly take it into the backcountry, especially in the snowy winter where trails don't exist.

Enjoy the ride,
Jay
ACA Life Member 368

Online froze

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2014, 05:43:12 pm »
Thanks again, now I think this is my last question: can both the topo US 100k and the City Navigator NT (Open Street Maps) be saved in the Etrex and be called up separately as need requires of one or the other?  Or for cycling just get the Open Street Maps and forget the other?

Offline mdxix

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2014, 10:47:18 pm »
Thanks again, now I think this is my last question: can both the topo US 100k and the City Navigator NT (Open Street Maps) be saved in the Etrex and be called up separately as need requires of one or the other?  Or for cycling just get the Open Street Maps and forget the other?
Yes, you can have multiple maps, just make sure you have a large enough memory card to store both (probably 8GB+).

City Navigator NT ≠ Open Street Maps. One is for $100+ while the other is free, among many other differences.

Online froze

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2014, 10:01:34 am »
Great guys all my questions have been answered.  I'm leaning toward the 20 since it's a bit less money and the extra stuff it comes with I really don't need, but I may revise later.

Offline cheesehawk

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2015, 06:19:19 pm »
Looking at this issue myself. I'm riding from Baltimore to Oregon, leaving in about 4 weeks. I'll be using TA sections 1-2, and possibly 3 and 4. Other than that, it is a self-designed route.

In a previous life (circa 2011)  I owned an eTrex Vista HCX. My wife found it difficult to load the maps, and made me promise that I wouldn't do that to her again. I found the unit lacking when I got down to small backroads on the ACA UGRR route. I pre-built the entire route (UGRR sections 1 and 2) into about 8 segments, but found that the files were too large for the unit to hold and give me turn-by-turn navigation. I get that the OSMs appear to be easier to load now, but have the other issues been resolved?

It sounds like the eTrex 30 would be superior for downloading waypoints. How many waypoints are in an average ACA map section?

It sounds like the Edge Touring might be simpler from the standpoint that the maps are pre-loaded. How many waypoints will it hold for when I get to the ACA portions of my ride?

What are people using to mount their eTrex units to their bicycle?

Thanks for the help.

Online froze

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2015, 10:32:09 pm »
From what I learned from all of this is that the Etrex 20 and 30 models now use the Glosnass system which makes it able to receive more sats giving it better accuracy, and the new ones have more memory and more space for tracks and waypoints.  It also can use multiple IMG files instead of just single files so you can use different maps from different sources.  Garmin improved the simplicity of using the newer models and improved the mounting hardware.

Offline ZiZohn

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2015, 11:37:35 pm »
I downloaded my Etrex 30 with the Southern Tier waypoints for my trip last year. I found that I as I got into the last 2 weeks of the ride, I was missing the waypoints. I did have the City Navigator Map installed. I believe the waypoint limit on the Etrex 30 is 2000 waypoints, and the Southern Tier must have exceeded that limit. But while I had them, it was nice to use to match up with the paper ACA maps. Kept us on course a couple of times. I didn't have it set to to give me turn-by-turn directions. But as I came on a waypoint marked on the Etrex, I new to look down at the map to get my bearings for which direction to go. Also, The batteries lasted about 3-4 days of riding and then needed changed. But that depended on if I remembered to shut it off during rest stops or not.

Online froze

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2015, 12:50:37 pm »
Can that 2000 limit waypoint problem be enlarged with a larger memory card?

I also just now found out that Garmin makes a model called the GPSMAP 64 Worldwide.  This unit has 5,000 waypoints of storage, and the cost is reasonable at around $255, and you can buy an optional bike mount kit.

I have to do more investigating into the the GPSMAP 64 vs the Etrex 30 to figure out which is more suited for cycling, someone can beat me to it that would be great.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 12:59:13 pm by froze »

Offline cheesehawk

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2015, 11:17:12 am »
It feels like the perfect long-distance bicycle touring device has not been offered for sale yet. I'll try to answer a couple of the questions I posed above (thanks to ACA mapping folks for having a very general discussion with me).

"It sounds like the eTrex 30 would be superior for downloading waypoints. How many waypoints are in an average ACA map section? It sounds like the Edge Touring might be simpler from the standpoint that the maps are pre-loaded. How many waypoints will it hold for when I get to the ACA portions of my ride?"


As a very rough approximation, it sounds like an ACA section will normally have over 200 waypoints for turn-by-turn navigation alone, and additional waypoints for points of interest. A single section might also have well over 1000 waypoints. The number of waypoints per section will depend greatly on the number of turns and the number of services available. More remote sections will have fewer waypoints. For example, it appears that TA section 1 has about 250 waypoints for turn-by-turn navigation alone.

The Touring and Touring Plus and Edge 1000 are all limited to 200 waypoints. The eTrex 20 and 30 each hold 2000 waypoints.  So based on this information, I would expect an eTrex 20 or 30 to hold between 1-2 sections of ACA maps with points of interest, and maybe as many as 4 with just turn-by-turn navigation. However, it does not appear to me that the eTrex 30 is able to use OSM, and it does not come pre-loaded with cycling suitable maps. This will create an additional cost. The value of OSM for long-distance touring may be limited at this point (OSM relies upon user input, so more remote areas may be less well mapped and updated), but it provides a degree of flexibility, and its free.



Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2015, 11:32:59 am »
FWIW, I've been pretty pleased with OSM in the US.  It's got pretty good coverage, sometimes even better than commercial products.  (For example, there's a "new" road just up the hill from me that was built some 8 years ago.  OSM shows it, but Delorme Topo 10 doesn't.)

If OSM has a downside, it's that they've apparently taken satellite data and sometimes think there's a road where it's actually a farm lane or long driveway.  But you've seen the news stories about the people following their Garmin on a shortcut, right?

Offline cheesehawk

Re: Best GPS for touring
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2015, 04:01:04 pm »
I have not real experience with it, obviously. FWIW I found the cycling layer to be a little confusing to follow for stretches of northern Nebraska that I plan to cycle this spring. I think the problem (and a problem that is shared by google maps in bicycle mode) is that US highway numbers often are not present.