Author Topic: Good multi-sport GPS unit?  (Read 2918 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline peterharris

Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« on: December 09, 2010, 09:30:10 am »
I'm planning ahead and looking forward to my REI dividend and 20% discount next spring!

I need a good multi-sport GPS unit - biking, kayaking, hiking, backpacking. I have an older, bottom-of-the-line Magellan that no longer works. I'm looking for something I can use for all these outdoor activities and have a basic list of wants:

Waterproof
Screen you can read in daylight
Detailed maps (downloadable or on cards) that include coastal/navigation and trails
Runs on AA batteries
Can operate with gloves on (nice but maybe not mandatory)
Rapid signal acquisition
Color screen

Beyond that, I'm not sure what else I'm looking for but am totally open to suggestions. I'd like to try to limit the cost to $300-$400 maximum retail price. I was never very pleased with the way the Magellan operated and am sort of leaning towards a Garmin this time. The Oregon 450t looks like it has all the stuff I'm looking for but it's a little pricey (for me). It may be that I'm expecting too many features for the price I want to pay.

What have your experiences been? What manufacturers/models do you like and not like?

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2010, 11:54:42 am »
Most of our experience here is with Garmin, the market leader. Several of their models, from the budget Etrex line to the top gun GPSMAP 62, fill all the needs you list. I'd start by shopping their web site. Be sure to include the price of suitable maps as you go: probably a set of street maps and a set of topo maps.

Then, http://gpsinformation.net/ has a wealth of information about what to look for, reviews of products, and a feature matrix that helps you see what features you get at each price level.

Prices at their authorized dealers are almost always lower than on Garmin's web site. Google will find them quickly for you.

When you have narrowed it down to two or three specific models, you can search this forum for those model names and post some questions to see what other cyclists think of them.

Fred

Offline Hrushka

Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 10:51:38 am »
Hi, I am looking for a GPS that would help me with my cross country.

I know that there had been a few questions about GPS' on this community but I wanted to ask my own.

I was wondering if there is a best fitting GPS for my specifications that you guys could recommend.

I am planning to go on a cross country trip, most of the route will be using Trans-am maps that I have.

I would like the GPS to have the following

    * Upload my own routes
    * Possibly give turn by turn directions
    * Waterproof
    * Compass
    * Elevations
    * Save day to day trips (Not required)

After the bike trip I will probably use the GPS for
   
    * Tours or uploading my own routes
    * Geocaching
    * Day Hiking/Camping

I am debating between 3 GPS' Garmin Oregon 400t, Edge series or Delorme PN-40.

Has anybody used these GPS'? If you have what are your opinions of it?

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2011, 08:01:50 pm »
Some experience with the Delorme unit has been reported here. Go back to the page that shows the GPS Discussion topics and enter Delorme into the search box. Likewise for Edge and Oregon.

Most of our experience is with the Garmin line. Edge is an excellent choice for training, but not so good for touring. Oregon has the specs for touring, but the touch screen presents a question not yet answered here: how easy is it to use in the rain? with gloves? in the rain with gloves?

The proven units from Garmin have buttons that work with gloves, if not too thick. In increasing order of cost and features: the eTrex line, particularly the Vista HCx; the GPSMAP60C line, and the GPSMAP62 line.

Your searches will return lots of opinions and pointers to full details, including reviews. Please write back with any questions that remain.

Fred

Offline livewombat

Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2011, 10:37:41 pm »
I need a good multi-sport GPS unit - biking, kayaking, hiking, backpacking. I have an older, bottom-of-the-line Magellan that no longer works. I'm looking for something I can use for all these outdoor activities and have a basic list of wants:

Waterproof
Screen you can read in daylight
Detailed maps (downloadable or on cards) that include coastal/navigation and trails
Runs on AA batteries
Can operate with gloves on (nice but maybe not mandatory)
Rapid signal acquisition
Color screen

Beyond that, I'm not sure what else I'm looking for but am totally open to suggestions. I'd like to try to limit the cost to $300-$400 maximum retail price. I was never very pleased with the way the Magellan operated and am sort of leaning towards a Garmin this time. The Oregon 450t looks like it has all the stuff I'm looking for but it's a little pricey (for me). It may be that I'm expecting too many features for the price I want to pay.

What have your experiences been? What manufacturers/models do you like and not like?

I was in that spot -- after two generations of Magellans, I needed to get something different.  The Garmin 60Cx has been working great.  The two AA batteries last MUCH longer than anything in the Magellan.  Satellite acquisition is much faster.  I really like having the micro SD cards.  We loaded Scandinavia in for a trip to Copenhagen and were able to bike all around town without getting lost.  It accepts routes that we download from cycling websites, and we can upload our tracks after we tour. 

Offline Hrushka

Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2011, 05:43:38 pm »
I am now stuck between the Oregon 450t, 550t and GPSMAP 62s

I was wondering does the Garmin USA TOPO include the street by street turns?  If I upload my routes to the TOPO maps will I be able to see the streets?  Or do I need to buy Citi Navigation.

If I do need both could I just add the City Maps to the Oregon GPS, which includes TOPO maps.

Thank you for your help.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2011, 09:58:12 pm »
The Topo series of maps do not provide turn-by-turn directions on roads. You can navigate straight lines between waypoints that you place along the roads, of course, or use waypoints from Adventure Cycling that way.

Get City Navigator for turn-by-turn directions and a database of lodgings, restaurants, stores, etc.

The GPSMAP receivers can load both series together, but they must be loaded as a single package by the Garmin software on your PC or Mac. The maps that you load do not add to those already in the receiver; they replace them.

I do not know about the Oregon receivers, though. Does "includes Topo maps" mean you get a DVD to install the maps on your computer? This is a question for Garmin or perhaps someone here who owns an Oregon and both map sets.

If you buy an Oregon, please give it a try in heavy rain and write back about how that touch screen does--an unanswered question here. Also, how well does it work with gloves?

Fred

Offline Hrushka

Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2011, 08:58:45 pm »


Quote
Does "includes Topo maps" mean you get a DVD to install the maps on your computer
      Form what I read on another forum it seems that these maps are preloaded into the GPS and that if you want to see them you will have to attach the GPS to the computer.




Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2011, 09:53:41 pm »
Yes, Garmin offers that option. Before buying the Oregon, make darned sure that:

 1) you can load additional maps without wiping out the preloaded maps, and

 2) you can plan trips and routes with your computer, using the maps in the GPS. You can create waypoints and routes on the little GPS screen, but it is slow, awkward, and error-prone. No one does it there if a computer is available.

Garmin's older receivers can do neither of these things. Maybe the Oregon can. Find out from Garmin or one of the many authorized dealers that advertise on the web, and please let us know. Most of us buy the maps on DVD, install them on the computer, and load the receiver (or its plug-in memory card) from the computer.

Fred

Offline Susan

Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 02:34:50 am »
Hi Folks!
I'm very happy with my Garmin Oregon 550t, altho the maps that are preloaded on my "t" version are very basic and fairly useless.  I bought the DVDs for City Navigator NT Europe (where I live) and CN USA NT as well as the Topo USA DVD. 
Then I have Europe and US on separate 4GB microSD cards that I exchange when I travel. 
This unit has been fine in heavy rain, the battery life is about 11 to 15 hours, depending on your settings. 
The touchscreen is fine for navigating through the menu, but to enter an address, for ex., I do have to remove my heavy gloves.
Happy trails!  Susan

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Good multi-sport GPS unit?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 05:54:40 am »
Thank you, thank you Susan! Inquiring minds have been waiting for this good news.

Fred