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CHRIS
06-17-2008, 02:02 PM
I am looking at this gps unit http://www.rei.com/product/735607#ReviewHeader and I was wondering if anybody has any experinces with it? Is it easy to use after you get used to it? I know I would have to buy a topo disc but does that show the trails? I have never used one and I have the opportunity to purchase one and there is alot of great feedbacks on this unit on the REI web site. If anybody has any other gps unit they have had good luck with please feel free to jump in.
Happy Hiking
Chris

BlueDog
06-17-2008, 02:43 PM
It's a rock solid unit. My folks have one that they use for geocaching. Dad's a little bit of a gadget nut, but nearly as much as I am, but he's enjoying figuring it out. (Plus Geocaching.com and Garmin have a nice hook up to send caches directly from the site to your Garmin.)

I originally bought one of the new Magellan Tritons when they first came out. The firmware was full of so many bugs it wasn't funny. The trip between my home and office is 35 miles. The Magellan was so far off it would tell me its 115 miles.

I ended up trading it in for the new Garmin Colorado 400t. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this GPSr! It comes with the Topo maps already installed, streets are in it as well. It has the newest chipset in it for better reception. I've taken it out several time in the last few weeks to Shenandoah National Park and did some backcountry hiking under heavy tree cover and has full satelite lock the entire time.

If you can afford the extra $200, I highly recommend getting the Colorado 400t (figure you won't have to buy the topo, so its less). Otherwise, the 60csx is still a good unit and should serve you well.

spyboy
06-17-2008, 02:53 PM
I was probably the first person in New England with a Colorado 400t when it was exclusive to REI.

I returned it 2 days later.

The TFT screen is horrible in sunlight, and one feature I was really looking forward to (that my old eTrex Legend had) that the Colorado is lacking is NMEA live data feeds. I spoke with senior tech support at Garmin 3 different times. Nobody knew if it had it. They didn't even know the Colorado could partner up to a heart rate monitor (I test that with the heart rate strap from my Forerunner 305, and it worked).

the NMEA data was the clincher for me, because my camera can have a usb gps hooked to it, and geocode the lat/long into the EXIF.

I ended up swapping for the GPSMap 60 CSx and it does everything I wanted, at 1/2 the price.

If Garmin ever fixes the NMEA feed, I'd gladly go back to the Colorado (after they fix the screen issue). I thought the Colorado was a great gps, although it was pricey. It just didn't meet all the criteria I was looking for.

It might be perfect for you though, if I didn't need NMEA feeds, I would have kept it.

BTW: Colorado 400 series & GPSMap 60CSx both use the Sirf III chipset I believe, so they're much more accurate, my 60CSx was reading accuracy of 9 feet today while kayaking in Meredith)

(slightly off topic..) I changed up my Garmin C330 car gps for a Nuvi 750, because the Nuvi has a wide screen and can export the track data (so after driving around all day, I can see where I was). Yes, I'm a data geek...

I'm definitely a fan of Garmin having had..

1) eTrex Legend (still have it)
2) C330 (car gps)
3) Forerunner 305 (for hiking/running, logs gps data and heart rate)
4) Colorado 400t (for 2 days)
5) GPSMap 60 CSx (for geocoding, hiking, kayaking, etc)
6) Nuvi 750 (car gps with data export capabilities)

Kirk

Brad
06-18-2008, 05:31 AM
You are more than a data geek. You are a pure geek all the way.

I have also called you the Toy Man.

CHRIS
06-18-2008, 07:20 AM
Thanks for the replies guys. Now I need to try to figure out which one to buy. I want to buy a good one first rather than buy one then wish I had bought a better one later. I am still leaning towards the 60 csx do to I have not read to many good feedbacks on the colorado 400t. Just a couple of questions thou hopefully this won't make me look like a dah but what is the nmea feed? Also on the topo maps does it actually show the trails? Sorry if the questions are a little stupid but never owned one.
Happy Hiking
Chris

billysinc
06-18-2008, 08:11 AM
I recently picked up this unit

http://www.rei.com/product/769532

It's the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx bundled with a memory card, case, and software. Same chipset as the one you're looking at. When I was shopping around I wanted a unit that held the satellite signal in heavy cover but wasn't too outrageously priced. Which kind of narrowed the choices down to the Vista, the 60CSX, and the Delorme. When I went into my local REI down here in Cranston they had the bundle I linked to on sale for $249 which enabled me to also purchase an additional mapset of the Eastern national parks and still come out under the $399 price tag of the Delorme and 60CSX. I used it recently to bushwack during a hike to Owls Head and it never lost the signal and the woods North of Black Pond are pretty thick.

I was just in the REI Cranston last week and they still had the bundle for $249. Maybe check your local REI to see if they have the same deal.

spyboy
06-18-2008, 08:54 AM
The GPSMap 60 CSx goes for about $280 online.

What I like about this one vs the Vista/Trex series, is there are more buttons on the face, so you can get to the menus faster. It has the most important button on the face too..."mark" which instantly drops a point where you are, vs digging through a few menus. Great for when you're hiking and want to tag a split in the trail (so later you can reverse direction and just hike to the next point and work your way home).

It takes memory cards, so you can load it up. I put in a Sandisk 2gb card (I'm not sure if you can go higher than that).

You then work from the MapSource software on the pc, to select your maps/zones to load up onto it.

One thing that's semi annoying, is everytime you want to load more maps to the unit, it gets rid of the old maps (my eTrex did this too, so many it's how the MapSource software is written).

It's annoying because even on USB 2.0 it can take a while to load up all the data.

I have multiple map sets on mine, and can toggle which ones are visible.

I have the following Garmin maps (I got the DVD's to load up, instead of the memory cards, because the memory card slot is so small, it uses those Micro SD cards, you really don't want to be swapping those, you'll lose them)

- Topo 2008
- US Topo 24K National Parks East
- U.S. Inland Lakes

3rd Party Maps:
SnowRanger Northeast
http://www.mountaindynamics.com/en/setinfo.php?id=64
(11 ski resort trail maps)

Since most of my trips are in NH, I just loaded all of the data for NH from all map sets.

With the MapSource app, you can select the areas of the map you are interested in copying to the unit, and it shows a queue and how much space it will take, you repeat this for each map set you want to load.

Kirk

CHRIS
06-18-2008, 09:09 AM
I just found the 60csx @ the walmart web site for $310.00 for the bundle (cover) and the 08 topo map disc is $79.00. I am going to keep searching the web to see if I can find any cheaper.The etrex vista also has a nice price. I looked at the colorado 400t but if it had some what good feedback I would think of spending the money but so far not to good. I don't want to take a chance.
Chris

spyboy
06-18-2008, 09:35 AM
I've used http://www.megagps.com/ many times before, they're usually fast on shipping stuff.

Of course, if you're trying to get it for the weekend, you have to weigh overnight shipping vs the higher price in the store (at least in NH there's no sales tax!)

Kirk

CHRIS
06-18-2008, 11:38 AM
Well just ordered the Garmin 60csx from walmart and I should have it next week it all came out to $424.03 thats the gps,case,topo map and tax + frt. I called Rei in Hingham but they still wanted $399.00 just for gps so I guess I did alright . I thank you for your link Spyboy but they wanted $319.00 plus. Now all have to do is figure out how to use it when it gets here next week. Thanks everybody for all your help.

Patrad Fischroy
06-18-2008, 01:23 PM
Sorry I am a little late to this party, but for anyone looking for decent reviews on GPS
http://gpsinformation.net/

These guys have been very good in the past and while I haven't been on their site in a while I will still go out on a limb and recommend it. I don't know if it will apply to you, Chris, but check out Dale DePriest's documents on using Garmin GPS units, it was really helpful to me when I first got my GPS 3+ many years ago and I think it had updated info when I got my Garmin Vista some years later.
I am envious of you getting the 60csx, I have been looking at that unit for a number of years, but I just can't justify it with the vista still working so well.
As to sources, I have had pretty good luck with these folks. Their prices are generally good and their technical support has been topnotch

http://www.tvnav.com/

spyboy
06-18-2008, 06:57 PM
Yes, but I'm not the one with the heated driveway....


You are more than a data geek. You are a pure geek all the way.

I have also called you the Toy Man.

Brad
06-18-2008, 07:35 PM
Yes, but I'm not the one with the heated driveway....
It is purely functional.

spyboy
06-18-2008, 08:27 PM
so is a shovel :)


It is purely functional.

CHRIS
06-23-2008, 08:07 AM
I got the 60csx on Friday and was playing with it this weekend. I have a question maybe Spyboy can answer. I got the topo map and installed it but I noticed there are some trails that it does not show. Does anybody know if the US Topo 24K National Parks East would show more trails? Any help would be appreciated. I am new to this and never even had one in my hands. I am thinking maybe if the weater is good either this Sat. or maybe Sat. the 5th going up and doing the Ammo-Jewell trail. Thanks in advance.

spyboy
06-23-2008, 10:50 AM
Some of the trails only show when you zoom to a certain level. I'm assuming you bought a DVD of maps? So you have MapSource installed on your pc and have the maps loaded there. You'll see the same data on that screen as you will on your GPS.

The Topo 24k are only for the national parks, so unless you're hiking there, you're not going to get any data with that mapset.

Kirk

CHRIS
06-23-2008, 11:11 AM
Thanks for the guick reply Kirk. After I loaded it on the laptop and went to the top of Mount Washington I noticed that the Gulf something trail (don't have map right now+forgot whole name) that goes to the Jewell trail does not show. But on the paper map it shows. Thanks again Kirk

bc529
12-13-2009, 04:27 PM
I have been looking at the 60csx as a christmas gift I was wondering if I should get the bundle that comes with the topo map or should I get a different map. They will be hiking in NH around the New Found lake region, Franconia notch, and basically White Mountains just wondering what is the best map to get is Thanks everybody

spyboy
12-21-2009, 01:37 PM
It's preloaded with the topo I believe, and you can add more maps to the unit (and switch between them).

Buy maps on CD/DVD, don't get them on data cards. The memory card is tiny and behind the battery so switching maps is not easy. Just get the largest memory card supported, put that in and load maps from the DVD's.

The 100k maps are nice, but 24k maps are going to have more detail. While driving I find the 100k can be a little too detailed (you can reduce detail) and the 24k maps are way too detailed to read zoomed out (for driving) but are perfect for hiking.

One accessory I do recommend is the carabiner clip, holds the gps and you can clip to a belt loop or a pack https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=1035

Kirk

Gorque
12-22-2009, 07:41 AM
With the GPS capability of many smart-phones, are the days of the dedicated GPS unit over. As long as one can get a cell-phone signal, Google maps of the area can be downloaded and cached beforehand. If a cell-phone signal cannot be received, the smart-phones, with an app, will display accurate longitude and latitude for use with a map. Any thoughts for or against?

Patrad Fischroy
12-22-2009, 08:44 AM
With the GPS capability of many smart-phones, are the days of the dedicated GPS unit over. As long as one can get a cell-phone signal, Google maps of the area can be downloaded and cached beforehand. If a cell-phone signal cannot be received, the smart-phones, with an app, will display accurate longitude and latitude for use with a map. Any thoughts for or against?

On the Pro argument I would say the Smart-phone option is good because you will always have the updated maps and points of interest(POI) data. with dedicated GPS units you only have your last updated map and with the expense of thos, you might not keep them as up to date. This is really good around town finding restaurants and other services.

On the Con side I harbor the suspicion that most all-in-one devices don't really do any one this in an optimal manner. Generally, in order to fit all thise features into one package, some sacrifices must be made. I am not all that familiar with too many smart-phones, but do they offer a large library of user collected waypoints? Usually I like a device that is specifically designed for the task at hand. Besides, this way I get more stuff!!

Snow Miser
12-22-2009, 11:45 AM
With the GPS capability of many smart-phones, are the days of the dedicated GPS unit over. As long as one can get a cell-phone signal, Google maps of the area can be downloaded and cached beforehand. If a cell-phone signal cannot be received, the smart-phones, with an app, will display accurate longitude and latitude for use with a map. Any thoughts for or against?

I am PRO on this. I have been thinking of getting a GPS unit, but once Verizon releases the Palm Pre, which has built-in GPS, I plan on using that. I will just cache the maps I need before heading into an area where I will most certainly lose data coverage.

The only down side is that I hear the Pre's battery life will be shortened while using the GPS, but that's why they sell extra batteries. And in the car, I plan on just keeping it plug in.

On the Pre subject, people are really beginning to write some amazing Apps for the WebOS, so I am sure many will have some really cool features utilizing the GPS.

mtruman
12-22-2009, 07:06 PM
With the GPS capability of many smart-phones, are the days of the dedicated GPS unit over. As long as one can get a cell-phone signal, Google maps of the area can be downloaded and cached beforehand. If a cell-phone signal cannot be received, the smart-phones, with an app, will display accurate longitude and latitude for use with a map. Any thoughts for or against?

I wish the smart phone was a little better option but for hiking I don't think they're quite ready to replace a dedicated GPS. For one thing the standard Google Maps app doesn't support the terrain view (and even if it did it's not a real topo map). I also don't believe that there's any way to get Google Maps to pre-cache the maps so you still need a cell signal. I'm sure that with the improving capabilities of the smart phones that there will be other sources for better maps and GPS apps to go with them. Don't get me wrong - I love my new Droid Eris and Google Maps is awesome on it and I use the app constantly - just not for hiking. The Google My Tracks app is also really good for recording track logs and syncing to Google My Maps on the web and importing into Earth.

spyboy
12-23-2009, 09:13 AM
You said it right in your post, "good reception" that excludes the White Mountains.

I did buy AccuTerra for my iPhone. It's an offline GPS, but you have to buy the topos for each state, and it's a bit pricey for an iPhone app. But, it does let you go offline and use it (unlike Google Maps).

Also, true GPS's like the Garmin GPSMap 60CSx are rugged and water resistant.

There are newer models like the Colorado and now there's even more new models, so really it depends on how you're going to use it, and if you're going to keep it in a pocket until needed or clipped to a pack.

I carry my iPhone when I'm out in the woods, but it's usually shut off, since reception is very spotty. Don't want to kill the battery searching for a tower.

Kirk

spyboy
12-23-2009, 09:20 AM
BTW: Here's the link to AccuTerra

http://www.accuterra.com/

The issue I found is the battery life on the iPhone isn't great to begin with, and with the screen lit up, it really eats the battery (as does haven't the GPS running).

On my handheld Garmin, it's rated to go 18 hours on 2x AA batteries.

Of course be smart about it, if you're breaking for lunch for a 1/2-1 hour, turn the unit off - just remember to turn it on when you start up again, so you can log your progress ;)

billysinc
12-23-2009, 09:41 AM
Gotta agree with the folks here about smartphone GPS's. I've owned a few smartphones with built in GPS capability and while nice in the car for directions I wouldn't use it for a hiking GPS. Battery life goes away quickly, the chipset isn't up to par with a good hiking GPS so trees and heavy cover make getting a satellite lock difficult, and finally the mapping software itself either has to load via a cell signal or even if it is preloaded I haven't found one specifically with hiking trails on them for my phone.

Mark........Droid Eris, nice. I have the HTC Magic running Android. I love it.

Snow Miser
12-23-2009, 12:29 PM
I have to thank you guys for the recommendations on using a single GPS unit over one in a smartphone for hiking. It's good to be on the forums here to get advice from those that have experience with things like this. I will have to check out some of the models mentioned above, and order a Christmas present for myself.:D Thanks again!

Gorque
12-23-2009, 03:54 PM
Great list of pro's and con's. Thanks. :)

mtruman
12-23-2009, 06:16 PM
Gotta agree with the folks here about smartphone GPS's. I've owned a few smartphones with built in GPS capability and while nice in the car for directions I wouldn't use it for a hiking GPS. Battery life goes away quickly, the chipset isn't up to par with a good hiking GPS so trees and heavy cover make getting a satellite lock difficult, and finally the mapping software itself either has to load via a cell signal or even if it is preloaded I haven't found one specifically with hiking trails on them for my phone.

Mark........Droid Eris, nice. I have the HTC Magic running Android. I love it.

Actually the battery issue for the phone is probably the biggest one. Lucky to get 4-5 hours using the GPS with My Tracks. The good thing about the dedicated GPS is that not only is the battery life longer, but it's easy to carry spares (particularly AAs).

I hadn't heard about AccuTerra before Kirk's post. Looks pretty interesting. Now they just need an Android version. I agree with you Billy - I love the Android phone. Getting better all the time with the increased focus from the software community on new apps and the big focus from Google on improvements. Can't wait for Android 2.0 (or 2.1) on the Eris and all the additional goodies that that will bring. VZ says sometime next month...

BlueDog
12-24-2009, 01:21 PM
FWIW... I've got a Garmin Oregon 400T and an iPhone 3GS. Battery issues aside, I've purchased the Groundspeak iPhone App for Geocaching so I could get cache info anytime/anywhere. I've done some side-by-side tests of using both devices simultaneously to actually navigate to caches and I'd be really hard pressed to say which one is better.

I'll continue to carry both and I think in an emergency one of my first steps would be to take a photo of myself with the iPhone and immediately post or mms it to someone, as that would show condition, place and include the GPS coords of where I was.