Advice on Best GPS

Please provide your advice on the best GPS unit for touring / backpacking. I want to buy one unit to use in both applications.

I like my Garmin “e-Trex”, Legend
… I posted on P-Net, like you did here, last fall. I got a lot of replies saying the Garmin “e-Trex” line was a great GPS for the money. The e-Trex “Legend” model was reccommended the most. It has better detail on the sxcreen, and you can select what you want to display on the screen. It also has maps right in it for most of all major roads in the whole USA, plus is also has Marine maps in it. I got it at a local shop for $164.99. It was well worth it!

… I use it when kayaking to track speed and distance, and I take it in the car using the maps so I don’t get lost. It works really well for me.

… Also at the top of P-Net chat screen, you will see a listing of available pages to look at, and the word “Archives”. Click on the word Archives, and you can enter the words GPS in the selection block, and search for previoys postings. There have been several threads in the last 6 months on this. I have seen a lot of good info.

… I have personally had bad luck with Magellen, so I would not reccomend that brand to my worse enemy. I think Garmin is very good.

Good luck!

Ledgend C
I got the Ledgen Color model. Nice bright screen. A bit of a learning curve. FishHawk

Let me be the first to suggest you provide a bit more info… - (Wow, how many times have I seen those words in a post?)

GPS units range widely in price and features.

What features can’t you live without?

Do you need onboard maps?

A digital compass?

Do you just want the unit for a specific data function, or will you end up using whatever bells and whistles come loaded on the unit?

How important is weight to you?

How much are you willing to spend?

How advanced are your map and compass skills?

Do you plan on focusing more on the GPS unit in the future, or will you be merely supplementing your traditional orienteering skills?

I don’t know, maybe a few thing to think about - I’m sure folks here have the knowledge to answer any more specific question you may have about these wonderful devices…


Uniden Mystic
Anyone have any experience with the Uniden Mystic? Its a GPS with Marine VHF combined and claims to be submersible. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I’ve never spoke to anyone who owns one.

Lightweight and small for backpacking

– Last Updated: Feb-03-05 6:23 PM EST –

First of all, Jarvis makes some good points. There are a lot of factors to consider before you can decide what's best for you. But if you want something light and compact, you'd have a hard time doing better than an E-Trex or E-Trex Legend. I always say this, but since you should have a map of your area and a compass no matter what GPS you have, why bother with electronic maps at all? The plain E-Trex has no built-in maps and is very inexpensive. But that's just me. As far as size and weight, I'd be willing to pay *extra* for something small and compact, but with the two E-Trex models, you actually pay *less* for that benefit (most other models are bigger and heavier AND more expensive).

For kayaking on the sea
someing out of the gamrin 76 series.

Best resolution makes it readable in more difficult conditions. All buttons on front panel. Nominally waterproof and floating. some map capable some with barometer, base map is helpbul for sea kayaking.

flat water; there are lots of choices.

Some reviews…
Found this when i was shopping for one. I didn’t want maps and all so I went with a geko 201 and it does everything I need it to do and it’s tiny and fits easy in a pocket.

This guy has some decent reviews on the limited GPSs he covers. Hope it helps!

Yo Han

Ain’t no such thing as submersable.
No piece of electronics is totally submersable. The fact that the company will repair it for free or replace it does not solve the problem of trying to call the Coast Guard while you are in the water and the radio stopped working when you capsized.

Personally, I prefer separate units. The GPS is a back-up to my map and compass. They never seem to run out of batteries.

I use a Standard HX350S radio and a Garmin GPS Map76. Both units have worked for several years without a problem - but they are kept in drybags.

I like my Meridian Marine
Can’t really do a direct comparison but…

Meridian Marine by Magellin. Larger screen that Etrex, higher definition coastlines than the other Meridians. Antenna is supposedly better under cover than the Etrex ( can get a fix in my house). Takes SD expansion memory. Most importantly for me, you can put it in a cell phone dry bag and still operate the buttons on the front.

That being said, their Topo software could use improvement.

Have one myself and love it. For short money, its great for all I do. Paddle, snowshoe etc etc.

Very waterproof as well. Mine was in my gear bag in my pinned boat in heavy Class III current for three days, and it turned on without a battery change once we got the boat out.

Good luck,


Go Magellan
I’ve had both Garmin Legend, and a Magellan Gold. Garmin doesn’t do as well (in Ohio) picking up the satalites! I can use the Magellan in the middle of my living room, I couldn’t get 1 sat. to connect when I next to the windows.


Many lightweight backpackers
are of the opinion that since you should never rely only on a mapping gps for maps and should always carry paper maps also, why use a mapping gps at all? The screen is thought to be too small to really do much good with maps. Instead buy one without a map function.