Garmin Etrex Legend?????

I got one for Christmas.

What the hell am I supposed to do with it?

Seriously, I know I can mark waypoints, but I always know exactly where I am, and where I am going :wink:

I can figure out how long my beach walks are…

I can figure out how fast I paddle, not that I care much…

What are some interesting things to do with this gadget?

Reverse Course
You can mark a trail and then it can direct you back in reverse. Kind of a handy feature if you are in unfamiliar territory or in places where visibility is limited like swamps or marshlands.

Good Point
It can be amazing how different a trail looks on the way back. I always try and look behind me to mark the way back

Use it for post-paddle analysis
You can take it with you on paddles (or hikes or bike rides for that matter) and then upload the track to your computer. Then go to free sites like or or to plot your track on a map and get some statistics, etc.

I got one too. Same question.
Time and distance seem to be the most useful.

Garmin Etrex Legend
I’d suggest you take a look at geocaching as an easy way to learn how to use your GPS. You can go to and by putting in your zip code find caches near where you live. You’ll probably also find some that are kayak/canoe accessible only which provides a good opportunity to learn how to use the GPS while enjoying paddling.

Combine with Google Earth
I basically use mine for speed and distance. More recently I use it to verify my course in the Wilderness Waterway in the Everglades National Park. Nice to verify when all the islands look the same!

I have done many trips now based on or Google Earth. I look at the area I want to visit and mark down the GPS coordinates and convert for Garmin input (Garmin uses degrees, minutes, and then decimal minutes instead of seconds - just divide the seconds by 60 to get the decimal minutes).

I’ve picked a path thru island chains using Google Earth and then use my GPS to get me there. It is great for that. Of course I always have my map and compass. The GPS has helped me to use the map and compass much better because it gave me the confidence to go to places I normally wouldn’t and use my map but have GPS for back up.

Last thing: The GPS is good for letting you know how far to next campsite/stop.

If you want more capability, return it
and get the Garmin Etrex Vista HCX. You can then use it with bluechart, city navigator, and topo maps. I use mine anywhere I want to go. I like knowing how far I paddled and at what speed, and when I am in a new area it is nice to know that I am not heading down some dead end or the “shortcut” to nowhere. It is also good for going on walks and knowing how much ground you have covered. I also like it for hunting out west and use in any rental car instead of the junk inits they overcharge for.

I originally got my Legend
’cuz there are some places around here that are meandering backwaters that branch often. There were several times that I had a hard time remembering if I turned left, right, or went straight there. The trail of bread crumbs feature is very handy for situations like this.

After I got it, I must admit that the speed, time, distance stuff is very cool, but I don’t think I would have bought it solely for these functions.

Geocaching and Waymarking


The Legend is a mapping unit, though it has limited map memory. I suggest you pick up Mapsource Topo so you can have detailed topo maps for your area, or wherever you like to paddle.

With only 8 megs you might find yourself needing to reload maps if you travel far enough, but the process only takes a few minutes.

Some other things you can do:

Create hiking trail maps for your area

Calculate the acreage of a piece of property

Use it in your car to find your way around (the Legend doesn’t do autorouting, but you can see where you are on the map)

Mark your car in the mall parking lot so you can find it after a day of shopping.

Love My Legend!
I’ve had a Garmin Legend for years and I love it.

I mainly use it to mark track logs in order to document all of my paddle and hiking trips. Over the past few years, the number of trips is quite large and it’s nice to be able to see older trips that may not be freash in my mind. If you ever decide to go back you can retrace your exact route. I also use it for waypoint marking for both Geocaching and sometimes for recreation grants.

I recently got the new Mapsource Metroguide North America Version 7. I have yet to actually use it on the GPS receiver yet but with that program you can download point to point driving directions. It seems very cool just playing with the computer program.

Hope this kind of helps.


Google Earth
I use google earth a lot on my job.

I gues I could plan out a route across the Aegean from Athens to Izmir, but with the dollar at all time lows, its not happening anytime soon

You’ve got to be kidding me…
Once you buy & install the appropriate map set(s) on your computer (either the topo or bluewater navigation maps), you’ll find endless hours of fun plotting out waypoints and routes in preparation for your next paddling adventure, just waiting to be downloaded to your receiver. And when you get back, upload your tracks to see just how well you stayed on course. It’s also a nice way to archive your trips/expeditions.

Not sure where you paddle, but if you’re in an area that’s prone to fog, you’ll be glad you had it the first time you’re in the soup and don’t know which way is up.

Garmen Etrex
When I launch from a new launch site, I mark it as a waypoint, then turn the thing OFF. Later, when I’m coming back, it brings me right back. This is really handy at night when I’m in an unfamiliar area.

When traveling, I mark my hotel and where I left the rental car.

I was considering this model. How do you go about

adding maps for the areas you paddle. I’ve never

used a GPS unit before, but am doing longer and

more northern trips and would like to get into

a unit that takes the guess work out of navigating


Gps gathering dust?
I suggest if its really bugging you, whack in a parcel and send it to me. Im currently in the market for one and am on a tight budget. My missus is spending all our money on our wedding! Cheers Matt.