Garmin Maps - eTrex

Just took delivery of a Garmin eTrex Vista C, and I’m looking for advice on the best map package for the Chesapeake Bay area and the Mid Atlantic River trails. I live in Maryland.

Will obviously use charts for primary, but as a toy and backup, this little thing should be fun…

Anyone else have advice for a Garmin owner in this area?

As always, all advice appreciated.


– Last Updated: Sep-28-05 8:33 PM EST –

I have the grayscale etrex vista and love it. Of course I'd love the color if I had it, but I don't. I also use mapsource topo as my mapping software. Though it's not a replacement for a USGA Map and compass, it's a great backup. I keep mine in a clear pelican case straped to the deck to I can chart my distance when paddling or sailing. Although, living in Arizona, we only have lakes and a few rivers so it's kinda hard to get lost. But back to your question. Go for the topo CD. You can only use the mapsource products with the etrex so you are kinda limited as to other software packages.

I own an e-Trex Legend…
I own an e-Trex Legend, and I have a little “tip” for you.

At the top back of the GPS is a black rubber flap to cover the place the computer cable plugs into. Smear a nice coating of vasalene on the inside of the rubber flap, and on the electrical contacts. This will keep water from corroding the brass contacts that are under the flap. Vasalene will not interfere with the computer cable use later. Just wipe off the excess when using the cable.

I also smear a little vasalene on the rubber seal around the battery compartment. The battery compartment cannot be “Air tight”, as batteries do give off gases when being used. The vasalene helps keep water out very well, and gas pressure can still escape if it needs to. I have dropped mine into the water several times, and the vasalene does a good job protecting the GPS.

When in the boat, I always wrap the lanyard around one of the deck lines, in case it gets knocked overboard.

I love my e-Trex, and I hope you have good luck with yours too!

Happy Paddling!

Thanks for the tip…
And the great info… I haven’t loaded any maps yet but I am going on a 2-day trip from Assateague in a month, so I want to have it loaded up and ready by then.

Map Source
Check out Has loads of info and free maps.