good - simple gps advice


Can anyone reccomend a good gps unit to use for canoeing and kayaking? I do a lot of extended fish/float trips down rivers and want to keep track of my miles, my position, remember good fishing holes and all that good stuff.

I hear some are waterprrof and floatable.

Any advice? Thanks

I’ve had
three (now discontinued) Magellan models, the Blazer, Map 410 (twice) and Map 330M. All three performed well at their time, but once I tried the Map 410 I really began to appreciate the value of a mapping unit.

As a visual person I found the mapping feature to allow the operation of the GPS to become almost an intuitive action. After having lost one Map 410 I purchased a replacement, and would probably still be using that model today had I not the opportunity to get the 330M for a ridiculous price.

The value of the 330M is its speed of operation. Its quite rapid in its refresh rate, has a reasonable screen resolution and with the application of the (poorly named) included Mapsend Streets software, it generates more than enough detail for marine use.

In truth, for the applications you’ve defined, there’s a multitude of good units available through Garmin and Magellan.

I use Garmin
My GPS is the Garmin eTrex Legend. It is reasonably priced at about $350, and is water resistant. It records more data than most people would EVER need, and does it all very well. It does not have its own maps, but the data can be downloaded into a mapping software program, then printed or stored for later reference.

I am looking at getting the newer Garmin Map76C because it has a lot more memory, color display, excellent mapping capabilities and map display, as well as also being a “marine” GPS, meaning water resistant.

The Megellan units are also very fine products, so it comes down to a matter of personal preference and price.

magellan versus garmin
My friend has a garmin etrex- seems to work great and accepts fishing hotspots, if that is important to you. I got a magellan sportrak pro after reading it was waterproof and floats. I was told the garmin does not float. I was told by Magellan that they would be offering the fishing hot spots the spring after i got mine- that was 2 years ago and still waiting. I am happy with the magellan but it does only fair picking up satellites when backpacking in heavy trees. In all fairness, I remember running into a crew re mapping trails in Olympic NP trying to get a satellite fix with a GPS with a dinner plate sized antenna and having problems. The GPS satellites are low power and do not penetrate cover well. anyone else with comments on how well their GPS receives under tree cover?

I’ve been using the basic yellow e-trex for about 4 yrs and it does everything I need. It will store up to 500 waypoints, so you can mark a lot of fishing spots.

I also use it as a speedometer for training for canoe racing, it will tell me my speed within a tenth of a mile, and measure distance paddled. I would recommend buying the bicylcle handlebar mount which works beautifully on the thwart of a canoe. The unit is water resistent and I’ve had it out in the rain with no problems.

I also use it for hunting. It does sometimes take a few minutes for it to “acquire” the satelites, particularly in heavy overhead canopy, but once it locks into the satelites, I’ve had no problem maintaining contact in the woods as long as the unit is kept outside (not placed in a pack or pocket). It also gives the sunrise and sunset times.

I’ve created routes and entered waypoints on my PC mapping software and uploaded them into the etrex via an optional cable and was able to plan an entire 1 week trip in the Boundary Waters with all the portage and navigation points, real cool.

The battery life is much better than some of the more advanced, and expensive models.

I saw this unit in todays paper on sale at our local Targets for $89.

This is a great unit to introduce yourself to GPS and has all the most important feautures most folks could want. I thought I’d outgrow this unit but can’t justify spending hundreds more for a few exta features, this does most everythhing I need in a GPS.

I just gota geko…

– Last Updated: Dec-21-04 4:51 PM EST –

(geko 201) It's the first GPS device I have ever used and it only took me, maybe 4 hours over a couple of days to get it down pat. For me, that's an easy piece of electronics to learn how to use. It shows you, and/or remembers, everything you will need. Except to remember to carry some extra batteries.

Bob's your uncle.

I also use a Sport Trak Pro…
I’ve had it for 2 1/2 yrs and love it. I got it cause I love hiking and paddling and hate getting lost. When I’m paddling sometimes I’m in places that allow me to paddle off into side channels which then lead to other side channels… which is awesome but when everything around is taller than me I like to know I can get back to the area I first went off track at and get back to the original path I was heading in or just plain back to where I want to end. I use mine both for Geocaching alot to and have been out in the rain ( I ususally put it in a plastic bag - no sense in ruining it foolishly ) and even though I know its supposed to float I try not to let that be something I need to find out. Picking up satellites is a problem for any gps under heavy cover but mine has never stayed gone from satellites for too long. I bought a little geko 201 that my cousins use but it doesn’t have all the extras mine has, but they like it. I like figuring how fast I’m going and how far I’ve gone and being able to save info all the way along. I use mine ALOT.

Hey mixwithh2o…
mixwithh2o said: “I like figuring how fast I’m going and how far I’ve gone and being able to save info all the way along.”

You can do all that on the geko 201.

Garmin Map76
It floats, is waterproof (but I still use a dry bag), and has a map with all of the aids to navigation for US waters already in it.

Other maps are available for more $$.

Fairly large screen and easy to use butons.

Garmin GPS 72
I have a Garmin GPS 72, it is a larger model than some of the others such as Geko, or e-trex but I like it… I have a mount for it that I can use on my canoe or bike depending on which I am using at the time. You can download to it, or you can manually enter points… That is what I do using… I can pre-plan routes using topo maps with it, or enter waypoints along the way… big screen and easy to use. uses 2 AA bateries with a life of about 16 hours for 2 akaline batteries… although I hear they are coming out with a new battery in April that last quite a bit longer than the lithium or akaline batteries.


Thinking out loud here
I hear newer cell phones have GPS. Might be a way to get one cheap(er) if your celluar contract is set for renewal soon.

it appears that they are all ‘assisted gps’. you still need to be in the network

Cellphone GPS
I don’t believe that this GPS will be unlocked in the sense that your cellphone will function like a GPS…my understanding is that this feature will allow your location to be identified for emergency 911 purposes, and only with the assistance of the cellphone provider. It’s not a replacement for a GPS.