GPS Advice

I’m interested in getting a new GPS. I’m looking for something that can record tracks and has good battery life (ideally with a built in rechargeable battery). Water proof would be nice, but it’s not required. Mapping is not a requirement either. It would be nice if it had the ability to record the tracks to a memory card, but if that isn’t available, USB is a requirement (serial cable connectivity doesn’t work for me).

I’d appreciate any recommendations. If you’d like to read more about the cellphone/bluetooth GPS setup I use now, read this:

You were doing fine until
you asked for a built-in rechargable battery.

Get a Garmin 76 and some AA batteries.

If mapping is not a requirement
I can suggest the Garmin E trex. It records tracks and the new “H” model is reported to be very accurate. Battery life is advertised 22hrs. I use my old yellow E trex two full paddle days before recharging the batteries. BPS has them on sale for $85.00. No need I can think of for a USB cable either if your not mapping! I’m going to get one tomorrow.

GPS recommendation

– Last Updated: Dec-13-07 11:12 AM EST –

You know, I was very happy with the basic features of my Geko 201 until I lost it this summer. I replaced it with a Forerunner 205. It's designed for fitness, is waterproof (but isn't designed for swimming) you wear it like like a wristwatch, and the lithium battery is good for 14 hours, I think.

If all you want is tracks, USB, and long battery life, this is it. And if it's tied to your wrist, you're unlikely to lose it in an upset.

It may be overkill for you, but I just picked this up a few weeks ago and am really pleased with the versatility it has. Has a built in Map, can also upload maps from Map source. With the help of some here, I figured out how to interface it with my laptop. It’ll track on the laptop screen exactly where I am as well as give tons of other info. I use when I’m in the car for long trips.

Garmin claims it’s waterproof for an accidental dunking. I don’t plan to test it though.


Garmin Etrex Vista HCX
Great battery life and excellent reception and accuracy. You can add mapping and it stores your tracks on the memory card if you tell it to. It is waterproof, small, color screen, and alot of features for its size. I paddle with mine around my neck and tucked into my PFD. If you don’t plan on using bluechart or city navigator, I would spend less for a model that does not offer mapping.

Check the Garmin "e-Trex, Legend"
Take a close look at the Garmin E-Trex Legend. I got mine for around $179.00, and it does most everything you want. Plus it comes with a USB cable to connect it to your PC.

It keeps a track of your trip too, plus you can download different maps into it.

The unit itself is water proof, but the battery box is water resistant. Bateries give off gases when being used, so they do not totally seal this battery compartment. But if you smear a little vasaline around the rubber edges of the battery lid (and under the computer cable jack cover flap), you are pretty secure. I have dropped mine in the water a couple times with no harm done. (I tie the strap to a bungie, and stick the unit it under the bungie while paddling).

It takes 3-AA batteries, and they last a LONG time. Just keep a few extra in your life vest pocket.

You can program the screen too with large or small fonts, and select from a lot of different items to display on the screen.

A good buy for the money. I use mine paddling, and on the highway too. They offer a color version if you have extra cash to spend.

not the forerunner
But the Foretrex.

It’s the same GPS but waterproof (i’ve dunked mine dozens of times) and no pedometer.

I use it for Geocaching and when I go to a kayak symposium, I set it on the seat before me and do a gentle paddle I can maintain for hours and see my speed. It helps me decide on a boat to buy.

I hope
I hope that was an eTrex Legend HCX and not an eTrex Legend for $179. Otherwise you got ripped off big time. The Legends are going for under $100 if you shop around.

$179 is a good price for the Legend HCX though.

Soeme choices
If you don’t want mapping, consider the Garmin eTrex H (be careful they also sell the eTrex for the same prices as the eTrex H, but the latter has much improved reception).

If you want something you won’t outgrow in 6 months, look into the Garmin Legend HCX or Vista HCX.

Even if you don’t need mapping right now, you may want it down the line and they can handle mapping.

Not sure why you want the internal rechargeable. If you are away from a power source you are SOL if the batteries die. At least if your unit takes AAs you can easily find replacements.

If the cost is an issue, get rechargeable AAs and a charger.