GPS Choice?:

I am in the market to add a GPS to my paddling gear and would like to hear your opinions on what you consider to be good choices based on:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Large display
  3. Water resistance/Waterproof
  4. Extra features such as compass, barometer, electonic compass, etc.

    The reason for the larger display would be that I don’t alway wear my glasses, hence, can’t always read the mounted compass w-a-y up forward of my hatch cover on the bow, either!


Garmin MAP76
Waterproof and accepts detailed maps of where I want to go.

No barometer and the compass doesn’t work 'til you move a little. Not issues with me.

Very happy with this unit.


– Last Updated: Jun-29-05 8:53 PM EST –

has tat barometer and electronic agnetic compass

you pay for thosw eith cecreased battery lifeanad the compass is not all that accurate and really meant ofr use in inactive conditions. LIke steady and flat

Ths high res display on the map 76 and 76s is unequalled so far.

Color Etc
You will be hard pressed to find a big readout in a unit that is easily handheld and also has barometer and electronic compass. Agree with the above poster - an electronic compass is not the most critical doo-dad when you are already using the thing in a boat. Barometer another matter - could be very useful - but you can get hand-held little weather stations that have that too.

You may be able to resolve some of the visibility issue by springing for one with a color monitor. Or, if you check out West Marine’s catalogue (or a store if near one) there’s a new brand on the market that has a relatively huge readout since most all of the (rectagular) surface is devoted to it. I forget the name, but you’ll see it easily enough.

I didn’t go with that one when we upgraded because it still seems too bulky for a kayak. But it’d probably be plenty compact for a canoe. And some feel that they are much more user-friendly than Garmin, which is usually considered more user-friendly than Magellan.

As to accuracy - I’ve known of people who have actually gone out and field-tested Garmin against Magellan for accuracy. They came back saying that Magellan was more accurate. I personally like how rugged Magellan is, and am used to their units now. But I have to admit their idea of a user-friendly registration procedure for their units, the related software and memory cards can have you tearing your hair out. I just went thru it this last weekend and is was about as annoying as I remembered from the last time.

Garmin Map60cs
I just this unit a few weeks ago nice color display I have the Mapsource Topo Maps and city select maps for in the woods or on the road. Barometer and compass is nice but as said before flat and steady. This unit will autoroute for driving.

The Map76 is on sale this week
$199 at West Marine.

Can you comment on the NavAids
I read some reviews that the navaids are not labeled on this unit. They (reviews) stated that the unit just show a navaid, but no markings or designation of each navaid. These were on reviews dated from 2003 earlier. Is this a current limitation of the unit or does the software now have navaid labels?

Non-labeled navaids are basically useless for naviagtion because one couldn’t correlate aid on chart with aid on GPS.

I am very interested in this unit, so that is the reason for my question. The price at West Marine is excellent.



Garmin Map 76
Keep away from the Etrex. The readout is way to small.



Last year I posted this too…
When I posted this question last year, I got an overwhelming responce for the Garmen “e-Trex Legend”, so I bought one.

I love it as it has road and waterway maps in it. It gives a display of many different things, and you can customize the items being displayed. A color version is available if you need one, but I am happy with the black and white one.

The display is not oversize, but large enough for me. I normally just display speed and distance and course and time in the larger font, so I can stick it under the deck bungies and still read it. The maps will keep your progress in it as the track you did , so you can follow it back to “home”.

Just as a personal opinion, I had a major problem with Magellen several years ago. I now have a $700.00 aviation GPS which is worthless, since they told all of their aviation customers to take a hike, as they won’t seervice them any more in any way. I figure if they did that to all of the aviation customers in the USA, they might do it to customers of land based units too. They got me once, but won’t get me again!

I am very happy with the Garmin e-Trex Legend!

I’ve had the ETREX Vista
For 3 years now, and just updated to the GPS Map 60CS. The old Vista needs to go back for an out of warranty repair for $125 - ouch. That said some of the poblems I found with the etrex. Poor reception under heavy tree cover,and the cable contacts ( for connecting the pc and external power cables) corroded easily, short battery life and the small screen. The 60CS has a larger screen, better reception (it uses a quadhelix antenna vs the etrex patch antenna) and 2-3x the battery life. I’ll repair and keep the vista as a backup, but I love the 60CS.

Garmin GPSMAP 60CS
Hi, I work at a Sportsmans Warehouse store in New Berlin, Wi. where I sell Garmin, Magellan, Lorwrance, and Brunton, GPS units. Although I really like the 76CS, I would have to save the 60CS is my favorite. The 76CS has only a slightly larger screen size which is hardly noticable. I feel that the color feature in both units is excellent and really helps visability. The 60CS is more compact and has a very strong antenna which I have been told by several owners is even able to lock onto satellite is a woods with a rather thick canopy of leaves overhead. I also like the location of the buttons below the screen better. All of the Garmin GPS units are waterproof and submersable to IPX7 standards. Both the 76CS and the 60CS are able to download software from either the UBS or Serial port of your computer. One advatage of the 76CS is that it has 115 meg of user memory where the 60CS has 56 meg. We currently are selling the 60CS for $499.99 where the 76CS goes for 549.99, however Garmin is currently offering a $50.00 rebate until July 5th on their color had held units. The ‘S’ in the 76CS and 60CS stands for sensors so both units have the electonic compass feature and barometric altimeter.

Better Deal
Fill out a West Marine CC application, pay with the WestMarine CC, and get another $20 off, plus no finance charge for 6 months.

So I got one.

I’ll let you know what I think in a few.


Garmin Map 76CS
My Garmin Map 76CS seems to me to be the perfect GPS unit. It blows away anything from Magellan or other competitors in performance, features and quality. And, it FLOATS - something my previous eTrex Summit did NOT do, which is why I now have a Map 76CS.

The Map 76CS features a sunlight-readable color display, built-in maps, measures just 6.2 X 2.7 X 1.4 inches, has a compass that is adjustable in size, includes a barometer, altimeter, trip computer and about a thousand other features and functions. It can even calculate anchor drag, give anchor drag audible warnings, alert you to deep or shallow water conditions and it includes some games in the event you get bored.

The Map 76CS is a $600 unit, but you can get it new and factory-sealed with full warranty on eBay for less than $400 after the (about to expire) $50 mail-in rebate.

I loved my eTrex Summit, but the Map 76CS is clearly superior in every way. By the way, my brother-in-law designed teh guidance system for teh GPS satellite netwwork as an engineer for TI, and he, as well as everybody with whom he works, use Garmin because they say the Garmin units are the bet quality and most accurate of all commercially available GPS receivers. That’s good enough for me!