GPS for car AND outdoor adventure

I would like to know if anyone is aware of a good GPS unit that serves the dual purposes of an audible traffic-direction type GPS for automobile purposes AND very good topo-mapping waypoint capabilities of an outdoor adventure type GPS? I am about to get a good deal ($110) on a very lightly used Garmin Dakota 20 but cannot tell if it has audio traffic direction feature!? Anyone?

Download manual

– Last Updated: Nov-01-12 12:49 PM EST –

Go here to download the dakota 20 manual.

Found good video on over veiw of it

It shows switching between on road nav or offroad. So it looks like it does on road navigation. I just ordered a refurb from Walmart as that was the cheapest I could find online. I wil have mine next monday or tuesday. I can let you know for sure when I get mine. Cost with tax was 172.

Dont forget you will need to ad maps. The base map on garmin gps units is worthless (high end handhelds come with maps).I already have topo USA 100K for it. You need something like that which has all the roads on it to do street navigation. I had an old Etrex forget which model and it could do street nav but not near as good as a dedicated car gps. Car gps units are so cheap I would just get one of those too. They have the Nuvi models on sale at sometimes for around 50 bucks and they come with North america maps installed. Thats USA and canada.

No. It does not

– Last Updated: Nov-01-12 12:55 PM EST –

The unit does not have a speaker. It will not talk to you.

I have had a Dakota 20 for two years. God help you if you choose the wrong language. I touched Chinese on the touch screen by accident. I had to contact tech help to get me back to English.

I have still been pretty happy with the unit. It is waterproof but be sure you have the battery cover on correctly!

I use both the Dakota and a car nav GPS in the car.

Not all roads are in either the Garmin map or car map database. Logging roads change each year. So while my car nav is sometimes handy in town, the Dakota is better for me in the boonies..I have a sense of where the nearest town is as it has a pretty good database of town names and geographic names. It wont tell me how to get there though..

I use topos from

But then my car GPS has told me to drive across a lake in the summer....

I’d recommend getting two
that way you don’t sacrifice features and performance specific to the task. My recommendation doesn’t fit your budget though.

I realize its doesn’t speak the turns BUT can the Dakota 20 when switched to or Road Nav mode do turn by turn directions and sound a beep when a turn is approaching? My now dead Delorme PN-20 could do that. It would just beep once when a turn was approaching and do 2 quick beeps when you should turn and would show a large arrow on screen to show which way to turn. Since the manual stinks for Dakota which I already read and have a Dakota 20 coming I was curious as to whether it could do that. I also have a Nuvi for car but its nice to have a backup.

Oh I downloaded some maps from and the maps are better than the garmin 100K topo I already have. Great place to get free topo maps. Make sure you have mapsource program already installed before running the install for any maps you download. That way they show up in the mapsource pulldown menu for maps installed on PC.

It does not have a speaker

– Last Updated: Nov-01-12 2:09 PM EST –

Its a field GPS.

Mark each turn as a waypoint and watch it...Ergo you can see with that necessity and looking at a small screen is a very poor way to drive with it.

No way does it beep anyway.

I dont have a smart phone but believe some of them have apps for navigation.. Perhaps with sound.

And a car only GPS is so cheap now..they are becoming obsolete.

When you ask a field GPS how to get somewhere it will give you a straight line path no matter what is between you and the destination. It could be road, a canyon could be there, or a waterbody. They require a bit of discretion and awareness.

Car GPS units only have a memory of roads. While they tend to also follow straight lines you will always be on some sort of road.

Yes, many GPS’s are mult-use

– Last Updated: Nov-01-12 4:10 PM EST –

I have used one Garmin GPSMAP 76/78 series GPS since 2004 in all my vehicles, on all my canoe trips, and on all my hikes.

I clip it into a beanbag dashboard mount in the vehicles and into auto mounts glued on the thwarts or knee wells of my canoes.

My newer version, the 78sc, has pre-loaded coastal charts for the entire US, plus road maps and topo maps for the eastern half of the US loaded into the fixed internal memory plus a memory card. I also have downloaded satellite maps.

No, it's doesn't "talk" when operating in road route mode; it beeps. No, the screen isn't as big as a dedicated or built-in auto GPS. But the screen is plenty big enough to do the the job.

It has routed me all over the roads of North America for 8 years, and is especially useful in navigating around the greater NYC labyrinth. I just stick it in the glove box when parked in high crime areas.

I like the Garmin 78 series because it is waterproof and floats, and has many advanced features, and has push buttons instead of a gimmicky (to me) touch screen. But there are many other waterproof hand units that can can be used in vehicle, boat and trail -- though not many others float.

If I were to make another GPS
purchase I would definitely go buttons.

The touch screen touches itself too much on my Dakota. I wind up somewhere in some virtual world…like tide tables when I was just following the map.

Otherwise its a decent unit. I find that locating geographic points or water features is handy. The tide tables are awesome. And where I have been, quite accurate.

So does my Tom Tom go wonky sometimes… and insists I return home and gives me directions to do so when I am in ND going west.

Dakota screen
Just got my Dakota 20 and as far as touching the screen accidentally you can lock the screen so touching it does nothing by just touching the power button once quickly and letting go. It brings up the screen to adjust backlight and there is a button to lock screen. That way if you put gps into your pocket it doesn’t get messed up because screen is now locked. To unlock just touch power button on side again and hit unlock screen. Peace of cake. So far I like it. Iam going to load some maps on mine and switch to auto navigation and see if it can be used for car gps. Oh it does too beep. Beeping can be turn on or off. To me it looks like it can be used for car navigation but I have to try it first to confirm it.

But like I said in post above car gps units go for as little as 50 bucks so better to just get one of those, plus they have full maps were handhelds come with no “REAL” maps installed (unless you get top of line handheld).

OK I have to go look for the beep

– Last Updated: Nov-02-12 3:21 PM EST –

And train my fingers. I toggle a lot between map size depending on where I am..

I still like my "witch in a box" to tell me two miles ahead of time while going through a metro area that I have to move across ten lanes of traffic!

I have had my Dakota for a couple of years. My screen is pretty scratched. I recommend putting it in a waterproof dry bag that you can operate through. Not because its not waterproof, but to avoid scratching the screen.

Garmin Montana

– Last Updated: Nov-02-12 11:15 PM EST –

Garmin sells the Montana as dual purpose GPS. If you add the Navigator maps it should work just like a Nuvi. It has a bigger screen then most handhelds which does help in the car, does have spoken directions and lane assist. They do not offer lifetime maps which is a major flaw in my mind.

It is bit expensive for me, esp if you keep updating maps.

I have the Oregon but I still use an old Nuvi in the car as I bought lifetime maps for it awhile ago, it has traffic updates and the screen is a bit larger.

On the Oregon I loaded in free road map which works very well, as long as you don't care about lane assist, traffic updates or voice directions which I mostly turn off anyway. Overall, it could be used as mixed used GPS with slight limitations.

The Nuvi's are pretty cheap now -- there has been a number of recent Groupon deals on a refurbed Nuvi well under a $100 with lifetime maps and traffic I believe. The maps are what really cost you in the end and where I am we have a number of big road projects, as well as new housing developments that are constantly changing the maps.

I have also used Android phone maps but overall they let me down to often when actually lost in the boonies with no service. The user interface is horrible when you need a to find a restaurant or gas station when you don't have a navigator next to you. I now use my Nuvi instead of smart phone.

I’d get two -
The phrase jack of all trades and master of none comes to mind.

Yeah I WILL get two!
I did get the Dakota 20 and DO like it but not for driving navigation. I will get a dedicated auto GPS also but wonder WHY they haven’t come up with a good quality combo unit yet? Just a matter of time I suppose!

because the add on car GPS
is going the way of the dodo bird. And no one in the winderness wants to tote something on their PFD the size of a typical car GPS…

Moreover what is the market for a waterproof car GPS? none.