gps garmin 76 ?

i have a etrex yellow,very simple to use,but i would like to go to the next level and not out grow it .from reading all the posts here, i think the best choice is the garmin 76 models ,but there are 5 models .gps76 ,gpsmap 76,76c,76cs,76s…any suggestions ?? megagps web site has great prices,so i can aford the top of the line 76cs for $409 verses $536.but the one with the most bells and whistles is not always the best choice…

I’ve used a Garmin GPSMap 76 for a couple of years, as a replacement for my aging GPSIII. It has worked well for me through hard use, mounted in a Garmin mount exposed on my kayak deck.

It has been repeatedly dunked and swamped with salt and fresh water with no ill effects. I lightly coated the battery cover, antenna plug, and PC interface plug with marine dielectric grease, counter to Garmin’s instructions. I try to never change batteries while on the water. I never put it into any kind of bag because the condensation will cause it to fail.

I use the Garmin Bluechart software with nautical charts for my area loaded into the unit. I highly recommend the charts for coastal navigation.

I have seen the GPSMap 76C, color, and the screen visibility is excellent even in direct sun. It seems to be the same quality construction. If $$$$ were no object, I’d get it.

If money is not an object
then go for the 76cs with mapping. I use the etrex vista which I got after they first came out. A friend of mine got the yellow etrex that you have at the same time. He didn’t think he’d want or need the ability for mapping, or the electronic compass and barometer. Then he saw what I could do with the vista and he was very envious. Well, he had to one up me and is saving for the 76CS with mapping. I’m considering upgrading myself, but I’ve got some other items higher up on the list like a handheld VHF before I upgrade.

I’ve got the non-color screen…
it doesn’t eat bateries its water resistant and it floats. I think it is the 76, but it doesn’t have the color screen. I have had it for three years and have never had even a little problem. It cost me $249. I don’t even know if they sell them without color.


I chose the gpsmap76C
I just upgraded from the yellow etrex to the 76C, though I haven’t had a chance to try out the 76C yet. Amazon had good prices for the units I was considering. Battery life was one issue that factored into my choice. The C version lists longer battery life than the CS (30 vs 20 hours). I don’t know if the CS could be made to have the same battery life by turning off the additional features. The color versions list longer battery life than the non-color ones, plus reviews talked about the color screens being easy to read, so color seemed the way to go.

big advantages of 76c
The 76 c has many advantages

  1. Garmin’s latest microprocesser, makes for very accurate and verry fast fixes, speed, course corrections, all executable actions.

  2. The color screen enhances both daytime viewing and viewing the the marine charts. It has a fine pixel count and is more energy efficient than the older b&w screens.

  3. It comes with 115 megabytes of memory, very necessary for Bluechart and course loating.

  4. It has both standard and UBS 2 interface making charts load much faster.

  5. Submersible and floats.

  6. If you also want it to be a compass get the CS. That does reduce battery life as I understand it.

    I love this unit, it is the way of the future for marine navigation. One cac simply view one’s exact location, move your pointer on the chart to each leg of the trip and it automatically computes the waypoints and directs you there. Great in fog etc.


price of 76cs
i did a search and found it for $ 388.00 and free shipping from caplink ,has any one purchased anything from them ?? or know of a better place.??

Go for it. I have the Legend C and it has a color screen which I like. If I had the money I would have bought the 76CS.GPS units are like cameras, get the one with the most features that you can afford. FishHawk

I have been “watching” a few on e-bay.

These guys have the CS for 384.

and the C for 355.

Happy Paddling,


great price
if it is real get it, this is best price I have seen. The CS is nice if you really need stationary compass, but it uses more power with that on. So I find the C the better deal.

One thing about map 76
that I noticed on multiday trips. I don’t know if I’ve been unlucky but my first one died on day 8 of 10 on its first multiday trip. It was replaced with a new one by Garmin. I now remove the batteries once in camp and have found some moisture in the battery case every time. I had no problems with it on my last 2 week, very wet trip, but did feel like I had to baby it each night to keep it safe.

I’ve tried to use it in various clear cases but found it was too difficult to see the screen. Next trip I’ll actively try to seal it better.

Even with these problems, I’d recommend the Map76. I got the 76S but only because it was offered for the same price as the 76. I’ve never seen the color screen, but I guess if money didn’t matter, I’d have bought it in color.


i have heard of this too
the newest model 76c and 76cs supposedly improved the battery seal, and I have heard of others with the same problem you had.

I have had my 76c one full season salt water and all no problem no moisture in battery compartment. However condensation can occur.

I found a seal pac waterproof container the fits so snugly around the GPS unit that 1. there is litttle or no room between the case and the lcd. In sunlight, easy to read. Two, little or no condensation evaporation inside the case or batter if kept in there the whole trip if stored in dry low humidity environment before trip! I also place two small dessicant humity absorbers inside the back of the case for insurance. This may sound like a bit much but hey salt water environments are infamous for destroying even the best designs and just when you need them most.

prudent is as prudent does, good seamanship they say!

Two good clear poly pouches
are the Ewa-marine and Voyager.

The Voyager is easier to get open and is nice and soft.

My wife and I have been using them for a long time and they have never had any condensation.

Unless Garmin has improved their units, you can fry them. With long exposure to sun, the glue on the case dries out and they will leak and die.

I am not talking about the battery case.

From experience:

I wouldn’t do a expedition that you were relying on one without it being in a waterproof case.

We always keep a back up one and tons of batteries.



glue ?
how long will it take for the glue to dry out ? is this a real problem with garmin???will they make good on it ??

Yes and no
Garmin happily replaced the unit that leaked, but the brand new replacement unit’s warranty started at the purchase date of the first one. I didn’t take that as a vote of confidence in their product and took steps to protect the device.

Others have said they keep their map76 on their deck with no problem. It’s a hard call. I think the features are great, but was definitely disappointed by finding moisture in the case and behind the screen on two out of two multiday trips (first one fatal, second one wasn’t).


I can only speak from my experience
I had my first yellow Etrex for about six months when it slipped over the side. It was only in the water for less than a minute, and the screen was full of water.

They honored the guarantee after I sent it back, but the warrantee for the second one continued from the first. I did not get a new guarantee.

For all I know they might have changed their product, but I won’t chance it.

Both my wife and I have kept ours in clear water proof pouches, and that has been for about the last four or five years.

We do a lot of off shore paddling and paddling in Florida’s 10,000 Islands and figure it is a lot better to be safe than sorry.



I’m on my second
Garmin Etrex Legend; beat the first one to death and sent in in after 4 years with $100 for a new exchange unit. Can’t beat the capability for the price. I agree a drybag is a good idea, but I go without. I keep it on the front deck, totally exposed to waves and rolling. I apply a thin coat of silicone grease to the seal on the battery compartment door and have had no problems with water intrusion since.

I’m also on my 2nd Magellan Explorist 600. The only time I hit the water with the first one, the air temp was about 90F and the water about 60F. It only took one roll to have the inside of the screen completely fogged over. I think it was condensation from the differences in temperature, and it dried out ok after leaving it open at home for a couple of days. After talking to Magellan about what had happened, they sent me another one. I don’t think I will wet test this one.

Clear Bags
Hi Jack,

You posted somewhere what type of clear bag you and Nanci use for your GPS. I guess I should upgrade from my typical ziplock baggies for my gps, (when it arrives). Did you get one of those made for small electronics bags that Ive seen at paddle shops online?



circuit city has the 76cs on sale for $389.49 and free shipping

76 models vs 60 series
these devices are very appealing but they confuse the hell out of me.

is the 76 series more suited to on water users? this is the impression i get but i don’t know the diff. is the 60 more geared towards driving or hikers somehow?