GPS Recomendations

Looking for a waterproof GPS for Kayaking. I am starting to get lost some and want to avoid getting too deep in a tide creek that will empty at low tide

Will mainly use in inlets, sound, backwaters and some rivers

Would like one that has all maps preloaded, a depth finder would be nice but not a deal breaker.

What does everyone use for their kayaks?

I have the 60CSX, which has been updated to the 62. It is actually targeted at hikers, and the 62 comes with Topo maps pre-loaded. The 78 is the one aimed at mariners, and has charts preloaded. But truthfully, in a kayak or canoe you likely would find a Topo map more useful than a chart.

Oh, waterproof GPSs aren’t always waterproof enough. Mine lives in a AquaPac waterproof bag that lets me read the screen and use the buttons. Have had a prior GPS die from water ingress.

I’ve found the main issue is the battery compartment which is often seal from the main unit. So you can often go without a waterproof case if you promptly remove batteries and leave the cover off between uses. Same goes for my VHF radio.

I use a Garmin Etrex (various models for different budgets and feature) because it’s nice and compact. I don’t care about floating since I never trust anything without a lanyard anyway.

thank you
thanks,I will look into both and not focus on the waterproof as much

just bought a Garmin etrex 20
You can get it for $160 at Amazon. The base map is crap, but I downloaded topos from that are very good with good views of marsh and tidal creeks. It has a micro sd card slot that you can change out cards if you need more maps when the one that comes with it is full. Also for $30 you can get aerial photos and topo maps for a year from Garmin with unlimited downloads.

Check out this site for info and evaluations of the different garman gps. Here is the report on the etrex 20.

Ditto keeping it in a waterproof pnone or camera bag if on salt water that goes double. I can work and read mine through the bag.

I paddle the SC coast
I used my etrex 20 with the topo map for SC recently. It worked very well with all the tidal creeks shown on my charts, and was a free download.

Just realize that the barrier islands can change each year. Hurricanes the last few years have caused several small islands to disappear and some new cuts to form that don’t show on the charts I use. However there seems to be no change to the tidal creeks in the marsh. I check the current satellite images on google to compare the coastline to the charts. Where i often paddle around Cape Romain the coast has receded noticeably the last several years. Irene last year had an impact.

yah worry about the water proofing
You should really carry it in a case. Most waterproof-ness testing (ingress testing) not regulated by a certificated body, meaning the manufacturer can self-declare.

Also, testing is done with brand new seals that have not shriveled or become deformed. Do you want to have to remember to check any flaps on your gps before you go in? Is the unit going to get knocked around if you capsize?

A $20 dollar acqua bag from west marine is really great insurance.

Tide function
Chris, some units have a tidal function that will find the nearest station and display the tides for that area.

We do tidal creeks often and find the ability to create a track online using Google Earth very helpful. Transfer the track to your handheld and when you get confused or disoriented in the creeks just check the gps and you have a highlighted track to follow.

Also look into Mapsource and Basecamp, both have support videos and are great tools.

If you are looking at a touch screen model ask if the salesperson will let you take it outside. They are harder to read in direct light, personally I can handle it but for some folks it’s a disappointment.

The ability to interface with your computer will also allow you to store/share your track afterwards.

Get accustomed to packing spare batteries too.

what jcbikeski said
about taking the batteries out and leaving the back open. Do this at the end of every paddle and your unit will last for years more. Lyn

Tide function and battery life
The etrex 20 uses 2 AA batteries and has a 20 hour battery life. It is easy to read in the daylight or through a clear aqua pack. I always carry extra batteries and could use the batteries from a flashlight I carry for back up if need be.

It also has a tide function if you select a Marine setting under the setup menu.

It doesn’t float, but I added foam inside the aqua pack and took care of that. Or you could add flotation to a tether cord.

I use the free garmin basecamp download to manage my maps.