GPS thoughts??

I would like to purchase a handheld GPS sys for day trips and looking for some advice…interested in the Garmin eTrex Venture, perhaps the Garmin Geko 201. Those are about the right $$ range I am looking for. Anyone have a personal review of either? Pros/cons? Suggestions? Thanks!

I second the Etrex Legend.
I does everything the average paddler/hiker would desire for a great price. The color model is a bit more expensive but also offers better battey life. I have 3 different GPSr’s and the Legend offers the most bang for the buck. The local Gander Mountain store was recently selling the Legend with the Topo Map CD for less than $200. A great deal!

Given that there is a whole new line of Gamin units coming out soon, I might suggest waiting before jumping on anything.

Trips on the Water?
Make sure the unit is waterproof. Completely waterproof. Not “waterproof… except for the battery compartment.”

Amen Bro
Put it in a clear waterproof flexible pouch



Check Product Reviews on this site as well as

Stay safe on the water


What do you want it to do?
The real question is “What do you want the GPS to do?”.

If you want a GPS to give provide you with your current location and a compass bearing and distance to a known location (waypoint), then the Geko 201 will do that very well, but so will most other GPS’s. Find one whose size and user interface match your needs.

One of my biggest recommendations is to make sure that your GPS can connect with a PC, so that you can enter and manage waypoints much more easily. I use ExpertGPS for that (

If you want the GPS to provide a mapping feature, which visually shows your location relative to other geographical features (roads, trails, cities, etc…), then you’ll need a GPS that does that AND the GPS’s dispay size and clarity becomes much more important, especially if you might also be using the GPS while driving a vehicle.

By the way, if you want a great book on using a GPS along with map & compass, take a look at GPS Land Navigation by Michael Ferguson. It was published back in '97, so its section on specific GPS’s is quite old and of limited use, BUT its descriptions of how to use maps, compasses, GPS’s, and then combine them is absolutely the best I’ve found and timeless.

I also want to add
no matter how “water proof” it is put it in a clear dry bag. To important to chance with.