GPS - Waterproof - Suggestions

I know many of you use a GPS in your vehicles and somme in your canoes / kayaks. My question is this, what features work best for both of the above purposes? What GPS features work well outside (Ie screen display/resolution, ease of switching between features/options while going down river, attachments/mounting, etc.). I am slow to the technical revolution, so my GPS knowledge is minimal. Thanks for the suggestions.

I Know it’s More Expensive…

– Last Updated: Dec-18-10 11:08 AM EST –

but I'd recommend separate units for car and kayak. For the car a basic Tom Tom or Garmin unit. For water you want waterproof and floating. Garmin's MAP76 is good. Check their website. You can make your own mounting for the kayak unit. JackL invented a great foam thing that works like a charm.

Same as Kudzu
We found that what is convenient in the car is not the same as in the boat. What works in the boat is a car accident waiting to happen if you try using it in the car, where something that has voice prompts is a heck of a lot safer because it doesn’t take your eyes off the road.

Delorme PN Series
While the Delorme PN series is awesome for outdoors, has the best datasets available and the least expensive data by far, it is also not for the technical novice.

It is a bit more complex since the PC is an integral part of the system (e.g. downloading data to the PC, setting up datasets for transfer to the GPS, post-processing if needed, printing, etc.).

Bill G.

formerly Mt. Pleasant, SC

now, Charlotte, NC

PN-40 owner

Ditto what Kudzu says
and I can only add, if you do get a garminn Map-76 or equal, there is quite a learning curve, but once you learn it, you’ll never want to be with out it.

One of the features I love about the map 76 is you can switch between a two screen large numeral one or as many as six smaller ones each with different features that you can change as you want to.

jack L

Delorme PN Series GPS
Thanks, I may have provided the wrong impression on my original post, when I mentioned “technically challanged” I just meant I don’t have alot of little gadgets, my cell phone is a basic Trac phone. i am very PC literate, so downloading / uploading is not anissue. Has anyone used the ‘Low Rance’ brand?

But a friend of mine has a Low Rance -a combo nautical chart/GPS/depth gauge-fishfinder, and it’s a fine unit. Has about a 7" screen, presents bottom contours, shows fish (or suspended things) at approximate depths, and displays NOAA/USGS nautical charts at the best available resolution -and it’s waterproof.

Problem is, it costs around $1500 or so (it’s older, so it’s a little less expensive than equivalent current models) and it helps to have a boat to mount it, its antenna, and its transducer on.

Other than that, it might be a nice unit to have a you


-Frank in Miami

Another agreement with Kudzu
We are headed for Florida right now and have a Garmin for the truck and a 76 for the boat.

I’ve a friend…
who owns two Lowrance GPS’s and she uses them a lot.

She would recommend them.

My choice was the Delorme PN series, due to the extensive software included, and the amazing library of maps available for about $30/yr.

Delorme lets you layer an ariel photo over the topo map, useful when spotting channels in the skinny waters around the Gulf coast.

I’ve been very satisfied with the product, and the customer support the one time I used it.

For what it’s worth, yesterday (12/17)on Amazon they were offering the new PN60 at an unbeliveable price. Maybe it’s still there.



Ditto here as well

– Last Updated: Dec-22-10 10:46 AM EST –

Garmin Nuvi 255 for the car and Map 76Cx for the boat.

Paper maps in Car
When you loose your GPS to Mother Nature because it was UN-tethered and got away from you; you’ll still be able to get back home with paper maps in the car.

It’s damn tough to beat a paper map and a compass. Light weight, no batteries, and they work for years and years.

also agree on having 2 units

– Last Updated: Dec-22-10 7:18 PM EST –

car units are more driving friendly more suited for road navigation and normaly only have road maps avalible with no option for topo and elevation and so on. they do have great features like turn by turn, voice, rout planning by address, road points of interest and so on. some of the more pricy units also have features such as traffic avoidance and free updates for life. i have a tom tom for the car.

for the backcountry i have a garmin map60csx, i've had it for a while and it's great. the handhelds are setup more for the backcountry rather than the road ( but some can be used fod road navigation in a pinch). they offer features such as elevation/altimiter, topo and sat maps, geo cacheing, digital compass, sun moon and tide info and so on. for both types you get what you pay for really when i comes to features like anything else. it comes done to what you want and need the unit to for you.

as far and mounting in boat, i'm a kayaker and even thought my units waterproof to 3 feet i purched a case for it. i have a dry pak waterproof case with carbiner that i either hang from a deck eye mounted under deck in the front of the cockpit or i clip it to my spray skirt or deck rigging.

which ever handheld you get i recommend something that has a backlit screen for night time use.

I use the Map 76 for car and outdoors
As everyone else here said, getting a dedicated car unit for the car is “better.” No doubt about it. But I’ve been using the Map 76 with the Garmin street navigator software upgrade for 4 year now and I see no reason to buy a dedicated street unit. I get along just fine.

Now however with the price of good street units down, it may be the same money to buy one of them rather than buying the software upgrade for the Map 76.


– Last Updated: Dec-19-10 12:58 PM EST –

Make sure to get the maps you want with your unit.

I have an older Lowernce iFinder that I got on closeout. The reason I went with Lowerence was the $75 for the entire North Amereica nautical maps. Although I don't think the nautical maps are compatible with the newer touch screen.

I don't use mine that often but it's nice to know the depth if I'm traveling and not sure where I'll be camping on the ocean or Great Lakes.

Don't want to get in a pissing contest about a GPS but the nautical maps for Garmin is a rip off. You pay for each unlock code for a little sliver of an area. Very deceptive. I would never support a company that is that deceiving. However a lot of people don't need nautical maps and download free topo maps.

I haven't looked into the nautical maps in a few years so there may be some other downloading options available, although you have to make sure they have the detail and functions you need.

In short, technology like this changes every few years.

Car Unit
Get a car unit that talks so you won’t have an accident. Don’t by the cheapest one, because the processor is slower and you will not get enough warning for turns or tricky intersections.

As a former Magellen and present Garmin user, Magellen is faster but maps are outdated and you have to pay for traffic. Magellen voice recognition is an exercise in frustration.

For the boat get a water proof case for your GPS, or buy a GPS that has a flat rate for repair. I know people who go through ‘waterproof’ vhf hand held radios every season and a half.

A map and compass is important back up on the ocean and big rivers,especially where there is traffic. But dont let the LUDDITES convince you there is something wrong with GPS’s or, for heaven’s sake, batteries. (Its fair to say most peoples’ lives depend on batteries already, starting with phone system and counting emergency vehicle starters)

Map 76
The Map 76 is a very old unit and there are far better units for the money these days. I would not recommend that unit. It is one of the few left in Garmin’s line without a high sensitivity receiver and it has very limited map memory. I don’t know whey they still sell it. It’s been obsolete for 6 years.

But yes I agree that its best to get a unit for the car and one for the outdoors.

Map76 vs. Map 76CSX
A number of people here mentioned the Map 76. As I mentioned in a post above the Map 76 is a obsolete unit with very limited map memory and the old type of receiver that does not do well under tree cover or around buildings.

On the other hand the Map 76CSX (and 76CX) is a newer unit with a high sensitivity receiver and expandable map memory.

The two units couldn’t be more different. I suspect that many people who were recommending the Map 76 actually meant the Map 76CSX, but I thought I’d set the record straight because Garmin still sells both units.

The Map 76 is obsolete. The 76CSX is an outstanding unit and I highly recommend it. It also does a decent job of automotive navigation if you purchase the City Navigator software for it, but for what you pay for the software you can buy a good automotive unit for your car for a few bucks more.

Actually the Map 76CSX has recently been supplanted by the Map 78S at the top of Garmin’s line which is good news because the 76CSX has come down a lot in price since the Map 78 was introduced.

The Lowrance iFinder units are outstanding. The iFinder H20C and iFinder H20 are particularly good.

The new Lowrance Endura series is garbage. They are a touch screen and button hybrid, so you wind up with a unit that has buttons, but with the lousy visibility in sunlight of a touch screen. The processors are too slow and map panning is very jerky and the units also responds very slowly to screen touches and button presses. There are also software glitches that they’ve been slow to fix.

I shouldn’t be putting the Lowrance Endura down because I’m selling my Endura Sierra. If you really want one I’d be happy to sell it to you.

If you can find a used iFinder H20 or H20C at a good price jump on it. Those were great units.

Good clarification
I didn’t specify the 76csx. I figured the original Map76 was retired. Guess not.

I Also 'Abbreviated’
Mine’s also a CX.