anyone recommend a good hand held gps unit? I would be using it for canoeing, backpacking, general hiking, etc. I would like waterproof and color screen, not too worried about cost, but I don’t want to buy one that will break or is so complicated that I would not use it.

Garmin 60CSX or 76CX
The 76 CX is waterproof and floats, the 60 series doesn’t float ( I know from experience).

if you had to choose. garmin or magellan?

I just bought
the Garmin 60CSx from REI. They had a sale last week and it was discounted to $200. Rumor has it that Garmin is coming out with the 62 so I think that’s why the 60s are being unloaded. Regardless, check out the reviews on REI and Amazon of the 60CSx. Overall, a very good model with great features. It is waterproof but it does not float as previously stated. The 76CSx is functionally the same as the 60 with the same internals, but in a different case and does float. I plan to tether the 60 to either my pdf or boat just in case.

…I have the Garmin oregon 400I (inland lakes) …good GPS …excellent signal receiver…lots of features like touch screen, backtrack, geocache, altimeter,electronic compass, SD card compatible, carbiner belt clip, 1 button on/off, everything else is touch screen, share wireless w/another garmin 400 oregon. but IMO a battery hog , uses AA’s. Downside…does not have a “always on” mode. screen times out after 15 seconds to 2 minutes. I personally favor AA battery operated GPS’ …nothing worse than the batts dying mid-trip and no way to recharge the lithium/Ion type.

Garmin 60CSX
I have had mine for 4 years now, its great. True it does not float so I either Tether it to my boat or I have a PFD for it. There a best buy at $200!

$199 for 76CX

Check out Delorme…
if you want an alternative to Garmin.

Very nice software included in purchase price. The PN40 can be found at an attractive price now that the PN60 is out.

I’ve had very poor tech support from Magellan.

The once I’ve used Delorme’s tech support it was American english, and spot on advice.


2nd for DeLorme
I have a DeLorme and I love it. I would suggest go to you nearest outdoor store and play with a DeLorme, Lowrance, and Garmin and see which ones you like. The software that comes with the DeLorme is really cool but not the most intuitive. The device itself is a piece of cake. Spend an hour watching a couple of youtube tutorials DeLorme has uploaded and toying with program and you will have it down. But, if you don’t care about the software don’t worry, the device is as straightforward as the rest of them.

The difference between the PN40 and PN30 is that the 30 does not have the magnetic compass nor barometric altimeter. For my money, I would go with the 30.

3rd for Delorme (Cheapest, Best Data)
You need to look at total cost of ownership. Consider the cost, flexibiliy, availability, and the scope and scale of the data too.

I found the Delorme is unmatched in this regard.

Bill G.

Mt. Pleasant, SC

I haven’t had good luck with Garmin
I’ve had two Garmin’s. First was an Etrex Legend. It lasted about a year and a half before the joystick stopped working. The unit was used lightly, never dropped or abused. I contacted Garmin about repairs, but thought for the rate they wanted, I’d just get a new one.

Decemeber 2008, I got a Oregon 200. Nice unit while it worked. I used it maybe 10-15 times. Last month, it died. It turns on, but I get nothing but horizontal lines running across the LCD screen. Again, this unit was used lightly and never abused.

I e-mailed Garmin and explained my situation with them in hopes they might help with repairs, since my luck with them has been bad. I never received a response.

Garmin wants $99 to fix it. At this point I’m still deciding what I want to do. Just keep it as another Garmin paperweight, or get it fixed and sell it on Craigslist. I will say that I’ll never buy another Garmin product. I just don’t trust the reliability of their stuff.

I have a magellan
and have no problems with it, once i got used to how it operated. however, guy I know says he is familiar with both and found that the Garmin was more user friendly. Not sure on the newer models, mine is 6 or 7 years old.

Basic E trex with no color
I got the bottom of the line Garmin recently. I figured if you need a GPS on a trip, then you also need a back up GPS. I bought the lowest price Garmin with the thought that if it didn’t do enough I would buy a different unit for my primary one.

It has not ports for water to get in. It has not color. It has no map. You can put in way points and a route and follow it or follow your track back to the put in. It gives speed, distance, location, vmg, avg speed, etc.

So far it is very robust and water proof. I think I’ll stick with this model.

Color + Maps + High Sensativity
I also bought an eTrex, but I wanted color maps and a high sensitivity receiver. I downloaded free (and legal) USGS topo maps for the entire region which includes almost every little pig trail out in the forest areas.

So, when you look and see it’s only 1 mile to the next waypoint, you also see there is a bluff face and a river between you and that point.

The receiver is really nice and I do occasionally lose satellites, but it’s generally when I’m up against a 100 to 300 foot vertical bluff where half the sky is completely blocked.

I paid about $200 for the eTrex Vista HCx and I’ve rolled and swam with it over a dozen times, I’ve banged it around, and it still works great.


My experience…
…is that the Garmin 60 series are pretty tough. I have a very early 60 that actually floats with lithium batteries.

However you really should check the Delorme PN series. I moved to the PN 30 due to the mapping software that includes topo data, some trails and camp sites as well as business related points of interest (with phone numbers). It’s like getting Garmin’s City Navigator and Topo maps in one package.

And Topo 9 is coming out in a few minutes (ah… I mean days) and it will include topo data for Canada.

The PN 60 series will supposedly offer improved battery run time. My PN 30 doesn’t do too badly with lithium batteries.