I’m thinking of getting a handheld gps. I really just want to know how far I’ve gone, but I’d like to see it later so I don’t want one of those watch type ones. Now the kicker here is that digital watches confuse me…so suggestions on a super simple to use, not gunna fret if I drop it overboard, cheap gps???

Aren’t you even going to fret a teensy-
weensy bit ???

Jack L

not sure

Not sure if there is a super simple one out there…Bushnell makes a cheap one but I’m not sure if it gives you any trip info (like distance traveled). I think you can get a no frills intro level Garmin for around $90.

Put it in a small dry bag/case and tie it off to your seat. It’ll still work and you don’t have to worry about getting it wet or losing it.

Here you go
Garmin e trex is good and simple

You get confused by a digital watch???

Then the only other sugestion would be one of the new backtrack GPS’s

Start it when you start,When you stop look and see how far it is to where you started.

Now, here is the problem with this; lets just sat you started at your dock then you padle all the way around the lake and back to your dock…It will say you went nowhere.

Or if you paddle a mile down stream but you paddled horseshoe bend it will say you only went half a mile.

Honestly…your best bet is to find somebody near you to spend some time with you and let you play with their GPS.

I bought my Dad one exactly like mine so it would be easer to teach him. And just from not useing it enough he forgot,Now my nephew has it.

They are awesome tools and toys for geocaching but you will definatly need to familiarize yourself and practice with it.

Good luck

Garmin eTrex
Just got a Cabelas’s sale paper and they have the Garmin eTrex H GPS on sale for $69.99.or the Garmin Legend HCX fpr $149.99 it says it is available in stores or Online from March 3rd to the 13th.


– Last Updated: Feb-26-11 9:05 AM EST –

If you get confused over digital watch I guess a smartphone is out of the question. GPS apps allow you to carry once less device.


– Last Updated: Feb-26-11 11:40 AM EST –

any GPS unit that has a "trackback " feature will show you the route u have traveled. Some of the cheaper units do not receive signals very well under heavy foilage. My old Garmin eTrex legend was like that. I have mixed feelings on Garmin's ...just sent my Oregon back after the software came up missing for no reason. pick one you can afford and then read reviews on it b4 you buy.
PS: I prefer AA battery operated GPS units over the lithium -ion ones....u can replace AA's in the field. hard to find a 110 v plug 5 miles back in the woods when the li-ion gives up.

I did considerable research
for a GPS that I could use both in my kayak as well as on my bicycle. I bought a Garmin eTrex Vista HCX. My primary interest was data such as distance traveled, speed, average speed, total time, time actually moving, etc. That all displays very nicely and easy to read while paddling. The face of this GPS is relatively small compared to the GPS you might buy for your car so the map is somewhat small (if that matters to you). It does not float, but it is waterproof.

I’ve gone through 3 Garmins and have to say Garmin makes crap. My last Garmin was their most expensive Rino, and it sucked just as bad as the etrex units I had. Oh…I’m not counting the one in the truck, that sucks too. It’s pretty sad when your cell phone is a better GPS than your GPS!!! Get a Droid.

are there super-simple GPS ???
All I want in a GPS is:

  1. where am I?
  2. Where is my put in (in the dark)
  3. How fast am I going (occasionally)
  4. How far have I paddled? (occasionally)

    oh right, and be waterproof!

    But they insist on selling me all those things I will never need! Like my camera needs to take still pics, MPG and timed shots. So why do I have t oscroll through 157 options that I will never use and increase the price?

super simple…
Bushnell makes their version of a simple GPS with the “Backtrack” series …they come in 5 waypoints version and a 3 waypoint version. they r as simple as a GPS will get. all you can do is “bookmark” a location, using the icons and the digital compass will point you back to the bookmarked location from any other location…no “tracks” to follow …no complicated menus to scroll thru…no micro-maps to squint at and try to follow. I bought a Garmin Rino to replace the Oregon that crapped out on me …not real happy with it at the moment…lots of complicated menu’s and sub-menu’s. Their “toggle” button is proving to be a excersice in frustration.

Garmin eTrex

– Last Updated: Mar-03-11 8:13 PM EST –

For super simple, would suggest the "High Sensitivity" model.

Should be available for less than $100.00

I've been VERY happy with mine.


I have a
Garmin etrex Venture HC. I’ve had it a couple years now. Used it for hiking in unfamiliar areas surrounded by heavily forested hills and tall rock (poor satellite reception areas). Before I got it I was using my old etrex legend which wouldn’t pick up well through the hills and trees. My Venture does great. I’ve been using it since I started kayaking and like being able to see the areas I’ve covered, mileage traveled, speeds, etc. If you’re planning extended trips you can use software uploadable to your gps unit to plan a route. Very nice, and not complicated. Just take your time and as someone stated earlier play with it for a while. It’s not that hard to use and you’ll be glad you did. I have a Droid X that makes a great GPS as long as you’re not on a long trip (battery will go dead in less than 24 hours) and as long as you’ve got something waterproof that will either float or that can be tied to your boat, they’re not cheap to replace. Also, the venture is waterproof. Haven’t tried to see if it floats or not, it probably will. I keep it in the zipper pocket on my pfd. Good luck and happy paddling.

What I gathered from all of this is that GPS sucks. So I’m gunna paddle till I"m tired, then turn around and hope I make it back. If I need to tell someone how far I went “far enough” should cover it.

No it doesnt necessarily

– Last Updated: Mar-07-11 2:10 PM EST –

While GPS is not usually a need, I use a Dakota 20 (made by Garmin...and I have had three Garmins..two little E trex.) I really wanted a mapping one so that I know where I am at all times.

I often paddle in two conditions that make map and compass kind of worthless.

Dark. If there is no moon you really have a hard time making out where is shore and where there is not shore.

I take responsibility for the death of the first e trex. Salt air and unprotected GPS=corrosion. The second one is just fine. Its six years old.

Gotta try one first.
G.P.S.s are great.

But you gotta play with it.

None of the instructions I ever saw were great,but they all come with a quick start instructions.

I wouldnt trade mine for anything(Oregon 400t)

Confusing at first but now that I understand it,It is so easy.

Like I said earlier find a person in your area who has one to show you how it works.

Post it here you will probably get a few hits.

Or try geocaching .com and find a cache near you and email the owner for help.

Good luck

Dont give up.

sucks how?

– Last Updated: Mar-07-11 4:06 PM EST –

I suppose a GPS isn't for everyone and it's certainly not strictly needed, but still what about the above posts makes you conclude they suck?

I'm not sure about the cheap part since that's very relative, but it's pretty darn easy to make sure they don't fall overboard by simply attaching the included lanyard to you or your boat.

While most GPS units may have many features you can just focus on what you need. Often I just measure speed and distance. My Etrex Vista has one display that has distance, speed and other info. I merely press a couple of buttons after turning it on to reset the odometer and paddle away.

If I go through the 'complexity' of selecting the map and zooming in or out then I guess I must have some reason otherwise I would forgo that minor effort. Likewise with other features.

Even for waterproof units a waterproof bag is a good idea to protect your investment. I've found that the weakest link for most is the battery compartment. If you don't use a waterproof bag for a waterproof unit then it's wise to open and dry the battery compartment soon after a post-paddle rinse of the unit.

I'd suggest having someone more GPS inclined do a first time setup then just use the few features you need. Discovering what a GPS can do and a few initial setup steps is probably the hardest part.