Looking for Recommendations for GPS

Hi Folks,

I live in SW Florida and do a lot of kayaking through mangroves, and a GPS is a must. I have been using my phone GPS but my phone battery doesn’t last very long. I’m looking for recommendations on a good handheld, waterproof GPS with a long battery life. Any recommendations?


Garmin and use lithiium batteries
there are many models and price range

Jack L

dont need
I’ve tried them but have better luck looking up at the route than looking down at a GPS.

Whats the worst that could happen? You could get lost? People dont get lost, their mind does.

Garmin Oregon 600
I’ve had pretty good luck with it. I use disposable batteries. as opposed to rechargeables. You can always replace them in the field.

Things to keep in mind
Most Garmin’s don’t come with any meaningful map. They have a base map which is worthless. BUT you get good maps for FREE for Garmin’s at http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/ Pick your state of FL and see whats available. Many Garmin’s to choose from, I have always bought refurbs both with handheld and Car Nuvis, same 1 year warranty as a new one. DONT buy off ebay NO warranty. I called and spoke to Garmin about this. Ebay is NOT a store. If someone out there got warranty work with an ebay purchase they were lucky.

I bought a dakota 20 refurb last year for $170.

I went with a Garmin etrex 20
It had tides. It is pocket size, and I downloaded topo maps from gpsfiledepot which is the link already posted. It shows the the matsh creeks too. It cosr about 160.

Garmin’s successor to the 76 is a 78. A used 76 is OK but the software is discontinued so the 78 is current. Garmin includes a marine chart system with the 78. Photo downloads are with a subscription

The Flamingo/Long Key Boomerang was done with a 76csx.



In Florida, the marine charts gives passages past shoals. Once you know where you are, arrival, speed made good, shoals are useful, entertaining.

Current speeds past shoals/sandbars or ripples the tidal current into a long bouncy ride.

When skills are developed at tide/current/wind analysis, the map with your position will show you where to be for using current against wind. Very important !

So find the NOAA chart for your area or where you plan to paddle. See your position on that map with GPS in hand ?

may be worth looking into. Garmin probably has 90% of the market, and I’m sure there is a good reason.

I went with DeLorme PN series as the topo maps included at no extra cost provide great detail. Aerial photos can be overlaid on the map, which I thought would be quite useful, but I’ve never done it.

The software provided for my computer is very deep and very interesting, though a bit challenging to make it work for paddling use.

I’ve been quite pleased with the PN20 and the PN60.

Just throwin’ it out there…


Why I chose the Garmin etrex20

– Last Updated: Dec-03-14 10:00 PM EST –

- Garmin because free topo maps are available on www.gpsfiledepot.com. The base map it comes with is throw-away/demo by design and useless, and original Garmin maps are expensive.

- It has enough memory to hold all maps I would probably need and more!

- Memory card design allows me to carry even more maps on additional cards should I ever need to.

- Mac compatible (BaseCamp)

- $150 on sale

etrex10 is black and white and does not have the memory I wanted. etrex30 has additional features/gimmicks not worth the cost to me. Other Garmin units were too expensive. (The etrex20 screen is small, though).

The battery life on a dedicated GPS unit is better than on a cell phones. You can carry spare cell phone batteries for extended service, or turn off the phone. I carry spare rechargable AAs for the Garmin and other equipment.

I like the small size as well, and the long battery life on just 2 AA batteries. I also use the rechargeable, and have a solar charger for long trips.

In terms of disclosure, I like gadgets. I have used the Garmin GPS Map 76csx for a number of years. I also had an earlier black and white version. The 76csx mounts on the deck with a Garmin dash mount (and i also have used it on my bicycle with a handlebar mount). It is easily visible while paddling. The older garmin marine maps were expensive, with purchases required for different sections of the country. they now have a single map covering the whole us and another one for canada (we travel with our kayaks). The 76 has built in tide tables, which are a handy feature–it locates the nearest tide station and give you the tide table. I use rechargeable batteries in in and have never had the batteries run out, even with 12 hours of continuous use.

The computer interface is fairly easy to use. I sometimes download waypoints and routes to the garmin and can also upload data after a trip. It is also nice to see the data on distance traveled.

One other very nice benefit of using the GPS is the constant speed readout. It has helped to improve my stroke because you can quickly and easily see how well you are paddling and the effect of stroke form.

And their mind gets cold and hungry and eventually their mind dies of starvation or hypothermia.

Do Need
Thanks, but clearly you’ve never paddled through mangroves.

Thanks all - lots of great info here! Garmin seems to be a favorite. Looks like I have some homework to do.

Thanks a bunch - and happy paddling!

Great stuff!
Thanks datakoll…this is excellent feedback. Thanks also for the links. Great info all around!

Delorme ?
How’s the D’s screen compare to a 76/78 Garmin ?

The D does not have marine mapping or 3d shading , right ?

I watched the D system used for an Inside Passage trip on West Coast Paddler. Very effective there at least for broadcasting locations to their loved ones but around the block ?

crabs ?

have you seen the great crab crawlouts ? Thousands of shiny black leathery small crabs climbing up mangrove roots escaping a long armed monster ?

Who is this long-armed monster you speak of? :slight_smile: Yes, I’ve seen the crabs - we call them spider crabs. They love to drop on your head and into your kayak when you’re paddling through the mangroves. I have to remind myself that they are crabs and not spiders to keep myself from flipping out. :slight_smile: