need gps recs

Any recs on a good, reasonably priced gps for my yak? I know I’ll probably get a lecture on the virtues of navigation skills (and I agree), but I’m expanding my paddling to local swamps with no set landmarks and limited long range visibility. Please hep me so I don’t get lost and eaten by gators.

E Trex
It’s cheap, works well but:

It has no facility for a map which is handy if you turn it on after you are lost (like me). When the batteries are dead it does not work well.

If you have to call Coast Guard she is dandy.

There is a funny as hell story there (funny because I was not the guy in pain)

If I were buying one now I would make sure it has some basic map programming in it: And it is Water Proof.

Good luck. I still gravitate to the compass.


For the first one, get the cheapest.
I would recommend the little yellow Garmin Etrex.

If it kept me from getting lost in the Everglades it should do the same for you in your local swamp.

Once you learn how to do way points, and creat a route back, you will want to get one with more capabilities like the Garmin Map 76, etc.



If you plan to use it to fend off gators, I would recommend a “BIG” one. LOL. I use a Garmin etrex Venture Cx. I like it very much. But I am sure that a cheaper unit would work just fine. I will never use this unit to its full spectrum of gadgets and gizmos. And they make units with more to offer then mine. They do come with a learning curve. Mine is not the simplest to use once you get past the basic operation, but then again I don’t think its the worst. I think some of the new units are better as fare as that go’s. In the end you need to ask yourself how you plan to use it. I use mine in the kayak, car, etc.

Make sure its the Yellow 'H’
You basically have two choices:

1 - A basic GPS that doesn’t include any on-board maps. This will allow you to capture waypoints, and use them to create routes, get bearings, point to a waypoint, and create simple maps showing the relative location of the waypoints. For that I’d strongly recommend the yellow eTrex ‘H’.

2 - A mapping GPS for which you would need to buy on-board maps, typically street, topo, or marine maps. These do everything the basic GPS does, but also provides the waypoints and information provided by the map. This is useful since you don’t have to enter every waypoint of interest, but it costs a bunch more. For this I’d recommend one of the eTrex HCx units, the GPSMAP 60 series (Cx or CSx)) or the GPSMAP 76 series (Cx or CSx) - all of these have the high sensitivity chipsets.

eTrex Venture HC
This is a nice little unit that I’m really enjoying. It’s short on memory, only 24 megs internal, but has the high sensitivity chipset, mapping capability, and colour screen. They’re going for a pretty good price right now because Garmin is going to the HCx series, which uses SD cards for expandable memory.

Avoid Magellan
I have one, about 3 years old, that was expensive when purchased. I’ve been looking for marine charting software over the last few days, only to find that Magellan no longer sells it in a format compatible with the GPS. Frustrating to say the least. I might feel different if the GPS were older, but at 3 years old it seems like they should still offer mapping software to support it.

I’ve been looking as well

– Last Updated: Jul-22-08 3:52 PM EST –

Thinking of going non-mapping, since most if not all the times out in the ocean will either be racing or a planned trip, and will have a map and compass as a backup.

Choices appear to be endless, but I'm narrowing it down to a Garmin, either the 72 marine version or an older mapping one that has a microSD slot.

Etrex Venture HC - Great Deal
I second the recommend for the Etrex Venture HC.

Perfect for kayaking. It does maps, but does not do Auto Routing for driving/car/roads. This is a non-issue for kayaking. It’s cheap, accurate, and 24 mb is plenty of memory.

The only downside is that Garmin likes to say that their Etrex units are waterproof, but they are not! Bag it!

This is my 3rd GPS in the Etrex line, love them. Great balance between small size, simplicity and features.

The user interface is tricky at first, but once you learn it, very simple.

second that…
My 2 year old Magellan quit working, and tech support wanted $95 to fix it.

I could buy the same unit on ebay these days for half that.

What bugs me the most, they did nothing to keep a customer. No offer of rebate or replacement, or even a discount off a new Magellan.

Looking at Lowrance, and Garmin now.


I’ve had 4 Garmins (still have them all) and never a problem. Great units.

On my third Garmin…
Great Units


Start with the best one…
…that suits your needs, not the cheapest. I have the Garmin GPSmap 76CSX. It is exactly what I need so I won’t have to buy another. I wasn’t too keen on plunking out that much $$ but one gps is cheaper than two.


Marine is what I have.I use it quite a bit both on the water and in the woods.I’ve never had a problem with it but if I were looking today I’d go with Garmin.Got mine at a great price on ebay from a guy selling brand new leftover stock a few years back.