What GPS to get?

I’m fairly new to Kayaking and thinking about getting a hand held GPS, what’s a good one to get for kayaking? What’s everyone using?

We use them all
You are about to find out that it a GPS was made, one of us has it.

Please let us know more info. Price range and what you why you want a GPS.

Toys of the trade.

I have a Garmin 76CS


just started looking at them
I’ve just started looking at them, I plan to spend about $250.00, and will be using it to keep from getting lost, and possibly for mapping routes. It would be nice to have one that could transfer maps onto my PC. Also where do people get maps for their GPS’s?

Garmin 76CSX
You can read the screen in bright sunlight, it’s water proof, it floats, you can buy software to download maps from your PC to the GPS. It has an electronic compass and altimeter, although you’re not likely to need an altimeter if sea kayaking at sea level. The cost is about $350 at places like amazon.com, which is higher than your budget, but it’s the top of the line, I wish I had started there instead of wasting time and money on some of the ones I tryed.

Garmin GPSMAP 76 CX
The extra “S” features aren’t needed on the water - just cost a little more - and drains batteries a littel faster…

Great unit.

As I’m sure you know
Think of this as a friendly reminder that may save your bacon.

GPS is awesome. Best thing since pre sliced bread. However it should be used as a luxury. Be sure you are proficient in the art of using a compass, map and dead reckoning. An accurate watch, a quality compass and the skill to use both are prerequisites to purchasing a GPS. A GPS just makes things easier.

That being said once you have one that works well for you it can make navigating a heck of a lot easier. A handy skill to learn is using a protractor to figure out coordinates on a USGS map and then plugging them into your GPS to get you there. If you happen to be hiking, as I am apt to as well. Of course this also applies to water as well.

A good habit to get into is noting your position on a map (or chart) every three hours or so. This way if your GPS fails you have a known reference point to give you a position. As in for the last 3 hours I was paddling in this direction, allow for tides/currents and you can have a rough idea of where you are. At the least it will give you a idea as to where to head to find landmarks you can use to pinpoint your position.

Triangulating off of known points using a back azimuth is one of the few real world uses I have ever encountered for high school geometry. Guess it wasn’t completely useless after all.

Orienteering is fun on land or water.


Garmin Etrex Vista HCX with bluechart.

Gander Mountain
I got a couple of Gander Mountain Gift Certificates for Christmas! They sell a few models of Garmin, including the eTrex vista HCx, any reviews of that model? It seems pretty nice.

Garmin Map 76CSX
I’d go with the 76CSX. A great all around unit and it floats, unlike it’s more popular brother unit, the 60CSX.

As far as mapping software, for boating consider Garmin’s BlueChart if you are paddling coastal waters and Topo or Inland Lakes if you are paddling

other areas.

Or all of them if you have the bucks. You can run them concurrently in your unit and switch between them as needed.

I have liked to use the cheapest E-Trex. It can down load and up load tracks and waypoints to my computer. And when printing a map for a trip pre selected waypoint can be used to know distance and direction. I still carry a compass for back up to use with the maps as we all need to know how too. This unit is waterproof and can be found for $50.00 factory referb or new for $89.00. I use mine in my vest pocket and have never had any problem with the unit. It is with out a dought the easyest unit to use one handed and that is a good point when out on the water.

Shows all the needed parameters, speeds distance traveled an a track line to retrace or keep track of your travels.

Happy Trails