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Old 01-16-2010, 09:27 PM
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duckypaddler duckypaddler is offline
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Smile GPS recommendations please

I want to finally buy a handheld gps for fishing, hiking, and kayaking. I want to buy a waterproof one that has maps I can download so that when I'm hiking in the Smokies I can see what side creeks I come up on etc. Also one of the new ones that still get signal in deep cover which was a real problem in the past, especially in dense cover. After looking on Amazon here are a few models I have seen that seem to fit the bill.

http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-eTrex-V...3691360&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Magellan-Trito...691360&sr=1-20

As I have never been a gps user before I want to make sure there aren't any other things I should be looking for, or if someone can recommend a good site that shows the good ones, or if you personally know of a good one I should buy. Also are there free maps, or do I need to purchase them separately? I think both above units have a SD card.

Thanks
James
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:16 PM
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Carolina Boy Carolina Boy is offline
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Sorry bud, I only have a GPS on my flats boat so I don't know about handhelds, but I will say that Garmin are sooo user friendly, I am a tech idiot and I can figure em out!

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Old 01-17-2010, 09:30 AM
rgp759 rgp759 is offline
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James,

I have the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx that you are looking at, and I would highly recommend it. I have had it for about 3 years now, and have used it for fishing, hunting and just general trip navigation. It is a very easy unit to use, once you get used to the menu structure. I carry with me on every trip, as it is quick and easy to mark a position on a stream where a particuarly nice run is, etc.

You will need an optional SD card to have adequate memory to store the maps and routes you will use. I have a 1GB card in mine, and have more than adequate memory space using it. Also, you do need to have the additional mapsource maps to have enough off road detail to make the unit really useful. I have the Topo map package loaded in my unit and have found the detail to be as good as any of the printed maps.

There is also an application you can download from Garmin to interface the unit with mapquest for on road navigation. Set up your route on mapquest, download it to the unit, tell it to navigate, and it will calculate and display turn by turn driving directions.

If you choose the Garmin, check out GPSNow.com. They had the best price on the web I could find when I got mine. I'd also recommend getting the case for the unit, as it will save on the normal bumps and bruises it is sure to get in use.

The unit also uses either alkaline or lithium batteries. Get the lithium ones for it, as they last much much longer than the standard alkaline. One set of lithium batteries lasted all of the past hunting season for me, where I'd generally use 2-3 sets of the standard alkaline ones.

Feel free to drop me an e-mail if you have any other specific questions on the unit. The address is rgp759 at bellsouth dot net.

Bob
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:27 AM
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duckypaddler duckypaddler is offline
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Smile Thanks for your feedback Bob!

I'm sure I will hit you up with some more questions, but off the back how much is the topo software you have (additional mapsource maps)?

I have purchased the national Parks Maps by TOPO which should have the Smokies. What will I need for N & S Cherokee coverage in TN as well as Joyce Kilmer, and other areas ouside the Park in NC.

Thanks again,
James
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:56 AM
rgp759 rgp759 is offline
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James,

There are a couple of current options for the additional maps you would need, as you can get the national topo map bundle that has every USGS topo map in it, or you can get a regional set of maps. The GPSNow website has a listing of the available options.

When I got my software, the topo map bundle was ~$100. Shoot me an e-mail and I can help you get a copy much cheaper.

Bob
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:31 AM
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Grannyknot Grannyknot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckypaddler View Post
I'm sure I will hit you up with some more questions, but off the back how much is the topo software you have (additional mapsource maps)?

I have purchased the national Parks Maps by TOPO which should have the Smokies. What will I need for N & S Cherokee coverage in TN as well as Joyce Kilmer, and other areas ouside the Park in NC.

Thanks again,
James
Is that "National parks maps by topo" compatible with the Garmin mapsource software? If not, you may have some trouble getting it to work on a Garmin handheld.

If you buy Garmin Mapsource National Parks East 24k https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=999&pvID=2286 , it includes GSMNP, Cherokee NF, & Nantahala NF. To the best of my knowledge, Garmin doesn't offer very good coverage of Pisgah yet, except on the Topo East 100k software, which isn't very good in my opinion. They haven't made a Topo 24k Southeast version yet.

By the way, go ahead and spend a few bucks more and buy a 4 gig SD card. You can fit the entire United States 100k topo on it, all the national parks 24k, and most of the inland lakes.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:50 AM
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Smile Thanks Grannyknot

I'm glad you chimed in as my searches for GPS answers on this and another fourm only led to one post from you about the Pisgah coverage issue.

I will def get a 4 or 8 gig card as they are dirt cheap these days.

Also what model do you have? It looks like I'll go with the Garmin. Is there any other model I should look at?

I checked out the links to map software, and not sure if mine will work. Says it works with Garmin in GARM mode, but software may be outdated as I purchased years ago when I got a cheapy GPS that plugged into the palm I was using at the time.

If I buy the whole US will that give me everything in National Parks East one?

Thanks for all your help,
James
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:46 PM
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I have the Garmin (Oregon 400I) and the detail is absolutely insane. It is waterproof and touch screen. The newer versions have cameras...

Great GPS, is a battery hog.
-one full set of charged batteries runs for one day...
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:00 PM
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Scott Spencer Scott Spencer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckypaddler View Post
Also what model do you have? It looks like I'll go with the Garmin. Is there any other model I should look at?
James - Have you looked at any of the DeLorme GPS units? PN20 is about $150 (if you shop around) and a superb unit! Want more, go with the PN30 or PN40. The software is second to none as well.

I bought the PN20 and love it. Before that I had a Magellan I used for years but the DeLorme is light years better.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:32 PM
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Grannyknot Grannyknot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckypaddler View Post

Also what model do you have? It looks like I'll go with the Garmin. Is there any other model I should look at?
I have the Rino 530hcx. I'd say the all have their upsides and downsides.

Quote:
Originally Posted by duckypaddler View Post
If I buy the whole US will that give me everything in National Parks East one?
As for Garmin: Currently, the entire US is only offered in 100k (they are still working on completing the 24k). You can get most of the US in 24k, but not the southeast. I would use the National Parks East 24k software, it has all the GSMNP backcountry campsites and points of interest pre-loaded as waypoints, as well as the surrounding national forests, minus most of pisgah.
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