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Handheld GPS?

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  • Handheld GPS?

    When I get my big paycheck back from the gov't, (Tax ref.), I plan on picking up a handheld GPS. I am not a "bells and whistles" person, but I do want quality (rugged?), good battery life, breadcrumbs?, etc. I have briefly looked at some of the etrex(s), and assume it is the standard?

    Tell me what you got! good, bad, ugly...

    I plan on doing some off-trail exploring soon.

    (Inspired by Mags "cave" adventure...)
    Last edited by hubste5; 01-19-2010, 11:03 AM.

  • #2
    i would have to say Garmin runs the gps industry these days. i would opt and get something with all the bells and what not. if you are just looking for something basic all your going to get is a compass and some of the basics which aren't really all that helpful. I would suggest you get a Garmin with a card slot so you can upload topo maps. dont get something with an internal memory you will be disappointed how little it will hold. Also the newer color screens with back light are great. hope this helps.


    • #3
      The Wife and I geocache as does my daughters family. I choose the Garmin 60CSx handheld unit. We have not been disappointed with its performance in any way. I highly recommend it.
      As Zombie Axe would say...
      "Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty."


      • #4
        I'm a Garmin user as well and one of the most important things to look for when buying a GPS is to make sure you get a newer one with a USB port! After getting a GPS, there are several free GPS programs for the simple things that you might find useful but purchasing a GPS program is still the best option. One of the free ones I have used is EasyGPS and their website is at

        I've seen the older Garmins selling for as low as $40 without the USB ports and the adapter cable required can be difficult to locate unless you find one online. I like a color screen personally but to each their own.

        BTW, if you have a Mac computer, you will absolutely want the GPS with a USB port!
        Last edited by Pioneer; 01-20-2010, 11:42 PM.
        Being unprepared is giving up!


        • #5
          [Tell me what you got! good, bad, ugly...]

          I attached one of these to my control stick and flew lots of miles for years with this hand held .... no bells, no whistles. FWIW the military controls the satellite signals so this may become a paperweight in the near future.

          Things are seldom what they seem.


          • #6
            I have had a Garmin 60csx for about 3 years now and it is just so nice! Did a bunch of research before buying and it seemed like the one that would best suit the outdoor, hunter type that I am. Its got good battery life, actually works even in heavy cover, hell it works in my bedroom away from the windows! They probably all do that now, but when I got this one a friend had a different brand that worked fine out in the open but if you were under some thick trees it would drop signal. The 60csx has so many other useful features as well with my favorite being the user programmable "breadcrumb" trail markers. You can set it to make a mini way-point by distance or by time. So it'll mark where you are either every time you reach your programmed distance (10 foot, 1/4 mile, etc) or time (10 seconds, 30 seconds, 5 minutes, etc.) marking a trail that you can follow back in case you get lost. I love it! I have the topographical map-set for the entire US on it as well. It was an extra 100 bucks or so but also totally worth it! You wont regret buying a Garmin!


            • #7
              My suggestion would be to purchase a cheap, simple Geko 201. I would then invest in MAPS-MAPS-MAPS.... more than one good compass and a protractor or two....
              The topo mops sold by the USGS will likely not have grid lines, but you can draw them on and waterproof the map. The downside to the USGS grids VS. the scale on your typical military protractor is this:
              The military protractor will have a 1:25,000 scale grid ------ All of the USGS maps I have seen will have a 1:24,000 scale grid... Not the end of the world, but for the land nav perfectionist, a solution is needed..... So who comes to the rescue of an old army 11B1P? Crap.... it’s the USMC!... Now I was never a huge fan of you Jarheads out there, but I must say, you guys have your land nav stuff down pat.. The USMC Association has a Joint plotter that has all the scales needed for map reading. I found it by accident one day several years ago... I think the only way to get one is to order from the number on the plotter itself. 1-800-336-0291. I just checked the number and it’s still good.
              The GPS is a fine tool, but I would not make it my main tool to get me from point "A" to "B"... Learn how to use your maps, compass and plotter and keep the GPS as frosting on the cake... Just in case your electronics are down, sats are in sleep mode or you forget to buy batteries...

              Another purchase would be Army GTA: "How to avoid getting lost" (GTA 05-02-013). I still use it to brush up on my skills or when teaching land nav.

              Note: to you current and former marines... I am kidding about not being a fan uf the USMC... In fact, the dude who taught me land nav was a former Recon Marine Vietnam vet... He left the corps and went 82nd Abn.. thats where I met him.. He turned out to be a fine Paratrooper and a mediocre alcoholic...LOL...

              UPDATE: I just found the USMC Store online... It looks like they have the joint plotter. The price went up from $3 to 5$ per plotter, but I guess thats inflation. If you buy one of these plotters, make sure you keep in in something that does not scratch the surface of the plastic.

              I am not able to post a URL, so Google the following (including quotes) ---- USMC "Joint plotter"

              There should be only one result of the google search. It will be
              Last edited by hminus; 08-18-2010, 10:07 AM.


              • #8
                hminus=nail head

                I am going to assume, that int he event of SHTF, the government will either lose satellite comm, or take it down. Either way, you're screwed if you do not have the basic knowledge of a compass, and a good old fashoined terrain map. Might not be a bad idea to chart out some initial routes to where the hidden valley ranch is also, pre-plan without the gadgets, and it would make life a lot easier if you found they were no good. If they did work, it's icing on the cake.


                • #9
                  I also vote Garmin. I don't have extensive experience with any other brand, but that's what we used in Afghanistan and it sure seemed to do the job.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Skyowl View Post
                    The Wife and I geocache as does my daughters family. I choose the Garmin 60CSx handheld unit. We have not been disappointed with its performance in any way. I highly recommend it.
                    This is the exact unit I own and all I have to say is I am VERY HAPPY with it. I use mine alot with plotting UTM coordinates and it's very user friendly in my opinion!!!

                    Little advice...If the gps you buy is not bright colored, get a bright colored piece of cord to attach to it so you don't leave it laying behind!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Apocalyptic_Sojourner View Post
                      I also vote Garmin. I don't have extensive experience with any other brand, but that's what we used in Afghanistan and it sure seemed to do the job.
                      What year were you in stan? and what part? I did Kandahar and Bagram in 2002..