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Would like some insight into GPS devices

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by Jason Brown, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown Battle Ground, WA Member

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    I am looking at a Magellan 350h that is on sale at BI-mart right now. I've never owned a GPS and this model seems to have great features for hunting/hiking and says it has pre loaded topographic maps, plus it is under $200. I would appreciate advice from anyone who is familiar with using GPS systems. Will this model do everything I need it too? What would you recommend? Thanks.
     
  2. eldbillbo

    eldbillbo clackamas New world samurai and a redneck none the less Bronze Supporter

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    I can't really recommend any thing as i don't know your budget or what is your all around purpose of getting one.

    I prefer garmin over Magellan any day had a couple magellans and they did not work well for me . I am sure they are a lot better now but I and my hunting groups all use garmins and we have not lost any one yet.


    just remember a GPS is a electronic and can fail so be prepared in case it does .
     
    GFO likes this.
  3. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown Battle Ground, WA Member

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    I would primarily be using the GPS for hiking and scouting around. I am looking at the Garmin models as well and they seem to be well reviewed just like the Magellan. Also I'd like to not spend too much over $200 on one.
     
  4. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I personally prefer garmin, and most of the people I know also prefer them over Magellan.

    Generally speaking, when it comes to a GPS device, you want something that has a decent amount of on-device memory (or an add in slot). In looking at the current offerings, the Etrex 20 looks to meet most of the requirements you might have. I think you will find it goes above and beyond your expectations.

    The one thing I would definitely tell you is use lithium AA batteries with these devices, they last much longer than alkaline batteries, and provided you carry a spare set will likely keep you out of trouble.

    As to why I like garmin better: I've owned several of garmin's Etrex series, still currently have an e-trex legend, which I've had for about 8 years at this point. That thing has ended up in the drink, dropped, baked, cooked, frozen and every other kind of mishap you could expose an electronic device to and while sometimes the screen gets fuzzy on power up, smacking it against my hand tunes it right up.

    I also have a Foretrex 401 that's kinda taken the place of the etrex. I use it mostly for hunting and hiking, it doesn't have the fancy basemap features however it does keep a 'trail of bread crumbs' type map so you can figure out where you are, where you've been, and where you need to go to get home.
     
  5. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    I have an older Magellan ... an Explorist XL. It is a large screen portable GPS for hunting/hiking/.... I liked the size, the maps and the computer interface, but it was Windows XP program. I do not recommend Magellan only because the support struck me as so piss poor. No map upgrades were provided, which really only affects streets and my car now has GPS, so that is no longer a biggie. For back country use it is still a good and useful device, as the back country does not change too rapidly, or significantly. The map tracks works well and I can find a camp site from a couple of years ago easy enough. The big negative with Magellan for me was the lack of customer support and up grading of the maps and firmware for the device. I still use the Explorist XL out in the field. As noted I carry a lot of batteries and use Lithium batteries.
     
  6. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown Battle Ground, WA Member

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    I was advised by a friend to watch out for devices that did not have updated maps. Looks like I'll probably go with the Garmin Etrex 20 since it is in the same price range as the Magellan model I was considering and everyone stands by the Gamin as being reliable. Thanks for the input. Very much appreciated.
     
    pokerace likes this.
  7. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    We have 3 older Magellans and have been generally pleased with them. I bought the topo program and thought it was overpriced, but a couple of buddies with the same units helped defray the price. I use mine constantly when in unfamiliar areas and have not had any issues, but there will never be a day hunting when I don't have a compass in my pocket and a map in the backpack!
    Since ours are fairly old, I am thinking about upgrading and am interested in opinions on what's the hot ticket, too.

    One word of advice, it's a lot easier for a GPS to track your trail if you just leave it on as opposed to turning it on when you want to "mark" a location. Buy good batteries. I've had the best luck with Duracell. The lesser expensive batteries, like the ones from Costco won't last as long and you'll end you spending just as much, but having to pack more batteries.
     
    Sgt Nambu likes this.
  8. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    One afterthought about the Garmins-

    (This is true of the vehicle models and so is probably true for the hiking ones:) you can upgrade the maps and in some cases, the OS with a download from the Garmin site.

    So an older map program on a Garmin may not be a deal breaker for you. You can check the Garmin site before purchase to see what the status is on the model you may be considering.
     
    Hook686 likes this.
  9. 7SFCW4

    7SFCW4 Out and About, Oregon Active Member

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    Garmin. You may be able to find the 530 HCX line on Ebay, the only non-military GPS I have experience with. Great support, multi battery capable, map updates, map on micro SD card, compass, altimeter, bread crumb feature, how do I get home, where is my buddy? Lots
     
  10. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    How many of you Garmin fans have any experience with a Magellan? Looking for comparison info.
     
  11. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

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    Been using Garmin's for years. The only experience with the Magellan was bad. Brand new out of the box, failed to get satellite. Took it back to Bi-Mart, and the manager there said "Well maybe Magellan satellites are down." LOL, I traded up to a Garmin on that one. Working great. Also love the older TomTom's, especially the ones that do all of Europe. Worked great touring over there.