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Tom7227

New Handheld Gps

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I am starting to consider getting a new handheld GPS. I have a Garmin 78s and it is at least 5 years old.  I like Garmin products and have the Basecamp software.  I would like to buy something that is a relatively new product so that it has some life in terms of support.  The touch screen, bue tooth and music and all that other stuff isn't important - I want a rig to show me where I am and let me figure out how to get someplace else.  Seems like the Etrex, Oregon and Montana are names I recognize from a search at least 2 years ago.  What's new?

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11 hours ago, Tom7227 said:

I am starting to consider getting a new handheld GPS. I have a Garmin 78s and it is at least 5 years old.  I like Garmin products and have the Basecamp software.  I would like to buy something that is a relatively new product so that it has some life in terms of support.  The touch screen, bue tooth and music and all that other stuff isn't important - I want a rig to show me where I am and let me figure out how to get someplace else.  Seems like the Etrex, Oregon and Montana are names I recognize from a search at least 2 years ago.  What's new?

 I think that smart phones have sucked most of the life out of the hand held gps market.  

I have an etrex, and the display is so small I can hardly see anything on a topo map. 

 

For example, I have an app called "us topo maps" which might be sort of what you are looking for.  There are also ones for hunting etc.   You might have to pay a few bucks depending on which app you find best.   One that caches or downloads the maps is handy.    

 

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OnXMaps for your phone. Better than any GPS I've used. 7 day trial to try it out and then $30 a year for one state or $100 a year for all states. 

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4 hours ago, jbell1981 said:

OnXMaps for your phone. Better than any GPS I've used. 7 day trial to try it out and then $30 a year for one state or $100 a year for all states. 

 

So can you still get GPS coverage up in the middle of no where without cell phone coverage?  🤔

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1 hour ago, leech~~ said:

 

So can you still get GPS coverage up in the middle of no where without cell phone coverage?  🤔

 

Yes, if you download the map while you have coverage.

 

A better question might be, will your cellphone last 4 days on two easily replaceable double AA batteries?

 

Everytime this topic comes up it's everyone saying to use your phone... Umm, that's not the poster's question.

 

Personally, I would just ride out the 78s until it's dead.  I'm still running a 62.

Edited by bobbymalone

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54 minutes ago, bobbymalone said:

 

Yes, if you download the map while you have coverage.

 

A better question might be, will your cellphone last 4 days on two easily replaceable double AA batteries?

 

Everytime this topic comes up it's everyone saying to use your phone... Umm, that's not the poster's question.

 

Personally, I would just ride out the 78s until it's dead.  I'm still running a 62.

 

I agree with you bobby, and your reply is what I was looking for.  I want my cell to be able to call for help when I'm out in the woods or the middle of LOWs so most of the time I keep it off. I have a few older hand handles and XOG's that work fine that I use on my sled, hunting or riding my Dual sport bike up north.  To me its most important to have a way to call for help during an emergency then get back to a fishing hole.

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22 minutes ago, leech~~ said:

 

I agree with you bobby, and your reply is what I was looking for.  I want my cell to be able to call for help when I'm out in the woods or the middle of LOWs so most of the time I keep it off. I have a few older hand handles and XOG's that work fine that I use on my sled, hunting or riding my Dual sport bike up north.  To me its most important to have a way to call for help during an emergency then get back to a fishing hole.

An external battery pack will power your iphone for several days.  

https://www.amazon.com/Portable-RAVPower-26800mAh-Double-Speed-Recharging/dp/B07793KSV4/ref=dp_ob_title_wld

recharge an iphone 8 8 times, an 8plus 5 times.  So looks like a week or more if you don't use it to watch youtube around the fire....

Turn off wifi and blue tooth and you might make two weeks.  

 

And you get a display you can see.    Cache the maps and you don't need cell coverage, go to airplane mode.   If you only need 10k ma-hrs, go to costco and get the two pack of flat batteries and take one or two depending on duration.  

 

I have yet to see any hand held gps that has a display anything remotely like a cell phone's.   What is the garmin thing, 200 by 300 pixels or something?

Edited by delcecchi

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Mine seems to work just fine for marking spots and navigating around the lake.  I'm not trying to watch HD porn on my GPS.  

 

I use my phone 98% of the time.  But if I am way out there paddling around the BWCA, on some remote lake in Ontario, or in Yellowstone Backcountry, I'll take the garmin handheld every single time rather than deal with a phone and a backup charger.

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I probably don't use a GPS as often as most of you do so take this for what it's worth but I can't imagine ever buying another hand held GPS unit when I'm already carrying around a $500-600 cell phone. I will admit though that I haven't used a handheld for several years so I don't know what the newer ones can do but I know what some of the many apps can do on my phone and the possibilities are almost endless. Yeah, the battery life of a smart phone can be an issue but like Del stated, you can buy a lot of external battery power for the price of a handheld GPS and all the mapping software required to run it. This is just my opinion though.

 

Just curious, do any of you still use a GPS unit for navigation in your vehicle? We have one that has been sitting in a drawer for years because my wife and I both use google on our phone for navigation. My 18 year old son wouldn't even know what to do with it, he and his generation use their cell phone for everything. That tells me what the future may hold in store.

Edited by Big Dave2

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15 minutes ago, Big Dave2 said:

I probably don't use a GPS as often as most of you do

 

That's cuz you already know which way your headed-Right, Dave. 😁

Edited by leech~~

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6 minutes ago, leech~~ said:

 

That's cuz you already know which way your headed-Right, Dave. 😁

 

Actually, yes. I mostly go to places I have been lots of times before so now I know where I'm at most of the time. I do use the Navionics app on lakes though but mostly in the winter. Polaris has a nice trail map for ATVing up north too. I never use a GPS for hunting.

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1 minute ago, Big Dave2 said:

 

Actually, yes. I mostly go to places I have been lots of times before so now I know where I'm at most of the time. I do use the Navionics app on lakes though but mostly in the winter. Polaris has a nice trail map for ATVing up north too. I never use a GPS for hunting.

 

Yeah I was talking more after life, but you missed it!  😉

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1 minute ago, leech~~ said:

 

Yeah I was talking more after life, but you missed it!  😉

 

No, I chose to ignore it so we could keep Tom's useful thread on course.

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I know cell phone VS. GPS is not the question here but I was doing some snooping around and thought this article laid out the pros and cons well and is fairly current. 

 

Quote

GPS vs Smartphone for Backcountry Navigation

 

When it comes to backcountry navigation is a dedicated GPS unit or your Smartphone the best device for the task? It’s a simple question with a fairly complex answer. This article looks at the pros and cons of using a dedicated GPS vs a Smartphone for backcountry navigation to help you select the best device for your next hunt.

How GPS in your Smartphone works

 

The most common objection to using a smartphone for backcountry navigation is, “Where I hunt there’s no cell signal”. The good news is your phone doesn’t need a cell signal to find your location. Your iPhone (and other smartphones) includes a GPS chip just like the one found in stand-alone GPS devices. You don’t need to set up the GPS chip, but you can turn it off or enable it selectively on the iPhone.

 

Satellites Tracked Using iPhone 8 Plus in Airplane Mode. Tracking multiple satellites from GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo

 

As you can see in the above, my iPhone 8 was able to track my position using multiple satellites while in airplane mode. Currently, GPS chips in our smartphones can place our location to about 15 feet, but chip technology continues to advance and the IEEE reports that new chips will be able to place our location to 1 foot in the near future.

 

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of using your GPS vs a Smartphone for backcountry navigation:

 

Smartphone Advantages:

Familiarity

If you’re GenX or younger, it’s highly likely that you’re fiddling with your phone multiple times throughout the day. It’s a device that we’re intimately acquainted with, to say the least. I find the controls on my smartphone GPS app much more intuitive and easier to use than my dedicated device.

 

Screen Size

I find the maps on my iPhone 8 Plus to be infinitely easier to read than the small screen on my dedicated GPS unit.

 

Cost

If you’re reading this article, you likely already own a smartphone and have no need to spend $500 or more for a separate GPS device.

 

Waypoint management and syncing

One thing that I really like about using my smartphone is that it syncs with my desktop app for easy waypoint management and I can also see the maps and waypoints on my large desktop computer screen.

 

Faster boot up

My smartphone instantly turns on and in my testing is faster at finding my location.

 

Smartphone Disadvantages:

Battery life

The big knock against using your phone is battery life. Battery technology continues to get better, and keeping your phone in “airplane mode” will greatly extend your battery life in the field. But, if you’re on a multi-day backcountry hunt, you’re going to need to carry at least a couple of battery packs to recharge your phone, and a solar charger to recharge the battery packs while you’re hunting like this unit from Goal Zero.

 

Durability

GPS units are purpose-built to be rugged and most are waterproof to IPX7 standards or better. Your phone will need a rugged case to be suitable for hunt use. Cases by Otterbox and Lifeproof are good choices for hunters.

 

Maps

The map on your phone is often updated when you access it. You can test this. Put your phone in airplane mode and pull up maps. Unless you’ve cached your map, you’ll show up as a blue dot on a blank screen. The GPS chip in your phone knows your Latitude and Longitude, but it needs to access the internet to download the map to display to your location. To solve this you’ll need to pre-download the maps of the areas you’ll be hunting with your GPS App.

 

Dedicated GPS Device Advantages:

Batteries

One of the biggest advantages your dedicated GPS unit has going for it is being able to run on AA batteries. My Garmin Oregon runs all day on a couples AA’s and I can easily carry enough replacement batteries for a week in my pack.

 

Rugged Build 

Most GPS units are rugged little devices with rubber armor and a decent level of water resistance.

Purpose Built  

Your dedicated unit has one mission, navigation, so the typical GPS unit will come with more features and sensors than your phone offers.

 

Maps

With a dedicated unit, most come with a base map loaded on the device and then most hunters will augment that with a chip with detailed land ownership and other details for a specific state. No need to worry about pre-downloading maps. Just load your chip and go.

 

Dedicated GPS Device Disadvantages:

Cost

I’ve owned several dedicated GPS units over the years and I’ve never felt like I got my money’s worth. They’d get used a few weeks a year and then sit in a drawer the rest of the year and quickly become obsolete. If you use yours a ton, great, but for the occasional user it’s a lot of money to own a dedicated device.

 

Screen size

My Garmin Oregon has a 3″ screen. It’s a great device that has served me well on several elk hunts, but it simply cannot match the screen size of my iPhone 8 Plus.

 

Controls

I find the controls on my dedicated unit serviceable, but not nearly as intuitive as using a GPS App on my phone.

 

Waypoint management and syncing

The only way to get your data off your device (At least for my Garmin Oregon) and onto your desktop computer is by USB connection. With a phone app, my waypoints are automatically loaded into my account.

Chips

If you purchase a chip with additional data, you’ll need to update that chip annually to have the most up to date data, often for a fee.

 

GPS Smartphone Apps

If you decide to use your smartphone as your GPS you’ll need to buy an app to take advantage of all the features. Gaia, Geo-Pak Hunt and onX maps are some of the biggest names in smartphone GPS apps and they’re all available in the App Store.

I’m most familiar with the onX Hunt app. They offer access to one state for $30/yr, or they offer a multi-state option for $100/year. I’ve found their public/private property boundaries to be indispensable when hunting in the BLM checkerboard of the West. I also love how I can view at my desktop to plan and set waypoints and then see them on my phone app. Overall it’s a great app for hunters.

 

Which is Better?

So which device is better? Your unique situation and use case will likely sway you one direction or the other. Having used both, I’m clearly in the smartphone as GPS camp. For me, it is currently the most cost-effective and user-friendly option.

 

Edited by Big Dave2

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He seemed to have forgotten the monthly user fee for a Smartphone which in 7-8 months worth you could buy a good GPS unit.  Plus the $7-800+ for a  iPhone 8 Plus phone to start with. 

 

And what bobby said above: The GPS chip in your phone knows your Latitude and Longitude, but it needs to access the internet to download the map to display to your location. To solve this you’ll need to pre-download the maps of the areas you’ll be hunting with your GPS App while you still have coverage.  But to each his own. 

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26 minutes ago, leech~~ said:

He seemed to have forgotten the monthly user fee for a Smartphone which in 7-8 months worth you could buy a good GPS unit.  Plus the $7-800+ for a  iPhone 8 Plus phone to start with. 

 

And what bobby said above: The GPS chip in your phone knows your Latitude and Longitude, but it needs to access the internet to download the map to display to your location. To solve this you’ll need to pre-download the maps of the areas you’ll be hunting with your GPS App while you still have coverage.  But to each his own. 

Many people, perhaps most, already have a smartphone and a data plan to go with it.   You can buy a serviceable android phone for under $200 and it will have a display that is far superior to any overpriced stand alone gps unit.     My smartphone cost $99 bucks.  (Samsung J3 Prime).   I could have gotten a bigger screen for 50 bucks more..

 

If you are not using it much, you could go with a tracfone type deal.   Get a year's service with a little data for just over $100.   Nice phone for another $150.  

 

Compare this to any Garmin GPS unit.... 

https://shop.tracfone.com/shop/en/tracfonestore/phones/tf-samsung-galaxy-j7-crown

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29 minutes ago, leech~~ said:

He seemed to have forgotten the monthly user fee for a Smartphone which in 7-8 months worth you could buy a good GPS unit.  Plus the $7-800+ for a  iPhone 8 Plus phone to start with. 

 

For most people who would read that article it would be apparent that if you don't already own a smart phone and pay for a service plan then it all goes out the window but who doesn't already have one?

 

29 minutes ago, leech~~ said:

 

And what bobby said above: The GPS chip in your phone knows your Latitude and Longitude, but it needs to access the internet to download the map to display to your location. To solve this you’ll need to pre-download the maps of the areas you’ll be hunting with your GPS App while you still have coverage.  But to each his own. 

 

I don't see that as a problem but maybe you do. I even download areas I know may be spotty while traveling using google maps.

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Well at least you two are keeping an open mine to others thoughts and input about the two types of navigation systems available!  As to keep Tom's useful thread on course.  😉

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I never got off the track.  Except for some special circumstances, a smartphone is a superior choice for gps navigation.   The prices for specialized devices by Garmin and others are totally absurd considering that most people these days already have a better device in their pocket.

 

Garmin even charges for updates to the maps or for maps of different areas.   

 

And for your car, don't waste money on one of those LMS car devices, your smartphone with waze or google maps is superior all the way. Waze provides real time peer sourced traffic and hazard information.   

Edited by delcecchi

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13 hours ago, chaffmj said:

I think Del and Dave use their smart phones to friend each other on facebook. 😁 

Ok so let's get back on track here and quit the tom foolery.

 

How about some valuable information regarding handheld GPS units from you then?

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Here's my fancy GPS. :)

Was great for finding sunken islands and the duck blind back in the day.

Never did upgrade, and it just sits in a box of outdated outdoor gear.

 

I think all of the basics have been covered. 

Personally, I'm still a paper map guy when traveling the Bdub.

But I do bring a solar charger for my phone and battery packs.

The main use for the phone is the camera and weather radar if possible.

 

 

 

 

20181130_110338.jpg

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14 hours ago, leech~~ said:

Well at least you two are keeping an open mine to others thoughts and input about the two types of navigation systems available!  As to keep Tom's useful thread on course.  😉

 

Did I not post an entire article of pros and cons of both systems? Maybe it is you who is not keeping an open mine mind.

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On 11/28/2018 at 7:51 PM, Tom7227 said:

I am starting to consider getting a new handheld GPS. I have a Garmin 78s and it is at least 5 years old.  I like Garmin products and have the Basecamp software.  I would like to buy something that is a relatively new product so that it has some life in terms of support.  The touch screen, bue tooth and music and all that other stuff isn't important - I want a rig to show me where I am and let me figure out how to get someplace else.  Seems like the Etrex, Oregon and Montana are names I recognize from a search at least 2 years ago.  What's new?

Personally, I still use my Garmin GPSMap78sc. I have it loaded with Upper Midwest Fishing Info and a Minnesota Topo product and love it. I use it for hunting, ATV riding, and fishing. I'll use it until it won't work anymore. 

Edited by BobT

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Thanks for the info.  I still use a flip phone and about the only use it gets is when the alarm goes off to remind me to take my meds.

 

The article was useful.  I was always wondering how a phone would know where you are if you are out of range of cell towers.  Anyone have any info on how well the phone works as a GPS device?

 

I was on a trip to DC and we took the back roads home.  My companion had an IPad and an IPhone that he had bought together along with their mapping software.  We managed to get turned around about 3 times and I was ready to toss them out the window.  Could have been operator error but it was very frustrating.  No place West Virginia at 10 p.m. is a heck of a time for a rig that tells you to turn down a road that dead ends in a ravine 75 feet later.

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