replacement of GPS

9:26 a.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
584 reviewer rep
167 forum posts

My etrex vista h is starting to give up on me.  I use it mostly to mark areas I like and to record my hike.  The garmin vista is a great gps but now the screen goes blank all the time and my also may have a battery problem.  I just use it for fun and share with others my route.  I always carry topo maps and all I really need is UTM position and to record my hike.  I was thinking to get a HC version of garmin.  I don't need the compass or altimeter which I feel is worthless in most cases.  I don't like to update the gps all the time. 

This is what I want.

1.  UTM position

2.  record track

3.  waypoints

4.  Alarm would be nice, so I don't have to look at the gps, just my topo.

Thanks for all input in advance.  I also have a compass at all times.

9:58 a.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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1,630 forum posts

Garmin foretrex 301, small, waterproof, and just the barebone items your looking for.

8:07 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
584 reviewer rep
167 forum posts

thanks, I will check it out.

8:40 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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6,007 forum posts

The simple, basic requirements you list are available in virtually all the least expensive handheld GPSRs from Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance, and Delorme. Virtually all GPSRs allow a choice of UTM, MGRS, and Lat-Lon coordinate systems. Most allow a number of choice of dozens of map datums, saving waypoints, and downloading or uploading them from your computer with several different computerized mapping programs.

Note though that training wrist units like the Foretrex and Forerunner series from Garmin and the heart-rate monitor training "wrist computers" from Polar and Suunto (and others) do not make it easy to do the transfers or waypoints to and from your computer. In general, they require proprietary software from the manufacturer. Plus they have very small screens, since they have to fit on your wrist. The Foretrex 301 is an old unit that may be hard to find - the 310 is the replacement.

Many units have a variety of alarms - altitude alarm when you ascend to and/or descend to a specified altitude, proximity alarm for when you get within a specified distance of a chosen waypoint, and for the hrm units, alarms for when you are in or outside your programmed heart rate.

Although I have several Garmin units (including a set of Ventures I use in my land navigation course), I find the handheld GPSRs from the other three major companies to be better in a number of respects. One thing to consider is that the current fad is touchscreen units, rather than buttons. If you hike much in cold weather, you will find that the nuisance of taking your gloves off to use the touchscreen can become a nuisance (I do like my Magellan 640, though). The "touchscreen gloves" are mostly liner-style gloves, plus they don't work well in the corners of the screen. The big advantage of touchscreens is they have much larger, easier to read screens than the button-only units.

8:51 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
584 reviewer rep
167 forum posts

Thank you for the great information.  I really don't care to have a map on the gps unit, but I would like to get a quick reading of data using DTM information.  To look at my Topo and get a quick position.  I also carry a small note book with me to write down some locations for later use.  Waypoints would be nice just for turns on the trail, but would like the alarm to note a waypoint for something on the trail, and refer to my maps.  I like the etrex vista h, but just reach the end off the line.  The bottom line is just quick info, with one bell and I would be happy.


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