Garmin GPS

7:19 p.m. on May 2, 2010 (EDT)
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Does anyone own a Garmin GPSMAP 60 Handheld GPS like this one?

http://www.alloutdoorandmore.com/Garmin-GPSMAP-60-p/garmin-010-00322-00.htm

I'm looking into getting one for some novice hiking.

5:48 p.m. on May 4, 2010 (EDT)
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I've got a Map76CSx that I picked up off Craigslist for $100. There are bargains out there if you look. If money is secondary, I'd see what BillS recommends and choose one. He teaches GPS classes, so is familiar with many different models.

Also, look at Garmin's website. You can compare the different models.

7:30 p.m. on May 4, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks-- I appreciate the advice!

8:23 p.m. on May 5, 2010 (EDT)
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The GPSMap 60 is the cheapest and least capable one of a family of Garmin GPS receivers that includes the 60, 60C, 60Cx, 60CS, and 60CSx. Depending on the year it was made, it may have the old, low sensitivity chipset or the high sensitivity chipset (makes a huge difference in performance). The label on the photo says "60", but the photo looks like the display is color, which would say it is one of the "C" or "color screen" ones. The "x" suffix means it will take extra memory, meaning you can put a micro-SD card in the slot in the battery compartment. If I recall correctly, the older "x" ones take only a standard micro-SD and the current ones take a micro-SDHC. The "S" series adds two sensors, a barometric altimeter and a fluxgate compass. In general I recommend strongly against the "S" series for several reasons - (1) the sensors are battery hogs, meaning very much shortened battery life unless you turn them off, (2) the fluxgate compass (electronic version of a magnetic compass) is (a) a two dimensional compass, meaning you have to hold it pretty close to horizontal to get decent readings and (b) it has to be recalibrated way too frequently, especially every time you change batteries, and (3) the barometric altimeter cannot be turned off, despite being a battery hog, and like any barometric altimeter, has to be recalibrated frequently, despite the "autocalibrate", plus, like any barometric altimeter, unless you frequently recalibrate at known points or with the GPS-derived altitude, the altitude during a day hike up or down a hill can differ by as much (or more) a 10% of your altitude change. That is, in 1000 ft of climb on a hot summer day or a cold winter day, it can be off by 100 ft. This is because the actual lapse rate of pressure vs altitude along the mountainside often differs from the Standard Atmosphere Table that is programmed into electronic altimeters, and even engraved into the face of mechanical altimeters.

I have a suspicion that the one on the website is an old model, pre-high sensitivity chipset, and that the screen shot is simulated, with the actual instrument being a grey-scale unit. That's ok, since the Garmin grey-scale displays are actually pretty good, better than the color displays under some circumstances.

My recommendation for a unit that performs at present-day standards is the 60Cx, if you can get one that is no more than a year old. There are, however, other units you can get for the same price as that quoted that are new and have the features you will want to use in a short time by Garmin, and Delorme. Unfortunately, my old favorite GPSR manufacturer, Magellan, has suffered a lot in the past few years through having been sold and resold several times. Lowrance is worth looking at as well.

July 28, 2014
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