Garmin GPSMAP 62
The GPSMAP 62 is a fantastic choice for geocachers…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: €250
The GPSMAP 62 is a fantastic choice for geocachers in particular. Easy to use, rugged and waterproof, its only real weakness is the lack of an SD slot (to be found in slightly more expensive 62s).
- Free OSM maps galore
- Rugged case
- Good screen
- Regular firmware updates
- Lack of SD slot (as advertised)
- BaseCamp software
We bought this device back in November 2010, and it has seen hundreds of hours of action since then. It never failed to deliver, even in difficult terrain and weather conditions.
The product comes in a nice package. The quick start manual is adequate. The lanyard is still good as new after two years of heavy use.
Construction and Durabilty
The device feels good in the hand. Its narrow design makes it easy to hold firmly even for small hands.
Our GPSMap has by now survived several drops from trees and facades and into lakes and ponds, but is still intact.
The screen is sufficiently large and excellent to read even in difficult lighting conditions.
Battery life is great. Using Eneloops, we hardly ever have to change batteries more than once during one day of caching. 6-8 hours are to be expcected.
The rocker used to navigate the device works well. Entering text is nothing I would recommend to anyone but the very patient, but entering waypoint co-ordinates works well. Even when wearing heavy winter gloves, the device is easy to use. The only drawback is that using our climbing gloves, we have by now managed to wear off the surface of the rocker and most buttons, but they are still readable.
The lack of an SD card slot is the only real con. You will have to purchase the GPSMap 62s if you want one, and I would strongly suggest that you do if you intend to load the device with larger maps or images.
The most important feature in GPS receiver, though, is its GPS hardware. The GPSMap 62 sports a "quad helix antenna and high-sensitivity, WAAS/EGNOS-enabled GPS receiver with HotFix® satellite prediction" according to the manufacturer. And indeed, reception is excellent, making locating one's position fast and precisely a routine. Even in difficult terrain (heavy foliage, valleys), the device picks up and keeps it fix well.
With recent firmware revisions, the GPSMap 62 has become a great choice for paperless geocaching. Loading the device with caches using GSAK (the Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) is easy enough. There is a limit on the number of waypoints and geocaches that can be loaded onto the device, but we never bumped it.
Cache descriptions are detailled, and the converter for HTML descriptions on geocaching.com works well. It would be nice if the device supported inline images, though.
The firmware is adequately responsive. Both OSM and Garmin's proprietary Topo maps work well even with details set to high.
Garmin offers free firmware upgrades although the device has been in the market for quite some time now. Recent beta versions offer the much missed capability of different routing profiles (car, hiking, pedestrian and more) that work even with OSM maps.
BaseCamp - Garmin's PC software
BaseCamp has much improved since we first used it. It is still a little slow, but does everything we need it to do, and does it well. Geotagging photos is a breeze, cache and waypoint handling are great (unless you compare it with dedicated geocaching tools like GSAK or OCM), and map handling is also good (including track and route management).
We bought the Garmin with a Topo 100 for Germany. We would not buy another because OSM material has become so good that the commercial map does not offer any advantages that would justify spending another €100 or more.
What a great device. We bought a Magellan eXplorist 510 earlier this year, and the GPSMap 62 outperforms it by leaps and bounds for our purposes. It may look a little old fashioned, and its rocker input mechanism may also look dated compared to modern touch screen devices. But where the GPSMap 62 really shines is under heavy conditions. Bunkers, trees, snow, heavy rain — it never failed to deliver. We like it a lot, and highly recommend it.
Only caveat: If you can spare the premium, do get the 62s with its SD card slot by any means — you will not regret it.