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Old 02-14-2012, 11:11 AM   #1
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Handheld GPS Recommendations

I'm just about ready to buy a handheld GPS which will be used primarily for my rockhounding trips and hiking. Other than the TomTom I have for my RV, I have never used a GPS.

I've narrowed my search down to a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx or a Garmin eTrex 20, which is its replacement. Neither of these two are carved in stone for me, they just looked like what I would want/need.

Any recommendations, either regarding these two or any others?
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:21 AM   #2
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I really think Garmin holds the market in hand held units. Pick the one that is simplest to use for you and go rock hounding.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:30 AM   #3
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As a wildlife and nature photographer I'm out in the bush a lot. Either gps will work fine for you. You want a gps that can mark your home location and leave a track so if necessary you can track backwards. Having your starting home location marked provides shortcuts back home. Make sure you have the maps loaded that show rivers, elevation, etc. also carry fresh new batteries.

I also carry a GPS Spot Messenger (www.findmespot.com). With this device if you or someone gets hurt you can call for search and rescue even in locations where no cell service is available. Check out their site, it's a subscription service of about $100 a year I believe but well worth the peace of mind.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:33 AM   #4
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We have 2 Garmins for the vehicles but a Magellan eXplorist GC for geocaching. It is specifically designed to work with geocaching and the files from geocaching.com. We actually use rechargable batteries in it and keep some with it in case the ones in it go dead.
We also use an app on the android platform cell that we have if we feel like searching on the fly and don't have the Magellan with us.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:18 AM   #5
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I have several units including the garmin legend hcx - nice unit for hiking, handlebar mount for bicycle instead of speedo/odo, and even have on deck of sea kayak out in the ocean. ONe problem with small color is in bright sun need to have the backight on if you need to monitor it all day. Cant see much without the backlight which can eat up batteries in a day so recommend you let it time out except when you need it look at it. One of my favorites has actually been the big screen b&w including magellans but their customer service used to be very frustrating while Garmin folks are in the US and always very helpful. a good source is the gps store in NC, most of the staff are knowledgable and will match prices such as amazon, www.thegppstore.com. Plus their site has good overviews. as the new models, reviews seem to be mixed, and the little yellow etrex still seems to be going strongl.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:37 AM   #6
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Both would work well for your needs, but I would buy the 20, more features and it will be supported longer.
Be sure to get TOPO to go with it.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:38 AM   #7
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As a marine guy (lifelong waterman) I get asked about GPS all the time. My advice is always the same, get one that you can understand and use effectively. So, go someplace that has those units out so you can hold them and play with them and read the screens. When you get to a few (I know you are already there), then go to the wedsite and download the manuals. Look through both and make sure that you understand the features you want and look for other features you were not expecting.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:00 PM   #8
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i have the etrex venture. it does a good job at getting me back to my deer stand or truck, has the trackback feature. if it has a way to track distance covered while doing something else like geocaching, i haven't figure it out yet.as already mentioned, keep extra batteries on hand.

if i was going for a new one, i'd get the 20, and/or maybe look for one with a built in walkie talkie
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:34 PM   #9
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I have 2 Garmin Rhino 120s. They work great and have the 2 way radio feature for talking also. You can even pinpoint the other Rhino via GPS on the map. I purchased them for hunting.
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:36 PM   #10
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Whoops just checked my model is a 530hcx.
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