Kai wrote:Android phone with the Backcountry Navigator app
logsden wrote:I have yet to see a phone/GPS combo that comes anywhere close to the battery life or reliability I'd want in the back-country. Worst case scenario - i.e. using a GPS for non-stop glacier navigation in a whiteout above tree line for a few hours straight...I really do not want to be wondering if my charge is going to last...
My list of criteria that most (or all) phone-GPS units do NOT currently meet.
- long battery life
- replaceable batteries
- actual buttons, no touch screen. Whether or not the screen CAN work with gloves, I prefer real buttons when I'm wearing gloves. Easier to use, imho
- bulletproof construction - capable of handling a drop or two into the talus from waist height w/o crapping out. It will happen. I've shattered a phone's screen from a height I'd sure as heck hope wouldn't kill my GPS.
- completely reliable, non-buggy interface/programming. So far the phone GPS's I've seen can give great, high quality maps...usually. But one or two hiccups from any background programs and I'll chuck the thing in the trailhead trash (think Angry Birds or sleep mode interrupting your plotting of a course in the middle of said white-out with a hypothermic partner and failing daylight...whatever. I have yet to see anything that truly sheds all the extraneous programming when you are actually using it AS a GPS)
- Pressure altimeter - a useful added tool on any GPS
- magnetic compass - even more useful tool with any GPS
- small and compact - small enough to fit in any pocket.
Even several GPS units don't fully meet my criteria.
My current recommendation - Garmin eTrex 30. Simple, small, reliable, easy to use, all the features I want, not much that I don't.
Swithich wrote:Okay the primary use of this GPS is to find high spots. When you are on a mesa in NM you sometimes cannot tell where it is. I don't have trouble finding my way in the wilderness (usually I don't even take a map, just take a good look at it before I go).
Also for treed locations and finding high spots I may need to use it since some ridges are pretty much up and down with not defined high spot.
Been using National Geographic "TOPO!" for past 10 years starting when I got my first Garmin handheld GPS. Had to manually enter waypoints due to lack of Mac support with the geko 201. FINALLY upgraded this year, got a Garmin 60Cx, and due to Garmin's propensity to be PC only (ridiculous, in-package software Mac incompatible), I was forced to spend another bunch of bills on Garmin's PC/Mac "BaseCamp". The good news is the extra bills are worth it as I finally resigned myself to learning this later technology, and I'm impressed enough to share it in a post for us suffering Mac users (please, someone explain the stupidity) who may be stuck with outdated topographical software. The basic user interfaces are much the same in both handheld models, but similarities are few otherwise. Uploading waypoints via a USB cable, now my agonies with manual waypoint entries are behind me (miserably archaic it was). BaseCamp's 3D projection on the computer screen is crazy cool, it is truly like seeing the terrain from a birds-eye view. Picking waypoints is vastly more user friendly.
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