Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

To GPS or not to GPS...

Post climbing gear-related questions, offer advice. For classifieds, please use that forum.
 

To GPS or not to GPS...

Postby Norman » Sun May 23, 2010 5:28 pm

I almost hate to start this... however, REI is temtping me again to get a GPS unit with the new "Sale" flyer in my mail box, so comments on the value of the unit or even carrying another piece of gear...do I want or need it???

http://www.rei.com/product/735607

http://www.rei.com/product/797251

So if either of these is helpful, how much more money do you spend for maps and whatever else you need ???

Thanks
User Avatar
Norman

 
Posts: 354
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2002 3:50 pm
Location: Ferndale, Washington, United States
Thanked: 14 times in 11 posts

Postby alpinejason » Sun May 23, 2010 6:14 pm

You'll probably get a few strong opinions that oppose my view but I think they are an invaluable tool.

Map and compass should always be the go-to navigation tool but GPSs these days are so light, accurate, waterproof, etc. that I think they are a great addition to your gear stash. Maybe not to be carried every trip, every day but it's pretty awesome to flip on the unit and know exactly where you are and your altitude in seconds. Rather than searching for landmarks and deciding whether to trust your altimeter to locate yourself on a map. Which is tough to do in whiteout conditions anyway.

I guess you should have bearings noted in case of whiteouts and stuff but marking waypoints and the breadcrumb tracks are cool too. Not to mention the ability to plug all that stuff back into the computer and check it out on Google Earth or something. (3D terrain is pretty BA in Google Earth by the way)

Anyway. I have an old Etrex Vista from Garmin, one of the first color screen deals from about 10 years ago. I spent about $100 and purchased the entire US map collection on CD. Never really feel the need to upgrade the maps since terrain doesn't change that much and I don't use it to navigate roads.

If you have the time to invest into learning how to use it properly I bet you won't regret it.
alpinejason

 
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:32 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Thanked: 2 times in 2 posts

Postby nhluhr » Sun May 23, 2010 7:26 pm

I have heard a lot of complaints about the touchscreen on the Colorado and Dakota models not working well in cold.

The GPSMap 60Csx is excellent, imho.

Get free maps from the internet - don't pay for the extra mapping bundles Garmin sells.
nhluhr

 
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:44 pm
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby JwL » Sun May 23, 2010 8:09 pm

GPS is just another tool, use it as such. I would suggest to anyone that they learn to use a map and compass first, then add the gps.
JwL

 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 24, 2009 4:30 pm
Location: Holdenville, Oklahoma, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby SpiderSavage » Sun May 23, 2010 9:09 pm

I've had a Garmin GPS for years. Someone gave it to me. Okay as an odometer. That's all.

If I have a paper map I can read it perfectly so no use for the GPS. Batteries just run out all the time. Doesn't work well in your pocket. Doesn't work at all in big trees and canyons.

It's a fun toy by itself but not worth the weight and trouble for most adventures.

I could think of one use, if I were on top of a big peak, in the fog, in the dark, and I had to navigate and I also had a topo of the peak with a GPS grid over it, I'd use it to navigate by instruments only.
User Avatar
SpiderSavage

 
Posts: 390
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:37 pm
Location: Sunland, California
Thanked: 7 times in 4 posts

Postby Diego Sahagún » Sun May 23, 2010 11:24 pm

I'd go for the 60Csx without any doubt. I have the Etrex Vista HCx and works well
User Avatar
Diego Sahagún

 
Posts: 14493
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2001 6:21 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Thanked: 548 times in 498 posts

Postby tfcfool » Mon May 24, 2010 12:45 am

I am having the same thought as to whether to buy one or not as well. I looked around a bit and it looks like some people have found a way to get around buying the maps (see below)? Has anyone heard of that/have any experience? I'd rather not have to buy a BUNCH of maps for anywhere I go on the GPS, but maybe that's just the way it works. Also, if you don't buy the maps, will the GPS still at least give you your grid coordinates so you can find it on a paper map? If these questions are too OT let me know.

A search of internet resources shows a strong GPS community who shares the maps they've constructed for their own GPS units, in many cases far superior to Garmin's products. 1:24 topos, building footprints, national surface streets, and more. Do a quick search for a veritable online GPS file depot and you should be all set ;)
(from an REI review).
User Avatar
tfcfool

 
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Colorado, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby dan2see » Mon May 24, 2010 3:40 am

I rely on map and compass.

But I really want elevation. When I went shopping for an altimeter, I did not like the choice of models, and they seemed so expensive.

So anyway I caved in for a GPS, for the elevation plus waypoints.

My GPS is handy for telling me how far it is to get back off the mountain -- either some waypoint, or to my car. I do NOT want a self-mapping mini-computer. For me, the GPS model does not matter, because all I want is basic coordinates. Now, if I'm exploring off-trail in a new area, I'll carry it. But if I know where I am, I'll leave the thing in my car.
User Avatar
dan2see

 
Posts: 200
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 8:26 am
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Thanked: 14 times in 9 posts

Postby Sleighty » Mon May 24, 2010 3:44 am

I don't even load the maps on mine on some trips. I just mark my car/trailhead/point of interest with a waypoint, then turn it off. If I ever get stumped on where I'm at, I can flick it on, see which general bearing to take, and off I go. Or use it for offtrail stuff, like when I looked for an abandoned mine that wasn't marked on any map, but I had the gps coordinates. It's a good tool for a last resort, and should only be used as such. The fancy ones with all the bells and whistles have a little too much stuff and are missing a little wildness in my opinion.
User Avatar
Sleighty

 
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:17 pm
Location: Chico, California, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby JesperMF » Mon May 24, 2010 3:52 am

nhluhr wrote:I have heard a lot of complaints about the touchscreen on the Colorado and Dakota models not working well in cold.

The GPSMap 60Csx is excellent, imho.

Get free maps from the internet - don't pay for the extra mapping bundles Garmin sells.


I have a Dakota 20, and it works perfect. I often hike/ ice climb in realy cold conditions - 20 to 30 degree celcius (Northern Greenland), and haven't had any trouble with the the screen or anything. But battery power is drained fairly fast at these temperatures.
User Avatar
JesperMF

 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 1:05 pm
Location: Horsens, Denmark
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby nhluhr » Thu May 27, 2010 1:03 am

tfcfool wrote:I am having the same thought as to whether to buy one or not as well. I looked around a bit and it looks like some people have found a way to get around buying the maps (see below)? Has anyone heard of that/have any experience? I'd rather not have to buy a BUNCH of maps for anywhere I go on the GPS, but maybe that's just the way it works. Also, if you don't buy the maps, will the GPS still at least give you your grid coordinates so you can find it on a paper map? If these questions are too OT let me know.

A search of internet resources shows a strong GPS community who shares the maps they've constructed for their own GPS units, in many cases far superior to Garmin's products. 1:24 topos, building footprints, national surface streets, and more. Do a quick search for a veritable online GPS file depot and you should be all set ;)
(from an REI review).
I am pretty sure I posted exactly that above... there are many resources for free maps, free tracklogs, etc. There are many free maps out there that have better detail, more POIs, and are more up to date than what Garmin offers.
nhluhr

 
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:44 pm
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby BigMitch » Thu May 27, 2010 2:39 am

I resisted buying one for 15+ years, but broke down last winter and bought one. I should have bought one years ago.

As Alpinejason noted above, the breadcrumb tracks are the ticket in a heavy whiteout. My unit can't go 15-20 foot off the track before letting you know it. Something to be said for that.
User Avatar
BigMitch

 
Posts: 306
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:17 pm
Location: Mendota Heights, Minnesota, United States
Thanked: 15 times in 15 posts

Postby Diego Sahagún » Thu May 27, 2010 8:41 am

nhluhr wrote:
tfcfool wrote:I am having the same thought as to whether to buy one or not as well. I looked around a bit and it looks like some people have found a way to get around buying the maps (see below)? Has anyone heard of that/have any experience? I'd rather not have to buy a BUNCH of maps for anywhere I go on the GPS, but maybe that's just the way it works. Also, if you don't buy the maps, will the GPS still at least give you your grid coordinates so you can find it on a paper map? If these questions are too OT let me know.

A search of internet resources shows a strong GPS community who shares the maps they've constructed for their own GPS units, in many cases far superior to Garmin's products. 1:24 topos, building footprints, national surface streets, and more. Do a quick search for a veritable online GPS file depot and you should be all set ;)
(from an REI review).
I am pretty sure I posted exactly that above... there are many resources for free maps, free tracklogs, etc. There are many free maps out there that have better detail, more POIs, and are more up to date than what Garmin offers.

OT :?: POIs :?:
User Avatar
Diego Sahagún

 
Posts: 14493
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2001 6:21 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Thanked: 548 times in 498 posts

Postby cabouckaert1 » Thu May 27, 2010 9:38 am

I bought an extra vista hcx a couple of years back and really like it. Haven't really used it for serious mountaineering, but mainly for mtb, hiking and running. Great to be able to download tracks off the internet and constantly discover new trails in your area.

Free maps are quite widely available and its quite easy to find 'unlocked' Garmin maps on the internet, good way to save money because the maps aren't cheap if purchased..
User Avatar
cabouckaert1

 
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:47 pm
Location: Oudenaarde, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

iFinder Go

Postby TomtenVoorde » Thu May 27, 2010 9:53 am

Currently I'm using an old iFinder Go. Not fancy at all, but it does tell me where I am. Untill now I've never needed it and carried it in my pack as a back-up for map/compass.
User Avatar
TomtenVoorde

 
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 12:36 pm
Location: Enschede, Overijssel, Netherlands
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Next

Return to Gear

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.