General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Can anyone recommend a good basic gps for hiking with topographical features?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9102 points ) December 6th, 2010

I am not looking for something really flashy just the bare basics, but I would like topography, good battery life, and a dim backlight.

Any suggestions?

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9 Answers

AmWiser's avatar

I use this site for reviews and comparisons,

Ltryptophan's avatar

Is my Iphone 4 capable of most of these features without connection to a 3G tower?

Maybe there is an app for that?

Smashley's avatar

As a little note, just because I’m a big fan of “going light,” unless you’re going waayyy off trail, a GPS is really unnecessary, and is just another ten ounces you’re slogging along. I’ve never met a hiker who used one further than for amusement’s sake, or for marking a fishing hole they found when they started humping off trail. If you’re on a maintained trail, and you know how to read your map, you’ll be fine.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Smashley I agree. That said there is nothing like utter certainty.

woodcutter's avatar

I went to Google maps “satellite” to get an idea of what I was going to run into. I found it was pretty useful for what I needed. A good pair of shoes will be worth their weight in gold and they are a lot easier to keep track off.

rooeytoo's avatar

I did a lot of bush walking in rough terrain and my Gekko saved me numerous times. Or sure made my trip back a lot shorter and less stressful. It doesn’t show topography though. Think you need something more sophisticated than a GEkko for that. I also use mine to track mileage when I run or bike. I have been checking out this model. I think it would do what you want.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I use the Garmin GPSmap 60CSx for Geocaching and driving. It has an extremely powerful receiver that will work even indoors! (Not in a concrete and steel building though.)
It says it will get 24 hours of battery life but I never put new batteries in it. I use the “empty” ones from my digital camera and get 8 hours of continuous use. Free!
It is waterproof and floats built like a tank, water proof, floats and is not made in China.
I love it.
I just weighed it. With strap and batteries – 209 grams.

Smashley's avatar

@Ltryptophan – meh. It’s never been an issue for me. I can read a map, and I’m confident my maps are at least as reliable as GPS, so as long as you can read landmarks, you can be utterly certain of where you are. I trust my judgment and my maps, so I’ve never needed a blinking box that confirms it for me. Off trail, however, it’s certainly easy to get turned around, and it can be easy to lose your way, if you aren’t extremely comfortable with orienteering. If (and only if) you’re doing these kinds of hikes, a GPS can certainly be a lifesaver, as long as it has battery-life.

My main point is that GPS is usually an unnecessary safety blanket, and going without one will build some confidence, without compromising your safety.

rooeytoo's avatar

@worriedguy – does the 60Csx show street maps as well as way points for off road?

To me saying you don’t need a gps because you can read a map is like saying I don’t need a computer because I can read a book. Or I could be riding a horse, but I like the convenience of the internal combustion engine. Of course that is true but why not take advantage of modern technology when it comes along.

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