Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
23 messages Options
12
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Gary Lewis
Administrator
I'm looking for recommendations on a handheld GPS system, and preferably one with satellite communications, like Garmin inReach.  That's 'cause we had a bunch of issues with not knowing where we were nor where we were going, so I am looking for something that solves that problem.

Yes, I know that Gaia has an app for smart phones, but it works horribly on my iPhone X, freezing frequently and not allowing zooming or scrolling w/o usually causing problems.  In fact, it is so bad that I've given up on it as it has failed us many, many times.

And yes, there's Alltrails, which also has an app for smart phones.  And it actually works well on my phone w/o freezing.  However, there were several instances when we did something wrong and got out of the app and getting back in w/o cellular coverage was iffy and took quite a while.  And, it doesn't show altitude nor the ability to take a pic and have it tagged to your location - unless I missed it.

So I'm looking for a dedicated unit that does GPS.  And, I'd like the satellite bit since much of the time on the trails we are out of cell coverage, and on the trip we just took we spent two days deep in the Ouachita National Forest and didn't see a soul. So if we have a problem we are out of luck.  

Two units I've found that do GPS and have the satellite comm's are:

Garmin Montana 750i: Yes, it is expensive.  And from everything I've read Garmin's UI is antiquated - one reviewer likened it to "your mother's flip phone".  But it gets the job done w/o freezing.

Garmin GPSMAP 66i: Yep, it is also expensive.  But the reviews I've read and listened to give it high marks.

So, what are you folks aware of?  
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

taskswap
I'm a die hard phone user but I definitely don't use AllTrails or Gaia. My recommendations here are more for Android users but some of these apps are available on both. For all general hiking, hunting, scouting, etc. I use Locus Maps. It has the best general "tools" and has both a free and paid version (well worth it, it's only a few dollars). Locus lets you download an entire state for offline access.

For hunting I also use OnX Hunt and for off-roading I use OnX Offroad. These cost considerably more, but still way less than dedicated hardware and have modern interfaces. You can download offline maps as well, but for high res versions you have to download a 5mi block at a time. I think they do it to prevent map data theft. That's usually big enough for most purposes but sometimes you need to download 2-3 blocks to get the whole area you want.

For "additional data" I use Caltopo. Their app is newer and less mature but they have some interesting layers (recent fire activity, weather high/low gradients so you know which sleeping bag you'll need to bring, etc.). It also syncs to their Web app which I use a lot for scouting/planning. I have also used (and still pay for, as a backup) Basemap, but I find their interface less intuitive. Just my 2c.

Additional apps that have redeeming features:

- Alpine Quest
- Avenza Maps
- COtrex
- Google Earth
- Gohunt Maps

As for hardware, I regularly carry an InReach Mini, which is both a satellite messenger and a GPS in its own right. Its GPS functionality is very basic but when paired with their mobile app it's actually quite good. I use it to send my wife "I'm here, safe for the night" daily check-ins when I'm out alone, and my hunt buddies "need a pack-out here" messages when there's no cell service. Which... Colorado... that's most of the state.

I'm an "ounce fiend" so I have less to comment on the handhelds that contain their own screens, which tend to be bulky and heavy. So I guess this isn't really answering your question, but I thought I'd share anyway in case it helps others.

But if I was forced to carry one ,it would probably be the Garmin InReach Explorer+. That gives you both a modern and functional GPS AND a satellite messenger in one unit. I would personally get this even if I didn't want the messaging. You don't have to use it - but if you ever wanted it, you'd be ready to go. And they have a "Freedom Safety" plan for $14.95 with no commitment, so you just have it for 30 days and then it ends. It's great for "maybe I'll take that trip to Montana some day" folks that just want a decent GPS in the meantime.
--
1981 F-250 Custom. 6.6L V8, 4 barrel Holley carb, ARA aftermarket A/C.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Thanks for the suggestions.  As said, I do want some form of "inReach", but it doesn't have to be Garmin's.  However, from what little bit I've read, like on 2022 Best Satellite Messengers | Garmin inReach, Zoleo & Somewear, Garmin appears to be the best.

You carry the inReach Mini for exactly the reasons I want something like that - so others can follow us, so we can tell them "we are there", etc.  But please tell me about the pairing it with "their mobile app"?

From what I'm seeing:

inReach Mini = $357 and has to be paired with a phone to have GPS functionality.  And it came out in 2018.

Garmin inReach Explorer+ = $700, but still needs to be "paired with mobile devices using the free earthmate app for access to downloadable maps".  And it came out at the beginning of 2017.

Garmin GPSMAP 66i = $600 and has its own 3" GPS screen.  Doesn't say anything about pairing with a phone from what I've seen.  And, depending on the model of 66, it first came out in early 2019.

Garmin Montana 700i is $700, or $800 with an 8MP camera, and has a 5" screen.  And it doesn't seem to need to be paired with a phone either.  Plus, it seems to have just come out at the beginning of 2022.

So we have the Mini as the entry level but needing to be paired with a phone for navigation.  Seems reasonable but now you have two devices.

But the Explorer+ and the Montana 700 are both $700 and the latter has its own screen for navigation where the former needs to be paired with a phone.  So why go Explorer over Montana?

And then there's the 66i, which is $600 but does it all but with a smaller screen than the 700.

Thoughts?

Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Nothing Special
I don't know that I can help much here.  I don't have any experience (and very little knowledge) of satellite communications.  From what I think I know, the inReach type units are pretty limited in how much you can communicate.  I think they are text only (no voice), with a limited number of messages, and limited number of characters per message.  Might be fine for what you want, but don't think it's a cell phone for when you don't have cell phone service.

I do have a little experience with hand-held GPSs.  I have an OLD Garmin 60 CS and about a 6 year old Garmin Astro 320.  They have the same size screens, which are adequate for hand-held use, but are pretty hard to use when mounted on the dash in a vehicle.  Unless you want something to be able to use while on foot I'd recommend getting something intended for a vehicle rather than a hand-held.  Although something that pairs with a phone to use a larger screen would take care of that issue too.  Then again, while I'm recommending a bigger screen, I'm not following my own advice anytime soon.  I use the Astro for bird hunting, so the small size is important there, and it works well enough in a vehicle that I don't plan on getting a second unit.

For what it's worth, the Astro has an interesting feature where you pair an additional GPS receiver with it and it will show on your one screen where you are and where the other receiver is.  The other receiver is attached to a collar that you can put on a bird dog, so it's a good way to keep track of your dog(s) while hunting (and you can pair several collars with the same hand-held to track several dogs at once).  Since I have it I've thought about the possibility of putting the collar in another vehicle in the group so you can see where your tailgunner is for instance.  But I wouldn't buy an Astro if I wasn't using it to track a dog.  But other than the dog tracking it's very similar to other Garmin hand-helds in function.

Another thing I now think of is buttons vs. touch screen.  For dog tracking Garmin has the Astro with buttons, but they also have the Alpha which has a touch screen.  Not needing real estate for the buttons the screen can be larger.  But I've heard people complain that you can't use it with gloves on, which is a pretty big factor for me while bird hunting.  I don't think that would be as much of a factor for in-vehicle use, but it might be something to keep in mind.

And as I ramble a bit here, some features that are important to me are the ability to create and use waypoints and tracks.  Probably any GPS will have some ability to load them from a computer and display them on the screen.  But at least the less expensive road-oriented versions don't seem to create waypoints or tracks very easily, if at all.
Bob
Sorry, no '80 - '86 Ford trucks
1997 F-250HD crew cab short box, 460, E4OD, 4.10 gears
1971 Bronco, 302, NV3550 5 speed, Atlas 4.3:1 transfer case, 33" tires
2015 E-450-based 28' class C motorhome, 6.8L V-10
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

taskswap
Nothing Special wrote
I don't know that I can help much here.  I don't have any experience (and very little knowledge) of satellite communications.  From what I think I know, the inReach type units are pretty limited in how much you can communicate.  I think they are text only (no voice), with a limited number of messages, and limited number of characters per message.  Might be fine for what you want, but don't think it's a cell phone for when you don't have cell phone service.
Absolutely true. They're limited to very short messages, they're not satellite phones. But for a lot of folks like me that's all we really "need" - just enough to send "I'm safe, I'm at these coordinates."

Gary, I'm just showing how dated my knowledge is with my earlier response. The Explorer+ was the only model they had the last time I looked at these. And it frankly didn't seem worth the money. I just got the Mini and paired it with my phone. But the Montana is brand new and looks much better. Definitely worth a look if you want a standalone unit.
--
1981 F-250 Custom. 6.6L V8, 4 barrel Holley carb, ARA aftermarket A/C.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Yes, the satellite comm's are just for text messaging and SOS.  But there's another aspect of it that I'm interested in - the ability for others to see where you are.  It would be very comforting for Janey to be able to see where we are, compare that with our planned route, and see that things are going well.  So I've been planning to get an inReach device for some time and just didn't know what one.

Then, after trying first Gaia's iPhone app and then AllTrails I've come to the conclusion that I want a dedicated GPS device.  And as I looked at them I realized that I can get both in one device.  

But, I don't think I want a vehicle-mounted device.  I don't need it for driving on the highways as Google Maps on my phone does what I want there and gives me turn-by-turn guidance through my stereo system.  But Google Maps doesn't have the forest roads we were on and doesn't have the ability to work offline.  So I want the handheld that I can take with me into the house to set up routes, into the tent when we are on a trip so we can discuss tomorrow's route, etc.  And as with Gaia and AllTrails, I'll use an on-line app to set up the routes initially and then download that to the device.  I think Garmin calls that Base Camp, and it is on there that you create the waypoints and tracks.

I think I really like the Montana series.  The 750i because it has the camera that allows you to take pictures and know exactly where they were taken.  But the camera isn't that great of a unit so the 700i is of interest as well - especially since it is the same price as the older Explorer+.

And going back over my "wants", I want something that isn't fiddly such that looking at it crosswise won't send it into a tizzy.  Gaia and AllTrails both do that, with Gaia being the worst, by far.  And when they go into a tizzie I have to stop and sort them out.

Plus, I want something that is quick.  Both Gaia and AllTrails lag so much that several times I took the wrong turn because it hadn't caught up with us.  In fact, we got to the point where we'd pause at an intersection long enough for it to catch up since we found that turning around on some of those trails was a huge pain.

I haven't purchased yet and probably won't for some time, so please keep those suggestions coming in.  
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Megiddo
Since you are looking at being remote, I would make sure that it carries the maps you want in memory and doesn't require an internet connection to update the maps.  

If you are looking for just faster GPS position updates you can look at Garmin GLO or Bad Elf receivers.  They connect other devices via blue tooth and take position fixes about 10 times more often than the receiver in your phone.  They don't have a map display but can make your phone or other device (even some Gamin GPS units) much more accurate.
1984 F250 4x4 351W  ZF5-42
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

tcbaklash
In reply to this post by Gary Lewis
My dad and I have been using the older Garmin GPSMap units since the early 2000s. I have a 2012-ish GPSMap 62 and it's not much different than the older ones, so I'm not sure how much different the latest and greatest is from mine. The interface is not the intuitive and it's slow, screen is a bit small, but rugged and reliable. Mine uses AA batteries which is convenient if you don't have a place to charge it. There are better options if you're ever planning on mounting it to a vehicle. I only use it for heavy-duty navigating now that I have a Garmin Instinct Solar.

A couple of my motorcycling buddies use the InReach because it has the SOS button. However I've heard rumors that searchers will often ignore your calls for help via GPS because false alarms happen so frequently.

I will tell you that even the worst Garmin is still good because you can get maps of dang near anything.
1982 Ford Bronco - 300cid I6 restomod
2001 Dodge Ram 1500 5.2L V8 4x4 "The Beater"
2020 Suzuki DR650

Check out my YouTube channel for my Bronco restoration here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOLZPURQ-mSEKs4sQcb59UQ?
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by Megiddo
Megiddo - The Garmin i700's come with a lot of maps, but as tcbaklash said, you can get maps of just about anything.

But I hadn't heard about Garmin GLO or Bad Elf receivers.  One of those might help on the speed issue we've had, but there are so many other issues I'm just ready for a dedicated unit that will, hopefully, solve the many problems.  However, I'll read up on those receivers.

tcbaklash - Good to see that Garmins have been good for quite some time.  I've never owned one but have heard good things about them.

But I don't want to mount something in the truck.  However I do want to create a place for it to be placed - maybe on the front of the console.

As for the Garmin Instinct Solar, I have an Apple watch.  And while mine is several generations old I still love it so am not ready to change.  But if I did it would be to a later model of the Apple watch so it could connect with other things.  (When I fired up Gaia I discovered that if I had a later model watch it would connect and give me turn-by-turn on the watch.)

So, I'll be fine with any Garmin?  Great!  (But the UI isn't intuitive.  )
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

tcbaklash
If you're just on foot, the speed at which you and the GPSMap work together is probably not that big of a deal. I feel more frustrated when using it for off-roading. I think something to consider is that touch screens are more convenient than physical buttons, but not if the screen is wet.

The Garmin watch has satellite GPS, but as far as I know, you can only track yourself or view your surroundings (including pins you place on the map). I don't think you can get any directions on it. It's an extremely basic device.
1982 Ford Bronco - 300cid I6 restomod
2001 Dodge Ram 1500 5.2L V8 4x4 "The Beater"
2020 Suzuki DR650

Check out my YouTube channel for my Bronco restoration here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOLZPURQ-mSEKs4sQcb59UQ?
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

taskswap
Since smart-watches came up let me chime back in. I have a Garmin Instinct Tactical watch. You can tell which one right away because I think it's the old one they sell that's Flat Dark Earth in color (medium brown).

It's a better than average watch. It's a terrible GPS. It takes forever to establish a lock if you go from indoors (where it doesn't work at all) to outdoors. The info on the GPS screens is too small for me to read with my aging eyes and I'm not throwing on reading glasses just to do that. And the controls are confusing to me. This isn't "VCRs are hard to program" here. I'm a software engineer by trade, and I'm here to say that four buttons and a small screen do not make a useful GPS. I literally never use it for that purpose.

I'm not hating on Garmin, they have plenty of good products. But save your money - as a watch, this is not a winner. (I have a friend who says good things about the Fenix but it wasn't worth the money to me.)
--
1981 F-250 Custom. 6.6L V8, 4 barrel Holley carb, ARA aftermarket A/C.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by tcbaklash
Yes, it is very frustrating when the GPS lags, and it does on my phone with either Gaia or AllTrails.  We had several instances of having to stop and wait for it to catch up since we made the wrong turn a couple of times with bad info.  And on some of those turns we had to back out 'cause turning around wasn't an option given the narrowness of the road.

As for getting the screen wet, no thanks.  If it is raining I'll stay inside.  One reviewer said the Montanas don't work in the rain and showed it under the faucet in his sink.  Another said they work in a light shower.  Personally, I'll stay inside as this is supposed to be fun and getting rained on isn't fun to me.  (I lived in the UK for a while and got rained on a lot.  Liked the place but not the weather.)

My Apple watch is fairly basic - the way I have it configured.  My iPhone never rings.  Instead, the watch buzzes.  So I don't worry about going to church and causing a distraction.  And I use it for some really quick canned text responses.  But nothing more than that, and since I'm not planning to replace it I'm not even thinking about switching to a Garmin watch.
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Nothing Special
Gary, you say you don't want a vehicle-mounted unit, but at least most of the reasons I've seen you give don't really apply to the "something intended for a vehicle" that I'm thinking of.I like the function of the Garmin hand-helds, but as was said, the UI isn't incredibly intuitive and the screen is small, really it's too small to use while you are driving.  You either need a navigator looking at it or you need to stop to use it.

That said, I'm not suggesting something like my Garmin Drive 52.  All that does is road navigation, which I know isn't what you are looking for.

But Garmin has products that are intended for vehicle use off road.  On their website you can go to "Automotive - Off-Road" and get some.  The Montana and inReach Mini are there, but so are Zumo, Tread, Overlander.  I don't know about any of them in particular (other than that they are out of my price range for my fifth GPS!), but I'd definitely look into all of them before getting a hand-held for use in a vehicle.

As far as using them out of the vehicle, even my Drive 52 will connect to BaseCamp, and you can use any of it's features to get it set up while sitting in the house (or tent).  It just doesn't have features that are very useful off road.  So I'm sure any vehicle-oriented off-road-oriented unit will do that as well.  The only downsides they have as a hand-held are that they tend to be a worse form factor to carry in your hand or a pocket, and the battery life may not be great since they'll usually be plugged in anyway.

So yes, look at mapping GPSs that will give you the features that the road navigation systems don't have.  And if you want a GPS that you will hold in your hand (like for hiking) by all means get a hand held.  But if you want it for use in a vehicle I'd really recommend looking at units that are intended for that.

And for what it's worth, here's a YouTube video link I saved a while ago about GPSs for vehicles off-road.  I haven't looked at it in a while, so I don't remember what it says.  But I though enough of it to bookmark it, so you might find it helpful.
Bob
Sorry, no '80 - '86 Ford trucks
1997 F-250HD crew cab short box, 460, E4OD, 4.10 gears
1971 Bronco, 302, NV3550 5 speed, Atlas 4.3:1 transfer case, 33" tires
2015 E-450-based 28' class C motorhome, 6.8L V-10
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Bob - You have a good point.  I'm not against something intended for a vehicle, I just don't want something that is to be permanently mounted in a vehicle.  So I'll look at the Garmin offroad offerings, which I really haven't done.

However, I do have a navigator.  When Janey and I are going she navigates, and when our son and I go whomever is riding shotgun will be the navigator.  So I'm not against a handheld if it has a big enough screen, which the Montana 700i and 750i seem to have.

So, let me do some high level looking:

Tread® - Overland Edition: You have to go to the 8” All-Terrain Navigator version to get inReach, and that takes the price up to $1300.  There is a neat bracket that could be put in one of the cup holders and the unit could be placed there when we hit the trail.  But I wonder if the navigator could hold it if s/he wanted to? I think so as it has its own built-in battery, so maybe the navigator could hold it if so desired.

Overlander®: I'm not seeing any inReach capability with this one, and that is a requirement.  Maybe I'm missing it?

zūmo® XT: Has to be paired with an inReach device, like the Mini, so doesn't have that feature.

Montana Series: The 700i ($700) doesn't have a camera, but the 750i ($800) does.  And the "i" designates inReach.  The display size is only 5" diagonal, but my iPhone X only has a 5.85" display.

I'll do more research on the Tread, but it looks like it is the only one besides the Montana that does what I want - has GPS and inReach.  However, the $1300 price tag is offputting, and the main thing I think it has is the larger screen size.  Janey and I just talked about it and agreed that the iPhone X display was adequate so we think the Montana's would be as well.

But, I am no where near ready to buy so this kind of study will continue.  I'll do more reading on the Montana vs the Tread and see what I find.  Thanks!

Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Nothing Special
In reply to this post by Nothing Special
Nothing Special wrote
....  And for what it's worth, here's a YouTube video link I saved a while ago about GPSs for vehicles off-road.  I haven't looked at it in a while, so I don't remember what it says.  But I though enough of it to bookmark it, so you might find it helpful.
I watched this video again.  There are two things that might be useful to you in it.

One is the GPS unit he uses off-road, which is the Magellan TRX7 CS.  He describes it as an almost perfect product with the worst on-line web interface that has ever been devised.  I Googled it quickly and found a price under $500.  But I emphasize "quickly."  I really don't know anything about this other than that this guy recommends it.

The other is the OnX Offroad app.  It works on an iPhone or iPad.  Again, I know nothing about it other than that he recommends it.
Bob
Sorry, no '80 - '86 Ford trucks
1997 F-250HD crew cab short box, 460, E4OD, 4.10 gears
1971 Bronco, 302, NV3550 5 speed, Atlas 4.3:1 transfer case, 33" tires
2015 E-450-based 28' class C motorhome, 6.8L V-10
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Bob - I forgot to say that I also watched that video and noted his statement about the "worst on-line web interface that has ever been devised".  And that was a huge turnoff for me as you use the website to set up trips to then download to the GPS device.

Anyway, I think I'm getting a much clearer picture of the situation, probably due to having spent over an hour with a tech at REI and then 45 minutes with a tech at Garmin.  And here's where I am:

Need/Desire: An accurate and speedy GPS unit that doesn't crash/freeze and can be used both in the vehicle as well as taken on a hike - if desired.  And satellite comm's, like Garmin's inReach, which can provide those at home with location updates, provide the ability to text when out of cell phone coverage, and send an SOS if needed.

Possible Solutions: It looks to me like there are two ways this can be solved:

Two Devices: There are a number of approaches to meet the need/desire by using two devices.  For instance, I could go with a Garmin inReach Mini, which gives inReach as well as supplies better GPS coordinates to the phone, which would be running Garmin's app and Garmin's maps.   The Mini costs $350, but that doesn't get all of the maps needed so you have to add to the cost.  But that combo would, in theory, meet the needs - assuming the phone doesn't freeze/crash, which is a big assumption.

Or, I could go with the Mini and a dedicated GPS device, like the Magellan TRX7 CS, which sells for ~$500 depending on where you buy it, for a total of ~$850.  But you have two devices to keep track of, like with the phone, although the GPS device would surely be better than the phone.

Single Device: From what I can tell no one but Garmin has both satellite comm's and GPS in one device.  And there are two different devices there.  First is the Montana 700i ($700) and the 750i ($800) which adds a camera.  They both have a 5" display and are handheld devices that come with seemingly all the maps you could want, but you can add maps if you need to do so.  And they are portable, meaning they can be used in a vehicle or thrown into a pocket or backpack to take on a hike.

Or, there's the Tread Overland 8" ($1300) that has both inReach and GPS but doesn't have a camera. And it appears to come with all the maps you could want, but others can be downloaded as well.  But it is designed to be mounted in a vehicle, not taken on a hike

I'm still in research mode, but it is starting to look like the Montana 700i or 750i is the way to go.  From what the gentleman at Garmin said the main differences between those and the Tread Overland is that the latter has a bigger display but is designed to be used in a vehicle.  And since Janey and I think the display on the Montana 700i is big enough, the ability to use the device on a hike and the much cheaper price makes the Montanas look like the way to go.

But I'm still open to other ideas.  
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Nothing Special
Gary Lewis wrote
Bob - I forgot to say that I also watched that video and noted his statement about the "worst on-line web interface that has ever been devised".  And that was a huge turnoff for me as you use the website to set up trips to then download to the GPS device....
That may be true, I'm not familiar with Magellan.  But Garmin has the BaseCamp program you've mentioned where you don't need to access any web site for setting up trips or anything.  If Magellan has something similar (and they may not) then their web interface might not be a big deal.

And one other thing you may not know, but there are tons of free maps available for GPSs.  Sometimes you get what you pay for, but I've been pretty happy with most of what I've got.
Bob
Sorry, no '80 - '86 Ford trucks
1997 F-250HD crew cab short box, 460, E4OD, 4.10 gears
1971 Bronco, 302, NV3550 5 speed, Atlas 4.3:1 transfer case, 33" tires
2015 E-450-based 28' class C motorhome, 6.8L V-10
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Bob - I found a copy of the owner's manual on the Magellan eXplorist TRX7 here.  But looking through it I haven't figured out for sure whether you set up your trip on the device or the web via the device.

Literally the first thing they have you do after firing up the device is to connect to wifi.  And from there I can't tell what requires internet access and what doesn't.  But at one point it says "You can also create your TRX account or sync the account you created on your TRX7 with TRX Web, the TRX online application optimized to search for Trails as well as organize and publish your Track data."  So that seems to imply that the way you set up a trip is via TRX Web.

However, I'm not sure how deeply I want to delve into that as I've realized that the TRX is a good-sized tablet that measures 10.4 x 6.5 x 4.5 inches, which compares closely to the Garmin Overland 8" measurements of 8.1 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches.  Surely the 4.5" thickness of the Magellan is including a bracket, but basically it is as big as the Overland, and I think the Overland is too big.

I'm not ruling either of them out, but just saying that neither of them give the flexibility that I'm hoping to get - the ability to use it both in the truck as well as put it in a backpack to go hiking.
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by Nothing Special
Oops, I forgot the map bit.  I see that there are maps to download of the various national forests, and I'm sure other great maps.

In fact, when we went to Lake Powell a few years ago we downloaded a map of the lake at the specific water level for when we were going.  That let us know what obstacles would be a problem and what wouldn't.  That map cost quite a bit, but was well worth it.

But having talked to the REI and Garmin guys today I think the ones that come on the Garmin devices, and probably the Magellan, will be a good start.
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Handheld GPS System Recommendations?

tcbaklash
In reply to this post by taskswap
taskswap wrote
And the controls are confusing to me. This isn't "VCRs are hard to program" here. I'm a software engineer by trade, and I'm here to say that four buttons and a small screen do not make a useful GPS. I literally never use it for that purpose.
Effectively using bad user interfaces is a skill in itself. I'm unfortunate enough to have developed this skill through the nature of my career, which makes me a happy owner of the Garmin watch.
1982 Ford Bronco - 300cid I6 restomod
2001 Dodge Ram 1500 5.2L V8 4x4 "The Beater"
2020 Suzuki DR650

Check out my YouTube channel for my Bronco restoration here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOLZPURQ-mSEKs4sQcb59UQ?
12