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06/03/2009 07:14AM
I am looking to purchase a GPS unit to use in the bwca and for other outdoor activities. I am looking at the Garmin nuvi550. Looking for feedback/Advice. Thanks
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Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13002)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
06/03/2009 07:18AM
You are correct in looking at a Garmin. I have three of them and they are great. I'm not sure that you will like the Nuvi for the canoe. I have a Nuvi 700 and it is great for the car. What ever one you get look for long battery life, color screen, slots for memory chips. I would get one for the car, Nuvi and another handheld for canoe/hiking. Also get the mount for the thwart for the GPS. Just my .02
distinguished member (488)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/03/2009 07:20AM
It's a matter of personal preference, but I would not buy a GPS unit made primarily for auto use if I was intending to use it in the BWCA. I would get one of the units made primarily for trail use. I use a Garmin 60csx and think it's great.
distinguished member(1144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/03/2009 10:18AM
I also have a Garmin 60CSx and have been very happy with it. I agree that a trail model is probably what you really want, as opposed to one designed for auto use.

member (50)member
06/03/2009 11:54AM
Go Garmin. Go handheld. Go color.

Love mine. Also found a set of all BWCA portages and waypoints for the GPS. They were very spot on.
senior member (89)senior membersenior member
06/03/2009 12:31PM
If you do a lot of fishing you may want to look at a Lowrance. Otherwise garmin is great or Magellan has some nice Nat Geo topo software.
distinguished member (222)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/03/2009 12:49PM
Another thing to consider - if you want to use your GPS unit to do detailed tracks of your travels, I suggest getting a handheld garmin that has the SD memory card slot. This allows you to save your track logs directly to the card so that you have much more detail. You can also have many more maps loaded. The internal memory on hand-helds is pretty limited, so it's nice to have the memory card slot.

I've got the Garmin Etrex Legend HCx and have been very happy with it.
member (37)member
06/03/2009 03:34PM
Here's my current GPS setup:
- Garmin eTrex Legend HC (yes, the discontinued version)
Maps & waypoints
- Lakemaster Mapsource V4
- Minnesota Topo Map (free!)
- Campsite Waypoints and Portage Tracks bwca-portage-tracks.gpx and bwca-camp+port-wpt.gpx

The Garmin GPSr is very easy to work with. Easy to send waypoints and tracks with a standard USB cable. Here's my BWCA adventure from last year (with fishing hotspots removed ;-)

distinguished member(1144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/03/2009 04:57PM
Holy cow, plquinn!

I just found my new favorite web site (besides, of course). I followed your link to and am now in GPS/map heaven. Thanks!

06/03/2009 05:56PM
You will be far better off with a handheld oriented to hiking than an auto unit [battery charging/replacement]. 'Garmin' makes a lot of good units that will work well. My preference is for the 'Delorme PN' series. My GPS of choice:

I can print the same maps that I load onto the unit. Also use sat and aerial images of the BWCA loaded onto the unit. butthead
06/03/2009 06:40PM
Garmin Oregon 400T with 100k US Topo, 100k Canadian Topos. Use Minneapolis weekend topo pack to make maps and load waypoints. I would stick with Garmin. The 60sx is being clearanced in some places. This is the GPS all others are compared to. I would get this over the Oregon series and save enough money to get all the software. My son has an Etrex summit. Nice unit for much less money. All you really need!
06/03/2009 08:10PM
Garmins 60CSX here, love it!
member (37)member
06/03/2009 08:19PM
I can't take credit for finding the gpsfiledepot site. I think the first time I saw it was here, from kennk.
distinguished member (414)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/04/2009 08:40AM
... and I got wind of it from the Groundspeak forums.

I don't think I'd even consider bringing a Nuvi canoeing. Are they even water resistant? I know they can't output UTM coordinates (very useful w/ maps). You can't install topo maps on them.

I'm another VERY happy Garmin 60CSx owner. Great unit.

distinguished member (210)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/09/2009 08:18AM
I also love my 60Cx, but if canoeing is high on your list of activities Id suggest the 76Cx instead. They are the same unit internally. Both are waterproof (IPX7 standard) but the 76 floats.

Here is a link that shows side-by-side comparison
distinguished member (414)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/09/2009 09:31AM
Here is an amazing side-by-side pictorial comparison between the 60 & 76:

I have a 60CSx. My brother later bought a 76CSx. When I saw the 76-series in person I was stunned by how much bigger it was. I suggest folks looking at them handle both before buying. They each have their +'s & -'s.
distinguished member(2541)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/09/2009 11:41AM
I have a Garmin Vista CX. This is a true hiker model designed to be held and operated by the same hand. It works reasonable well in a canoe though I think something like the 60 would work better having all the buttons front mounted. I use the bike mount on a thwart and that works pretty well. If I were doing it again I might consider the 60, on the other hand the price on the Vista is lower and it really does what I need it to.
distinguished member (221)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/10/2009 01:08AM
I agree with whiteh2o on the Garmin 400t. I have it and it works wonderfully. I also have the street maps for it, so it also works quite well in the car - it just doesn't give voice directions like most other vehicle specific units.

It comes preloaded with with the basic topographic maps for the whole country, and you can also upgrade to the much better detail maps if you like. It is all touch screen, waterproof, and has a slot for MicroSD memory cards.

It is not the cheapest one out there, but if sure is easy to use.

distinguished member(762)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/10/2009 10:50AM
I have the Garmin Colorado 400I, with inland lakes maps. I am planning on purchasing the US topo, or regional topo's to go with it, but the basic map isn't too bad. I really like the Colorado series because it is 1 hand operation, and easy to navigate the menues. It is very spendy, but I bought mine brand new on ebay, and got it for $240.00, so I couldn't pass on it. I was going to by the 60 csx, but I was able to get the colorado for less, so I went for it. I have been pleased.
distinguished member(603)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/10/2009 11:13AM
The Garmin is a good choice, I now have 3, one for the trail, truck, and just added another to my Harley. I wouldn't want to try to use any one for all purposes, each has it's own specialty.

I use the Garmin legend model(blue), for trail use, a good value. The added Topo software is a real plus for handheld units like that.
distinguished member (152)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/10/2009 11:02PM
Gsrmin 60CSX also... amazing...
member (13)member
06/11/2009 03:10AM
Anyone use a Bushnell Onix 200 CR? You can down load satellite images and aerial photography.
member (13)member
06/18/2009 02:26PM
I have the Garmin Vista CX like Merg. It is perfect for the BWCAW. Small, water resistant and two AA batteries last for ever depending on usage of backlight.

Love it.

Nuvi models are generally for Autos. Definitely don't want to use one for trail or BWCAW. I have a Nuvi 680 that is a couple years old and I would definitely not use it outdoors. If you want to use the GPS unit for both BW and auto, I would get the Vista. It may not have all the cool bells and whistles of the Nuvi but it can still get you from point A to point B with City Navigator. You can get the windshield mount and the autocharger for it.
distinguished member(2025)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/18/2009 05:17PM
Another Colorado 400t here. Absolutely love it. Make sure you calibrate the compass every time you change batteries. I would also recalibrate it when relying on any bearing in a critical situation.
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