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Bjmd28
member (39)member
 
07/04/2022 10:32AM  
I’ve never “needed” a gps in the BWCA, but am looking north towards WCPP and quetico and getting a solo canoe. I feel going solo in areas with so little traffic I would be irresponsible not to have at least an alert beacon. But you know how the children's book goes “ if you give a mouse a cookie…” if I’m going to carry a beacon I may as well have some gps maps there too.
Anyone have suggestions for a good unit including which ones have the best maps and is compatible with the gps tracks I see offered on the forums?
 
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Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14166)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
07/04/2022 06:10PM  
I have the Garmin InReach explorer plus unit and really like it for the most part. But i think you would be more satisfied with the 66i unit. Here is the link… Garmin 66i
 
Bjmd28
member (39)member
 
07/04/2022 07:28PM  
Thanks a lot
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(2451)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/05/2022 07:18AM  
I used to rent my GPS locators when doing my Quetico trips. This year I decided to buy one instead of the hassles of renting.

I bought a Zoleo GPS.

-Low initial cost.
-Three month minimum activation.
-Can be paired with a cell phone for two way email and text. Or, used alone for SOS and check-in signal.

It’s a pretty cool unit. I can’t compare it with some of the others but I used to use Gen 2 SPOT and those are way outdated when compared to what’s out there now.

Tom
 
07/05/2022 11:24AM  
Once again I'm an outlier. As a GPS the 66 is a very good unit. I just do not like to multitask a single item (GPS unit) with an emergency item (sat signal or PLB). If the GPS is lost/damaged in use so will the emergency function be lost.
I attached my PLB to my PFD, the GPS as a seperate unit is mounted to my canoe.

butthead
 
JohnGalt
distinguished member (127)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/05/2022 12:51PM  
tumblehome: "
I bought a Zoleo GPS.

-Low initial cost.
-Three month minimum activation.
-Can be paired with a cell phone for two way email and text. Or, used alone for SOS and check-in signal.

It’s a pretty cool unit. I can’t compare it with some of the others but I used to use Gen 2 SPOT and those are way outdated when compared to what’s out there now.
Tom"


I have the zoleo & like it quite a bit as well. The weather feature is pretty nice & text function is convenient. It's not very large or heavy with SOS at the touch of a readily identifiable/accessible button.

butthead: "Once again I'm an outlier. As a GPS the 66 is a very good unit. I just do not like to multitask a single item (GPS unit) with an emergency item (sat signal or PLB). If the GPS is lost/damaged in use so will the emergency function be lost.
I attached my PLB to my PFD, the GPS as a seperate unit is mounted to my canoe.
butthead"


I too reach for separate devices with this in mind. I may follow your lead & attach the gps to the canoe - I've had both the Zoleo & garmin etrex 32x (i think that is the model) attached to my vest.
 
Bjmd28
member (39)member
 
07/05/2022 04:10PM  
Thanks for all the advice. I never even thought of the separate device scenario.
 
07/05/2022 04:19PM  
butthead: "Once again I'm an outlier. As a GPS the 66 is a very good unit. I just do not like to multitask a single item (GPS unit) with an emergency item (sat signal or PLB). If the GPS is lost/damaged in use so will the emergency function be lost.
I attached my PLB to my PFD, the GPS as a seperate unit is mounted to my canoe.


butthead"


Good call; I just got back from a trip and my gps is now sitting on the bottom of a lake (butterfingers on a windy day). I am glad I had a separate unit to let my wife and kids know I was okay at the end of each day.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14166)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
07/05/2022 04:40PM  
butthead: "Once again I'm an outlier. As a GPS the 66 is a very good unit. I just do not like to multitask a single item (GPS unit) with an emergency item (sat signal or PLB). If the GPS is lost/damaged in use so will the emergency function be lost.
I attached my PLB to my PFD, the GPS as a seperate unit is mounted to my canoe.
butthead"


Once again you are spot on Ken. I too use Montana GPS for navigation and satellite communication device in my PFD for my communicator. I just wanted the original poster to have something that would work for his needs. If weight is an issue than take only one, but it is not a factor on my trips so I take both. I like to run my GPS all the time I’m on the water. My GPS can take 3-AA batteries or a separate battery pack that can be swapped out. My Garmin InReach only gets turned on a few minutes a day, because it would need to be recharged some way.
 
andym
distinguished member(5113)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/05/2022 04:42PM  
We’ve also donated a GPS unit to the lake bottom in the BW. I’ve found that most electronic devices are just barely negatively buoyant and so adding just a small float will keep them at the surface. It also helps to make sure that they are waterproof for the depth and time they may be in the water.

We carry an Inreach for emergencies and a separate GPS for navigation and track recording. Lot to be said for a PLB. Just overall agreeing that keeping your emergency device safe is key.
 
mx353
member (17)member
 
07/06/2022 06:32AM  
I purchased the Garmin 66i shortly after it came out. I believe I'm going into the third season of using it. I absolutely love it and have had zero issues with it with the way I use it.

Everyone will have a different level of risk/reward that they are comfortable with. I keep it in a waterproof/floating Sealine daypack with my ditch kit, rain gear, etc. I use map and compass 99% of the time for navigation, but the GPS has been very handy to have at arms reach if I am "momentarily" lost lol.

I check in each night with family. Most of the time, it acquires satellites quickly and sends and receives from inside the tent at bed time. I honestly like the internal battery, it performs well. I ended a 5-day trip using it sporadically last week with 70% battery life left. I already carry a small power bank if I need to charge headlamp, etc.

I think the biggest take away is to have the most "realistic for me" protection and redundancy, realizing everything is a balance. Understanding that if i were to lose/break/destroy my Inreach, SPOT, Zoleo, PBL, I do not have communication. I still have a map and compass for primary navigation.

I guess to have redundancy in the communication department I would need to carry two separate communication devices.

Hope that helps. :-)
 
07/06/2022 08:36AM  
Frenchy19: "my gps is now sitting on the bottom of a lake"

Slightly off-topic...but like many folks I take my phone (GPS & pictures). For years, my phone was a beater. Got a shiny new, expensive one over the holidays, and on the last trip I actually connected it via a DIY lanyard to my pfd, and it worked extremely well.

As the owner of eight butterfingers and two butterthumbs, this bit of insurance should keep my electronics off the bottom of the lake.
 
jwmiller39
senior member (93)senior membersenior member
 
07/06/2022 11:20AM  
sns: "Frenchy19: "my gps is now sitting on the bottom of a lake"


Slightly off-topic...but like many folks I take my phone (GPS & pictures). For years, my phone was a beater. Got a shiny new, expensive one over the holidays, and on the last trip I actually connected it via a DIY lanyard to my pfd, and it worked extremely well.
"


+1. Cell phone works great for GSP in satellite mode and my battery will last about a week. The best part is if you use an app like navionics, you will have lake maps/depths which is huge, especially if you're fishing a new lake.
 
Bjmd28
member (39)member
 
07/06/2022 12:08PM  
I have don’t that same thing in the past. There is a good app called gpskit that lets you save offline satellite maps. It takes a little bit to figure it out though but works well. I just hate having my phone out because it feels like work.
 
Bjmd28
member (39)member
 
07/06/2022 01:49PM  
That would be nice for on the fly plan changes. But marking the portages and camp sites was a good way to feel like I started my trip a couple weeks earlier. Prepping is half the fun, but I’d defiantly like a pre marked map!
 
07/06/2022 04:29PM  
sns: "Frenchy19: "my gps is now sitting on the bottom of a lake"


Slightly off-topic...but like many folks I take my phone (GPS & pictures). For years, my phone was a beater. Got a shiny new, expensive one over the holidays, and on the last trip I actually connected it via a DIY lanyard to my pfd, and it worked extremely well.


As the owner of eight butterfingers and two butterthumbs, this bit of insurance should keep my electronics off the bottom of the lake."


I never thought of using the gps on my phone; how does that work if there is no service? I always leave my phone in the car.
 
Bjmd28
member (39)member
 
07/06/2022 04:39PM  
The gps works even without service. Next time you are on a plane open up a map and it will show you your location, only on a blank grid. The coordinates are there but the map you understand comes over the internet. There are apps that let you predownload that map picture so that the location from the gps makes sense to you. Basically you have to know the general area you will be in and save your map before leaving. You can save a big area though
 
07/06/2022 06:47PM  
Bjmd28: "The gps works even without service. Next time you are on a plane open up a map and it will show you your location, only on a blank grid. The coordinates are there but the map you understand comes over the internet. There are apps that let you predownload that map picture so that the location from the gps makes sense to you. Basically you have to know the general area you will be in and save your map before leaving. You can save a big area though "

Thanks!
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(2451)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/06/2022 09:35PM  
Don’t feel dumb Frenchy. I’m a Techie and I just figured it the GPS this year. I use my IPhone for pictures and while fumbling around one night I realized the GPS function showed my location on a google map. WTF?

I was in Quetico navigating a series of islands and lost my location on the map. Not to worry, I used the GPS function on the phone and it plopped me right where I didn’t know I was.

That said, this GPS function turns us into lazy paddlers since we can consult our phone for directions even when there is no service. For that I am ashamed.
Tom
 
Marten
distinguished member (450)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/07/2022 08:56AM  
I switched from sat phone to Garmin 66i this winter. No-one has mentioned the lifetime Birds eye subscription that comes with it. Prepping for a long trip into Atikaki I downloaded all the satellite images and loaded them into the 66i. I also
Printed all the maps sections. They are extremely sharp images. I will have all my past waypoints and tracks in the 66i and all this on my screen as I look for even more portages in an area with no information available. I picked the 66i because I can communicate to home but also two way texting even to buddies across the lake that have any of the Inreach devices. I do carry an older GPS with my info on it plus all those laminated maps I made myself.
 
Bjmd28
member (39)member
 
08/01/2022 11:10AM  
Follow up question. Will I be happier with a gps unit that uses AA batteries or an integrated battery? I think I know the answer.
 
schweady
distinguished member(7851)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/01/2022 12:12PM  
Bjmd28: "Follow up question. Will I be happier with a gps unit that uses AA batteries or an integrated battery? I think I know the answer. "
I have so far resisted "upgrades" that utilize an integrated/rechargeable battery system. Always easier to just pack along a spare set of AAs.
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(2451)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2022 04:32PM  
My Zoleo uses an internal rechargeable battery. Love it.
The battery lasts forever if I don’t leave it on. I see rechargeable batteries in portable electronic devices to be useful for the life of the product, meaning a failed battery is usually not the primary reason a person stops using the device.

Tom
 
pswith5
distinguished member(3579)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/02/2022 06:29AM  
Frenchy19: "butthead: "Once again I'm an outlier. As a GPS the 66 is a very good unit. I just do not like to multitask a single item (GPS unit) with an emergency item (sat signal or PLB). If the GPS is lost/damaged in use so will the emergency function be lost.
I attached my PLB to my PFD, the GPS as a seperate unit is mounted to my canoe.



butthead"



Good call; I just got back from a trip and my gps is now sitting on the bottom of a lake (butterfingers on a windy day). I am glad I had a separate unit to let my wife and kids know I was okay at the end of each day. "
what lake? Maybe it's next to mine.
 
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