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I Need A Good 2nd Gps

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I just started doing geocacheing about 3 weeks ago with the wife and kids. I currently have a Magellan explorist 210. I need to purchase a good but cheap 2nd gps. I want to get a garmin this time. I need one that has a data cable and is as easy to add .loc or .gpx files to as the magellan is.

Any suggestions?

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If its something for the kids to use consider the Garmin Geko 201. Its inexpensive, very compact (3.9" x 1.9" x .96") and extremely easy to use. My wife has one and at times we find ourselves leaving our more advanced units behind because it easily fits into a shirtpocket.


Garmin Geko (this is about acutal size, at least as displayed on my browser).




If you want something with mapping, go with the eTrex Legend. It comes with the data cable included in the price (usually around $120) so if you take that into consideration its very close the the yellow eTrex in price. The yellow eTrex is cheaper, but it doesn't come with the data cable, which is a $30 accessory.


Since this is not a getting started issue, I'm sliding this over to the GPS Units and Software forum where it really belongs

Edited by briansnat
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I'm pasting a reply I use often.......it's something a few of us put together for new cachers.


I started with Garmin and then bought a Magellan Platinum....I now have 4 Platinums and from extensive reading and personal use I think its the best unit ever made. Side by side, under heavy tree cover my two Garmins will lose their signal at times( patch antenna)...not so the Platinum ( quad. helix antenna). The Platinum has a large screen, wonderfull operating buttons, SD card capacity, and an electronic compass ( I would never want to geocache again without this....no more walking around in circles like a drunk) These units are tough.....we dropped one so hard on Stone Mtn. GA the case opened and o-ring popped out but no problems. A cacher visited me at my View Carre' cache site and he had backed his car over his Platinum.......the screen was cracked and it had tire marks on it but it worked fine. I can load multiple detailed maps covering approx. 3-states each as well as dozens of cache files. Being a Magellan fan I was wanting to get an Explorist but from what I've read in these forums...no thanks, besides, if I wanted a patch antenna I would buy more Garmins.

The Platinums are NOT color....no problem for me. You can pick them up on EBAY ( thats where I got my fourth) for less than $200 with plenty accessories. As far as firmware, whats already available works great in my unit.

I'm going to paste a posting of mine which may be of some help to new cachers :


On a serious note the following re-print could help new cachers :



I can’t say that mine is better than any other because I have only used 1 other. But my Magellan Meridian Color with Mapsend Software gets the job done. I can carry the whole Southeast US on my 500 mb sd card and have plenty of room for more. That includes dirt and gravel roads. Last summer, I lead a column of cars carrying 19 people across the Florida countryside in the middle of the night for 4 hours, and I did it from the rear of the column via CB radio. Missing signs were not a problem. That’s real-time mapping capability in a practical application. Superior signal stability under harsh conditions, etc, etc. So Watcha, what kind of Magellan are you using? And what did you do to provoke it?


Doggy is right.......again.

Bamette and I each use a Meridian Platinum ( Magellan) with Directroute Software and I have a Platinum for a spare. With the SD card capability you can store maps, lists of caches, etc. ( an immense amount) and you also have an electronic compass, big screen, easy to use buttons, and maintain a lock under heavy canopy for hours. I also have two Garmins but the Platinums are the way to go.

Grab you a couple of Palms on ebay, download spinner and plucker, and you're good to go. On a cross country trip you could load dozens of spinner files ( one for each city?) on your Magellans SD card and use plucker to put each one on your Palm, charge your batteries, and you're ready for weeks of caching.


A convenient holster will give you a place to carry and protect your gpsr. A PDA holster will do the same for your PDA. An adaptor for your cig lighter will stretch your batteries life. A probe will help you avoid biting varmints. A mirror with an intense pocket flashlight will get you past those out-of-sighters. I like to use a lensatic compass for precision. I also use a wrist compass clipped to my watchband for qlance orientation. That’s just on the weekends of course. I like it so much that I’m looking for 2 more, one for my dress watch and the other for my son. I guess they’re out of season? If you are really loaded for bear, bring along a metal detector. If the cache has a coin in it or is made of metal, it will give you the edge. I guess that’s about it. I’m not saying I do that. It’s an interesting thought though


To add to the geocache tool list you must buy a top of the line MAHA battery charger ( I use three) and a supply of MAHA POWERX Ni MH batteries .....these are the best made ( don't take my word for it, look it up ) then you will have plenty of batteries for your digital camera ( my wife and I each carry one), GPS unit, flashlights etc.

For a small , powerfull flashlight you can't beat a Surefire L4 Digital Lumamax ( 5 blinding watts of LED driven by two 3 volt lithium batteries.....the batteries are $15 for a box of twelve and have a 10 year shelf life....kind of pricy but well worth it...will light up the woods.

I don't know if the most important thing was mentioned....a good walking stick. Local cachers and special guests can get one free at the View Carre' cache.......don't leave your car without your stick.

Also a small pocket screwdriver for digging out micro logs and other probing.


LIST From Above :


1. Magellan Meridian Platinum GPS Unit + Belt Holster ( If you will have a regular partner , get two )

2. Palm M500 PDA and case ( ebay- buy an extra for backup )

3. 12” metal probe for searching tree cavities etc. for micro caches

4. 2 “ or 3” extension mirror

5. Small, intense flashlight ( Surefire L4 Digital Lumamax )

6. Pencil

7. Sharpie ( Fine Point)

8. Cotton Gloves

9. Pocket Screwdriver

10. Walking stick

11. Plastimo Iris 50 Hand Bearing Compass ( Great for offset caches)

12. C401FSDC MAHA NiMH Battery Charger

13. Maha 2500 mAh NiMH PowerX AA Batteries (GPS,camera,flashlights,etc. )

14. Digital Camera

15. Access to computer w/ internet connection ( premium membership in geocaching.com is best )

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If you want something with mapping, go with the eTrex Legend. It comes with the data cable included in the price (usually around $120) so if you take that into consideration its very close the the yellow eTrex in price. The yellow eTrex is cheaper, but it doesn't come with the data cable, which is a $30 accessory.

. . .

I agree with briansnat. The Legend is a very good unit to have as a spare, and you can't beat Garmin's customer service if anything goes wrong with your GPSr.


A friend sent in her well-used, scratched and dinged GPS Map60CS because the lettering was coming off some of the buttons. Garmin sent her a brand new unit. ;) I sent in my Vista C because the rubber was coming loose. That was only a cosmetic problem -- the unit worked just fine. Garmin sent me a brand new replacement GPSr. ;)

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I also agree with Brian, but not the same as Miragee did. I bought a Geko 301 as a backup unit to my V. The V is gone and was replaced by a Quest. The Geko has evolved from a back-up unit to my primary GPSr on-trail. In general, the Quest gets me to parking, but the little Geko gets me to the cache.


It's small size (less than 2x4x1) allows its use unobtrusively in muggle-rich areas.


EDIT: I almost forgot, you can screw a button on the back of the little thing and use a mulitdapt clip to wear it on your belt or daypack shoulder strap.

Edited by sbell111
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