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Tydog07

I need help deciding on a paperless GPS

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Sorry to take this thread back to where it's come from, but I really want to chime in about Rods comment up above this sentence. You are so right it's scary. I'm a pretty new cacher, but here's my caching life story. I bought a Magellan eXplorist 500 on eBay for just when I went wandering in the woods since I'm too old to be getting lost and sleeping on the ground while waiting for either me to find my way out or for somebody to come get me.

 

Then I discovered geocaching and was immediately hooked. My Magellan performed nicely and I found a lot of caches with it and you'll never hear me badmouth the eXplorist line of GPS because it served me good. I heard horror stories about bad customer service from Magellan, but I never had to contact them so I don't know anything about that.

 

The more I got to thinking about it the more I wanted to get PQs to download to a GPSr. I'd heard you could do it with a Magellan, but you had to do a little work around to get it to work and I didn't feel like hassling with that. So I sold my eXplorist and invested in a Garmin Vista HCx for $219 after you add the tax (I had to buy a topo map too but we won't add that in the price even though it should be).

 

Well, there certainly was a lot to like about my new Vista HCx and generally it performed well and even continued to work good after it was left on my car and I drove off and it fell onto the paved entrance ramp to the the interstate. The joy of loading PQs was a great thing! I instantly figured out that if I could find any way to afford it I would never go back to loading coordinates by hand again so I try my best to always stay a PM.

 

Fast forward to today. My Vista HCx is in the Garmin shop for warranty repairs (the rubber banding that goes around the outer edge that I think waterproofs it is falling off, I think I've read this is kind of common) and I'm reading through the forum and see that for considerably less than what I spent I could have been paperless caching with a PN-20 all this time! When my Vista HCx comes back from Garmin I will be selling it to somebody else and let them enjoy it since it really is a good unit. Then I will be turning around and buying a PN-20 or 30 (whichever my budget will stretch to accomodate). Then I'll hopefully be joining Rod and singing the praises of the PNs.

 

Well, before I go out and sell my Vista and buy a PN I will be going across the state to visit Rod so he can show me what he's so excited about. Then if it's half as good as he says I'll be making the transition to the PN bandwagon.

 

So, yeah do your research and get the best you can for your expected needs so you don't end up constantly upgrading like I've done. Good luck to everybody that's in the market for a new GPS. It can seem daunting to do all the research before the purchase, but you don't want to be like me and make purchases that you keep turning around and selling for a loss.

 

Rod, thanks so much for all the info on PNs. I'll be getting with you soon so you can give me a hands on intro to the the PN product before I commit to jumping ship to the PNs. Maybe I won't jump ship after seeing it for myself, but the way Rod describes it I'd be surprised if I didn't love it. ;)

 

P.S. Sorry this has turned into such a long post. I'd just hate for newer folks to make the same expensive mistakes I've made. Shop wisely the first time so you don't have to do it again for several years. By not shopping wisely I'm now in the market for my 3rd GPSr in slightly less than a year. Oh well, maybe somebody else can learn from my mistakes. :rolleyes:

 

That's a great story Mr. Cacheman :D and probably a LOT of people who read it will likely reflect similar stories of their own GPS/Geocaching evolution. I too started my Geo-life by first manually keying in each coordinate and printing off cache pages in order to see them at the destination. It worked, but obviously the whole caching day had to be pre-planned before leaving the house. And once away from home there was little chance to do any "random caching" if I had extra time.

 

Then I decided to connect my GPSr to my computer and do the mass PQ load into it, woohoo! suddenly the world opened up. I loved seeing all the caches around my home appearing like freckles on a kids face on my GPSr screen :laughing:

 

But I still needed to print off the cache pages for the detailed info(!) In my case I went a different route though.. I already had a separate Palm PDA and decided to learn to use that nice "Cachemate" software on it in order to load all the page info onto it. Well that worked out great!! Now for a mere $10 cost of the Cachemate software I was FULLY paperless and independent!

 

It's a simple process of loading the Pocket Query onto the GPSr for the coordinates, then pop the same pocket query into the PDA. All the info is now there, and NordicMan is a happy camper lol :laughing:

 

But the story probably doesn't end there.. IMO the next-and-final evolution of the technology is to have some sort of device that has a wireless connection to the outside world so I DON'T have to do batch loading of PQ's at home. Something like an iPhone, but it needs to be more rugged and it's accuracy needs to be as good as a true robust outdoor rated GPSr. Currently such a device doesn't exist (that I'm aware of) but I don't think we'll have to wait too long for it to appear. The technology for such a device is already quite common, no major leaps in tech required!

 

For now I am quite happy with my "2 unit solution" (PDA and GPSr) for paperless caching.. Yes I guess it is a bit more complex than using a single device like a Delorme PN or Garmin CO/OR, but I already HAVE my current equipment & didn't desire to buy more stuff.. And at the end of the day the 2 unit solution is very cost effective!

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Yep, there's no doubt about it these forums are a great resource for somebody who takes the time to do all the research before buying (unfortunately I didn't). I'd forgot about the GPSr and a PDA combination as an effective combination for paperless caching. At one point I did consider that, but for a couple of reasons (no technical reasons just my own personal preferences) I decided that particular option was not one I cared to exercise. If it wasn't for my own personal preferences that would be an option that could help me minimize my upcoming losses since a PDA from what I understand can be picked up very reasonably (I think like lots of times $25 or less) nowdays on eBay. I think it's great that thanks to your input now anybody reading this thread will also know that is another viable option open to them.

 

I'm sorry I do get to rambling on and on before I realize what I'm doing. So I guess all the above probably boils down to trying to say thank you to all you more experienced geocachers who are educating us new folks about the many different options we have available! :rolleyes:

Edited by Michigan Cacheman

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Right now, Amazon.com has the PN-40 on sale for $300.88, but these sales don't tend to last very long. If you can swing that, you'd be in great shape!! :Dsales page You might have to click to get the price! Oh BTW, that's with free shipping!

Should arrive to me on Thursday :huh: Maybe I'll tell her tomorrow about it :rolleyes:

 

What's first on my agenda to get this setup for paperless, besides PM?

 

Thanks again to everyone for your input, will give this a whirl for a few weeks and decide if it's a keeper!

Yes, I suggest that you arrange for your PM and then setup a test case PQ.

Follow up with getting the Cache Register from DeLorme:

http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtd...29545§ion=10560

Then install it on your PC and use it to Preview the results of your PQ.

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Sorry to take this thread back to where it's come from, but I really want to chime in about Rods comment up above this sentence. You are so right it's scary. I'm a pretty new cacher, but here's my caching life story. I bought a Magellan eXplorist 500 on eBay for just when I went wandering in the woods since I'm too old to be getting lost and sleeping on the ground while waiting for either me to find my way out or for somebody to come get me.

 

Then I discovered geocaching and was immediately hooked. My Magellan performed nicely and I found a lot of caches with it and you'll never hear me badmouth the eXplorist line of GPS because it served me good. I heard horror stories about bad customer service from Magellan, but I never had to contact them so I don't know anything about that.

 

The more I got to thinking about it the more I wanted to get PQs to download to a GPSr. I'd heard you could do it with a Magellan, but you had to do a little work around to get it to work and I didn't feel like hassling with that. So I sold my eXplorist and invested in a Garmin Vista HCx for $219 after you add the tax (I had to buy a topo map too but we won't add that in the price even though it should be).

 

Well, there certainly was a lot to like about my new Vista HCx and generally it performed well and even continued to work good after it was left on my car and I drove off and it fell onto the paved entrance ramp to the the interstate. The joy of loading PQs was a great thing! I instantly figured out that if I could find any way to afford it I would never go back to loading coordinates by hand again so I try my best to always stay a PM.

 

Fast forward to today. My Vista HCx is in the Garmin shop for warranty repairs (the rubber banding that goes around the outer edge that I think waterproofs it is falling off, I think I've read this is kind of common) and I'm reading through the forum and see that for considerably less than what I spent I could have been paperless caching with a PN-20 all this time! When my Vista HCx comes back from Garmin I will be selling it to somebody else and let them enjoy it since it really is a good unit. Then I will be turning around and buying a PN-20 or 30 (whichever my budget will stretch to accomodate). Then I'll hopefully be joining Rod and singing the praises of the PNs.

 

Well, before I go out and sell my Vista and buy a PN I will be going across the state to visit Rod so he can show me what he's so excited about. Then if it's half as good as he says I'll be making the transition to the PN bandwagon.

 

So, yeah do your research and get the best you can for your expected needs so you don't end up constantly upgrading like I've done. Good luck to everybody that's in the market for a new GPS. It can seem daunting to do all the research before the purchase, but you don't want to be like me and make purchases that you keep turning around and selling for a loss.

 

Rod, thanks so much for all the info on PNs. I'll be getting with you soon so you can give me a hands on intro to the the PN product before I commit to jumping ship to the PNs. Maybe I won't jump ship after seeing it for myself, but the way Rod describes it I'd be surprised if I didn't love it. :rolleyes:

 

P.S. Sorry this has turned into such a long post. I'd just hate for newer folks to make the same expensive mistakes I've made. Shop wisely the first time so you don't have to do it again for several years. By not shopping wisely I'm now in the market for my 3rd GPSr in slightly less than a year. Oh well, maybe somebody else can learn from my mistakes. :huh:

 

That's a great story Mr. Cacheman :D and probably a LOT of people who read it will likely reflect similar stories of their own GPS/Geocaching evolution. I too started my Geo-life by first manually keying in each coordinate and printing off cache pages in order to see them at the destination. It worked, but obviously the whole caching day had to be pre-planned before leaving the house. And once away from home there was little chance to do any "random caching" if I had extra time.

 

Then I decided to connect my GPSr to my computer and do the mass PQ load into it, woohoo! suddenly the world opened up. I loved seeing all the caches around my home appearing like freckles on a kids face on my GPSr screen :)

 

But I still needed to print off the cache pages for the detailed info(!) In my case I went a different route though.. I already had a separate Palm PDA and decided to learn to use that nice "Cachemate" software on it in order to load all the page info onto it. Well that worked out great!! Now for a mere $10 cost of the Cachemate software I was FULLY paperless and independent!

 

It's a simple process of loading the Pocket Query onto the GPSr for the coordinates, then pop the same pocket query into the PDA. All the info is now there, and NordicMan is a happy camper lol :D

 

But the story probably doesn't end there.. IMO the next-and-final evolution of the technology is to have some sort of device that has a wireless connection to the outside world so I DON'T have to do batch loading of PQ's at home. Something like an iPhone, but it needs to be more rugged and it's accuracy needs to be as good as a true robust outdoor rated GPSr. Currently such a device doesn't exist (that I'm aware of) but I don't think we'll have to wait too long for it to appear. The technology for such a device is already quite common, no major leaps in tech required!

 

For now I am quite happy with my "2 unit solution" (PDA and GPSr) for paperless caching.. Yes I guess it is a bit more complex than using a single device like a Delorme PN or Garmin CO/OR, but I already HAVE my current equipment & didn't desire to buy more stuff.. And at the end of the day the 2 unit solution is very cost effective!

 

Fully paperless? You can load your field notes right to GC.com and then have then waiting in queue for you to complete the log at your convenience? If so, that's pretty cool, even if you are depending upon 2 units. Personally, I am a clutz and would rather not have my caching trip cut short should I drop the PDA (or if the battery dies etc), but many people do it that way...and it is a lot cheaper than buying a new GPS!

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Actually I recently grabbed a bluetooth GPS puck for my PDA so I "could" use PDA exclusively, I actually have found caches with just it. Cachemate has a plug-in allowing it to directly interface with the GPSr! It's quite accurate too, as the bluetooth receiver has a SiRF Star III chipset :rolleyes:

 

But still I keep it safely out of harms way until needed. Been using it for years without a scratch on it. I'm just mentioning all this so other people curious what their options are for paperless Geocaching know what can be done.

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Actually I recently grabbed a bluetooth GPS puck for my PDA so I "could" use PDA exclusively, I actually have found caches with just it. Cachemate has a plug-in allowing it to directly interface with the GPSr! It's quite accurate too, as the bluetooth receiver has a SiRF Star III chipset :huh:

 

But still I keep it safely out of harms way until needed. Been using it for years without a scratch on it. I'm just mentioning all this so other people curious what their options are for paperless Geocaching know what can be done.

 

So, it is or isn't truly paperless? Can you or can't you log field notes and load them to GC.com? Some consider paperless as not having to carry papers...this isn't actually the full story. Fully paperless means the ability to also log the field notes and such...IMHO, YMMV! When you load the info to your PDA, is it as simple as clicking a button like my PN-40 is?

 

Like I said, some can do this, I couldn't possibly! Those PDas are not waterproof (kayak caching is not really a good idea unless you take great care to make sure you protect your PDA...at all times), they aren't rugged, so a drop and they're toast. Also having to use two devices isn't what I want while in the field and having to make sure I have both devices loaded with information and loaded with fresh batteries...not for me!

 

Which brings me back to something that would certainly be a major bummer...say you dropped your PDA or it stopped working for any reason. Cache trip over... No thanks, just not something I need to worry about! And, before you tell me I need to try it before I knock it, I did! Still have my PDA should anyone want it...cheap too! :rolleyes: Oh, and the "PDA stopped working" comment, happened to me once....no fun trying to find caches when you don't even know the size or D/F. A real bummer!

 

BTW...not arguing with you, just letting others know this option isn't without drawbacks...few are, I would suppose!

Edited by Rockin Roddy

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Yes Roddy the Cachemate PDA interface can be "fully paperless" by your definition.. there are macros that can be used with GSAK "cachematelogging" and "cm2gpx" that will apparently upload the logs from the Palm back to Geocaching.com at the end of the day. Happy now?

 

But personally I don't use those options. Cachemate provides me with all the details of the cache including the past logs. Once a cache is found (or not), there is an area for me to jot notes about the find, but I just put short crib notes in there, enough to jog my memory once I log my finds at the end of the day. I am not about to start keying in elaborate notes while still out in the field, what's the point? Short crib notes do just fine, and it is MUCH easier to key the full final log notes on a nice big human sized computer keyboard than some itsy-bitsy PDA/GPS keypad.

 

Which brings me back to something that would certainly be a major bummer...say you dropped your PDA or it stopped working for any reason. Cache trip over...

 

Exactly how indestructible is your Delorme? Are you saying it can't be broken?? Of course it can. Maybe a PDA is "more easily broken" but don't be a clutz with either one and they don't break. Your caching day would be just as ruined as mine if your PN-40 crapped out on you.

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Yes Roddy the Cachemate PDA interface can be "fully paperless" by your definition.. there are macros that can be used with GSAK "cachematelogging" and "cm2gpx" that will apparently upload the logs from the Palm back to Geocaching.com at the end of the day. Happy now?

 

But personally I don't use those options. Cachemate provides me with all the details of the cache including the past logs. Once a cache is found (or not), there is an area for me to jot notes about the find, but I just put short crib notes in there, enough to jog my memory once I log my finds at the end of the day. I am not about to start keying in elaborate notes while still out in the field, what's the point? Short crib notes do just fine, and it is MUCH easier to key the full final log notes on a nice big human sized computer keyboard than some itsy-bitsy PDA/GPS keypad.

 

Which brings me back to something that would certainly be a major bummer...say you dropped your PDA or it stopped working for any reason. Cache trip over...

 

Exactly how indestructible is your Delorme? Are you saying it can't be broken?? Of course it can. Maybe a PDA is "more easily broken" but don't be a clutz with either one and they don't break. Your caching day would be just as ruined as mine if your PN-40 crapped out on you.

 

Come on now, we both know I can drop my PN-40 (or most ANY GPS these days) and not worry it's going to break easily....can that be said for any dainty PDA? Doubtful. Have you once heard me say my PN-40 is indestructible? I don't think so, but I'll go back and check it out to be sure....NOPE! :D Saying don't be a clutz...nice thought, but be serious, will you? And, don't forget the water problems which could be just as damning for a PDA...not my PN-40 (or most any GPS these days).

 

Stop making bad arguments, you and I both know a PDA isn't rugged. But hey, if you want, why not carry your laptop. :rolleyes::huh:

 

Now as to your other comments...how much extra work is all this stuff? How much extra are all the apps needed? As to notes...who said anything about writing out complex logs while in the field? I make a note of who found it (I cache with my son), this is a single letter. I then make a few notes of what I think will jog my poor memory (by tree or underlog beside creek). I might even make a note of the TB I left/found...what's that, 6 letters/numerals? I then go to a "human-sized" computer and finalize my log which has been held in queue until I felt the urge to log the finds online! No worrying I'll lose my notes...because, truly, I am a clutz. And a forgetful one at that!

Edited by Rockin Roddy

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Who's arguing? Hey I've dropped my PDA numerous times,, sometimes it has hit the ground hard enough the battery comes flying out. So far I've cleaned the thing off and reassembled it, and I'm back in business, yep lucky! :rolleyes:

 

If course a PDA is a LOT more fragile than an outdoor GPSr. But both can be broken..

 

Actually, people are probably at more risk using a "rugged outdoor GPSr" than a fragile PDA. You don't hear many people hiking deep into the wilds with just an iPhone to get them home, right? Most sensible people would know a phone/PDA would be a dumb thing to "depend on" in tough conditions.

 

But lots of people probably foolishly hike into deep unknown territory with "rugged outdoor GPSr's" assuming they're tough enough to take the beating. It's THOSE PEOPLE who are at the greatest risk when their hi-tech gadget craps out on them.

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Who's arguing? Hey I've dropped my PDA numerous times,, sometimes it has hit the ground hard enough the battery comes flying out. So far I've cleaned the thing off and reassembled it, and I'm back in business, yep lucky! :rolleyes:

 

If course a PDA is a LOT more fragile than an outdoor GPSr. But both can be broken..

 

Actually, people are probably at more risk using a "rugged outdoor GPSr" than a fragile PDA. You don't hear many people hiking deep into the wilds with just an iPhone to get them home, right? Most sensible people would know a phone/PDA would be a dumb thing to "depend on" in tough conditions.

 

But lots of people probably foolishly hike into deep unknown territory with "rugged outdoor GPSr's" assuming they're tough enough to take the beating. It's THOSE PEOPLE who are at the greatest risk when their hi-tech gadget craps out on them.

 

Now you're switching the argument...OK! Who said anything about risk? How could dropping a PDA put you in risk of anything like you mentioned?? Where did that come in to this discussion?

 

Foolishly? Happens all the time. At least with that rugged GPS, you have a sporting chance! But this argument isn't even close to what we're talking about here, is it? Let's swing back to what the topic is, which is paperless caching...

 

FOR THE RECORD...using a PDA is an option. A poor option, but an option all the same! It's not usually an option for those who aren't worried about sending a few extra $$$ when buying a GPS, but commonly the only "paperless" option for those who can't swing the few extra $$$ or bought a lesser GPS and found themselves wanting the paperless action others around them are enjoying! It's an option which comes with extra steps which can be difficult and time consuming. It's an option which lends to possible problems when out in the rugged world!

Edited by Rockin Roddy

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I hardly ever worry about breaking my any of my PDA or GPS devices. I try to take reasonably good care of my stuff, but if something breaks by my own carelessness I don't cry about it.

 

I think more folks lose their toys than break them -- for example, by leaving em on the hood of their car and driving off.

Edited by lee_rimar

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Wow... interesting topic as I am researching some higher end models.I'm currently using the summit but also have a tomtom 630.For what its worth I came up with a little temporary system using them both.I simply save the cache listing page as a txt file and view them as documents on my tomtom,all the info is there(make sure you decyrpt the hint if your so inclined before saving the file) :rolleyes: Having said that in my short time here the PM is well worth the money IMHO...the constant maintainance of my little system and others I've read can get confusing very quickly me thinks.Anywho....a wealth of knowledge in these forums for sure!I learn something everytime I drop in.

 

Thanks guys!

Rob

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I hardly ever worry about breaking my any of my PDA or GPS devices. I try to take reasonably good care of my stuff, but if something breaks by my own carelessness I don't cry about it.

 

I think more folks lose their toys than break them -- for example, by leaving em on the hood of their car and driving off.

 

Take any shot you please Lee, I'm not in the mood! But that's a low blow and I thought you were way above that! :rolleyes:

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Personally, I think it's enough all the way around.

 

I received some VERY useful info here and it helped me make a decision on my first Geocaching GPSr, so lets try to get/keep this on topic (and not some - mine is better version of it :rolleyes: )

 

And now to keep this OT :huh: PM and Cache register ordered, PQ waiting to go. Looking forward to some paperless caching with my new PN-40

Edited by radak9

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Personally, I think it's enough all the way around.

 

I received some VERY useful info here and it helped me make a decision on my first Geocaching GPSr, so lets try to get/keep this on topic (and not some - mine is better version of it :rolleyes: )

 

And now to keep this OT :huh: PM and Cache register ordered, PQ waiting to go. Looking forward to some paperless caching with my new PN-40

 

Sorry you see any of my comments as bashing, I see them as giving helpful info. If someone reads that the PDA is the way to go and doesn't know the problems which they might see, well, it could be a bad end to what should be a fun activity! As was said, using a PDA is an option, but a poor one! If it's your only option, I would hope someone would let you know what to worry about...that's just me though!

 

As for the iphone, that's even a worse option than the PDA/GPS option...at least you're using a unit that'll lead you in the right direction with some accuracy when using the GPS/PDA option. People should also know that before getting their hopes smashed all over the place! (oooo, made a funny there, didn't I?)

 

I'll continue to give the other side of the story as long as these options are thrown out, if it's offensive, well, just remember I AM trying to help. I'll add this, I could give a RIP what someone uses, I merely give info which I hope is helpful. To each their own and do what you please. But, when giving advice, maybe give advice that you yourself would FOLLOW...like I do! nuff said there!!

 

As to the OP, CONGRATS on the purchase and can't wait to hear your thoughts as well!!

Edited by Rockin Roddy

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... I don't need the membership because all I want is the .Loc file...
You don't know what you're missing. And if $30 a year will break your bugdet, I don't know how you pay for your boat, your computer, your internet connection, or your $200 GPS ... B)

 

Yes but you don't NEED membership to get the job done. I've gotten around just fine without paying membership. I can download all of the caches I need to my Oregon (yeah the cache size and description isn't there, but thats what I do research beforehand for).

 

As of right now there isn't enough incentive to pay the extra fee. Geocaching.com isn't giving me enough for the money AFAIK. I'm not a paperless fiend, all I need is the waypoint in my GPS and maybe a little title for it that states what the name of it is. I'm not out looking for 500 geocaches a day, so I don't need the GPS to hold the kitchen sink for me of information.

 

Thats just my opinion though. If Geocaching.com started offering more incentives (maybe free t-shirt and a starter cache container for first time members) I would be willing to pay. But right now, its like trying to sell me a car just because it has 4 cupholders instead of 2. ;)

 

So you're saying you have one of the top-of-the-line GPS units but no PM? Isn't that something like buying the best race car you can get your hands on, but only putting regular unleaded in it? Sure the gas makes it go, but it just sputters along like a cheapo car... (sorry, couldn't think of a better analogy this early today lol). OK, that's like paying for first class and then sitting in coach! That's like paying for the movie and leaving after the trailers. That's like.... ;)

 

Isn't the reason to own a unit that does paperless caching is so you can actually utilize that feature?? I don't search for 500 caches a day either, I hardly search for 1 cache a week at this point...BUT, should I have the urge in the middle of a nice afternoon while sitting here at my computer, I can just pick up my unit and head out since the info is there already. When I come home, I'm not tied to my computer again logging the one or five or ten finds, I upload via field notes and they simply wait in queue for me to finish the process...no need to worry if I lost the notes or anything, it's there waiting for me!

 

And, shame on you for thinking GC owes you more...just the listing service itself is worth the $30 a year (IMHO) and I'm about as cheap as they come! When I first started and owned a Garmin Etrex, you couldn't give me a membership, but I quickly realized that loading each cache by hand, writing down the notes (which were usually nothing more than size diff/terr, hint and name/GC #, but still took awhile to get written down) and then having to rely on them as well as the co-pilot (to keep track of the notes and to mark the RIGHT cache as found or DNFd or whatever...and then there's the bugs).

 

To each their own, but to me, a $30 a year expenditure here is money well spent! I mean, would you pay top dollar for a hi-def TV and then hook it up to an antenna?? :D

 

I agree - exactly. I have PM and I am still using very basic gps, but getting ready to upgrade and can't wait to load a bunch just in case we want to go caching.

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Not trying to sway you away from any one unit, but can I ask why you're going with the Vista? I know you said paperless isn't a concern, but I do hate to see someone make a purchase only to want to upgrade a month or so later...upgrading after the fact is costly since you now have bought two units! ;) Make sure you've mulled over your options well and go with what you think will make you happiest with the money you can spare, that's my best advice!

Since we just started and not sure if this will be a long lasting sport for us, I was a bit hesitant on spending big bucks and was looking in the $150 range. After A LOT of reading it looks like the breaking areas are the $140 Venture in the entry area and then the CO or OR for the more "advanced" cachers. I don't think I could justify ~$400 at this point (5 caches found with a borrowed etrex H). If after trying this for a year or so I find that we thoroughly enjoy it and it will be a lifelong thing for us, then I may go for the upper end, and either sell the Vista or keep it for a backup.

 

What unit did you have in mind, was it the CO or OR?

 

believe me, you will probably be hooked after a few more finds. go ahead with a paperless model. You wont' regret it. You can always sell it on ebay if you decide you don't like the sport.

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believe me, you will probably be hooked after a few more finds. go ahead with a paperless model. You wont' regret it. You can always sell it on ebay if you decide you don't like the sport.

Yea, I bought the Delorme PN-40. I would have gotten the -30 but there was only a $14 price difference at the time. The up front cost for me hurt a little, but I honestly know I will get that back 10 fold in use.

 

And as far as the PM goes. I would have probably donated to the site anyway just for having the site itself and the "send to" etc... Getting PQ's is a bonus in my mind :D and an invaluable one at that.

 

Long story shortened here - Just started caching last week. Had a basic etrex H, went to GC and did a zip code search for my vacation area, clicked on each link (in map view) to find some easy ones that we could do. Wrote down notes etc... and hand inputted the co-ords for 6 of them into the unit. More than an hour later :( we hit the rode.

 

Now, create PQ, get email, upload to unit - in 5 minutes I have 500 caches in my area INCLUDING every note, log and hint. Umm, yea, got my PM moneys worth already :D

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I have a 60csx that I use all over the world for both geocaching and navigation. I love it. You can find tons of free maps online for it that can be installed into mapsource or directly onto the units memory. I have no experience with the other gps you mentioned, simply because with my 60csx, I have never needed anything else.

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I have a 60csx that I use all over the world for both geocaching and navigation. I love it. You can find tons of free maps online for it that can be installed into mapsource or directly onto the units memory. I have no experience with the other gps you mentioned, simply because with my 60csx, I have never needed anything else.

 

That's the beauty of it, there's penty of choices to please just about everyone! :(

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In practice it seems most righties use the unit in their right hand - I know I do - but that's not what Garmin had in mind.

 

I'm right handed and pretty much use my left hand for hand held electronic devices. GPS, dialing cell phone, etc. Always have. I like having my right/dominant hand/arm free for other things. Just seems more natural to use the GPS with my left hand, find what I want then look up and point to others with my right arm.

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WOW!! This thread is full of pithy rhetoric…! I am jumping in here because I have spent the afternoon comparing and researching Garmin handhelds. I am relatively new to geocaching. I signed up in 2007, tried it once with a DNF and some very disgruntled children. Because of deployments and transferring (navy), I just started up again using a very old eTrex (bought in 2002). Now that my family and I have four finds we are getting into the whole geocaching thing, I want to upgrade. When I seen the original title to this thread, I thought I hit pay dirt by finding a thread with the same basic question I had. “eTrex higher end units or one of the GPSMAP 60 models” I read the entire thread and now I am more confused! I don’t mind paying for a PM. Basically, I want to plug my unit into my computer and load up several caches that I choose for the ‘afternoon of caching’ & ‘spontaneous caching’. Paperless (as defined here) sounds ok, but in reality and in my lifestyle, there will have to be some planning and I don’t mind printing out the details of a cache on recycled paper and keeping them in my truck. So my question for you more experienced cachers’: I would like your recommendations on a solid unit that I can download caches easily without having to download a list of other programs to make the thing work. Right now I am leaning towards the eTrex Venture HC.

Thanks

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Hi Bosn Ski It sounds like you've pretty much decided on what you want and that's ok, but if you don't mind I'd like to just throw out another option for you to consider. There's no doubt about it that around here Garmin is the king of the hill as far as more cachers carrying their units compared to other brands . However, I do believe you might be surprised at what you can get in the Delorme PN series GPSr's for about the same or less than a Garmin eTrex variety and also adding in the street maps or topo maps. I'd guess you're looking at about $80 or more for each of those extra maps that you probably will end up buying one or the other of (or possibly both). With the Delorme PN series you have street and topo maps included with the GPSr at no additional cost to you.

 

Well since you seem pretty sure of what you will probably get I won't use up anymore of your time. I mainly just wanted to suggest that one product line for you to consider. You'd think a completely paperless caching GPSr plus maps should be outrageously high priced, but I think for all you get they are a great deal.

 

Anyways good luck on finding the perfect GPSr for your needs. Happy caching! :anibad:

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WOW!! This thread is full of pithy rhetoric…! I am jumping in here because I have spent the afternoon comparing and researching Garmin handhelds. I am relatively new to geocaching. I signed up in 2007, tried it once with a DNF and some very disgruntled children. Because of deployments and transferring (navy), I just started up again using a very old eTrex (bought in 2002). Now that my family and I have four finds we are getting into the whole geocaching thing, I want to upgrade. When I seen the original title to this thread, I thought I hit pay dirt by finding a thread with the same basic question I had. “eTrex higher end units or one of the GPSMAP 60 models” I read the entire thread and now I am more confused! I don’t mind paying for a PM. Basically, I want to plug my unit into my computer and load up several caches that I choose for the ‘afternoon of caching’ & ‘spontaneous caching’. Paperless (as defined here) sounds ok, but in reality and in my lifestyle, there will have to be some planning and I don’t mind printing out the details of a cache on recycled paper and keeping them in my truck. So my question for you more experienced cachers’: I would like your recommendations on a solid unit that I can download caches easily without having to download a list of other programs to make the thing work. Right now I am leaning towards the eTrex Venture HC.

Thanks

 

The beauty of it all, with paperless, you truly don't have to do any planning. The coords, the info...it's all there waiting for you to tell it to go after one!! :anibad: Paperless truly is great!

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Hi Bosn Ski It sounds like you've pretty much decided on what you want and that's ok, but if you don't mind I'd like to just throw out another option for you to consider. There's no doubt about it that around here Garmin is the king of the hill as far as more cachers carrying their units compared to other brands . However, I do believe you might be surprised at what you can get in the Delorme PN series GPSr's for about the same or less than a Garmin eTrex variety and also adding in the street maps or topo maps. I'd guess you're looking at about $80 or more for each of those extra maps that you probably will end up buying one or the other of (or possibly both). With the Delorme PN series you have street and topo maps included with the GPSr at no additional cost to you.

 

Well since you seem pretty sure of what you will probably get I won't use up anymore of your time. I mainly just wanted to suggest that one product line for you to consider. You'd think a completely paperless caching GPSr plus maps should be outrageously high priced, but I think for all you get they are a great deal.

 

Anyways good luck on finding the perfect GPSr for your needs. Happy caching! :anibad:

Nope you are not wasting my time. And I was hoping for inputs like this.

I was looking at Garmin, because it is the only name I know. The color screen appealed to me just as much as the name does. I don't really have a need for a handheld with street maps, I have an on dash GPS.

 

My budget is about $200, shhh don't tell my wife!

 

Simplicity is a big factor in my decision to buy a new unit. I have missed several opportunities to make a spontaneous grab in the afternoon, because I would have to manually input coords, and time became a factor.

 

When reading this thread I looked at the PN's but I didn't recognize the name. I looked them up but was put off by the price and all the extra features. Features that I feel I don’t need, or know how to use. Then the arguments started on the pros and cons of PN’s, iPhones, etc etc etc...Thus adding to my confusion and the need for a solid recommendation.

 

My geocaching is still in its infancy and I have been planning on going to caches that are close to parking and ‘kinda sorta’ kid friendly, mainly inside of state parks (VA), and city parks. For now I am not planning on going deep into the back country.

 

Amazon has a PN-20 for $199. Your thoughts?

 

Cheers

Thanks for the help

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....Simplicity is a big factor in my decision to buy a new unit. I have missed several opportunities to make a spontaneous grab in the afternoon, because I would have to manually input coords, and time became a factor.

 

Well, that is where I started several years ago, sheaf of printed geocache descriptions in a binder and trying to manually enter the coordinates of the next cache while my daughter was driving to it and have them entered before she parked.

 

That was with a PN-20 and any cache that we failed to find was not due to any inadequacy on its part.

 

 

My geocaching is still in its infancy and I have been planning on going to caches that are close to parking and ‘kinda sorta’ kid friendly, mainly inside of state parks (VA), and city parks. For now I am not planning on going deep into the back country.

 

 

In addition to geocaching my other activity where I use a GPSr is back country 4WD exploring.

Those who use it for that feel that the DeLorme handheld GPSrs are as good as any competitive model for back country use.

 

 

Amazon has a PN-20 for $199. Your thoughts?

 

Cheers

Thanks for the help

 

Paperless geocaching with a PN-XX is greatly enhanced with the aquisition of the DeLorme supplied Cache Register widget for an additional $10.

 

As compared to other models, the PN-20 screen refresh/redraw rate is slow.

It is really too slow for driving guidance; however, you have that covered.

Hovever, it has been my experience while geocaching that I do not outwalk the screen's refresh rate.

 

If you are like most of us, you will quickly tire of that paper albatross around your neck.

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Hello again. I am not very familar with the PN-20 so I'd be real reluctant to go into detail about it for fear of maybe leading you astray with inaccurate data. It's to bad we can't make time go backwards. I think the sale just ended a few days ago where you could get a PN-30 (a very good unit in my opinion) for $200. The reason I can speak pretty confidently about the PN-30 is because it's pretty much the same as my PN-40, but not with the orange color GPSr (hey it kind of grows on you as you learn to love these units) and the PN-30 doesn't have the electronic compass and the altimeter that the PN-40 has.

 

You know what, I'd say study up on the PN-30 and keep an eye out at Amazon.com, Walmart.com and REI.com and when it goes back on sale that's when I'd snatch it up. Or depending on if you mind buying 2nd hand you may be able to get one at a savings (of course there are always some risks in buying used electronics).

 

Tell you what let me just describe what you get for your $200 if you were to wait for the Delorme PN-30 to go on sale again for that price and then buy it.

 

1. You get a good GPSr that really is pretty darned easy to use.

 

2. You get the following maps included with your GPSr at no additional cost: U.S. street maps (I know you said you don't need them, but they're included in the purchase price, the U.S. topo maps, Canadian street maps and the Mexican street maps.

 

3. I believe you said you don't need paperless geocaching. You'd be right you don't need it, but trust me once you get it you won't want to go back to not having it. Basically what that means is when you load the pocket queries with all the cache data you are literally getting all of the cache data. You basically get everything you see on the cache description page except for pictures and graphics. It's so nice when you get out of the car to be able to have the entire cache description, hints, terrain and difficulty ratings, the last 5 log entries and I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting.

 

4. Ok, so if you wait and get a PN-30 on sale you get the above for $200. They also have an additional offer to buy a subscription to their Map Library for only $30 a year. I'm not pulling a fast one on here, you really do get the maps I mentioned above with your GPSr. The Map Library subscription is so awesome because you can download aerial and satellite imagery directly into your GPS and then it will display the cache icons right on the aerial photo. To see what I'm talking about CLICK HERE and look in post #6 of that forum thread and you'll see what I'm talking about.

 

5. You may hear others talk about a "steep learnging curve" with the PN's. All I can say to that it if there is one it must be for more advanced functions that I will never use since I just use mine for geocaching.

 

Now on the other hand if you say spend about $150 on one of the Garmin lower cost but fairly good eTrex units you will have to pay $80 or more for each map you want to buy for your new Garmin and then you're up to the price of the PN-30 when it's on sale. To use a car illustration, what I'm saying is why buy a Ford Escort (Garmin) if you can get a Lincoln Towncar (Delorme PN-30) for the same price.

 

Ok, I know I get way to long winded and I don't want to bore you with to much of my personal opinions. However, if you or anybody else reading this would like to contact me for more information feel free to click on my screen name and at the profile page click the link to send me a message. Just be forewarned I love my PN-40 so I can get real long winded when singing it's praises.

 

Thanks for letting me take up some of your time and good luck with your search for the perfect GPSr for yourself! Robert :anibad:

 

Edit to add: I see Team Cowboypappa is filling you in on the PN-20. I'd say listen because he's a good source of information! I'm kind of new around here myself but he and some other folks here are real good sources of info if you keep an eye on the Technology forum.

Edited by Michigan Cacheman

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One final note and then that's it for me tonight. You will hear that the PN series GPSr's deplete batteries quickly. Even if you do not use a car charger if you take 2 AA batteries with you that will easily get you through the day. Actually most folks recommend that folks carry an extra set of batteries so if you'd do it for other units then in that case you're no worse off than say a Gamin or Magellan user who brings an extra set of batteries.

 

I mainly just didn't want you thinking that you'd be replacing batteries every 15 minutes of so. So no it's not like you need to carry 5 pounds of batteries when you out, just 2 little AA batteries and you're set for the day (if you buy the optional car power pack then you're in even better shape as far as batteries go.) Yes, you will want to carry a spare pair of AA batteries, but regardless of which unit you buy you'd carry a spare set just to be safe for any GPSr you were to purchase. Yep, it's a battery user, but it's nothing to lose any sleep over. :anibad:

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Yes but you don't NEED membership to get the job done.
You'd don't need a GPS either. Anyone who can't use a paper topo map and a compass shouldn't be out caching. Don't need your own computer or interent access either --if you don't know how to use the public library you're just wasting your money :laughing:

 

If you spend one day a week caching, membership costs 57 cents per caching day ($30 / 52 weeks).

 

Membership gives me three things I think are worth the money: Access to Pocket Queries, access to certain "closed" areas of the GC forums, and access to some caches that basic members don't get. There are a few other things but that's what I'm paying for.

 

Worth it to me.

 

We'll see.. :laughing: I do want to support them, and if I DO pay the membership it would only be to pitch in and help, not for the benefits that come with it. I know I would never use the PQs and all of that...

 

Never use the PQ's?!? Why the heck not??? It is sooo much easier to define an area you're going to cache with PQ's, and download all the caches in that area in one quick easy click or two. Example: I have a PQ that is a 25 mile radius around my house. There are over 170 caches, automatically loaded into my unit at once. Can you imagine how much time that would take to do it manually one at a time?!? And the cache descriptions, logs from other cachers and hints make finding them much, much easier! I probably wouldn't even bother with caching if it wasn't for the premium membership. :D

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I was going to suggest the Garmin Nuvi 500. It is definitely paperless. And totally touch screen.

 

But it does have some issues. I'm going to list these just in case a Garmin rep reads this. :D

 

1) If the cache name is too long (haven't tested to find the max length yet) it will shut down the Nuvi when you select it.

2) It has no place to attach a lanyard. That means you carry it all the time and...

3) at least once a caching session I accidently touch the on/off button on the top corner and shut it down.

4) The "save to favorites" is too easy to accidently hit as you move through the screens.

5) It would be nice to be able to have a cache tagged as DNF to not appear in the not found list. I'm not going to look for it a second time in the same outing.

6) It would be nice to be able to delete the GPX files on screen rather than attaching to a PC and using Explorer.

 

Other than those really minor things it works great. :( I used it exclusively on a trip from San Diego to Mingo and back this last summer. And we just made a caching trip this last weekend to Vegas and back. Only when the cache name was obviously going to be too long did we switch to the phone GPS.

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Yes but you don't NEED membership to get the job done.
You'd don't need a GPS either. Anyone who can't use a paper topo map and a compass shouldn't be out caching. Don't need your own computer or interent access either --if you don't know how to use the public library you're just wasting your money :laughing:

 

If you spend one day a week caching, membership costs 57 cents per caching day ($30 / 52 weeks).

 

Membership gives me three things I think are worth the money: Access to Pocket Queries, access to certain "closed" areas of the GC forums, and access to some caches that basic members don't get. There are a few other things but that's what I'm paying for.

 

Worth it to me.

 

We'll see.. :D I do want to support them, and if I DO pay the membership it would only be to pitch in and help, not for the benefits that come with it. I know I would never use the PQs and all of that...

 

Never use the PQ's?!? Why the heck not??? It is sooo much easier to define an area you're going to cache with PQ's, and download all the caches in that area in one quick easy click or two. Example: I have a PQ that is a 25 mile radius around my house. There are over 170 caches, automatically loaded into my unit at once. Can you imagine how much time that would take to do it manually one at a time?!? And the cache descriptions, logs from other cachers and hints make finding them much, much easier! I probably wouldn't even bother with caching if it wasn't for the premium membership. :)

 

Thanks for the input. I was considering Garmin products at first, but I went with the Delorme PN-40. I am completly satisfied with the GPSr in itself. Topo8 is a different story...

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A week ago I asked myself the very same question: vista HCx or 60CSx?

I bought the vista HCx because of the better price, the smaller form factor and because it is said to perform nearly as good as the 60CSx.

 

Two days later, I returned the vista HCx and bought the 60CSx in exchange.

 

Reasons:

the vista I received displayed almost every weakness that has been talked about in the forums. Was prone to drift from the start on and had the display bug (backlight flickers, the brightness setting allows no more than 40% of the total brightness).

The rubber band didn't came off in the two days I owned it, but it propably would have in a year or so, according to other users reports.

 

Finally, the 60CSx is still said to be superior in terms of precision - and it looks so much better than the vista, even though it is bigger. :ph34r:

 

To be honest, I wouldn't buy the vista again even if there was no 60CSx to buy instead. There's just too much talk about its various weak points.

 

 

i've never experienced any of those issues with my vista hcx (knocks wood). i just uploaded the latest track on there before posting this and it was spot on. not saying people haven't had issues, just that i never have.

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Yeah, I used to warn people about Topo USA, but having gotten blasted so many times by DeLorme owners, ....

Any bashing on my part of this poster was misinterpreted.

 

My posts had the intention of being illustrative of the product.

 

In that vein, Topo USA 8.0 is not required to start geocaching with a DeLorme PN-30/40.

Additionally, one not even need to install Topo 8 pn their PC for that activity.

For geocaching, I strongly suggest the addition of the $10 Cache Register widget that transfers the Pocket Query cache descriptions directly to a PN unit.

The PNs now come with 4 Detail, Region Map DVDs with installers such that these maps may be installed directly on the PNs without the involvement of the much maligned Topo 8.

 

OTOH, when one does need the Topo USA 8.0 mapping application for other purposes, it is somewhat more involved than buying and downloading a 99¢ song from Amazon.com. :ph34r:

However, what we don't know, in a comparative should I buy this or that context, is the use of Topo 8 more intensive than that of the software to accomplish the same end with another handheld GPSr.

Topo 8 may be less intensive, or more intensive, we just have no experiential, side-by-side observations from which to form such judgements.

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Yeah, I used to warn people about Topo USA, but having gotten blasted so many times by DeLorme owners, ....

Any bashing on my part of this poster was misinterpreted.

 

My posts had the intention of being illustrative of the product.

 

In that vein, Topo USA 8.0 is not required to start geocaching with a DeLorme PN-30/40.

Additionally, one not even need to install Topo 8 pn their PC for that activity.

For geocaching, I strongly suggest the addition of the $10 Cache Register widget that transfers the Pocket Query cache descriptions directly to a PN unit.

The PNs now come with 4 Detail, Region Map DVDs with installers such that these maps may be installed directly on the PNs without the involvement of the much maligned Topo 8.

 

OTOH, when one does need the Topo USA 8.0 mapping application for other purposes, it is somewhat more involved than buying and downloading a 99¢ song from Amazon.com. :laughing:

However, what we don't know, in a comparative should I buy this or that context, is the use of Topo 8 more intensive than that of the software to accomplish the same end with another handheld GPSr.

Topo 8 may be less intensive, or more intensive, we just have no experiential, side-by-side observations from which to form such judgements.

 

Moreover, the learning of most any application I have used was quick and fairly painless, downloading and installing aerials was the worst, but easily walked through with the DeLorme Forums' step-by-step! Most any other use I have had was learned quickly and without the need of any written tutorials, just hands on experimenting!

 

I'll remind everyone that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to tech stuff! :ph34r:

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I plunked my thirty bucks down before I even knew what a PQ was. I enjoy this site, the information, and especially the friendly and helpful people that hang out here. It's worth it to me to support this organisation. That's not to mention the free beer every Friday night! :ph34r:

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A week ago I asked myself the very same question: vista HCx or 60CSx?

I bought the vista HCx because of the better price, the smaller form factor and because it is said to perform nearly as good as the 60CSx.

 

Two days later, I returned the vista HCx and bought the 60CSx in exchange.

 

Reasons:

the vista I received displayed almost every weakness that has been talked about in the forums. Was prone to drift from the start on and had the display bug (backlight flickers, the brightness setting allows no more than 40% of the total brightness).

The rubber band didn't came off in the two days I owned it, but it propably would have in a year or so, according to other users reports.

 

Finally, the 60CSx is still said to be superior in terms of precision - and it looks so much better than the vista, even though it is bigger. :unsure:

 

To be honest, I wouldn't buy the vista again even if there was no 60CSx to buy instead. There's just too much talk about its various weak points.

 

 

i've never experienced any of those issues with my vista hcx (knocks wood). i just uploaded the latest track on there before posting this and it was spot on. not saying people haven't had issues, just that i never have.

I have a 3 year old vista Cx that just crapped out on me. I press the power button and the screen flickers once, that's it. I've been doing some reading and perhaps this is a result of ATV/mtn bike handlebar mounting? Overall it was a good unit, but too inaccurate in heavy cover.

 

Anyhoo, I need to find a replacement and am torn between a new HCx and the 60CSx. My main question is-- will the info stored in my microSD (maps, waypoints, caches) transfer right over to the 60CSx without any fuss? I would like the HCx ($179 @ Cabelas), as I can use my accessories, but the 60CSx ($249 @ Walmart) seems to be the hands down winner. Any thoughts?

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I've upgraded from plain yellow etrex to the legend and now to the VistaHcx, which I got at Cabelas.com as a bundle (the unit,holster,usb cable,topo software,and micro SD card for only $214 which includes shipping) and am more than pleased with it. I downloaded EASYGPS onto computer and check full pages of caches at gc.com and hit send. Then I go to easygps and open the file and hit send to gps. Sends cache name plus cache number and coordinates to the unit in seconds and I'm ready to go. I'm just hooked on garmin products.

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Reading this thread reminds me why I'll never be a "real" geocacher. There is a lot of great info here but after many posts I'm still left with no real feeling for the best low end option for "paperless" caching. BTW, I put paperless in quotes because, like the OP, I'm not really worried about starting to log a find on site but I would like to be able to avoid carrying printouts for description of the cache.

 

I'd like to ask for factual info. I know all about buyers remorse, upgrade envy, the possible risks of taking a phone or PDA into the field, and such. With that in mind is it fair to say that the options are...

 

Any gps (in my case a Lowrance iFinder that I find clunky, big, and very slow to start) plus a Palm PDA (or possibly other PDAs/phones)

iPhone or other phone with gps (is there an Android phone with gps?)

PN-20 (as the lowest cost gps with paperless)

Gamin Dakota, Colorado, and Oregon models as well as higher numbered PN's if the money is available.

 

with, in the case of the last two options, the possibility of sending files one at a time with description info whether or not you have a PM through the use of a macro on the site (or is it a plugin?). Yes, I know all about the wonders of a PM and PQs but right at this moment I don't want to cloud the issue; afterall PQs improve all of the options so they are not really important in deciding between options.

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I load my notes onto an ipod (via gsak macro), load caches onto My Garmin GS60CSX (via gsak).

I get enough of hint to find caches 70% of time, if im struggling i open up ipod notes and check full details.

Lot more robust than dropping phone etc into a puddle - better battery life than iphone too!

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Holy thread resurrection batman. Although, this helps me for another venture...

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