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Best Garmin GPS Units for Paperless Caching?


gfk.jr
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My family and I are new at geocaching and just started out with a eTrex Legend. I would like to upgrade to a unit with a high sensitivity receiver and paperless caching. The bells and whistles are not important to me as long as the unit is accurate, user friendly, and as previously mentioned paperless. I have been looking at the Garmin Colorado, Oregon, and Dakota lines. I would like feedback good or bad on specific units in these lines. I will be using the unit exclusively for geocaching, urban and wilderness both.

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Put down the Colorado!

 

Now, if you want my opinion, being Wherigo enabled is worth the extra little bit of money that the Oregon costs over the Dakota.

 

I don't know enough about the Dakota line , but I do know that they're smaller and don't have Wherigo capability. Both the Oregon & Dakota have touchscreens.

 

If you want a compass, Wireless data transfer and a couple of other features (I think the 300 holds more caches), I'd say choose the 300 over the 200, but really it's up to you (of course).

 

I made the same jump between Legend & Oregon 300, and I've been loving it so far! There's a bit of a learning curve, but it's not too bad...

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Put down the Colorado!

 

Why? :ph34r:

 

It's easy to say "Put down the Colorado!" but you've given not reason why! :mad:

 

I've been using one for over 1 1/2 years now, with about 2,500 finds...and I love mine, as do some other folks I know who have them.

 

So, I'll add a vote for the Colorado.

 

You can save a few bucks by getting a 300 and adding your own maps, there are some available on-line for free, or you could get maps from Garmin. I got the 400t and added the City Navigator North America 2008 for turn-by-turn routing.

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I have had my Colorado 400t for not even a week but it has definately met my expectations. It is the first Garmin that I have owned, so there is just a bit of a learning curve over my Explorist 400. The menu settings are a bit more complicated, but I think this will get better with time.

 

The children love the Wherigo features.

 

Paid $350 for the 400t with a 3 year warrenty. The only advantage with the 300 would be that if you bought the maps separately you could then load them onto MapSource. (The tips to do this have not worked so far). You should be able to buy a big enough SD card for all the maps.

 

Paperless feature is way beyond what I was used to with the Explorist.

 

Backlight feature is a bit of a pain. It needs to be on to at least some degree all of the time in order to see the screen, but it is adjustable so it only needs to be on to the degree to fit the setting.

 

I tried the Triton 400 briefly, and I am glad that I switched to the Colorado. After reading other reviews, I might have been a bit harsh on Triton and Vantage Point in my former forum post. It looks like I got a bad download of Vantage Point and that started me off on the wrong note.

 

Another advantage to Colorado is that the MapSource CD is included in the box and you only need to download updates.

 

Hope this helps.

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If you can get an Oregon (300 or 400) for less than $400, it might be worth the investment. I have had mine since January, and absolutely love it. DO get rechargeable batteries tho, and keep a set handy. It devours Alkalines with the perpetually necessary backlight, much better with NiMh rechargeables.

 

That said, any GPS that accepts Pocket Queries for paperless geocaching is going to be very nice in the field. Also, I strongly advise getting acquainted with GSAK and the Custom POI macros. This allows you to load a virtually unlimited number of caches into your Oregon/Nuvi/Csx Unit, or any GPS that uses a micro SD data card. I have 20000+ in my Oregon and Nuvi right now.

 

IF you only have $150 to spend, but want to go paperless, get one of the lower end Nuvi units. As far as I know, they will all accept Custom POI files, and while they are not the best for caching (they do not have a pointer/compass screen) they are still usable (Just use the "where am I" screen and follow the coordinates when you get close. The advantage of the Nuvi is that you can see the entire cache description, and it includes navigation maps. You can easily pay $100 just for CityNavigator to load into your Oregon/CSx/Colorado/Dakota GPS, and the Nuvi is just $150 (or less). It's ALSO very nice to have TWO units going...one to show you the turns/roads, and one to show you the terrain/TOPO maps. Personally, I like to have three going, so I can navigate to an ultimate destination, as well as to any caches along the way without having to keep re-setting the GPS. But I'm a little over the top.

 

Oh..and Wherigo is a game you play with certain GPSs that is like a "guided tour" that someone sets up. Think of it like a "virtual multicache." Very fun.

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