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Buying a GPS unit


orangesmiley
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Hi all,

I am very new to geocaching -- gone once with a friend and then tried it again this past weekend.

 

I want to keep doing it and am looking at buying a unit -- but am still unsure what to look for.

 

I've been reading and like the paperless options

 

but what else should I be considering. I've read the getting started part of the website, but still can't decide.

 

I've been looking at the Garmin Dakota 20GPS, GARMIN OREGON 200 HANDHELD GPS,

Garmin GPSMAP 60CX S/MARINE, and the GARMIN RINO 530 HCX GPS NAVIGATOR. What I don't like about the RINO is you can't use regular batteries - it is a rechargable one only - like the idea of being able to use AA or something if the battery dies on the trail. I do like the radio aspect to it though.

 

Any recommendations? Any thoughts on the above units?

 

Thanks!

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Of those listed - only the Oregon and Dakota offer fully paperless Geocaching experience.

 

The 60CSx is the tried and true unit of the bunch that many consider the best overall GPS on the market - but it just doesn't do paperless Geocaching without some addtional software and manipulation.

 

I own an Oregon 200 and would highly recommend it.

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The 60CSX is about to be discontinued and will probably be deeply discounted shortly (REI has it for $199 now). It is a fantastic unit, the best all around unit on the market as far as I'm concerned.

 

As Starbrand mentioned it isn't a true paperless unit but it can be tweaked to give you a lot of cache info, or you can augment it with a PDA or smar tphone to get the cache info. For $199 it's a steal.

 

The other units you mentioned are all good for caching, though touch screen units have visibility issues in sunlight. Other units to consider are the DeLorme PN30 and PN40. Lots of bang for the buck because it includes detailed maps in the price

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I researched for weeks before buying my GPS and bought the Oregon 300. I like it and have no complaints. Its accurate and easy to use.

Some people say the screen is dim in the bright light. I don't have the same opinion, its a color screen in the sun... I also have a handlebar mount for my MT Bike and it does everything I need of it on and off the trail.

 

Have a look down in the GPS and Technology section for some links to the Wiki pages for the devices you are considering. There is a ton of information there that the manufactures sites don't have or make hard to find.

 

Aside from my Palm Pre, this is my first GPS device so my opinion only is from my limited experience.

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I am pretty happy with my Garmin GPSMAP 60CSX. Combining it with my iPhone and Groundspeak's geocaching app lets me do paperless caching.

 

I would, however, love to have one of the Delormes or newer Garmins so I could ditch the iPhone and have all the cache info (description/hint/logs) on the same peice of equipment. I paid around $260 for my 60CSX a month ago and that was the cheapest I could find it at the time. So the $199 from REI is definitely a really good deal.

 

I have heard several people say that of all the GPSrs they have tried, the 60CSX is always the most accurate, and some people say they use it to benchmark test other GPS units for accuracy. I can't speak to this as it is my first GPSr.

 

My next unit (which is probably a a couple years off) will be a touchscreen that allows for complete paperless caching.

Edited by JJball
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So the $199 from REI is definitely a really good deal.

 

I just checked REI.com, and the 60csx is listed at $350 instead. Is the $199 an in store only special? There is an REI about 65 miles from me, so I *could* goto a physical store. I just wanna verify where you have seen that price before I plan to make the trip. (And its a new store, so finding the phone number for the location will be a PIA.)

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So the $199 from REI is definitely a really good deal.

 

I just checked REI.com, and the 60csx is listed at $350 instead. Is the $199 an in store only special? There is an REI about 65 miles from me, so I *could* goto a physical store. I just wanna verify where you have seen that price before I plan to make the trip. (And its a new store, so finding the phone number for the location will be a PIA.)

 

I'm not sure about REI, but BPS has it for that price too

 

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/s...SSSELL_HOMEPAGE

 

SAVE20A will save you $20

Edited by CortandTrent
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The Garmin Oregon and Dakota are pretty much the best GPSr for Paperless Geocaching.

 

However, if you're only going to use a GPSr for Geocaching and don't care for turn-by-turn and only need a basemap (for now...), another model that can be interesting is the Magellan eXplorist GC. You can save a few bucks if its all you need.

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As a first-buy unit I purchased the Garmin Dakota 20 and am very happy with it so far. I have had no problems with bright sunlight viewing although I am pretty sure I would restate that opinion if it was bike mounted. The viewing angle on this GPS is fairly unforgiving... you need to have it in your hand.

 

As far as accuracy goes I have 3 DNF's out of 37. I attribute these to cache finding inexperience as all the others have been right on the money. 2 of the DNF's were in wide open spaces, 1 under heavy canopy.

 

I find battery life to be very good using lithium batteries. Just swapped out my first set.

 

Of course, as this is my first GPS I have nothing to compare it to, but as a first buy I really have absolutely no complaints.

 

Pros:

Paperless.

Extremely intuitive.

I personally love a touch screen as opposed to buttons.

Size.

Battery life.

Seems really rugged... but time will tell.

Great GPS for newbies. (At least for this newb.)

SD card slot.

3 axis compass.

Price.

Some nice bells and whistles that you may never, ever use. :)

 

Cons:

Viewing screen is smaller than some models.

Viewing screen may be unreadable when not in hand.

Touchscreen gets fingerprinty, and may be fickle with larger digits.

Screen resolution doesn't seem as sharp as some others I've seen.

No Wherigo functionality.

Garmin maps are expensive! (But there's free ones if you look for them)

 

Overall I'm really happy with the performance on this model, and am glad I chose the Dakota 20 as my first GPS.

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As a first-buy unit I purchased the Garmin Dakota 20 and am very happy with it so far. I have had no problems with bright sunlight viewing although I am pretty sure I would restate that opinion if it was bike mounted. The viewing angle on this GPS is fairly unforgiving... you need to have it in your hand.

 

As far as accuracy goes I have 3 DNF's out of 37. I attribute these to cache finding inexperience as all the others have been right on the money. 2 of the DNF's were in wide open spaces, 1 under heavy canopy.

 

I find battery life to be very good using lithium batteries. Just swapped out my first set.

 

Of course, as this is my first GPS I have nothing to compare it to, but as a first buy I really have absolutely no complaints.

 

Pros:

Paperless.

Extremely intuitive.

I personally love a touch screen as opposed to buttons.

Size.

Battery life.

Seems really rugged... but time will tell.

Great GPS for newbies. (At least for this newb.)

SD card slot.

3 axis compass.

Price.

Some nice bells and whistles that you may never, ever use. :)

 

Cons:

Viewing screen is smaller than some models.

Viewing screen may be unreadable when not in hand.

Touchscreen gets fingerprinty, and may be fickle with larger digits.

Screen resolution doesn't seem as sharp as some others I've seen.

No Wherigo functionality.

Garmin maps are expensive! (But there's free ones if you look for them)

 

Overall I'm really happy with the performance on this model, and am glad I chose the Dakota 20 as my first GPS.

Someone say free maps? :D

 

http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/

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Of the units you have listed, I would probably lean personally toward the Dakota 20 for a few reasons. The Dakota 20 has the 3-axis electronic compass, touchscreen, fully paperless features and is easy to learn to use due to the well designed menus and touchscreen interface.

 

Tons of free maps, supports Birdseye Aerial Imagery and lots of other features.

 

The Oregon 200 is a good choice but has less storage, no electronic compass and a slightly less readable screen than the Dakota. Of course you'll spend less $$

 

As others have pointed out - if paperless on the GPS isn't a necessity the 60CSx is the undisputed champ of accuracy and dependability. You'll need to have some other way to manage cache pages while in the field (i.e. print them, or use another device to store them - which for me personally is a deal breaker).

 

If you get the Oregon or Dakota - invest in a screen protector. I have an invisible shield protector on my Oregon 400t. I feel it improves the screen readability and keeps me from worrying about scratching it when scrolling cache descriptions.

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This far, I've done all my geocaching using a Garmin Forerunner 305. While the accuracy is quite good, it does leave a few things to be desired when it comes to geocaching.

 

Scenario: I find myself having a few hours to spare in a foreign city. I have my GPS with me, and I want to find all caches within two miles from my current location.

 

Are there GPS units which will allow me to connect to the internet via 3G or some other wireless technology, and download the basic information about all caches in the vicinity?

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As a first-buy unit I purchased the Garmin Dakota 20 and am very happy with it so far. I have had no problems with bright sunlight viewing although I am pretty sure I would restate that opinion if it was bike mounted. The viewing angle on this GPS is fairly unforgiving... you need to have it in your hand.

 

As far as accuracy goes I have 3 DNF's out of 37. I attribute these to cache finding inexperience as all the others have been right on the money. 2 of the DNF's were in wide open spaces, 1 under heavy canopy.

 

I find battery life to be very good using lithium batteries. Just swapped out my first set.

 

Of course, as this is my first GPS I have nothing to compare it to, but as a first buy I really have absolutely no complaints.

 

Pros:

Paperless.

Extremely intuitive.

I personally love a touch screen as opposed to buttons.

Size.

Battery life.

Seems really rugged... but time will tell.

Great GPS for newbies. (At least for this newb.)

SD card slot.

3 axis compass.

Price.

Some nice bells and whistles that you may never, ever use. :)

 

Cons:

Viewing screen is smaller than some models.

Viewing screen may be unreadable when not in hand.

Touchscreen gets fingerprinty, and may be fickle with larger digits.

Screen resolution doesn't seem as sharp as some others I've seen.

No Wherigo functionality.

Garmin maps are expensive! (But there's free ones if you look for them)

 

Overall I'm really happy with the performance on this model, and am glad I chose the Dakota 20 as my first GPS.

Someone say free maps? :D

 

http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/

 

 

I am also new to Geocaching. Went to Bass Pro in Ft. Myers yesterday to look at cheep gps to get started with.They really have a lot in stock. Found a Garmin 60 CSx for $345.00. OUT OF MY PRICE RANGE. A young lady walked up and said she wanted to buy one for her boyfriend and they had 14 in stock.The clerk said OK and they were $345.00+ tax. She Informed him they were on sell on line for $199.94. He called the Manager,they looked it up and $199.94+ tax is what we got them for. Not a bad price and a good unit. I am now learning to operate. Hope others can use this Info. I would be interested in some of the get togethers in Naples. a92jones@yahoo.com Al Jones

# cracker

Edited by #1Cracker
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Thank you all for your suggestions and help.

 

I am now the owner of a Garmin Dakota 20 --- and plan on trying it this weekend ;)

 

I'm sure I'll be back with more questions. I'm really excited about this, having only tried it a couple of times before but enjoyed it both times.

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