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HaLiJuSaPa

Alternative to cellphone for paperless geocaching

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Hi. I used to be in these forums a lot but am not anymore.

 

I used to use a Garmin Forerunner 205 for geocaching because of its simplicity, ease of being on my wrist and ability to download waypoints (before that I had a Lowrance iFinder Go2 and did all this manually....ugh!).

 

However, after many years, it broke and died. I recently got an Android smartphone and now use the Geocaching app to download caches and do paperless geocaching and really enjoy it. We also bring my wife's and son's phones as a backup doing the same thing. It's convenient, but my wife's screen broke, not on the trail, but it has me concerned about using a smartphone for "woods caching" and I would love to get a handheld that does the same thing.

 

The Magellan Explorist GC (would be my first Magellan BTW) seems to be the handheld that most approximates doing this while being relatively inexpensive. Any thoughts on this unit? And if it's not the best one for what I want to do, any other suggestions? Thanks in advance of your input!

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What you propose... using (any) GPSr, in conjunction with a smart phone is a good way to go.

You will find that one supplements the other.

Oftentimes one unit cannot or will not perform (stuff happens, ya know) and the other takes over.

The best of both worlds... :)

 

 

One shortcoming of this method of geocaching is that you will now have TWO (differing) devices with paperless data (Finds/DNF/Notes)... otherwise it is a good thing.

Obviously, loading/uploading the GC is technically different than the phone.

 

The Magellan GC is perfectly acceptable, especially as a lower-cost unit.

 

 

Side note: we use an iPhone and a Delorme.

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I noticed the Explorist 310 seems to do a similar thing for not much more price and it appears better performance. Thoughts on that welcome too.

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My husband and I always have our handheld GPS's and our cellphones when we geocache.

 

The phones stay in our pockets (or other safe place) until after we find the cache. After signing the log, we get our phones out and log the cache online while we're still at GZ.

 

If your phone has a 3 axis compass (I think they all do)...then you'll want a handheld GPS that has a 3 axis compass. Surely, you could deal without it....but believe me, it'll drive you NUTS without it.

 

The Explorist GC does not have a 3 axis compass. We owned one for about a week and ended up selling it and buying another GPS with a 3axis compass.

We own an Oregon 450 and GPSMap62s. Our favorite is the 62.

Edited by Lieblweb

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There are a lot of units out there that will do paperless caching to one degree or the other. Choosing which unit is right for you is largely a matter of personal preference and hopefully you can find a store that will let you get a feel for the gpsr. Paperless gpsrs can be handy for checking the hint, past logs, or recording a field note. However, in some cases the cache description is harder to read than on my phone (Geosphere on iphone); does not contain essential pictures; or is truncated. This can be more of an issue with longer descriptions for earthcaches, letterboxes, mullts, or puzzles based on following photo clues. Therefore, even if I carry my paperless handheld, I generally go to my phone if I need to read more about a particular cache.

Edited by geodarts

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There are a lot of units out there that will do paperless caching to one degree or the other. Choosing which unit is right for you is largely a matter of personal preference and hopefully you can find a store that will let you get a feel for the gpsr. Paperless gpsrs can be handy for checking the hint, past logs, or recording a field note. However, in some cases the cache description is harder to read than on my phone (Geosphere on iphone); does not contain essential pictures; or is truncated. This can be more of an issue with longer descriptions for earthcaches, letterboxes, mullts, or puzzles based on following photo clues. Therefore, even if I carry my paperless handheld, I generally go to my phone if I need to read more about a particular cache.

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If your phone has a 3 axis compass (I think they all do)...then you'll want a handheld GPS that has a 3 axis compass. Surely, you could deal without it....but believe me, it'll drive you NUTS without it.

 

The Explorist GC does not have a 3 axis compass. We owned one for about a week and ended up selling it and buying another GPS with a 3axis compass.

 

 

I know you've espoused the horrific evils of a >$250 GPS unit not having a 3 axis compass several times in the past, but this OP did not start out on a cell phone. And I'll add I have never owned a handheld GPS unit with a 3 axis compass in 10 1/2 years of Geocaching. :lol:

 

EDIT: Sorry, I think I have that less than sign right now. :blink:

Edited by Mr.Yuck

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I know you've espoused the horrific evils of a >$250 GPS unit not having a 3 axis compass several times in the past, but this OP did not start out on a cell phone. And I'll add I have never owned a handheld GPS unit with a 3 axis compass in 10 1/2 years of Geocaching. :lol:

 

EDIT: Sorry, I think I have that less than sign right now. :blink:

 

It's just a suggestion and something for them to think about when making a purchase - to make sure they know exactly what they are getting.

 

I'm directionally challenged, so I tend to 'need' (ask my husband) the 3 axis compass. My husband can easily orientate himself accordingly (I think he has a map in his head) - but even he didn't like the Explorist GC that we bought. Like going backwards in technology....

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I know you've espoused the horrific evils of a >$250 GPS unit not having a 3 axis compass several times in the past, but this OP did not start out on a cell phone. And I'll add I have never owned a handheld GPS unit with a 3 axis compass in 10 1/2 years of Geocaching. :lol:

 

EDIT: Sorry, I think I have that less than sign right now. :blink:

 

It's just a suggestion and something for them to think about when making a purchase - to make sure they know exactly what they are getting.

 

I'm directionally challenged, so I tend to 'need' (ask my husband) the 3 axis compass. My husband can easily orientate himself accordingly (I think he has a map in his head) - but even he didn't like the Explorist GC that we bought. Like going backwards in technology....

 

Thanks for not taking that the wrong way!! I had a big grin on my face while I posted "horrific evils", but reading it a week later, someone could have thought it was snarky. OK, background. I was reminded that I posted here when I just posted to another Magellan Explorist thread. Almost 2 years ago, my non-Geocaching wife surprised me with an Explorist GC for Christmas, drawn in by the "100% dedicated to Geocaching" marketing plastered all over the box. It's a low-end unit, generally geared towards cachers with much less experience than me (both in Geocaching and GPS ownership), but what the heck, I've been using it as my primary for almost the whole 2 years.

 

So I have posted to DOZENS of Magellan Explorist threads where newbies are inquiring about the device. I'm not stalking you or anything, but it wasn't difficult to notice You've posted the "it has no electronic compass" stuff in at least half a dozen of these threads. And I do feel, in my opinion, that you are giving people the impression that the lack of an electronic compass is a deal breaker, and they're absolutely going to hate the unit, and it's so bad that it doesn't have an electronic compass, you took yours back to the store in disgust after only a week!! :lol:

 

You most certainly had version 1.7 of the Explorist firmware, in the version 2.15 upgrade Magellan actually eliminated much of the "spinning while not moving" issues with the compass. I don't know why it took them or Garmin 20 years to come up with something like that. :blink:

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Do you know if I can use my TomTom XL GPS and if so how do I do that? I currently use my smart phone but the battery goes dead to fast.

 

I actually have a TomTom XL and have never used it for caching. While in the sense that you can navigate to a lat/long waypoint you CAN use it, the interface is really designed for use in a car, or at least on streets, not hiking trails.

 

Besides, I don't think it's too durable for hiking (though that can be argued for most cellphones, which is one reason I've been considering going back to handheld GPS).

 

What I do use it for is navigating to the parking for a cache hunt, though with so many options for doing that on your smartphone too I've tended to go that route as well. Only reason I don't eBay the XL is my wife seems to like using it for her navigation needs a lot more than a smartphone.

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I use the Garmin Etrex 20 and it shows everything, including entering next stage for multis and a found list. Would highly recomend as never need any paper unless I need to write stuff down.

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My first GPS was the Magellan eXplorist GC, and while it was OK, I found the screen a bit small. I now have the Garmin 62S and love it. The reason for changing was that the Mag refused to load caches one day and nothing we tried would fix it. Shame, as it was fine and a great price for a thrifty person like me. Got a couple of years out of it though.

See if you can rent/try any of those mentioned before you buy. Good luck!

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I bought my son an eXplorist GC to get him interested in the sport and he and his younger sister figured it out quicker then I could. A great, inexpensive GPSr if not too much money is available to purchase one. It has been through some pretty rough terrain and survived two kids dropping it in everything from bear scat to mud to a hole in the ice and being submerged for 22 minutes. It is easy to learn (for those of us who cannot figure out phones)and is pretty easy to use.

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