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Moun10Bike

Can a Smartphone Replace a Dedicated GPS?

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The reason I went for a true gps device is due to the bad experiences in using a smartphone for trail walks and bike trips while a constant need of screen view is needed. (wifi and BT disabled and using off-line maps)

 

 

I'm getting the feeling that this sentence is the key to this long, long, looong conversation. Do you really need a constant view of the screen? Is this "problem" as simple to solve as turning the device off for a while and improving your bushcraft and sense of direction? Is everyone who goes out on these 8ish hour bushwalks geocaching using their caching machine (phone or standalone) as their sole means of navigation? Anyone carrying paper maps?

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I'm getting the feeling that this sentence is the key to this long, long, looong conversation. Do you really need a constant view of the screen? Is this "problem" as simple to solve as turning the device off for a while and improving your bushcraft and sense of direction? Is everyone who goes out on these 8ish hour bushwalks geocaching using their caching machine (phone or standalone) as their sole means of navigation? Anyone carrying paper maps?

 

It is indeed a personal preference and experience that makes you decide what is best for you.

As for the constant screen, no not for walking, but still at a regular base. By not doing so we walked in Germany 2km on a wrong track. We missed a small Y split.

When on a bicycle trip, then yes, constant screen is preferred.

 

No paper anymore here.. Still got them in the drawer ;)

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When you go for a 4hr walk or more, where you need to follow a gpx track, and combine that with geocaching, you can't use a smartphone.

News to me. I get away with full-day hikes (say 8 hrs) with caching and track logging, and still have a wee bit of power left at the end of the hike.

 

And in case I don't, I carry a compact battery pack that's about the same size and shape as the phone, and it's very easy to hold both together while caching, should it come to that.

 

https://xkcd.com/386/

 

I think I had to use the battery pack once, when there was a battery-sucking bug in the app I use, Locus, but it was quickly fixed.

1 So now I'm curious in what smartphone you have,

2 what application you use,

3 and if data is still on.

4 I assume you do switch of wifi and bluetooth,

5 or you''ll have to prove this with an 8hr video of your smartphone :D

6 Also I don't speak of track logging, I speak of track following,

7 so checking screen to make sure you are still on track happens very often.

 

1 currently (though MANY other devices) a Kyocera hydro air (c6745 $39 at Walmart)

2 locus

3 data off, since there is no cellular signal anyway

4 wifi off, Bluetooth on for heart rate logging in the same gpx file

5 nope

6 OK, about nine hours screen on time

7 normally I'll turn the screen off until the next trail head, or wait for the proximity notification for the next waypoint, instead of staring at the screen the entire hike/ride

 

I've used other devices with very good (similar) results, but like the five inch display and waterproof features of this one. not to mention is was under forty bucks.

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

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So now I'm curious in what smartphone you have, what application you use, and if data is still on. I assume you do switch of wifi and bluetooth, or you''ll have to prove this with an 8hr video of your smartphone :D

Also I don't speak of track logging, I speak of track following, so checking screen to make sure you are still on track happens very often.

Phone: Nexus 5, not known for its big battery

 

App: Locus Map Pro

 

Data, WiFi, Bluetooth: OFF (airplane mode), except as needed to read extra logs, etc. Airplane mode is huge.

 

8hr video: http://tinyurl.com/2g9mqh

 

Track logging vs. track following: close enuff for a non-scientific comparison, no? I do turn the display on frequently to make sure I'm on the right trail. Then out of habit, off again when I stow the phone. BTW, the app will do turn-by-turn spoken directions on the trail (does the ® app do this?), and though I don't use it much like that, I haven't noticed an unnatural battery drain.

 

When people complain about short battery life with their phones, I have to wonder if they have apps that use an unusual amount of power. Facebook, for one, seems to have a reputation.

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

well, it's definitely not as nice as a current iPhone, but does just fine as a day to day. i miss nfc terribly. or wait, no i don't. hmm

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

 

the cases are to bulky, but a stand alone is svelt?

 

what do you dislike about rugged devices?

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

 

the cases are to bulky, but a stand alone is svelt?

 

what do you dislike about rugged devices?

 

My handheld GPS is used only for outdoor activities. It doesn't matter that it's bulky because I don't carry it with me every day. I don't dislike that it's rugged. The fact that it's rugged is exactly what I like about it.

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Rugged is what mobile phone were in the late 90-ies. I know vintage is "hot" but well... I like my phone to fit in my pocket and gets in and out quickly ;)

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Smartphone and GPS both go dead at some point, if you don't have some sort of backup power.

 

I'd personally rather carry a handful of AAs in my geocaching bag, but that's a personal preference. These battery packs and solar chargers and things sound like great options for the people who prefer to cache with a phone.

 

It's all a matter of preference. Coke or Pepsi. There's no need to be weird and selective and sneaky about thread quoting unless there's some kind of agenda at play here.

Agh! It irks me when the option of AA battery packs for smartphones are continuously forgotten.

I hate juicepacks as well, since they carry N charges and then go dead until you can find a plug, and wait, to charge it again.

AA packs - batteries can be shared among multiple devices (even friends if you're with them), hold 1 or two full charges, and if you run out of batteries, you can nab another few at a corner store and have more instant full power.

AA battery packs are so much more convenient than limited-use-before-charging juice packs. Especially if you're already carrying AA's.

 

Even better combo - solar powered recharger with a handful of rechargeable batteries. You could go in the wilderness for a month and Smartphone never go dead B).

(disclaimer: I am not recommending this strategy for a wilderness excursion, it is just an illustration :laughing:)

Edited by thebruce0

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Rugged is what mobile phone were in the late 90-ies. I know vintage is "hot" but well... I like my phone to fit in my pocket and gets in and out quickly ;)

 

iPhone 6S Plus, current exclusive geocaching device, most often in my pocket, gets in and out quickly, have had zero problems hiding, placing, finding, let alone all the 'common' problems people report about "smartphones".

Personal preference is paramount in discussing the positives and negatives of smartphones and handhelds, but one can't claim a blanket "better" or "worse" merely by personal experience. We know that experience can be very bad. But we also know that experience can be as good if not better - entirely depending on what practices the individual has adopted as 'acceptable' to themselves personally.

 

The problem is when someone complains (by their personal experience) about some aspect, even if they tag it as just their own experience, someone reading can still apply that experience to themselves without knowing that there's a remedy they may also find acceptable to themselves. So this is why it's good to have a wide variety of experiences and strategies shared to know the benefits and drawbacks, and how concerns can be assuaged if one is willing to accept the alternative strategy. And it doesn't devalue a device in any way for someone willing to do so.

Edited by thebruce0

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

 

the cases are to bulky, but a stand alone is svelt?

 

what do you dislike about rugged devices?

 

My handheld GPS is used only for outdoor activities. It doesn't matter that it's bulky because I don't carry it with me every day. I don't dislike that it's rugged. The fact that it's rugged is exactly what I like about it.

 

To me, there is an advantage of being bulky rather than svelt.

 

A handheld device is, by definition, designed the be held in ones hand. A rugged device won't just tolerate a drop onto the ground, but is designed that it can be more easily held so that it's not easily dropped. Every smart phone that I've owned felt "slippery" and the external (at at extra cost) case wasn't just to protect it if it was dropped but made it easier to hold onto.

 

A phone that easily slips into a pocket just as easily slips out of one.

 

 

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Never used a gps (can't afford one), I use a tablet my dad got for free from his workplace, works fine for me! Never had a problem with finding a cache yet, only that it's out by +/-8m so it can make coord grabbing for a new cache a bit hectic, especially when the spot is too small to accurately pinpoint on google maps ....... (usually the reviewer ends up finding a technological workaround - god bless reviewers and their dedication!)

 

Also thought I'd add ..... both phone and tablet have suffered greatly from geocaching incidents ... tablet out of hand and phone out of pocket, in woodlands it's not so bad but on urban caches .......... yikes, you ought to see 'em! My iphone is so cracked that the touchscreen is so uncoordinated .... Perhaps I'll be due a new phone soon, my trusty old iphone 4 is dying on me lol (perhaps I'll invest in a proper protective case instead of a cute one! ..... or just get a real gps so I don't risk destroying equipment that would cost more to replace! :s)

Edited by CyborgCoyoteroo

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Smartphone and GPS both go dead at some point, if you don't have some sort of backup power.

 

I'd personally rather carry a handful of AAs in my geocaching bag, but that's a personal preference. These battery packs and solar chargers and things sound like great options for the people who prefer to cache with a phone.

 

It's all a matter of preference. Coke or Pepsi. There's no need to be weird and selective and sneaky about thread quoting unless there's some kind of agenda at play here.

Agh! It irks me when the option of AA battery packs for smartphones are continuously forgotten.

I hate juicepacks as well, since they carry N charges and then go dead until you can find a plug, and wait, to charge it again.

AA packs - batteries can be shared among multiple devices (even friends if you're with them), hold 1 or two full charges, and if you run out of batteries, you can nab another few at a corner store and have more instant full power.

AA battery packs are so much more convenient than limited-use-before-charging juice packs. Especially if you're already carrying AA's.

 

Even better combo - solar powered recharger with a handful of rechargeable batteries. You could go in the wilderness for a month and Smartphone never go dead B).

(disclaimer: I am not recommending this strategy for a wilderness excursion, it is just an illustration :laughing:)

 

Great information for those interested in caching with smartphones.

 

I don't use my smartphone for caching so please don't assume I was deliberately forgetting or omitting accessories for that.

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

 

the cases are to bulky, but a stand alone is svelt?

 

what do you dislike about rugged devices?

 

My handheld GPS is used only for outdoor activities. It doesn't matter that it's bulky because I don't carry it with me every day. I don't dislike that it's rugged. The fact that it's rugged is exactly what I like about it.

 

Sorry I was asking what you do not like about rugged phones, assuming you've owned some?

Edited by ohgood

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

 

the cases are to bulky, but a stand alone is svelt?

 

what do you dislike about rugged devices?

 

My handheld GPS is used only for outdoor activities. It doesn't matter that it's bulky because I don't carry it with me every day. I don't dislike that it's rugged. The fact that it's rugged is exactly what I like about it.

 

To me, there is an advantage of being bulky rather than svelt.

 

A handheld device is, by definition, designed the be held in ones hand. A rugged device won't just tolerate a drop onto the ground, but is designed that it can be more easily held so that it's not easily dropped. Every smart phone that I've owned felt "slippery" and the external (at at extra cost) case wasn't just to protect it if it was dropped but made it easier to hold onto.

 

A phone that easily slips into a pocket just as easily slips out of one.

 

Can you refocus your response with rugged phones as the subject and describe what you didn't like?

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

 

the cases are to bulky, but a stand alone is svelt?

 

what do you dislike about rugged devices?

 

My handheld GPS is used only for outdoor activities. It doesn't matter that it's bulky because I don't carry it with me every day. I don't dislike that it's rugged. The fact that it's rugged is exactly what I like about it.

 

Sorry I was asking what you do not like about rugged phones, assuming you've owned some?

 

That's a strange line of questioning. Why would I own a phone I don't like?

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I am confused why all the passion. You choose to use a smart phone. I choose a handheld gpsr. My decision makes no difference to you. Yours makes no difference to me. Why are you so committed to trying to change my mind about what I use.

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I am confused why all the passion. You choose to use a smart phone. I choose a handheld gpsr. My decision makes no difference to you. Yours makes no difference to me. Why are you so committed to trying to change my mind about what I use.

 

A few posts back there were remarks that might shed light on the passion element:

 

... But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

[/Quote]

 

We all like our choices, we want to convince the world of them, and in turn receive confirmation of our insight and wisdom. This gives us a feeling of mastery and pride and tamps down our insecurity.

 

Our time is up, I'll see you next week, and you can pay the receptionist on your way out.

 

:laughing:

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

 

the cases are to bulky, but a stand alone is svelt?

 

what do you dislike about rugged devices?

 

My handheld GPS is used only for outdoor activities. It doesn't matter that it's bulky because I don't carry it with me every day. I don't dislike that it's rugged. The fact that it's rugged is exactly what I like about it.

 

Sorry I was asking what you do not like about rugged phones, assuming you've owned some?

 

That's a strange line of questioning. Why would I own a phone I don't like?

 

Oh, I thought you had experience with rugged devices and didn't like something about them. I see now you just don't like phones. Fair enough. :-)

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

 

the cases are to bulky, but a stand alone is svelt?

 

what do you dislike about rugged devices?

 

My handheld GPS is used only for outdoor activities. It doesn't matter that it's bulky because I don't carry it with me every day. I don't dislike that it's rugged. The fact that it's rugged is exactly what I like about it.

 

Sorry I was asking what you do not like about rugged phones, assuming you've owned some?

 

That's a strange line of questioning. Why would I own a phone I don't like?

 

Oh, I thought you had experience with rugged devices and didn't like something about them. I see now you just don't like phones. Fair enough. :-)

 

That's an odd conclusion. Why would I have a smartphone if I don't like them? I am quite happy with mine.

 

It doesn't make sense that I should replace a phone I am happy with for no reason, or that I should buy a model of phone that doesn't meet my needs and tastes. It is nice that the rugged $40 phone exists for those who are in the market for such a thing. My lack of interest should not be mistaken for a wish to destroy all instances of phones that I don't need or want. There should be variety in the marketplace because people are different.

Edited by narcissa

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

 

the cases are to bulky, but a stand alone is svelt?

 

what do you dislike about rugged devices?

 

My handheld GPS is used only for outdoor activities. It doesn't matter that it's bulky because I don't carry it with me every day. I don't dislike that it's rugged. The fact that it's rugged is exactly what I like about it.

 

To me, there is an advantage of being bulky rather than svelt.

 

A handheld device is, by definition, designed the be held in ones hand. A rugged device won't just tolerate a drop onto the ground, but is designed that it can be more easily held so that it's not easily dropped. Every smart phone that I've owned felt "slippery" and the external (at at extra cost) case wasn't just to protect it if it was dropped but made it easier to hold onto.

 

A phone that easily slips into a pocket just as easily slips out of one.

 

Can you refocus your response with rugged phones as the subject and describe what you didn't like?

 

I could, but I won't. It's a false premise that I dislike rugged phones. I have a Samsung S5 Active *with* a separately purchased rugged case. This is not an issue of liking or disliking a device. You're suggesting that the choice one makes (assuming one actually choose one over the other and doesn't use both) is based on emotion. I won't asked you to explain your dislike for a handheld GPS. I'll just you try wrapping your hand around a GPS such as an Oregon 450 and around a modern, shiny smart phone (like a Samsung Edge) and tell us which one you'd likely drop if you bumped your arm on a tree while crossing a rocky stream. Have you ever held a handheld GPS?

 

 

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I could, but I won't. It's a false premise that I dislike rugged phones. I have a Samsung S5 Active *with* a separately purchased rugged case. This is not an issue of liking or disliking a device. You're suggesting that the choice one makes (assuming one actually choose one over the other and doesn't use both) is based on emotion. I won't asked you to explain your dislike for a handheld GPS. I'll just you try wrapping your hand around a GPS such as an Oregon 450 and around a modern, shiny smart phone (like a Samsung Edge) and tell us which one you'd likely drop if you bumped your arm on a tree while crossing a rocky stream. Have you ever held a handheld GPS?

Ironically, this is also quite subjective. I have done that very thing with my iPhone 6S Plus. So your situation is also, once again, a matter of personal preference and acceptability.

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I'm more likely to drop the handheld GPS when crossing rocky streams and bumping tree branches.

 

The Garmin never fit in my pockets, so I'd be carrying it in the hand over rough terrain.

 

The phone (without any case) is so sleek I just plop it back in the front pants pocket before crossing streams or doing anything even remotely risky. Nice and secure there. And it's never missed the pocket yet.

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That phone has indeed nice specs to use as outdoor phone. But not for a day-to-day use smartphone... ;)

 

This is about where I'm at as well. I love my smartphone but it is too delicate for anything more than occasional urban caching. Bulky cases and battery extensions just aren't appropriate for me, though I can see how they are useful for other people. The phone models that are somewhat rugged on their own have other shortcomings that don't work for me, personally, but it is good to know they are out there.

 

In two or three years when my GPSr is worn out and I am looking at a new phone as well, maybe I'll consider having one device to rule them all. It does seem like the technology is heading in a direction where I might be comfortable with that in a future device. But right now having separate devices is what works for my lifestyle and geocaching habits.

 

There are just too many variables and preferences at play to select one device and say everyone should be using that. But I guess the vitriolic gearhead one-upsmanship is to be expected in most hobbies where there are devices and equipment involved. Musicians and photographers are just as bad and nobody is ever content with "I like my Garmin/Nikon/Fender. It works for me."

 

the cases are to bulky, but a stand alone is svelt?

 

what do you dislike about rugged devices?

 

My handheld GPS is used only for outdoor activities. It doesn't matter that it's bulky because I don't carry it with me every day. I don't dislike that it's rugged. The fact that it's rugged is exactly what I like about it.

 

To me, there is an advantage of being bulky rather than svelt.

 

A handheld device is, by definition, designed the be held in ones hand. A rugged device won't just tolerate a drop onto the ground, but is designed that it can be more easily held so that it's not easily dropped. Every smart phone that I've owned felt "slippery" and the external (at at extra cost) case wasn't just to protect it if it was dropped but made it easier to hold onto.

 

A phone that easily slips into a pocket just as easily slips out of one.

 

Can you refocus your response with rugged phones as the subject and describe what you didn't like?

 

I could, but I won't. It's a false premise that I dislike rugged phones. I have a Samsung S5 Active *with* a separately purchased rugged case. This is not an issue of liking or disliking a device. You're suggesting that the choice one makes (assuming one actually choose one over the other and doesn't use both) is based on emotion. I won't asked you to explain your dislike for a handheld GPS. I'll just you try wrapping your hand around a GPS such as an Oregon 450 and around a modern, shiny smart phone (like a Samsung Edge) and tell us which one you'd likely drop if you bumped your arm on a tree while crossing a rocky stream. Have you ever held a handheld GPS?

 

I'm only trying to find the negatives people have towards smartphones and rugged versions in particular. I don't care if you use a Garmin Monterey, smartphone, or compass. Any of those are fine by me. I'm looking for first hand experiences, so I can understand why done people don't like rugged phones. :-)

 

I've bumped into trees at thirty mph, and the phones don't care. Run over by a sxs in a mud puddle, phone didn't care. Crashed in a creek, dropped from a bridge onto rocks (not a rugged device) , washed in the sink with dishes, and thousands of miles of tracks in between. It's just a tool, not something I worry about breaking.

 

Yes, I've use stand alone devices. Oregon , Montana, Monterra (very briefly) , Tom Tom rider, Tom Tom one/one xl, Garmin Zuno, Garmin phone, and a couple others.

Edited by ohgood

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I've bumped into trees at thirty mph, and the phones don't care. Run over by a sxs in a mud puddle, phone didn't care. Crashed in a creek, dropped from a bridge onto rocks (not a rugged device) , washed in the sink with dishes, and thousands of miles of tracks in between. It's just a tool, not something I worry about breaking.

 

Yes, I've use stand alone devices. Oregon , Montana, Monterra (very briefly) , Tom Tom rider, Tom Tom one/one xl, Garmin Zuno, Garmin phone, and a couple others.

As stated before, until now I've used my smartphones (from Galaxy S plus till now Galaxy S5) for all, next to TomTom for long roadtrips.

It's due my personal experience I feld the need for a hand-held GPS device. And up till now, it beats the smartphone for what I use it.

And then we don't even mention the topo-maps. Yes you can have the same on a smartphone, but you'll need lot's of storage if you want to have western europe with you in topo at 1:25000

 

If you don't have the need for that, and your smarphone does the trick for you, good for you, but you won't sell it to me again ;)

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I've bumped into trees at thirty mph, and the phones don't care. Run over by a sxs in a mud puddle, phone didn't care. Crashed in a creek, dropped from a bridge onto rocks (not a rugged device) , washed in the sink with dishes, and thousands of miles of tracks in between. It's just a tool, not something I worry about breaking.

 

Yes, I've use stand alone devices. Oregon , Montana, Monterra (very briefly) , Tom Tom rider, Tom Tom one/one xl, Garmin Zuno, Garmin phone, and a couple others.

As stated before, until now I've used my smartphones (from Galaxy S plus till now Galaxy S5) for all, next to TomTom for long roadtrips.

It's due my personal experience I feld the need for a hand-held GPS device. And up till now, it beats the smartphone for what I use it.

And then we don't even mention the topo-maps. Yes you can have the same on a smartphone, but you'll need lot's of storage if you want to have western europe with you in topo at 1:25000

 

If you don't have the need for that, and your smarphone does the trick for you, good for you, but you won't sell it to me again ;)

 

Thanks for the real world experience/usage!

 

Are you using vector or image based topo maps?

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I could, but I won't. It's a false premise that I dislike rugged phones. I have a Samsung S5 Active *with* a separately purchased rugged case. This is not an issue of liking or disliking a device. You're suggesting that the choice one makes (assuming one actually choose one over the other and doesn't use both) is based on emotion. I won't asked you to explain your dislike for a handheld GPS. I'll just you try wrapping your hand around a GPS such as an Oregon 450 and around a modern, shiny smart phone (like a Samsung Edge) and tell us which one you'd likely drop if you bumped your arm on a tree while crossing a rocky stream. Have you ever held a handheld GPS?

Ironically, this is also quite subjective. I have done that very thing with my iPhone 6S Plus. So your situation is also, once again, a matter of personal preference and acceptability.

Yes, "drop-ability" of the devices is subjective. We actually had one person say that they only use their phone for urban caching, and another who said that an urban environment is the one place they would *not* use the phone. Go figure!

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Vector of course;)

 

Hmm, I expected you to say image based since you mentioned storage being an issue.

 

Could you expand on what you didn't/don't like about the smartphone ?

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Best maps on a smartphone are image based. These need a lot of space. Sure there is osm and opentopo as vector maps but they lack a lot of detail and tracks.

 

Regardless what others claim, battery life and use in bad weather conditions made me go to a seperate gps device. I wanted to be sure I still had a phone in case of emergency.

 

I know the apps on my rooted phone and able to kill battery drainers. But Gps receiver, osmand, and regular use of the touchscreen just drain the battery during a 4-5hr walk where you need to follow a track as sole guide. Even more when it's very sunny and brightness has to be almost at max to have a clear view.

 

So instead of buying battery packs and extra protection, I bought a gps device and as a bonus I got better maps for a large region in the palm of my hand ;)

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Best maps on a smartphone are image based. These need a lot of space. Sure there is osm and opentopo as vector maps but they lack a lot of detail and tracks.

 

Regardless what others claim, battery life and use in bad weather conditions made me go to a seperate gps device. I wanted to be sure I still had a phone in case of emergency.

 

I know the apps on my rooted phone and able to kill battery drainers. But Gps receiver, osmand, and regular use of the touchscreen just drain the battery during a 4-5hr walk where you need to follow a track as sole guide. Even more when it's very sunny and brightness has to be almost at max to have a clear view.

 

So instead of buying battery packs and extra protection, I bought a gps device and as a bonus I got better maps for a large region in the palm of my hand ;)

For the bolded: Why do you say this? I'd even say that vector maps are better on smartphones because screen resolution is (afaik) across the board better than handhelds, so vector maps would be unbelievably sharp by comparison.

And on space alone, that's entirely dependent on the phone memory you have. Guaranteed that even image-based maps won't be a concern memory-wise on most any smartphone today. Especially vector based maps.

 

Do you have an estimate for how much memory A] is used by your vector-based maps on your handheld, and B] you have available to use total on your handheld?

 

The only issue I've ever found with a smartphone that can't be assuaged by accessories (IMO) is inaccurate battery reading and faster drain in extremely cold weather: while caching, the phone is out in the cold and has to be exposed in order to interact with it. You can 'fix' the misreading by putting it in a warm inner pocket, but then you can't actively use it. That's the only drawback I've seen so far that can't objectively be remedied (if of course one is willing to spend the $ or effort to do so, which is the subjective portion).

 

Battery is not a concern if you're willing to make use of an accessory (especially if you know how to optimize battery use on your phone).

Durability is not a concern if you're willing to make use of an accessory (especially if you are naturally more cautious with it because it's a smartphone).

 

And, of course, 2 devices are always better than one. Whether it's two handhelds, two phones, or one of each, or more. They both have strengths, but allowing different devices to focus on different tasks certainly means that both devices are better off to some degree, whatever devices they may be.

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I have both. I use a Moto G4 and a Garmin 62s. Both have their strengths and both have their weaknesses.

 

That said, if I am doing some serious outdoors caching or am engaging in a long, all-day caching run, I use the Garmin. It's just a better machine for that. If I am just finding a few caches or am in an urban environment, then I use the phone. Lighter, on the fly caching is better with the phone.

 

If I had to choose between the two and only use one, give me the Garmin. It's tougher, easier to use, better on battery life and is just plain better all around.

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Best maps on a smartphone are image based. These need a lot of space. Sure there is osm and opentopo as vector maps but they lack a lot of detail and tracks.

 

For the bolded: Why do you say this? I'd even say that vector maps are better on smartphones because screen resolution is (afaik) across the board better than handhelds, so vector maps would be unbelievably sharp by comparison.

I don't mean the quality of the maps (zoom level or scale), but the details. Amount of tracks, and other details. If you want this on a smartphone you'll need an app like backcountry navigator and all these apps use image based tile maps ( http://support.critt...ownloading-Maps )

This is an example of a garmin vector based topo map (scale 1:25000) (detail level set to medium!):

Garmintopo_Pro.jpg

This is the same location on a vector osm map:

OSM.jpg

This is the opentopomap version:

opentopo.jpg

 

And on space alone, that's entirely dependent on the phone memory you have. Guaranteed that even image-based maps won't be a concern memory-wise on most any smartphone today. Especially vector based maps.

 

Do you have an estimate for how much memory A] is used by your vector-based maps on your handheld, and B] you have available to use total on your handheld?

 

I currently have Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Germany, Danmark, Sweden and Norway on my handheld. All vector based TOPO scale 1:25000

These use 16.3Gb on the sd card of the gps device. Current SD card is 32Gb.

 

You never ever will have all these in image tile on a smartphone at once, not even France. Well maybe. In the days when I used oziexplorer (also image based) a IGN Topo card of France was stored on 9 DVD's! (that's 36Gb)

 

Do I need all these maps with me? No not all, but our holidays are always over multiple countries. Weekends are mostly abroad and different region. I just have to pickup my device, upload the tracks and waypoints and go, instead of first looking what tiles I need to download.

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<aside>

 

The vector OSM maps from Locus or http://openandromaps.org (both very similar) include topo contours, giving you roughly a combination of the second and third screenshots above. But they'd take up more space because of that.

 

EDIT: ...especially with contour shading optionally added, e.g. from http://viewfinderpanoramas.org. Then you end up with a truly beautiful - and useful - map.

e579b4ea-8c9f-42a4-b3a1-d10150991dd2.jpg

Beat this, Garmin.

 

</aside>

Edited by Viajero Perdido

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I don't mean the quality of the maps (zoom level or scale), but the details. Amount of tracks, and other details. If you want this on a smartphone you'll need an app like backcountry navigator and all these apps use image based tile maps ( http://support.critt...ownloading-Maps )

.....

You never ever will have all these in image tile on a smartphone at once, not even France. Well maybe. In the days when I used oziexplorer (also image based) a IGN Topo card of France was stored on 9 DVD's! (that's 36Gb)

 

Ah, but all one needs to show this is false is an app that does use vector maps on smartphone (I'm absolutely sure there is).

It's not that smartphones must use images, which is what you seemed to be arguing. It's just a matter of data source/service. I haven't searched myself for the best vector map source, but that's why I asked about space requirements. 16GB in vector maps is most certainly feasible on a smartphone.

 

...also what Viajero Perdido said. :)

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Best maps on a smartphone are image based. These need a lot of space. Sure there is osm and opentopo as vector maps but they lack a lot of detail and tracks.

 

For the bolded: Why do you say this? I'd even say that vector maps are better on smartphones because screen resolution is (afaik) across the board better than handhelds, so vector maps would be unbelievably sharp by comparison.

I don't mean the quality of the maps (zoom level or scale), but the details. Amount of tracks, and other details. If you want this on a smartphone you'll need an app like backcountry navigator and all these apps use image based tile maps ( http://support.critt...ownloading-Maps )

This is an example of a garmin vector based topo map (scale 1:25000) (detail level set to medium!):

Garmintopo_Pro.jpg

This is the same location on a vector osm map:

OSM.jpg

This is the opentopomap version:

opentopo.jpg

 

And on space alone, that's entirely dependent on the phone memory you have. Guaranteed that even image-based maps won't be a concern memory-wise on most any smartphone today. Especially vector based maps.

 

Do you have an estimate for how much memory A] is used by your vector-based maps on your handheld, and B] you have available to use total on your handheld?

 

I currently have Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Germany, Danmark, Sweden and Norway on my handheld. All vector based TOPO scale 1:25000

These use 16.3Gb on the sd card of the gps device. Current SD card is 32Gb.

 

You never ever will have all these in image tile on a smartphone at once, not even France. Well maybe. In the days when I used oziexplorer (also image based) a IGN Topo card of France was stored on 9 DVD's! (that's 36Gb)

 

Do I need all these maps with me? No not all, but our holidays are always over multiple countries. Weekends are mostly abroad and different region. I just have to pickup my device, upload the tracks and waypoints and go, instead of first looking what tiles I need to download.

 

excellent, detailed post !

 

for clarification, android applications can use vector based maps, and garmin img maps. either sourcing them from gpsfiledepot, osm, or old unlocked garmin maps, will work.

 

after I found the location you highlighted in your screenshots, i downloaded the vector based map of france (about 1.2Gb i think?) and compared it to the roads you highlighted. it was interesting to find that the garmin screenshots you posted show the ends of fields as roads, and straight lines over the hill "bois de saran" (sorry i don't speak french) are not looking like roads when viewed on google earth satellite imagery.

 

i then got the best view i could of the vector maps with the theme "voluntary" in use, to show just how much was lacking:

Screenshot_2016_08_03_10_58_40.png

 

then overlayed (in the app) google satellite imagery very lightly to show the field ends and 'roads' over the hill:

Screenshot_2016_08_03_10_59_02.png

 

and finally some vector only city maps to show what are osm listed roads

Screenshot_2016_08_03_10_59_59.png

 

and where they go with google satellite imagery overlayed, most of them end at buildings or what looks like parking lots?

Screenshot_2016_08_03_11_00_28.png

 

my curiousity got the better of me, and I tried routing over the hill you highlighted, both with google maps, mapquest, brouter, and graphhopper. all of the routing services only routed from southeast to northwest, over the ridge.

 

more curiousity... does your garmin route along those roads showing southwest to northeast, over the hill ?

 

i hope i've shown what is possible with osm maps, overlays, and in general getting an idea of the terrain around that area. :)

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<aside>

 

The vector OSM maps from Locus or http://openandromaps.org (both very similar) include topo contours, giving you roughly a combination of the second and third screenshots above. But they'd take up more space because of that.

 

EDIT: ...especially with contour shading optionally added, e.g. from http://viewfinderpanoramas.org. Then you end up with a truly beautiful - and useful - map.

e579b4ea-8c9f-42a4-b3a1-d10150991dd2.jpg

Beat this, Garmin.

 

</aside>

 

Andromaps is pretty poor in my opion:

Screenshot_2016_08_03_18_09_20.png

 

This is via Osmand with shading plugin bought

Screenshot_2016_08_03_18_16_38.png

 

Still can't beat this ;)

chouilly_high.jpg

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It's interesting you don't like OpenAndroMaps. Are you sure you're using a theme that shows all the elements that are included in those maps?

 

OAM is, of course, only as good as the OSM data it's built on. BTW, that screenshot I posted is OAM too. It's my favourite source of maps of any kind (I rarely use online tile maps anymore; that's sooo 2010), followed closely by LoMaps from Locus.

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Andromaps is pretty poor in my opion:

Screenshot_2016_08_03_18_09_20.png

 

This is via Osmand with shading plugin bought

Screenshot_2016_08_03_18_16_38.png

 

Still can't beat this ;)

chouilly_high.jpg

 

would you please try to create a route over that hill, from southwest to northeast, and along the small roads surrounding the fields to the north of "bois de saran" ?

 

i'm curious if those are actually roads which are routable, or just non-usable images on the map ?

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The latest garmin topo maps are routable.

You can choose what type: Hiking, walking, off-road, atv, motorbike, car.

 

As for the gamin maps that are usable on smartphones, yes they are, if they are pre 2010, and those are not routable.

 

I'll post the routes/tracks in a min

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added a waypoint in the forest

 

routing_bos.jpg

 

Also note that on the osm versions there is a road entering the forest. (east)

This road is not there in reality

Edited by Penguin_be

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BTW, some routers are smart enough to take elevation gain into account, or safety (from traffic) when bike-routing. This one for example, where you can experiment with the example being discussed above:

http://brouter.de/brouter-web/

I see it avoided that hill unless it was really a shortcut.

 

That's just the web client; BRouter also works in the phone, integrated with Locus and others. So I can get a bike-safe route across town (avoiding freeways etc.), with turn-by-turn spoken directions on the trail right up to the cache. (Some day all caching apps will do this.)

 

EDIT: Here's a better link directly to that hill:

http://brouter.de/brouter-web/#zoom=14&lat=48.99522&lon=3.98726&lonlats=4.011726,48.999479|3.987951,49.001422&nogos=&profile=trekking-steep&alternativeidx=1&format=geojson

Edited by Viajero Perdido

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added a waypoint in the forest

 

routing_bos.jpg

 

Also note that on the osm versions there is a road entering the forest. (east)

This road is not there in reality

 

yup, i already tried routing the north/South roads shown going over the hill and found similar results. i normally use mapquest (online routing) for long routes and brouter or graphhopper (while offline) for shorter routes. i really like the flexibility of not having to depend on the map being routeable, so that i can route with nothing else displayed on the screen (night time) or with just a map overlay like a park map.

 

v very good info in this thread, i hope it helps some people understand just how much is possible

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...

 

v very good info in this thread, i hope it helps some people understand just how much is possible

 

Yes, very impressive how the pro cachers do it! Obviously the "off-trail" or "off-grid" crowd needs the maximum horsepower in their navigation device!

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If you intend to cache "off road" you will be much happier with a dedicated GPSr and using your cell phone as a back-up. I find the smart phone apps very useful for reading the cache pages and reviewing maps on the larger size screen but they aren't as accurate or rugged. If you mostly cache curbside, all you need is a cellphone.

edexter

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Ah, but all one needs to show this is false is an app that does use vector maps on smartphone (I'm absolutely sure there is).

It's not that smartphones must use images, which is what you seemed to be arguing. It's just a matter of data source/service. I haven't searched myself for the best vector map source, but that's why I asked about space requirements. 16GB in vector maps is most certainly feasible on a smartphone.

Ad

 

On my iPhone, I could load offline Pocket Earth maps for the entire US in 2.4 GB, but it is quick enough to download so that I usually only keep the state or states I need. When we visited Ireland, it used 64 MB of data for both parts. Pocket Earth renders vector OSM maps in real time so it's space requirements are minimal. It includes topo contours as an add-on. Although it can do street routing, I generally leave that for Navigon or Here, and use Pocket Earth for hiking. The app I use for caching links to all maps from the cache page so it is rather seamless in any event.

 

I generally prefer a battery case to battery packs for supplemental power, since it does not require any wires, but I have a solar charger for camping.

 

I use my Garmin for kayaking - but partly as a result of this thread I have been thinking about getting an Android for that - a "4200mAh . . IP68 Waterproof, Dustproof, Shockproof" model. Although I doubt that anything is truly shockproof. I once smashed the screen on my Garmin (with screen protector) when I dropped it from waist-high on a trail.

 

The last few times I brought my Garmin on long hikes, I've ended up using the phone instead. At this point, the decision is simply down to personal preferences. The shaded topo map that Viajero Perdido posted is tempting

Edited by geodarts

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