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Getting back into caching


nufdum
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So A few years back I quit caching. My handheld went belly up, Garmin E-trex, and I just didn't replace it. Today I'm going through my closet o stuff and find my caching pack and I'm thinking I should get back into it. Trouble is I don't know squat about whats out there for handhelds now. Can you use a smartphone? I still have a dumbphone. Black and white, color, topo, paperless?

I need a push in the right direction for a new gps. Kind of looking at a garmin Dakota 20. Good bad, indifferent?

 

Opinions?

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So A few years back I quit caching. My handheld went belly up, Garmin E-trex, and I just didn't replace it. Today I'm going through my closet o stuff and find my caching pack and I'm thinking I should get back into it. Trouble is I don't know squat about whats out there for handhelds now. Can you use a smartphone? I still have a dumbphone. Black and white, color, topo, paperless?

I need a push in the right direction for a new gps. Kind of looking at a garmin Dakota 20. Good bad, indifferent?

 

Opinions?

 

We have an Oregon 450. Love it. It's a great size, seems to work well for us. We also use our smart phone, we have a S5 with the C:geo app. It's ok, the compass on it drives me crazy as it's not terrible accurate but will get me close enough to look for the geotrail or have a good idea where to look.

 

On a more fun note: Welcome back :D

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Tough call, really...

 

The Dakota 20 is touch screen... for that price range, it is probably a good bet.

The (newer) GPSMAP64s is in the similar price range, but a button operated model.

Specs of the two are approximately the same, but the 64 series is (in essence) the updated line of the great GPSMAP60 series.

 

For $100 less, the eTrex 20 is a widely used and loved unit. It does not have the 3-axis tilt-compensated compass feature though.

It does have expandable memory capabilities.

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I do most of my geocaching with my Android phone, but I also do most of my geocaching in urban/suburban areas, or perhaps a cache or three in a more remote location now and then. I use my eXplorist when I need more battery life for a full day of geocaching, or when I need a device that is more durable/waterproof than my phone. However, I once managed to use my phone for a 5-hour geocaching hike, but its battery was drained at the end of the hike, and I was using it as little as possible, relying on others' devices as much as possible.

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The Oregon 450's been out for a few years now, and while the design is easy to use and the unit is fairly reliable, it can be a little glitchy (mostly when you come to a full stop). The touchscreen makes it pretty idiot-proof. The two AA batteries last about 8 hrs with continuous use, so I'd use rechargeables if I were you. Maps, of course, will cost you an arm and a leg.

 

You can get one on eBay for about $200. Stay away from the bootleg maps though; they often don't work.

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My Oregon 450 was bought used from someone listed in the GPS Garage Sale section of these forums. I added maps from GPSFileDepot (I think). I have less than $175 invested in it. It has NEVER given me anything but excellent service....never any glitchiness or anything that would make me not recommend it to anyone.

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Well I went to Amazon today and found an Etrex 20 for what seems like a good price. when it gets here i'll be back out.

 

Whew! I'm just glad you didn't buy the Etrex 10. I have one and I wish I would've flushed that $85 down the toilet instead...would've been a better use.

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The Oregon 450's been out for a few years now, and while the design is easy to use and the unit is fairly reliable, it can be a little glitchy (mostly when you come to a full stop). The touchscreen makes it pretty idiot-proof. The two AA batteries last about 8 hrs with continuous use, so I'd use rechargeables if I were you. Maps, of course, will cost you an arm and a leg.

 

You can get one on eBay for about $200. Stay away from the bootleg maps though; they often don't work.

 

bootleg maps? Care to elaborate?

 

I've had an Oregon 450 for several years and bought it after my GPSMAP 76Cx (essentially the same as a GPSMAP60 but with a different case) was stolen. I use an old copy of the Garmin Topo maps for the US for local cache and the free routeable open street maps for Garmin for when I travel.

 

When I bought the Oregon the 62, and then 64 series was not yet available but given the choice today I would go with a model which used buttons instead of the touch screen.

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bootleg maps? Care to elaborate?

 

What Gitchee said. I bought a map card on eBay, didn't realize it wasn't "real," and it stopped working after a use or two. That's when I learned my lesson.

 

Okay, that makes sense. I just wan't to make sure that some of the other free maps available for Garmin GPS receivers weren't being categorized as bootleg. As I said, I used the Open Street Maps for Garmin but I've also used (and created) maps that can be found on GPSFileDepot and both are based on open data.

 

 

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My Oregon 450 was bought used from someone listed in the GPS Garage Sale section of these forums. I added maps from GPSFileDepot (I think). I have less than $175 invested in it. It has NEVER given me anything but excellent service....never any glitchiness or anything that would make me not recommend it to anyone.

 

Yeah, that's what I've got, too. I find the touch screen to require wayyy too much pressure (compared to my phone) and some parts of the interface to be awkward and poorly designed, but overall, it works well. A fresh, full charge of the NiMh batteries will easily last all day.

 

The phone GPS reception has improved significantly, to the point where some of the tests I've seen show them comparing very favorably to dedicated handheld units when it comes to accuracy, but battery life and durability are still issues to consider.

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My Oregon 450 was bought used from someone listed in the GPS Garage Sale section of these forums. I added maps from GPSFileDepot (I think). I have less than $175 invested in it. It has NEVER given me anything but excellent service....never any glitchiness or anything that would make me not recommend it to anyone.

 

Yeah, that's what I've got, too. I find the touch screen to require wayyy too much pressure (compared to my phone) and some parts of the interface to be awkward and poorly designed, but overall, it works well. A fresh, full charge of the NiMh batteries will easily last all day.

 

The phone GPS reception has improved significantly, to the point where some of the tests I've seen show them comparing very favorably to dedicated handheld units when it comes to accuracy, but battery life and durability are still issues to consider.

 

Regarding battery life, I carry an extra power bank. They're fairly cheap these days and mine will do 3 full iphone charges. For durability I purchased a Lifeproof case.

 

My Garmin 62s has done some strange things. Sometimes when downloading GPX files, everything looked fine via my computer but when I powered it up to go hunt for a cache there were no geocache waypoints in the GPS. Very frustrating. Other times my GPS would power off, battery strength was good, it was some kind of unit/software glitch. The compass eventually quit working. After a couple of years of increasing problems I had it replaced with a refurb. I got used to using the iPhone and find it to be accurate for most of what I need, with occasional bounciness under tree cover. I use to primarily use my GPS with my iPhone as backup. Now I primarily use my iPhone with my GPS as backup. The iphone is convenient. It's a multi tool - geocaching app, access to the website, photographs, logging in the field (which I occassionally do when I'm FTF or sometimes when I DNF a cache).

Edited by L0ne.R
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