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Garmin vs. Magellan with $200 budget

Superman Fam
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I recently started Geocaching and love that I can combine it with my love for hiking. I always stay on the trails, but with GC I've now discovered great places off the trail both hiking and mtn biking that I can be comfortable exploring seeing as how people before me have blazed the way. Time to get a GPS! Its all about the kids this time of the year so my budget is $200 (Merry Christmas to me). I am comfortable with technology and would like something that won't be obsolete in a year or two. What I've found so far is: Garmin eTrex 20 and Magellan eXplorist 310. Which do you recommend and why? Is there another in this price range you would suggest?

Thank you in advance for your advice!

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Got a smartphone? I'm way happier now caching with a $10 quality app than I was with the old "gold standard" Garmin 60CSx. A Garmin that on many occasions I said, they'd have to pry out of my cold dead fingers. My how times have changed...


But between Garmin and Magellan, consider that Garmin has a huuuge ecosystem of maps available, far beyond just the ones Garmin sells. Excellent maps, mostly free. (But then, phone apps - some of them - have that too.)

Edited by Viajero Perdido
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Viajero, I have a Droid Maxx, which has probably the longest battery life of any phone on the market. But using GPS, even with having downloaded the coordinates offline is draining. I sometimes go out for a whole day of hiking and caching, so would rather conserve for an emergency. The second is I've been venturing into areas where there is limited or no cell service. Sometimes I can get a text message out, which is better than nothing. I always let my family know where I'm going, leave the coords I'm hunting and when to expect me back. I'm planning a weekend primitive camping/hunt in the mountains so a GPS, along with a Sat phone is necessary. There is zero service.

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Ah, but some apps (like Locus) can work completely offline, with no cell service. That's by using pre-loaded maps, and pre-loaded caches via PQs. So the phone can work essentially like a GPS.


And if you're worried about draining the battery... Have you priced out battery banks for charging your phone lately? They've become cheap-cheap.


On my last week-long wilderness trip, I used the phone daily for caching and general map navigation, and kept it charged with a solar panel (we have long evenings), also now cheap-cheap. The panel also kept a lantern charged; the cook moved the panel to follow the sun while we were off hiking, and she had light for making breakfast.


For dire emergencies I carry a PLB (personal locator beacon), but at this backcountry campground, unexpectedly, we had WiFi! That was via solar-powered satellite internet at the ranger cabin, a little money-making venture at $5 per day I suppose. Worth it to me for the weather forecasts alone.


On regular caching days, I carry one of these battery banks, but even on the longest caching runs I've done, I've never quite had to use it. (I don't use battery-sucking apps like Facebook and sometimes cache in airplane mode to get me through the day on a single charge.)

Edited by Viajero Perdido
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