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Silversummer

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I am looking for a GPS for an adult beginning geocacher.  What is the most user-friendly GPS for geocaching?

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4 hours ago, Silversummer said:

What is the most user-friendly GPS for geocaching?

 

It depends of your personal preferences.  Size, display, buttons or not, battery life, and much more.

My advise is, go to a store and take some in your hands and have a good look.  Even better, go to a Geocaching event near you and I'm sure, cacher there will be happy to show your there devices.  Maybe you can take a tour and test some.

 

Today, you might even take into considerations to get GC software for your mobile phone, which also will work quite well.

 

Greetings, Mausebiber

 

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There is a learning curve with all GPS units.  Probably the easiest is the Magellan eXplorist GC series, but there is Magellan's rep for awful customer service and it isn't the greatest unit.  Next to that for ease of use would probably be one of Garmin's touch screen units, such as the Oregon, Montana and eTrex touch series. 

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A great starter GPS that I use is the Garmin Etrex 10. It is a cheap, affordable GPS that is a big step up from using a phone

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24 minutes ago, Flynn230103 said:

A great starter GPS that I use is the Garmin Etrex 10

 

Sorry, but this is a GPS I would NOT recommend.  You cannot load maps, no color for the display, minimum free storage, no routing, and much more missing, any phone would be a much better choice. If you looking for something inexpensive, try to get a good used Oregon 600 for about $100.- - $150.-

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20 hours ago, Mausebiber said:

Sorry, but this is a GPS I would NOT recommend.  You cannot load maps, no color for the display, minimum free storage, no routing, and much more missing, any phone would be a much better choice. If you looking for something inexpensive, try to get a good used Oregon 600 for about $100.- - $150.-

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When I first started looking into GPSr units, I did some research and learned how the eTrex 10 is so much more limited than most other units.  I would not recommend an eTrex 10 to anyone. An eTrex 20, which is what I've been using, would be better and may be in a suitable price range.  The 20 was replaced with the 20x, so it might be possible to find a 20 at a reasonable price.

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😕 well then...

 

I guess I like the Etrex 10 because of the minimalism. While I was out with a fellow cacher he had a top of the line Garmin, and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to use it. He had had it for a while but still things were happening that we had no idea how to fix. What I like about the Etrex is that with about 15 minutes to spare you can learn all about how to use it. If you are fussed about maps and directions you just bring along your phone as well. I have gotten great accuracy with the GPS and is a much better tool than a phone. You do have your own opinions, such as touchscreen or joystick prefferation but this is what I like. 

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1 hour ago, Flynn230103 said:

😕 well then...

 

I guess I like the Etrex 10 because of the minimalism. While I was out with a fellow cacher he had a top of the line Garmin, and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to use it. He had had it for a while but still things were happening that we had no idea how to fix. What I like about the Etrex is that with about 15 minutes to spare you can learn all about how to use it. If you are fussed about maps and directions you just bring along your phone as well. I have gotten great accuracy with the GPS and is a much better tool than a phone. You do have your own opinions, such as touchscreen or joystick prefferation but this is what I like. 

Just an FYI - the eTrex 20 is also pretty minimal.  The 30 has a bit more functionality, but not enough for me to think it was worth the extra cost over the 20.  I think the 20 has the same options as the 10, but just has more memory to hold maps and more caches (up to 5000 caches, not 500) and it has a color screen.  If you already have a 10 and it works for you, then that's great.  If you ever feel that you need more memory and/or maps, then rest assured that you could get a 20 and not have to re-learn how to use the GPSr because it works the same way.

 

And if you do get a 20 and want maps, then know that you don't need to buy them from Garmin.  You can get free maps online that are just as good, or even better, than the maps sold by Garmin.

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13 hours ago, Flynn230103 said:

😕 well then...

 

I guess I like the Etrex 10 because of the minimalism. While I was out with a fellow cacher he had a top of the line Garmin, and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to use it. He had had it for a while but still things were happening that we had no idea how to fix. What I like about the Etrex is that with about 15 minutes to spare you can learn all about how to use it. If you are fussed about maps and directions you just bring along your phone as well. I have gotten great accuracy with the GPS and is a much better tool than a phone. You do have your own opinions, such as touchscreen or joystick prefferation but this is what I like. 

Apart from a short time using a Garmin Nuvi I started out using an Etrex 10. It is a great little unit with excellent accuracy although, as others have noted, it does have limitations. i.e. lack of (detailed) maps and cache storage capacity.

As for lack of maps it was, to me, a minor hindrance as I would  use my in car Nuvi to get me close as possible then use the Etrex.

As for capacity, I had to confine my searching to a particular area and  used GSAK to help target caches. I found that about 300 caches to be its workable limit.

The above two examples necessitated my upgrade to an etrex 20 when I started caching in foreign countries where I could, for example, load all caches in Mexico to the Etrex and, it is very handy having a map in a foreign city (although I sometimes don't bother like recently in Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Qatar where I was still able to find caches). The etrex 20, and 30, have SD card facility for mass storage of maps and caches.

I've now been using the Etrex 20 (20x now because I lost a couple along the way) for almost six years and I don't see any great benefit for me in upgrading to anything else.

If someone gifted  you a 10 great, but if funds are tight look around cheap, little used, 20 or 20x. They're out there.

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Also consider which GPSr will support Wherigo caches.  I am relatively new and am trying to figure out how to advance to these additional options and can't do it with my eTrex 20. 

 

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9 hours ago, CRS_GEO said:

Also consider which GPSr will support Wherigo caches.  I am relatively new and am trying to figure out how to advance to these additional options and can't do it with my eTrex 20. 

 

 

The problem with this is that those GPS units are no longer manufactured, although the Oregon is, but without Wherigo compatibility.  The Colorado and the early Oregons came with Wherigo functionality. 

 

If Wherigo is really that big a thing, there are apps on either platform (iPhone and Android) that suffice, assuming you have the use of a smartphone.

 

As has been previously mentioned, there's a learning curve associated with a handheld device.  I don't use my handheld quite as much, but there are still times when I find it better suited to the day I go caching than my phone, especially in areas I know cell service will be spotty at best.

 

Best is a subjective word as each person will have different opinions on what their preferences are.  I've always been a Garmin guy so I enjoyed my 60 CSx and my Monterra but I find myself always gravitating back to my Montana more often than not.  The best way to find out what you like and don't like is to get your hands on some of the units and play around with them.  I suggest contacting your local caching friends to see if they'd let you use their unit (I suggest them being in attendance so they can show you some of the features).  That's really the only way you'll get a feel for what you like and dislike.

 

Touch screen units vs. buttons, expanded map storage vs. basic map storage, number of caches you can have on the unit vs. limited storage, routing options (navigation) vs. non-routing capabilities.  These are only a few of the differences you'll run into.

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My husband and I use a Garmin etrex 20 and it is way more than what we need.  We don’t use maps - we just use the Geocaches, the compass - and sometimes the Waypoints when we’re traveling and don’t have computer access for downloading geocaches near our motel.  This is where a phone comes in handy for those areas where you suddenly decide to look for a geocache. 

So I guess it depends if you are going into this hobby big time or just playing at it casually like we are but I do recommend the Garmin etrex 20.  I agree with others that it would be helpful to spend time with other geocachers showing you how they use various devices.  Also checking out Youtube videos can be very helpful.

Happy Geocaching!

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1 hour ago, coachstahly said:

If Wherigo is really that big a thing, there are apps on either platform (iPhone and Android) that suffice, assuming you have the use of a smartphone.

Yep. At this point, Wherigo is essentially a smartphone app, not a GPSr feature.

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9 hours ago, niraD said:

Yep. At this point, Wherigo is essentially a smartphone app, not a GPSr feature.

 

Sad.  Geocaching used to be about using a GPSr to find a cache.  Now, it's about smartphones.  Cache type not able to be found using a GPSr?!?  Sad degradation of the game.

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Phone or GPS are just the tools we use to play the game.  Now, the game has changed in other ways, or it's stayed the same, depending on how you play it.

 

Personally, I'm thrilled to see the tools getting better, and I'm happy to have found a way to focus on the classic aspects of the game (boxes in woods) while ignoring the chaff.

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48 minutes ago, Harry Dolphin said:
10 hours ago, niraD said:

Yep. At this point, Wherigo is essentially a smartphone app, not a GPSr feature.

 

Sad.  Geocaching used to be about using a GPSr to find a cache.  Now, it's about smartphones.  Cache type not able to be found using a GPSr?!?  Sad degradation of the game.

 

FWIW, it isn't just Wherigo. Intercaches have always been smartphone based. Wherigo ended up there mainly because Groundspeak and Garmin haven't done anything with it for ages, so the support has been from the user community, which has created the smartphone apps.

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On 11/16/2018 at 8:17 PM, Harry Dolphin said:

 

Sad.  Geocaching used to be about using a GPSr to find a cache.  Now, it's about smartphones.  Cache type not able to be found using a GPSr?!?  Sad degradation of the game.

 

I'd say that geocaching needed to reach out to the smartphone demographic or run the risk of being a dying activity amongst a fringe minority of people.  Spending a few hundred dollars on a GPS unit so someone can cache once and find that it's not for them can be a bit expensive as well as a bit of a limiting prospect.  All they're left with is an expensive paper weight.  While it's certainly had some drawbacks, it's also managed to grow the activity so that it's able to be more accessible by the general population.

 

It seems to me that the GPS functions of a phone mirror that of a standalone GPS unit much better than they did when they first arrived on the scene.

 

I'd say the sadder aspect is that Groundspeak abandoned the cache type rather than continue offering updates with their builder.  Thanks to outside developers, Wherigos are still an active part of this activity, despite the fact that the two companies who started Wherigo chose to leave it dangling in the wind.  Smartphones have filled the gap that the parent company created.

 

I use both for my caching, and did so this past weekend as I was unable to load the new caches in a wilderness area that were published the morning of a hike, but did load all the other older ones in the park in my GPS unit as well as the ones in the surrounding area I was interested in finding before or after the hike.

Edited by coachstahly
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On 11/17/2018 at 1:17 AM, Harry Dolphin said:

 

Sad.  Geocaching used to be about using a GPSr to find a cache.  Now, it's about smartphones.  Cache type not able to be found using a GPSr?!?  Sad degradation of the game.

 

Hardly a new development though.  I started in 2009 and used just a smartphone for a year and a half.  I bought my first Garmin (an eTrex Legend) in 2011, and my second (an Oregon 600) in 2014.  For me, Wherigos have always required the smartphone.

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3 hours ago, IceColdUK said:
On 11/16/2018 at 5:17 PM, Harry Dolphin said:

Sad.  Geocaching used to be about using a GPSr to find a cache.  Now, it's about smartphones.  Cache type not able to be found using a GPSr?!?  Sad degradation of the game.

 

Hardly a new development though.  I started in 2009 and used just a smartphone for a year and a half.  I bought my first Garmin (an eTrex Legend) in 2011, and my second (an Oregon 600) in 2014.  For me, Wherigos have always required the smartphone.

 

For me, it was never really about using a GPSr to find a cache. It was about navigating to the coordinates (via whatever method/technology) to find a cache. And I started in 2006, before the iPhone was announced.

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10 hours ago, niraD said:

It was about navigating to the coordinates (via whatever method/technology) to find a cache.

This^^^

 

A dedicated GPSr device, or a smartphone, both with the capability of navigating to coordinates ... to find a cache.  Is it about the device used, or the navigation and finding of the cache by using coordinates and hints and puzzles or whatever?  To me, it's about giving coordinates, hints, clues, and you navigate (via GPSr, phone, map and compass) to FIND the cache.

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I have an Oregon 550, a Montana 650 and the Monterra. The latter (Android based) is great for Wherigo and as a "music box" but as a GPSr in general it simply is no good, however, I have read just the opposite for other owners so .........

 

The Oregon and Montana are very good units thought the sizes and totally different.

 

As some have said, depends on personal preferences so see if you can get one and be able to "play" with it for a few days before you buy

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1 hour ago, Z_Statman said:

I have an Oregon 550, a Montana 650 and the Monterra. The latter (Android based) is great for Wherigo and as a "music box" but as a GPSr in general it simply is no good, however, I have read just the opposite for other owners so .........

 

The Oregon and Montana are very good units thought the sizes and totally different.

 

As some have said, depends on personal preferences so see if you can get one and be able to "play" with it for a few days before you buy

 

I don't like my Monterra as much as I do my Montana, even though it's supposedly got more features to make it easier.

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That's such a personal question and a difficult one to give an answer for. I've used Garmin touch models and now just purchased the GPSMAP 66st and really like it. I like it's accuracy, features and buttons that I use use with gloves in the winter. I also purchase Garmin's 24k topo maps, they are routable and have tons of data for when we go hiking, etc.

 

What did you end up buying?

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