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GPS recommendations for bikepacking and day rides


Kevin251
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Hi all, I am looking for a GPS computer for day rides and bikepacking trips. I don't really care about my cycling stats, I mainly want it for navigation and helping me explore new places. I have looked at the Lezyne Mege C/XL as well as the Garmin 530, and was wondering if anyone has any experience with these/had any recommendations?

I currently use my smartphone but I want to de-clutter my bars, plus I'd rather save my phone battery for if I need to make emergency calls etc.

I'd like to start following some routes from GPX files, as well as be able to create my own routes so if anyone can help at all it would be much appreciated.

 
 
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For bikepacking and other longer pre-planned routes I go for Etrex so I can just pop in new AA batteries when it runs out of juice. It can also be used for Geocaching if that's something you like to do. Whether this makes sense for you depends on how long your trips are, how often you have access to electricity, how many power banks you're willing to carry...

 

What it doesn't have that a more modern device like Edge 530 does: Garmin Connect (create and transfer routes to device on the phone), auto upload to strava/apple fitness, auto generate rides of desired length using heatmap data in route selection, rechargeable battery for non-wasteful daily rides...

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I second the idea of Etrex, primarily because they get pretty decent battery life on only 2 AAs, and support routable maps. The 22x seems like a solid choice.

 

I don't own the Edge 530, but having a permanent rechargeable battery with only 20 hours battery life seems like a huge deal breaker, especially if you plan to be out most or all of the day.

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Posted (edited)

I don't realy know the Lezyne Mege C/XL or the Garmin 530, they both seem mostly bike systems.

If you want a better combination device for bike/hike/geocache, i think the Oregon 700/750 is good idea.

 

I use a 750 on the bike and while hiking.

For on the bike you can buy a bike mount which is easy to replace from one bike to antother with straps.

If you want to see your phone notifications on your GPS screen then I would definitely opt for a model with Garmin Connect (which the Oregon 7X0 series also contains).

That way you can let your phone in your backpack and read messages/notifications on your GPS. Just keep in mind you still need your phone if you want to reply...

The 750 comes with a rechargeable NiMH pack while the 700 requires your own batteries. But the battery pack of the 750 can also be replaced with regular batteries if necessary.

 

Edited by simon_cornelus
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58 minutes ago, simon_cornelus said:

If you want to see your phone notifications on your GPS screen then I would definitely opt for a model with Garmin Connect

This is also supported in Etrex, but in bikepacking context I'd turn this type of features off to conserve battery anyway.

 

For a "modern" device, a Fenix pro smartwatch is also an option. You can get a bike mount for it, you pretty much everything Edge 530 does, the battery life is pretty amazing (and more importantly, it's achieved on a very small battery so you don't need to reserve that much power bank capacity to top it up). The high cost and small screen are the obvious downsides.

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If you're not going with one of the bike-specific models, I suggest an Oregon as a multi-purpose bike computer and not an eTrex. The screen is larger and the touch screen makes it easier to fiddle with while you are riding.

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Posted (edited)

I use the Edge Explore on my bike, for creating my routes I use komoot. The Edge connects to my phone via bluetooth and downloads all the routes from my komoot account.

Edited by Henne1312
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12 hours ago, mustakorppi said:

This is also supported in Etrex, but in bikepacking context I'd turn this type of features off to conserve battery anyway.

 

For a "modern" device, a Fenix pro smartwatch is also an option. You can get a bike mount for it, you pretty much everything Edge 530 does, the battery life is pretty amazing (and more importantly, it's achieved on a very small battery so you don't need to reserve that much power bank capacity to top it up). The high cost and small screen are the obvious downsides.

 

Having personal experience with the Fenix, I would definitely not recommend one, unless you enjoy forking out money every few years for a new battery. Mine is less than 3 years old, used lightly, and it already needs a replacement. They just don't hold up well. Garmin charges somewhere around $170 to replace it, which is absolutely bananas...

 

Fun watches to own when new, but from a value perspective, totally not worth it.

 

 

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Computer? My answer likely then is not relevant.

Before hikes or bicycle rides I pre-research where I have going, and load the appropriate caches on my Garmin Etrex30; either individually, or as a bulk load. I like the Etrex30, because it will slip in my back pocket and it's easy to pull out while I am cycling along. A bigger GPS and my phone, would not fit in my jean's back pockets.

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Posted (edited)

I've attached my Oregon 700 to the handlebars using electrical tape when doing bike trail cache series, like this:

 

cd43fc60-9cc8-453a-a132-8fd61df4eae7_l.j

 

But prompted by this thread, I've just discovered that Garmin sell a proper bike mount for it so I've ordered one, which means it'll probably be years before I get to do another bike trail series.

Edited by barefootjeff
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I use the Garmin Oregon 600 but also have used the GPSMAP 62s. Both work fine but as others have pointed out, the Oregon has a bigger screen. The only thing about the Oregon is that when it rains, the rain will act like you are touching the screen so your map so if you are on the map screen, you might end up with the menu on the unit or some obsecure display, won't affect your ride and geocaching stats though. The fix of course is to lock your screen on the Oregon while riding in the rain. 

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14 hours ago, Mineral2 said:

I suggest an Oregon as a multi-purpose bike computer and not an eTrex. The screen is larger and the touch screen makes it easier to fiddle with while you are riding.

There are touch screen eTrex models too (I have one). Cycling gloves and rain kind of make me wish for buttons.

 

That said I'm throwing eTrex out there as a proven low-cost option for use in bikepacking along a pre-planned route. It's not great if you need to improvise on the road, but at that point I've just turned to my back up navigation device, the phone. But no question that the Oregon is a nicer, more feature packed device that can handle situations the eTrex can't.

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14 hours ago, gpsblake said:

The only thing about the Oregon is that when it rains, the rain will act like you are touching the screen so your map so if you are on the map screen, you might end up with the menu on the unit or some obsecure display, won't affect your ride and geocaching stats though. The fix of course is to lock your screen on the Oregon while riding in the rain. 

Another disadvantage for touch is that it cannot be used with gloves.

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