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Which GPS unit to buy for a new GeoCacher?

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I like my Garmin eTrex Legend, has 8MB for maps & good features overall. Easy user interface. It has a patch antenna, good in open spaces and near sheer faces (cliff, canyon wall, etc) Some people prefer quad-helix antennas, which reputedly work better under trees, though I haven't had significant problems keeping lock under foliage.

Look at features you want (maps/no maps, compass, altimeter, barometer, # of tracks/routes/waypoints) and pick one in your price range.

Remember that basemaps on most units show major highways and freeways, but not much in the way of surface roads or terrain detail, and mapping software can cost quite a bit.

Also, if you'll be gone for long periods of time and going a long distance (hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, etc) you may need more memory to hold enough maps to include all the area you'll be covering.

I'm sure you'll hear a lot of Garmin vs Magellan rhetoric; remember that they all use similar software and get the same satellite signals, and most have similar features. Just pick the one you like best.

Happy caching!



"God was my copilot, but we crashed in the mountains and I ate him"

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I was just in a store the other day and they had the new color GPSr units. Argh, that would have been cool. The prices seemed reasonable too, but I wasn't looking too hard... I didn't want to cry!


It all depends on the price range.


Chances are your GPSr search will be harder than some of the GeoCaches! icon_biggrin.gif


Good luck!

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The problem is that I don't know much about GPS. Do they just show your coordinates? Do they point to an entered coordinate? When you enter a map into a GPS unit, does it tell you where you are in real time? What does GPS software do?

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Generally each type of reciever will display your position and goal in various ways and it varies by model and maufacturer. I generally rely on two views:

  • Map mode: This mode displays your position in the center of a map. Now-a-days you can find GPSr with built in maps so you can see streets, rivers, etc in addition to your own waypoints.
  • Compass mode: This mode displays the direction (bearing) and distance to your goal.


There are many other modes available, but for a novice user, these are more than enough to get the job done. Your best bet is to find someone who owns one who can show you theirs. After seing my brother's first GPSr a few years ago was probably the best help I had in determining what I wanted to buy.


For a cheap stab in the dark, give eBay a try. You might find a unit for cheap that you can run through the paces.

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Originally posted by nyarlotep:


"God was my copilot, but we crashed in the mountains and I ate him"


If God is your co-pilot.... I think you had best switch seats!


I think I'd start with the Legend.




"See the wonderous works of Providence! The uncertainty of human things!" Geo.Washington

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If you are going to be hunting with friends, consider getting Rino 120's. I think it is possibly the best of all worlds. The only thing I would change would be more memory for the maps and color. But, even as it is, it's a great unit. Take a squint at a Rino and you'll probably never let it go.



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I would certainly agree with able2ru! I have a Rino 120 and love it! It might be a little more $$$ than a tru entry-level GPSr, but if you get into this (and you will) you'll end up buying a better one later on anyway. Might as well save just a little longer and buy the good one right away.

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I think anyone that has used a Garmin V for a time will consider it the ultimate GPS for the combination of geocaching and automotive navigation. Check them out on ebay and you will see that they are available for under $400 now. If you don't like it, it will be easy to sell for probably what you paid for it. If you do like it, you won't have wasted your money on a lesser model.


In my case, I began with a Garmin eMap. Still have it and it is a good unit, but it was a waste of money. But, you don't know all this when starting out. So, you asked for recommendations, this is my opinion.


Steve Bukosky N9BGH

Waukesha Wisconsin

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Got my a etrex legend and went out to find my first two caches today. Found a virtual one, but I knew of it before. Tried to look for a real one in some park but by the time we got near it it got too dark to look for the cache...


gonna try to look for it tomorrow.

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I'd also recommend the Garmin ETrex Legend, for all of the reasons mentioned in the posting above. The display is very clear, it has a nice background map with roads, etc., it is simple to use, and it has a nice rugged case. I actually have dropped it in shallow water and as they advertise -- no problems. If you decide on this particular GPS, spend some time shopping on the internet. You fill see prices near $200, but you can get a Legend for around $155 with carefuly shopping and a rebate from Garmin. Perhaps even lower now, since I got mine a couple of months ago. If you want to spend slightly less, the Garmin ETrex Venture also is a very good unit. The things you will not get are a background map and it only has 1 MB of memory. Other than that, the same great features. This one probably can be found for near $130. Stay away from the rock-bottom units like the basic ETrex (the yellow one).

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First of all, if you are going to be looking for more than a few caches a week I would strongly suggest that you get a copy of EasyGPS to upload waypoints. You should have received the cable to connect to your PC. It is quite painless to do.


That said, to enter waypoints in manually, access the main menu either with the Page button on the top right side of the unit or by using the menu. Select Mark from the main menu and you're off. The rest is pretty intuitive.


Geocaching waypoints use the "hddd mm.mmm" format for lat/lon. If your lat/lon are not displaying in the above format then you might have to go into Setup from the main menu, select Units and look at Position Format.


That should be it! Good luck.

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I am new to the GPS world, but I believe that I did the right thing. I got a Garmin Street Pilot III on eBay. Brand new with all of the gear, $725.00. Expensive but worth it. Terrific on the highway and I have used it a few times on jets across the country. Not often you see the logged speed at 610 MPH and altitude of 39,000 feet. Color is a great help and 128 card allows for terrific local detail. I am having great fun with it and has been a great help finding my way around Boston. Found my first cache today. America! What a country!



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