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Hiking with a GPSr...


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Trying to decide on my first unit and have narrowed it down to GPSV and MeriGold. Was gonna go GPSV, but then decided that I don't really do that much driving. However, I will be hiking a good bit this summer (1 and 2 day trips) and obviously want my "rig" with me.

 

Did a search and found a couple o' good threads about hiking, but... I couldn't really figure out the actual *details*. When you folks take the GPSr on the trail, do you hike with your GSPr out in front of you to keep a lock??? Stop and periodically lock? I remember reading somewhere in here a post from somebody that had an altoids lid fixed to the top of their hat and the magnetic GPSV remote antenna running from there to the bag-secured receiver so that it kept a continuous lock. The reason I ask is that I've seen that the Vista and MeriGold will give you "vertical profile track" and I'm assuming the GPSV would do the same. Of course now that I type this, I realize that the Vista's barometric altimeter would work from the bottom of my pack, but what about the MeriGold and GPSV (with topo maps loaded)? I would love to have a plot of elevation gain/loss over the course of the hike.

 

Finally, my points/questions. Can you actually do this. I think that is what all the spec sheets and screen captures are suggesting. Secondly, Would I have to carry a MeriGold out in front of me to generate a good contour/elevation map of my trip?

 

Oh, and for the record, I have absolutely no problem sticking an altoid lid to my head if that means I can leave my GPSr in my pack. icon_biggrin.gif

 

Sorry this is so long, but any input would be appreciated,

Eric

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Altimeter and electronic compass on the vista will eat your battery very fast.

 

And you should know that all eTrex need to be facing the sky if you dont want loss signals. Very annoying.

 

I also use GPS for hiking and Im considering a Garmin 76map , a Merdidian Gold or a Sportrak Pro.

 

Im still waiting to try a Sportrak Pro. Maybe this week end...

 

Bag

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quote:
Originally posted by Bagbug:

Altimeter and electronic compass on the vista will eat your battery very fast.

 

And you should know that all eTrex need to be facing the sky if you dont want loss signals. Very annoying.

 

Bag


The electronic compass will use up the batteries, but it automatically shuts off when you're walking. And, of course, you can turn it off and on at will with a single push of a button, so that's not really a consideration.

 

The altimeter, on the other hand, does not eat batteries. My Suunto watch has an altimeter, and has been working constantly for 2 years on the same button battery.

 

I often clip my Vista to the cross strap (which goes across my chest) on my backpack. This holds the unit in a vertical position, and it maintains a lock without any problem. For that matter, when I use it in the car, the face of the unit is actually towards the interior of the car, and it works without a problem. It is true that it gets the best reception when held horizontally. But that doesn't mean it won't function in other positions.

 

PS_sig.gif

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From www.garmin.com about the eTrex Summit

 

Battery Life: 22 HR (GPS only) 13 HR (GPS and Compass)

 

And for the reception , well , both the Venture and the Legend couldnt lock if the GPS was not under the front window facing the sky. The Meridian (green) could lock anywhere inside the car.

 

When hiking under tree cover , I had to keep both eTrex in my hand facing the sky to keep the tracking and even then I had some loss. The Meridian could do the job inside my pocket or at the bottom of my backpack under my lunch ...

 

Bag

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I carry my GPS III+ in a cell phone pouch on my backpack shoulder strap. I let the antenna peek out of the velcro closure flap and haven't lost lock yet. I'm pretty sure the it would work with the Vistas but haven't tried it.

 

Jerry.

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In my search for a solution to letting my MeriGold keep a lock, be in a place I can access it easily, and yet keep it out of my way, I found a holster for EMT communications equipment. I just attach it to my hip belt and the GPSr slips right in and works wonderfully. In addition, there is an additional pocket that holds my two-way radio and a few pen loops that hold pens, a thermometer, or whatever skinny item I want out on a particular trip.

 

I found it at the local Military Surplus store along with several other holsters that may suit your needs even better.

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I use a shoulder strap holder for my eMap that I got at Radio Shack (they sell it for FRS radios). It gets a good skyview and maintains satellite lock even under moderate cover. An example of the horizontal and vertical profiles of a hike on a nearby hill is shown at:

http://prathman.home.attbi.com/Image18.gif

Although the eMap doesn't have a barometric altimeter, I've found the GPS altitude profiles to be quite accurate ever since SA was turned off.

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quote:
Originally posted by peter:

An example of the horizontal and vertical profiles of a hike on a nearby hill is shown at:

http://prathman.home.attbi.com/Image18.gif


 

Thanks all,

 

And Peter, thanks for the info and the .gif. That's *exactly* what I am hoping to do.

 

Sounds like I won't need a remote antenna and that all three units will work from either a shoulder or hip position. Cool.

 

Sheesh, Trango, must be impossible finding decent hikes in your neck of the woods icon_smile.gif

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I have gotten good reception with my GPS V with it riding in my pocket. When going on longer hikes/geo-adventures I now normally wear a vest with vertical shaped pockets that I got on sale at REI. They are just the right size for the gps and I can leave the antenna sticking out the top of the pocket. Only in very heavy tree cover have I had problems with the reception. However, it beeps at me when it loses satellite reception, so I know to take it out and carry it in my hand.

 

I also took my V on a hot air balloon ride several months ago. In that case, I did not want to take a chance of losing it over the side, (I was a first-timer and I was afraid of losing ME over the side, too.), so I put it inside a zipped pocket of my jacket. It only lost reception once, but quickly found the satellites again. The vertical profile of the ballon ride that you can see with the new version of MapSource is neat. Of course, living in Texas, I don't normally have tracks that show much vertical change, so any vertical change on a track is exciting!! icon_biggrin.gif

 

Alchemist2000

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