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Buying The Basics.


graciious & twosips
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Hey Everyone,

 

This is my first post, I am sure it won't be my last. I just found out about this game from a friend of a friend, I haven't found a single thing yet, but it's kinda tough when you don't have a GPS.

 

I haven't tried to venture out and buy myself one either, cause I would just get taken on what would appear to be a good deal, and later would be lost in the woods. I don't want to buy something cheap, but I would like to know what kinda units you guys started out with, how accurate certain units are and anything special I should know about them. I live in Ottawa (Orleans), Ontario Canada if anyone reading this is going on a geocache and wants someone to tag along so maybe I can figure out how exactly it works, I would be more then happy to go.

 

Private message me.. or e-mail graciious_@hotmail.com (Just remove the _ to reply) Thanks in advance for your advice.

 

- graciious

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Any current GPS you can buy will work for geocaching.

 

The hard decision is all the other uses.

 

Do you want maps? That moves you to a mapping GPS. Cool, nice, but not needed for geocaching.

 

Do you want auto routing (ie tell me how to get to this address or cache from where I'm at right now) and turn by turn directions? You just moved up a notch.

 

Need an electronic compass? Another level.

 

Actually that's about it. Then it's how much memory for maps, what kind of antanea (quad is best in a hand held but patch has advantages in an urban jungle). Do you like a color screen, do you wan't a small GPS or a larger one with a bigger screen...

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I started out with an eTrex Legend. I like the mapping capability. The Legend is an even better deal now, because you can find it for about $160 (US) if you shop around. I've since upgraded, but recommend the Legend to anyone who is looking for their first GPS.

 

All GPS units have approximately the same accuracy. More money doesn't get you additional accuracy, it buys more features. A basic GPS just points out which way to go. More money can buy you things like mapping, more memory, electronic compass, barometric altimeter, auto routing, color screens and more.

Edited by briansnat
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I started with a Legend which was a GREAT GPS. I just recently upgraded to a 60cs...only because I wanted color maps.

 

I would recommend the Legend without a doubt!

 

The 60cs is also an EXCELLENT GPS but I don't know how much you want to spend.

 

I got my Legend for $175.00 and got my 60cs for $419.00

Edited by Imajika
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I started with a Legend which was a GREAT GPS. I just recently upgraded to a 60cs...only because I wanted color maps.

 

I would recommend the Legend without a doubt!

 

The 60cs is also an EXCELLENT GPS but I don't know how much you want to spend.

 

I got my Legend for $175.00 and got my 60cs for $419.00

ummmm!!

What she said!

I have the Legend and just purchased the 60CS a few months ago. Both are great machines. I will keep both. Garmin support is just that. SUPPORT. Any problem, email them and you will get an answer. Honestly, I wish all companies selling products had the same attitude. Only twice have I used the contact option to Garmin. BADDA BING. an answer from a rep. Personnally. And I am just some construction schmuck from Colorado.

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I recently bought a Garmin Geko 201 for geocaching. I decided to avoid mapping units mostly for cost reasons: a mapping GPSr plus software plus maps was really more than I wanted to spend to start a new hobby. Having decided to give up mapping functionality the smaller the better seemed good, and the Geko is small enough to fit in a pocket or in a mobile phone pocket in a pack. It's very discreet when looking for caches in parks. :-)

 

The 201 supports a PC cable if I get too tired of typing waypoints by hand, and it can accept external power neither of which the cheaper 101 can do. If the 201 is just too small the basic Etrex might suit better.

 

I bought the Geko in a shop rather than from an Internet retailer to be able to see the different models before making a final choice.

 

The Geko isn't perfect, by any means: the screen is small, the buttons don't have a "lock" mode like phones do, it uses AAA batteries rather than AA so goes through them faster. Plus it's fairly lurid in colour, which might fuss some people!

 

All that said, some time I suspect I will get a mapping unit for my car. Pullling over to examine paper maps seems just so passe now ...

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I also like the Legend. You should have a tracking function on whichever you choose - but just to be safe, be sure it's there. The bearing arrows can get confused if you are walking too slowly, which you need to do as you approach a cache so that the GPSr doesn't think that you are still moving quickly and assume that you are overshooting the point.

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I recently bought a Garmin Geko 201 for geocaching. I decided to avoid mapping units mostly for cost reasons: a mapping GPSr plus software plus maps was really more than I wanted to spend to start a new hobby.

 

My wife has a Gecko 201 and I agree that its a nice unit. Very compact. The color is actually a benefit if you lay it down while looking for a cache, because its easy to find. I once spent over an hour trying to find my grey Vista that I laid down on some grey rocks.

 

Still, the Legend doesn't cost much more than the Gecko 201 if you shop around, so I think its a better value. It has basic maps, and you can always buy the detailed mapping softwere later...or ask for it as a BD or Christmas present.

Edited by briansnat
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Thanks to everyone that gave me their opinion...

 

I bought an Etrex Legend, mind you I was a bit stupid while doing it and bit the wrong amount on e-bay. meant to go for 200 Canadian and somehow ended up with 200 american, not a huge deal, but it works out to 300.00 instead of 200.00 for the same piece of equipment, I guess i'll be more careful next time.

 

- graciious

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started with an etrex legend, and just got metro guide v4, i live in ontario as well and would say the mappin software is great. two minor probs with the legend, 8mb not a lot but it is good a decent size, deffinately wouldn't want anything smaller. and the compass not electronic, not a big deal i care that it doesn't have one because i carry a regular compass with me, some people say they are nice others say its a waste of batteries.

personal choice.

 

i like my etrex would have got a 60cs or merigold but budget was a factor and it is my starter unit. legend good. MGv4 good.

legend + mgv4= great combination

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I started with an Etrex Legend this week. I've had it for a couple of months and a friend told me about this site. I have Mapsource Metroguide but don't know if it's good for caching. My friend told me I should get the topo maps. What do you all think?

 

I prefer topo, but you have to figure out what you're going to use it most for. If you're gonna use it mostly for urban geocaching, navigating around cities and travelling, Metroguide is the way to go.

 

If you plan on using it mostly for hiking and non-urban geocaching, Topo is a good choice. I like Topo because it tells me what's between me and the cache. Its good to know if a ravine, stream, cliff, or steep hill lies between and which side of a river the cache is one. Topo also has most streets so it can be used for finding your way around cities, but isn't as good as Metroguide for this application.

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I started out with a Magellan Sportrak Map - $140 on E-bay, including shipping. Bought the Streets and Destinations software from Radio Shack - on sale, for $40.00 - Very cool buy.

 

My Sportrak got cracks. :lol: I sent it in and they repaired it and gave me a nice Windshield mount and new manuals too. :mad:

 

My sportrak got more cracks. :( I sent it back in and got back a new unit, with a new belt case. :mad:

 

More cracks. :lol: I sent it in again, got a Sportrak Pro in return! :o

 

That lasted for a month - Another crack. ;) Learned today - free upgrade again, to Meridian Marine! Any day now it will be here... :D

 

Despite the cracks, if I was looking to buy another GPSr and I only had a little money, I'd buy another Sportrak Map again, without hesitation. The cracks didn't affect operation at all, it was just the principle of the thing - & look what my principles got me - a free upgrade to a Meridian!

 

Now what would it take to get that DirectRoute software, case, Car adaptor and windshield mount too?! :unsure: Oh yeah - principles. :lol:

Edited by TimasaurusRex
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That lasted for a month - Another crack. :lol: Learned today - free upgrade again, to Meridian Marine! Any day now it will be here... :lol:

 

Despite the cracks, if I was looking to buy another GPSr and I only had a little money, I'd buy another Sportrak Map again, without hesitation. The cracks didn't affect operation at all, it was just the principle of the thing - & look what my principles got me - a free upgrade to a Meridian!

you might be thinking different when you get that white and blue meridian marine! :lol:

 

just kidding, kudos to magellan for taking care of it the way they have. :unsure:

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I started out many moons ago with a Magellan GPS315. No maps, no memory to upload much to, not WAAS enabled, not color, no street routing. It worked fine for geocaching.

 

I still have that unit although it doesn't see much use anymore as I bought a Meridian Color with the Direct Route (street routing) software, auto power cable and windshield mounting bracket.

 

I am loving the < 10ft accuracy I am getting when I have a WAAS satelite tracked which I was surprised to find out is most of the time. Without the WAAS accuracy was usually in the 20-50 ft range.

 

So, if your interest is just in geocaching you can certainly go with a "cheap" unit as it will serve you well. Everything else is just gravy.

 

Between the topo maps and street maps I personally find I use the street maps more because it isn't all that often I am so far off the beaten path that the topo would be preferable. Besides, topo maps are available on the web for free as are aerial photos so I always look at those before I go somewhere so I know what to expect in terms of elevation changes, swampy areas etc.

 

Anyway, my advice is buy whatever you want, they all work. If you find that you enjoy using it you will likely upgrade eventually anyway (even if you buy today's top of the line) and there is nothing like having one to teach you what you wish it had, but doesn't.

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The Meridian Gold can be had for $169. The Quad Helix antenna makes it great for caching under heavy tree cover. If you decide latter on the you want advanced mapping features you can add them for a reasonable price. The one thing you don’t want to do is save a few dollars today for a unit that can’t expand to meet your future needs.

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