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I was wondering if anybody have used the latest Garmin GPS Quest for caching?


The unit does not have a straight GoTo path like those from eTrex. It has Auto Routing feature which you cannot be turned off.


Whats nice with this unit is that it greatly helps you to drive on the road to the cache site and the rest you just follow the your marked destination off-road (trail).



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I was wondering if anybody have used the latest Garmin GPS Quest for caching?


I own a Quest but have not used it for geocaching. It's mainly meant as a very portable automotive navigator, but....


The unit does not have a straight GoTo path like those from eTrex. It has Auto Routing feature which you cannot be turned off.


The unit does have an off-road straight line goto like any other GPS out there. You simply choose your waypoint (or "location" as the Quest calls it) and select "route to". Just like the 60C(S) or the Vista C/Legend C you will be given a three options...Faster Time, Shorter Distance or Off Road. If you select Off Road, a straight line goto will be generated along with a compass screen with a switchable course or bearing pointer.


Bearing pointer:



Course pointer:


Edited by SergZak
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Oh.. gee thanks.

I almost got rid of the unit because I can't find the off-road option.

I even called the Tech Support at Garmin with that same question. Guess what they replied.


"Sorry, sir apprently the Quest model don't have that feature. We suggest you buy the eTrex or GPSmap series". What a doper those tech support. :)


They have no idea what features comes with their product.


Thanks so much for the great info. That really helps me. :)

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I've had a Quest since late September and have used it for both urban and rural caching. No problems whatsoever. I have City Select v6 loaded for street navigation (it came with City Select) and I've purchased the Topo maps as well. You can easily switch between the mapsets and, thanks to SergZak, I now have new screens to use next time I go out caching. Previously, I've just self-navigated to the cache using the lat/lon display information and it's worked just fine since the accuracy of the Quest unit is excellent...even in a large stand of trees.


In my opinion, it's the perfect blend of automotive & outdoor features and a great value. I got mine online for about $500. Feel free to ask me any specific questions about the unit if you like and I'll do my best to answer.

Edited by VisionQuest220
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VisionQuest220 - Hey, thanks very much for posting on the Garmin Quest. Is it a beast to carry around? Do you have a lanyard or belt clip or something to carry it with, do you have to unfold the antenna thing to use it when geocaching? With 3yr and 5yr old boys I don't exactly climb mountains and we're occasional geocachers,

but we do love geocaching - I'm just uncertain as to whether I need 2 different

GPS units or can get by with a Garmin Quest.


You mentioned thanks to SergZak you have new screens to switch to? What do you mean by that? One thing I'd thought about was whether I should load up the

streetmaps on a Quest and the recreational maps on something different. How did

you solve that dilemma? Is it possible to switch mapsets once you get out of the car and have to walk to the cache location...


Sorry for all the questions - final one, are you happy with how it works in the car?



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The questions aren't directed at me but I'll answer them anyways. :(


You mentioned thanks to SergZak you have new screens to switch to?  What do you mean by that?


Unless you do an off-road goto, you will never see the compass screen (of which I posted screen shots above) since it's active only in this situation. I guess many people didn't know it existed until they read this post & saw the screen shots (or stumbled on it on their own like I did).


One thing I'd thought about was whether I should load up the

streetmaps on a Quest and the recreational maps on something different.  How did

you solve that dilemma?  Is it possible to switch mapsets once you get out of the car and have to walk to the cache location...


You can load any combination of mapsets to the Quest (or any other Garmin unit) and switch back and forth between them as needed. This is not a problem and the Quest has plenty of memory for different mapsets.


Sorry for all the questions - final one, are you happy with how it works in the car?


This is by far my favorite unit for car navigation. I have the Quest, a 60C, a 60CS and a Vista C.

Edited by SergZak
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This is by far my favorite unit for car navigation. I have the Quest, a 60C, a 60CS and a Vista C. 


But which is best for caching. I am upgrading from a GarminV. Was leaning towards getting 60 60cs. The one feature I like really well about the 60cs is that you can flip from autoroute to compass fairly easily. With the V you have to back out to waypoints and go back in by off road. Sounds like that is what you have to do with the Quest also. Are the other features worth having to put up with this inconveniance for it.


Also I found that with the V it made little difference if you chose the "faster time" or "shorter time" It really didn't know which way was more direct or which had more stop signs along the way.


I am truely interested in your input as I have a decision to make as to what to choose. I think I have ruled out the ique (combination gps & pda), for durability purposes of on the trail. :(

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mdshamilton e-mailed me these questions and I answered him via that method but, in the interests of the public, I'll run them down again here...


"Is it a beast to carry around?" - No, not at all. In fact, Quest is almost exactly the same size as an eTrex but you use it in horizontal alignment instead of the vertical. In other words, the screen in wider than it is tall. It fits easily into the palm of your hand and is simple to operate whether it's in the windshield mount or hand held.


"Do you have a lanyard or belt clip or something to carry it with?" - No, there is nothing on the unit that will allow you to attach a lanyard. What I use when I'm caching is a Jansport pouch that I found at REI. It's soft-sided and has a couple of pockets that are big enough for a cell phone or sunglasses or an eTrex or a Quest, a zipper pocket for coins, etc., another clear pocket and an open to pocket that holds my compass. The whole thing attaches to a belt, can be slung around your neck with an included strap, or attached to a backpack. It's very compact. Below is a link to the item at REI. If the link doesn't work, go to www.rei.com and do a search for item # 658425.




"Do you have to unfold the antenna thing to use it when geocaching?" - Yes, the unit works best when the antenna is extended. It's a bit of a drawback but not much of one.


"You mentioned thanks to SergZak you can switch between mapsets. What do you mean by that?" - Actually, what I said was that thanks to SergZak, I now know about the Quest's 'off road' calculation method for routing which basically gives you a "geocaching mode" because it allows you to view a simple compass bearing screen and you can customize the display to show you your lat/lon. I didn't previously know about this function and it was the only thing about the Quest that I didn't like. Now that I know about it, I like it even more.


The Quest has an internal memory of 115mb and that will allow you to load a lot of map data into the unit. I currently have City Select v6 (which comes with the unit), Topo and Roads and Recreation. I've loaded the entire state of Arizona into the unit from all three sources and the unit allows me to switch between them at my will. (All that data only took up about 60mb of the available 115mb.) I use City Select when I'm driving around in the city and I switch to Topo when I'm geocaching. The bottom line is that you can load the different types of maps into the unit and then use them however you like. You don't need separate devices to use the different MapSource maps.


I spent a lot of time shopping and comparing all the different GPSr on the market and I think that Quest is the most versatile unit available...and you can't beat the price. Oh, I almost forgot...I'm a professional driver in Phoenix and I use my Quest every day. It's absolutely fantastic for street navigation!

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But which is best for caching.  I am upgrading from a GarminV.  Was leaning towards getting 60 60cs.


Personally with my current setup, I like to use the Quest for getting there and then the Vista C for the cache because of it's small size. The Vista C used on it's own for both auto-nav and caching may be pushing it memory-wise since City Select with autorouting uses a lot of memory (at least here in So. Calif). If I were to choose one unit for all, it would be the 60C(S) since it has more than twice the memory of the Vista C. The Quest might be kind of awkward to hold horizontally while caching but it's totally doable. One drawback with the Quest that hasn't been mentioned here in this thread is the non-replacable internal Lithium Ion battery. If it dies in the field, you can't just pop in some new batteries and continue. On the other hand, the unit is always charging when plugged into the car's 12v power so this may not be a problem. Garmin states the Quest's run time is ~20 hours on the internal battery.


The one feature I like really well about the 60cs is that you can flip from autoroute to compass fairly easily.


It's just as easy to switch back and forth on the Quest. The entire keypress sequence to switch from an on-road autoroute to an off-road direct route is:


1. press and hold MENU

2. press rocker pad right once to select "Recalculate"

3. press OK

4. press rocker pad down twice to select "Off Road"

5. press OK


That's it. You can now press the PAGE key and get the compass screen.

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Once again, thanks everyone for your advice. I'm going to trade in my Etrex Vista for a Quest and see how it goes using it for both car navigation and occasional geocaching. I'll let you know how well, or not, I get on with it.


I'm not sure if the Groundspeak reply email thing is working as I haven't received any emails - so VisionQuest220 thanks for posting your reply here as well.



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All the information is very helpful. I have a question about using it in a car. Does the unit come with a 12vdc adapter to power the GPS. The Garmin website states "External speaker with 12-volt adapter cable". Is the adapter only for the speaker, or does it also power the unit?

Edited by GotCache??
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My Quest finally arrived, and I'm actually pretty happy with it. It's just a little bit bigger than my old Vista. I've looked through the manual and fiddled with the Quest but I can't figure out how to add a non-street address location for a geo-cache. I can get the Quest to go into off-road mode and I can "see" my long/lat, but is there some way of loading cache locations into the Quest manually or do I have to use one of the geocaching.com software packages?



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I usually use the accompanying MapSource City Select software to create waypoints for geocaches and then I just upload them to the Quest using the USB interface. However, the way to input the information directly into your quest is as follows...


1. From the map screen, use the rocker pad to move the pointer off of your current location.

2. Hit the "OK" key and a new waypoint is created at the location of the pointer.

3. Use the rocker pad to move the cursor, (which should be over the "Route To" option), to the location field and press "OK".

4. Edit this field using the coordinates of the cache you wish to save.

5. Repeat step 3 for each of the remaining field, editing them accordingly.

6. Highlight the "OK" option, hit the "OK" button and your new waypoint is saved in "My Locations" which you may now access by hitting "Find" and then selecting "My Locations".

7. Drink a pint to celebrate your accomplishment!


Happy Questing!!!

Edited by VisionQuest220
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Hey VisionQuest220 - This was just posted on the UK forum and will make both our geocaching a bit easier........ link to the topic (which is cut and pasted below) is http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=85653 and link to the Mapsource 6.5 beta upgrade is http://www.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=625




For those who use it, but didn't know about it...


Garmin have recently (12/11/04) made available a beta-release update to Mapsource. The version number is 6.5b, and is accompanied by the usual disclaimers and caveats. There seem to be a large number of changes but, for Geocaching, the most important ones are:


Can import GPX files directly. Previous versions needed a third-party conversion utility.

User-definable waypoint icons.


Some issues related to routing have been fixed (and about time), but the "find address" facility is still complete rubbish.


Looks like a useful step forward, though. Link to the download page is http://www.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=625

Edited by mdshamilton
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Thanks for the heads up! I installed the 6.5 beta a few weeks ago and have been using some of the updated features for a mapping project that I've been working on but my work as been relagated strictly to the desktop and not to the actual Quest. I'll fiddle around with the .gpx feature and see how it works.


BTW, I appreciate having another Quest user on the boards. It's funny how much more you can learn that way!



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Since I keep getting asked this privately, I'll put it here to increase the searchability of this statement.


GPSBabel (and thus GSAK) does not currently support USB transfers with the Quest.


Working with Quest owners, we can see that the basic USB comms are working, but Garmin has added a new waypoint protocol that we haven't yet implemented. So far, nobody has had the skills needed, access to the equipment, and volunteered the time to remedy this. If you want to be the one to code it or to loan me a unit so I can code it, contact me directly. Perhaps I should start a "pot" for Quest support like I did for the original funders of the Garmin/USB work that's now benefetting the 60C, VistaC, and SummitCusers.


Bouncing the waypoints through another program like Mapsource or EasyGPS remains an option for PC users.


mdshamilton, conversations with the creator of EasyGPS makes me pretty sure that the current EasyGPS/ExpertGPS (which until recently wasn't linked from the geocaching "applications" page but was available only directly from Topografix) supports Quest.


It'd be interesting to see if Quest has the same USB standards conformance problem that the 60 and 18 have that's currently tanking the OSX USB stack. See: http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.p...&forum_id=12070 If Quest doesn't have this defect, MacGPSBabel could develop Quest support very quickly once the right connections of skills and equipment were made.

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This is the emailed response I had from the EasyGPS people. I haven't tried it yet:



Hello Mark,


Saturday, December 4, 2004, 4:05:21 PM, you wrote:


MH> Do you have plans to update EasyGPS to work with a Garmin Quest which has a

MH> USB port connection and not a serial port?


Use the Garmin GPSMAP 60CS setting for now.




Dan Foster

TopoGrafix - GPS Software, Waypoints, and Maps

http://www.topografix.com - mailto:support2004@easygps.com


Like EasyGPS? Try ExpertGPS! http://www.expertgps.com

Edited by mdshamilton
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Thanks for all the info. Got my new Quest, but, my son is trying it out for me. He really likes it for the car. Says it is much faster routing than the V and 60cs. When he gets it all figured out then I will get to play with it. Meanwhile I play with his 60cs. Trouble is his wife is feeling all left out. She wants her own to play with. ;)

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I agree that having a spot to attach a landyard would be a good modification for future versions of the unit but that also might be better handled by the creation of an aftermarket carrying case that has a clear neoprene window for screen viewing and space to work the buttons. (Hint, hint to all the inventors out there...)


As for the windshield mount, I've read the thread references in the post above and there are two things I'd like to add: First, the cord on the mount is not "permanently attached". It is held in place with a tiny star-head screw which can be removed allowing for removal of the cord. Next, while the unit is tightly held in the mount, I've found it quite easy to remove by popping the left side of the unit out of the bracket by pushing up on it from the bottom. (I'd rather have the mount tightly gripping the unit than have the potential for a unit flying out of the mount!)


I've seen a lot of the different devices that are out on the market and I still maintain that the Quest is the best blend of automotive and outdoor GPSr you can find, especially when you consider that it comes with AC & DC chargers/brackets, USB cable and City Select v6.

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Mine too... I think it's easier to change them back using Mapsource. Pretty awful upgrade testing Garmin did on this!


I recommend you do a maps and waypoints backup prior to doing the upgrade using Mapsource. When I did that, installed the upgrade and then reinstalled the maps and waypoints the icons all went back to open and closed geocaching symbols as I'd originally had them.

Edited by mdshamilton
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Answer #1 - If the Quest display switches between vertical and horizontal, I haven't seen an option to make that happen. I don't think it does.


Answer #2 - The antenna seems to be quite sturdy. I'll admit that I'm careful with it. Not because it seems delicate but because I'm typically careful with electronic devices. I don't think it would be harmed by a drop or two but your clumsiness may vary.

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I got a new Quest for Christmas as an upgrade to my V and so far I have really enjoyed it. It routes much more quickly than my beloved V did and having enough room for maps is awesome. We took a 2,000 mile caching trip last week and had detailed maps including roads and recs for metropolitan areas for the entire trip with room to spare. It routed to the caches very well, seemed to hold satellites reasonably and performed well overall.


I do not like the mount that comes with it, and I quit taking it out of the mount fairly early in the trip. I think I now have the perfect geocaching setup. I have the Quest on the dash, right beside the V. I let the Quest route using fastest route, while I set the V on the compass setting. This is great for navigating to the cache site (the arrow on the V helps you see and overcome navigational hiccups). When I get to the site, I pull the old V off the dash and head to the cache. We found 190 in 5 days over 1,973 miles using this method so it seems to be working.


The USB interface is awesome for loading maps, but I ran into one problem. I had been using my Powerbook and Virtual PC to upload maps and waypoints to my V, via a keyspan USB to Serial adapter. VPC cannot use the Quest USB upload capabilities so I have had to dig out an old PC laptop to use with the Quest. It is frustrating to be forced to use a PC once again, but I have no choice since Garmin apparently owns lots of Microsoft stock.

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That's an interesting story you tell about your caching adventure trip. Sounds like you had a lot of fun!


I understand what mean about the Quest being kind of a pain to get in and out of the mount and I agree that when mine was brand-spanking new it was also a pretty snug fit. In the months that I've been using it, however, the device and the mount have found a happy marriage and separation policy.


Also, in case you haven't seen it, the Quest will do an "off road" calculation to a waypoint/destination that will also give you the compass screen that you use on your V. It's the third option along with "faster time" and "shorter distance".


Have fun!

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I've made power caching runs with configurations like what Monkeybrad describes. I'll agree that it's very sweet to have one unit optimized for auto use that stays in the auto (course up, street route on map screen) and one optimized for hand use (point-to-point, set on compass screen) and each locked onto a waypoint. It can be very frustrating, however, to keep the two synchronized w.r.t. found caches.

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