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Backpacking In Alaska


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I'm going to alaska with a small group in July. I was wondering what the forum thinks is the best GPS in this setting. We'll be taken by plane to an area 200 miles north of the arctic circle. There we will hike about 9 days and be picked up by plane at a designated spot. I understand that the area is very isolated, other groups are rarely seen and its not unusual to run into bears. We're carrying everything on our backs that we need. I'm thinking that the garmin vista c or the gpsmap 60cs might be the best in an environment where weight/size is important. Any other ideas? By the way I presently have a garmin V which I don't feel will be practical in this scenario. All info would be appreciated.


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I don't see why a Garmin V won't work. Its not much bigger than an eTrex. If size is important you won't find a mapping GPS smaller than an eTrex. If you don't need mapping then a Gecko 201 or 301 would be a good choice because of their very small size and weight. The Geckos do have an issue with battery life though and if you're out 9 days that may be a problem. If battery life is important, go with the 60CS. I'm getting over 20 hours with rechargables and close to 30 with good alkaline in my 60CS.

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Up that far north I don't think the topo maps will help you much (But I may be wrong)


Last time I was there about three years ago I was down south at Eilson AFB, right by North Pole. I had my legend and found that it was a big help. Almost all the roads and features were listed on the topo maps, and I even foud a quick cache. Use the garmin map viewer on the website (Gimmie a while and I might get you a link) to see if your area is covered.


The only tips I can give you


1. Don't bother with a unit that has an electronic compass. That far north it will be useless.


2. maybe try the legend but I think you couls even get an old vista or legend, color won't be an issue. The Etrex line uses two AA while the V uses our. That cound be a drawback in the field.


If it's in the summer you could pick up a solar battery charger for about $20 on ebay, might help you out in a jam.


Joe Smith

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Back in the 70s my son lived in a homesteaded cabin on the Takahula Lake about 60 air miles from Bettles Alaska. It is now in the Gates of the Artic Park. We took a kayak trip down the Noatak Rive headwaters to village of Noatak which is up river about 40 miles or so from the mouth. I would think the 60C or 76C would be a good choice. If in the summer you can expect Hot days and short nights where it can get cold. The natives carry 12 gauge double shotguns with slugs on one side and bird shot on the other. Also carry fishing equipment. Grayling, Lake Trout, and

Dolly Varden or Artic Char will add to the precious food you are carrying. Enjoy a trip of your lifetime. Dick, W7WT

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Thanks to everyone for the help. W7WT, the lake you mentioned is apparently where we're usually dropped off. I guess I just wanted verification to purchase a gpsmap60cs or vista c. I've talked myself into buying one of these jewels. Oh, instead of the double barrell shotgun, my brother informs me that he's bringing a 50 caliber handgun. Says it will bring down anything with 4 legs. Anyhow I'm very grateful for all the information you've given me.


Bruce Hines

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