Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

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Chip Down
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Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

Post by Chip Down » October 19th, 2019, 7:26 pm

I had an early GPS: Heavy, unreliable, battery hog, hard to use. (I once dropped an AA battery in the snow, gloveless fingers stinging on a windy twenty-degree hike, had to reach into the powder and fish it out, dry it off, insert it.)

I know they're better now, but I hate "feature rich" devices. If I have to RTFM, it's too complicated. And I won't pay hundreds of dollars for a GPS.

When I have cell service, Google Maps is great. When I open it, it shows my last known location, and as it finds my current location, I get to see where I've gone since my last known location (or maybe it just interpolates along a known trail; I could test it offtrail to see if it gets confused, or if it just shows a straight line between points). Or I can just leave it on, and it perpetually updates. It weighs nothing and takes up no space (because I'd carry a phone anyway). It costs nothing, because I have a phone anyway. It's simple, required no instructions.

I don't suppose there's a small light simple cheap GPS, is there?

Aimless
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Re: Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

Post by Aimless » October 19th, 2019, 7:40 pm

I hope you realize, Chip, that because you use Google Maps on your phone while hiking and frequently let them know your GPS position, you will start getting targeted ads trying to sell you Mt. Hood.

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retired jerry
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Re: Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

Post by retired jerry » October 19th, 2019, 7:47 pm

smartphones are good

topo maps like Gaia are good. I forget if I have to pay anything. You can download the maps at home where you have wifi.

I used to use gpsmap60csx which is good but a little heavier. That's obsolete but they have newer models that are similar

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Bosterson
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Re: Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

Post by Bosterson » October 19th, 2019, 7:55 pm

Why are you trying to use Google Maps online for GPS while hiking? Just get Avenza, Viewranger, whatever, get whatever maps are needed before you leave (generally free; I use an older version of Avenza and generate Geo-PDFs in Caltopo the night before), and you're done. Nothing new to buy, doesn't require a cell signal.
Will hike off trail for fun.

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adamschneider
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Re: Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

Post by adamschneider » October 19th, 2019, 11:26 pm

Chip Down wrote:
October 19th, 2019, 7:26 pm
I don't suppose there's a small light simple cheap GPS, is there?
Nope.

I recently lost my Garmin and did a little research to see what I could replace it with. I have some excellent navigation apps on my smartphone (namely OsmAnd & Backcountry Navigator), but I don't like running down my phone's battery, so I still like to carry a standalone unit.

Unfortunately, there really isn't anything decent out there between no-frills data loggers (with no display) and full-featured devices or expensive fitness "watches." It was looking like I was gonna have to spend $250 for another Garmin GPSMAP 64... but then my old one found its way back to me. (If you're going to lose something while hiking, it's best to lose it on a popular trail in a National Park; I got a call the next morning.)

So if you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars, my advice would be to go ahead and just use your phone. Try out all the apps that are available on your platform and find one that suits you. Get one that can download map tiles offline, and then hike in Airplane Mode to save the battery. And get an small external USB power bank.

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mjirving
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Re: Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

Post by mjirving » October 20th, 2019, 4:20 am

Gaia GPS app on a smart phone. The extra software is super light and super tiny. I’ve used it for years and it is awesome.

It’s pretty powerful and “reading the manual” probably helps in maximizing its used but I don’t think it’s probably required for the basics. I think it’s pretty intuitive, but I’ve been using it so long that maybe I’m just used to it.

Battery resource usage has gotten much better over the years too, you can even turn on airplane mode and then start a track and it will turn on GPS for the purpose of the track but nothing else...that runs super efficient. (At least that’s on an iPhone, I can’t speak for Android)

The best benefit though is that then I can benefit from your trail beta better. Hahaha!

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retired jerry
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Re: Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

Post by retired jerry » October 20th, 2019, 6:52 am

Yeah - airplane mode - battery will last a day

I carry a 10,000 mAh Anker battery to recharge a phone a couple times. 7 ounces.

A 3,300 mAh version weighs 3 ounces. Maybe 1 charge.

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Re: Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

Post by justpeachy » October 20th, 2019, 8:39 am

I second the Gaia app on a smartphone. I like it so much I've even signed up for the premium subscription, which gives access to all sorts of extra map layers. Before I leave home I download the area where I'm going to be hiking, in case I don't have a signal out there. You can do a track and save waypoints, if you want, or just see where you are on the map.

Since I also use my phone for some photos and videos, when I'm backpacking I put a battery case on my phone so that I make sure I have enough juice.

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mjirving
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Re: Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

Post by mjirving » October 20th, 2019, 8:44 am

justpeachy wrote:
October 20th, 2019, 8:39 am
I second the Gaia app on a smartphone. I like it so much I've even signed up for the premium subscription, which gives access to all sorts of extra map layers. Before I leave home I download the area where I'm going to be hiking, in case I don't have a signal out there. You can do a track and save waypoints, if you want, or just see where you are on the map.

Since I also use my phone for some photos and videos, when I'm backpacking I put a battery case on my phone so that I make sure I have enough juice.
Took the words right out of my mouth. My favorite map layers are the Nat Geo and the "shade" layer that make the map like a relief map to better see the hills and valleys better.

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retired jerry
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Re: Thinking about trying GPS again. Is there a model that would satisfy me?

Post by retired jerry » October 20th, 2019, 9:14 am

I got a huge microSD card and have stored every place I ever go. If I go to a new place I'll add that.

I also stored all of Oregon, Washington, northern California at low res

Gaia seems like the most commonly used app, but there are others, possibly better in some way.

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