Reccomend me a GPS mapping unit for cycling use here and in the USA
I’m very much a map and compass navigator and have never seriously used a GPS but in planning a trip to Colorado this year it is becoming increasingly apparent that I’m going to spend a lot of time wrestling with unfamiliar maps in areas I have no knowledge of (and may get shot/eaten if I stray from the trail) and I’d also rather not spoil the flow of the trails.
Would anybody be able to recommend a GPS unit that will allow me to follow a pre-programmed course/route, will work over here and in the US, and provide appropriate grid references for a paper map? Ideally I’d like one that will mount on the bike, give altitude and also show a map, but giving me directions and coordinates are the main criteria.
Being a proper outdoor unit (waterproof, shockproof, etc) and taking standard size batteries would also be a help for emergencies rather than USB charging or non-removable battery. I’m not bothered about updating my position to MyTwitFaceTubeBook, Strava based willy-waving or other electronic frippery, I want a solid navigational device first and foremost.
Please tell me what I need to know,
Much obliged in advance,
SPosted 4 years agoChewMember
Dont have an etrex, but i have a Garmin Dakota can cant fault it.
It runs on AA batteries and i’ll get between 1-3 days of riding from a set depending upon temperatures.
The screens of a reasonable size to see what you’re doing and the touchscreen works fine wearing normal winter gloves.
If you just by the unit you’ll need base maps for the UK and US.
£20 UK version here which people recomend, and i’m sure there will be something similar for the US
I believe the Garmin may give you OS Grid References for other mapping, but GPS’s work on Lon/Lat ordinates which are more useful if you ever needed to be rescued.Posted 4 years agoandytherocketeerSubscriber
eTrex 30 is going to be my next purchase, to replace an old eTrex Vista HCx.
AA batteries more than just a bonus. Always have a spare pair in camelbak.
Mapping… I use OSM which takes a little bit of effort, but is free. More than adequate around here, but no idea about Colorado. Never used Garmin paid-for maps.
Coordinates… you can set all kinds of grid references and datums on them.
Routes… I plan on a PC (via a bit of a manual process) then transfer. On Vista you send routes, waypoints etc. over the USB connection, but maps and gpx track via the SD card. Bit strange, but maybe newer eTrex are a bit more sensible?)Posted 4 years agoPJayMember
I’ve just got an Etrex 30 (although it’s yet to go out on the bike due to all the manky weather). It’s a general purpose unit and great for walking/geocaching as well as cycling (the Profiles feature lets you set up the unit for multiple uses including marine usage). It’ll do proper route finding (and the free OSM routable maps can be used for this) and is a fair bit cheaper than the Edge 800 range which, you’ll probably only want if you need the training features (I have an old Edge 2 but turned the training assistant off).
Despite not being a cycle specific unit you can connect up an ANT cadence sensor (heart rate and temperature too) if you want too and handlebar mounts are available.
I think that the Etrex 20 is the same but without the barometric altimeter and electronic compass.
A word of warning though; beware the absurd licensing restrictions for Garmin’s own maps. If you buy a map on micro SD card it’s locked to the card (mine came on a tiny 2 Gb card when the unit will take a 32 Gb one) and can’t be copied elsewhere; if you buy a download then the map’s locked to your specific unit and can’t be transferred to another one.Posted 4 years agoPJayMember
@ andytherocketeer, the Etrex 30 presents itself as a USB mass storage device for drag and drop transfers; if there’s a micro SD card fitted then this shows as a second mass storage device (so it’s really easy to drag and drop between the two or back and forth from the computer).
I would assume that Base Camp/Tracklogs etc. would transfer directly to the Garmin, although I haven’t tried this yet.
One downer on an otherwise great product is that the USB connection is still version 1 and copying a 600mb OSM map across can take around 10 minutes.Posted 4 years ago
agentdagnamit – cheers for that, I’d been using the web site but hadn’t realised there was an app too. Thanks very much! I will shove it on my tablet.
Everyone else, thanks very much, a lot of useful info there to mull over, particularly from Pjay and andytherocketeer on the etrex30. I don’t yet have a personal smart phone so that option is not open to me (sorry welshfarmer, my bad) unless things change over the next few months. I’m still using a £5 PAYG Nokia from car phone warehouse…….Posted 4 years agotimbaMember
Smartphone battery life is limited when GPS-ing
Etrex 30 connected via USB is comparatively slow. I keep maps, routes, etc on microSD fitted in the Etrex. I plug the microSD directly into the PC for transfers, there are various USB-size and SDcard-size adaptors out there for not very much moneyPosted 4 years ago
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