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diesel

Handheld GPS recommendations and advise

Question

diesel

I'm looking to get my first handheld GPS unit and am a bit overwhelmed by all the information. I'm leaning toward Garmin but not sure which one would be best for my use.

I plan to primarily use this in the Voyageurs Nation Park area for both the US and Canada sides. Use is primarily for boating and snowmobiling navigation only. Not really interested in lake detail for fishing but just general navigation.

What unit would be the best for this application and what maps will I need for the detail on both sides of the border?

Thanks!

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ClownColor

Get a Garmin for sure. As for a unit, I like my Dakota but haven't used another Garmin, just Magellan. It seems almost any GPS software works with Garmin and many many "pirated" stuff does too. Pretty sure google can link into Garmin as well.

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MN Mike

Garmin does have a lot of options, there are some good prices out there right now on handhelds, Cabela's has the GPSMap 62s for $249, Reeds has the GPSMap 78 with the Upper Midwest Fishing Guide for $359, pretty much identical GPS's other than the physical layout of the buttons and the 78 floats, the 62 does not.

Reeds has the Oregon 450 with the Upper Midwest Fishing Guide for $339

The Oregon 450's are touch screen units and I would imagine they will be phasing them out soon since the Oregon 600 and 650 just hit the market, the Garmin Oregon 600 series are the newest touchscreen units with a revamped menu, software and touchscreen. I just picked up a Oregon 600 last Friday and I'm really liking it ( I've got a Colorado 300 and a GPSMap 60csx ), Garmin has always had user friendly menus and the new Oregon 600's are even easier.

Montana's are Garmin's big screen handheld GPS's at 4" dia.

The Montana and Oregon 600 and 650 will rotate the screens if you change the orientation of the GPS.

Garmin also has the revamped Etrex Series, 20 or 30, these have smaller screens but are still very good, the 30 has the sensors built in, they also can lock onto the Russian Glonass GPS satellites, the new 600's can accept the Glonass too.

As for the letters you see behind the numbers ( this can get confusing ) on the Garmins ( GPSMap 62 & 78), the S stands for sensor, you'll get a 3 axis compass and barometric altimeter. T is for a built in Topo Map, C is for Camera.

Oregons are a little different, the 450s' have the sensors, the 550's are the same with a built in camera and the T in these models stands for built in Topo Map.

If you are looking for a chip ( all GPS's listed above will accept a MicroSD Card ), I think the Upper Midwest Fishing Guide is your best bet, it has lake info but also road data, public access information and other items. Garmin lets you test drive the map on their site so you can see lake coverage.

As ClownColor said, there are lots of 3rd party maps along with Garmin maps available for just about anything you want, the State of MN also has downloads available for snowmobile trails and such. MNTrax is another good chip for Garmin.

Garmin also has the Birdseye product too, this gives you satellite imagery on your Garmin, cost is $30 per year, I've used it and it's very good for visual referencing where you are.

Garmin's site is very good for shopping by feature or comparing their GPS's.

Lots of folks on this site have Garmins, if you have more questions, just ask away.

Mike

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Tom7227

I have a Garmin 78s and love it. When I was shopping for it 2 years ago I noticed that units were coming out with cameras, music capability and such. I see no reason to bog down a GPS with those things.

A benefit of Garmin is that a number of states have downloadable maps for the Garmin that give detailed locations for public hunting areas and such. Go to the DNR page of a state and type garmin into the search box and you'll see what I'm referring to.

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Lund79

I have the Garmin 62S and like it a lot. I use it for marking deer stands,trails, etc. Also use it for fishing with the Garmin Upper Midwest Fishing chip (just loaded it but haven't used that yet). I have a Garmin 265WT for the car but could use this unit if I didn't have that (although it won't say the exits and turns). You won't be disappointed with the Garmin.

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diesel

Guys:

I appreciate the info. Do you know if the Upper Midwest Fishing software includes the Canadian side of Voyageurs Nat'l Park area?

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MN Mike

I don't know if this will answer your question or not but heres a shot from Ash River to Crane Lake and the detail does carry over to the Canadian side but not very far.

If you have a certain area in mind, let me know, I'll look and see when I get a chance.

The second shot is zoomed out a bit, you'll see Rainy, Kab, Namakan and others in darker blue, they have 1 foot contours, the lakes in lighter blue have no contours. Detail does carry a ways into Canada North and east of International Falls.

full-623-34092-ashrivertocranelake.jpg

Zoomed out

full-623-34093-rainy.jpg

Mike

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MN Mike

One more shot closer in of some detail along the border, I'm still zoomed out a ways on this shot.

full-623-34094-detail.jpg

Mike

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diesel

MN Mike:

Thanks for showing the maps that is helpful and as long as it shows all of Namakan down to Crane this should work perfectly.

Now I just need to decide which unit I should get. I guess I'm leaning towards the Oregon 450 at this point but again am still overloaded by al the info.

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Sackett

I just bought the GPSMAP 78 at Reeds, with the Upper Midwest chip. It appears I probably need the micro SD chip as the chip I have is too large for anywhere I can see it to be installed. Looks like the chip has to be installed underneath the batteries. I guess I'm posting this because I didnt pay attention the other day has they handed me the SD card when its the wrong size. I'll have to exchange it............just be careful when buying!

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MN Mike

Sackett,

Look closely at your SD Card, that should be the adapter, the MicroSD card is there somewhere. Garmin hasn't used a straight SD card for years, they have been a MicroSD with a SD adapter.

Mike

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eyedr

I was in your situation and ended up going with the oregon 450. I have been nothing but happy with it. It does have the sd adapter so you can use the micro sd or the larger one with other devices. I now have the echomap 50s and I am looking forward to trying it out with the chip. Good luck.

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elkhornsun

Garmin makes GPS units for hiking which will include topo maps. Scale varies with different models and with other brands. I would want one that uses a micro SD chip as it helps when downloading topos including the ones from the USGS and other free sources.

Big variation as well in battery life of the different models and I avoid ones that need new batteries or to be recharged every other day. Out in the field I would rather put in a new set of AA alkaline batteries and keep on truckin and not depend upon recharging batteries.

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