Global Positioning System

(Notes to a friend who wants a GPS for hiking)

Any of several brands and models are fine. Garmin, Magellan and the best known. I happen to use the Garmin Etrex series, specifically the Legend model. The latest is the Legend CX, which is in color; I have the older back and white one.

I’ve used it all over: Caribbean, Alaska, Canada, Hawaii, Mainalnd, etc. I’ve used it to map hikes from trailhead to summit. It doesn’t work well under heavy overstory, but then no GPS does.

Batteries (2xAA) runs for about 15-20 hours continuous, or for weeks if you just turn it on to check your location.

It is NOT the best if you want a GPS for car use. However it does have US and Canada highway maps built in (including Hawaii).

I’ve loaded detailed maps for different areas and state as we travel around and find it handy.

Although National Gepgraphic markets detailed  tpop maps, I don’t think any of them really replaces a USGS quad map. Looking at a map on a 2X3 inch screen is not practical, in my opinion. I find it best to carry a quad and use the GPS to pinpoint where I am. 

Check the web for other option on loadable topo maps. Rand-McNally, DeLorme, even USGS all have map files.

BTW, DO USE the UTM method for navigation instead of the Lattitude-Longitude technique. It is BY FAR the best way to navigate when hiking as it instantly tells you the distance with no calculation.

Jim Yuen September, 2008