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Old 01-25-08, 02:00 PM   #1
LitePacking
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Best handheld GPS for touring?

I dont see any point buying a cycle computer when i will bring with me a modern handheld GPS anyway
Iam not intrested in my puls or heart beat..

What is the best new handheld GPS for long touring?, i also want to use it a little bit for backpacking tours.

Does software for a Garmin exist to my MACintosh computer?
The new Garmin Colorado seem to be a good and nice one, or does it exist other brands that is better for my use?
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Old 01-25-08, 04:31 PM   #2
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I can't really recommend any device, I don't have any myself. I just know quite a lot of people use the Garmin eTrex Vista series. That would also make sense for backpacking.

I can answer the software question though.
Garmin recently opened up a Mac OS X section on their website where you'll find all the information you need. They announced last week at MacWorld a new software specifically for Mac called Bobcat. Details are on the same page.
There's a number of other software for communicating between your Mac and your GPS, commercial or free/donationware (type in GPS as a keyword on MacUpdate or VersionTracker, you'll find the biggies like MacGPSPro and others). One of my favorites has to be TrailRunner. I don't have a GPS but I use TrailRunner to plan my routes, get elevation data, and generally trying to find new interesting routes to go to. It's got another interesting "diary" function in which one can save the routes cycled, total number of km and other whatnot. It handles GPX files so it works with pretty much any GSP out there I would guess.

Last edited by Madsnail; 01-25-08 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 01-25-08, 06:29 PM   #3
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Any Garmin color unit will make an excellent choice. They have all the features you need and all the data fields you'll want if you are a numbers junkie. If you are going to buy maps for the unit, get an X series model that will allow a micro-SD card to store maps with. The Etrex series with the H have a new high senativity chip in them that would be good for hiking and dense environments.

If you need a magnetic compass and/or pressure altimeter, go with the Vista HCx. If that's not important, save a few bucks and get the Legend HCx. The Legend will give you a compass bearing when you are moving and a elevation reading based on GPS but the Vista would be more accurate in those two areas.

The Colorado would probably be great but in my opinion, it's more pricey than you need in my opinion. Plus I know that the Etrex's are solid as a rock, I've drop mine and wrecked my bike and they still work.

Avoid the Magellan Triton at all cost right now. I own one and it's so many bugs, it's a joke.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:16 PM   #4
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Garmin has four models of GPS units designed specifically for cycling, and I'm assuming they'd function for hiking as well. The two lower end models will give coordinates and map routes, I believe, but do not have actual maps. The higher end models handle maps. I haven't used any, but I've been looking into them myself. When my budget allows, I'd like to get a map-capable model.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:34 PM   #5
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Are you good with computers? Get a pocket PC + bluetooth gps unit, load software to your heart's content:



It's a rather advanced solution since you'll be finding and installing software yourself, but I find it to be incredibly versatile/powerful once I got it all set up. I wouldn't recommend it if you aren't comfortable in computerland.

Last edited by Pepper Grinder; 01-25-08 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 01-25-08, 09:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LitePacking View Post
I dont see any point buying a cycle computer when i will bring with me a modern handheld GPS anyway
Iam not intrested in my puls or heart beat..

What is the best new handheld GPS for long touring?, i also want to use it a little bit for backpacking tours.

Does software for a Garmin exist to my MACintosh computer?
The new Garmin Colorado seem to be a good and nice one, or does it exist other brands that is better for my use?
I think equally important is learn how to use it. Learn how to load the maps to your GPS and create safe routes by avoid highways and using subdivisions first. Don't allow the GPS to make a route for you because it always chooses a highway first before choosing a street. It will choose a restricted highways without any regard to your situation. Here are some tips.

1. Make routes on Computer not GPS -- The GPS has a slow microprocessor which is painfully slow in making routes. The best and most efficient solution is to make routes on your computer and download it to your GPS.

2. Buy the 15 minute charger from Energizer -- A GPS will use a lot of batteries. However, there are now chargers that will recharge batteries in 15 minutes. I can't stress how useful this is and it will pay for itself in a short while.
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Old 01-25-08, 10:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
I think equally important is learn how to use it. Learn how to load the maps to your GPS and create safe routes by avoid highways and using subdivisions first. Don't allow the GPS to make a route for you because it always chooses a highway first before choosing a street. It will choose a restricted highways without any regard to your situation. Here are some tips.

1. Make routes on Computer not GPS -- The GPS has a slow microprocessor which is painfully slow in making routes. The best and most efficient solution is to make routes on your computer and download it to your GPS.

2. Buy the 15 minute charger from Energizer -- A GPS will use a lot of batteries. However, there are now chargers that will recharge batteries in 15 minutes. I can't stress how useful this is and it will pay for itself in a short while.
1. My Pocket PC running TomTom 6 can route me from Long Beach, CA to San Francisco, CA, a 464 mile trip, with a bike-specific route in about 55 seconds. Custom routes are easy to make by defining roads one wishes to travel through or specific waypoints to pass through. Easy as pie.

2. My PPC runs on custom lithium batteries, $6 each on ebay for extended life versions. It can also charge from any 5v source, 5v 500 mA if it's turned off and charging, or 5v ~1500-2000 mA if it's running and charging. Easily charged from AA batteries if you know what you're doing. I hope to get something going with a dynamo wheel hub + my GPS this summer.

Agreed on the rechargeables if your GPS uses AA/AAA batts.


Last edited by Pepper Grinder; 01-25-08 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 01-26-08, 10:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LitePacking View Post
I dont see any point buying a cycle computer when i will bring with me a modern handheld GPS anyway
Iam not intrested in my puls or heart beat..

What is the best new handheld GPS for long touring?, i also want to use it a little bit for backpacking tours.

Does software for a Garmin exist to my MACintosh computer?
The new Garmin Colorado seem to be a good and nice one, or does it exist other brands that is better for my use?
Why are you cross posting? I added a comment in this thread.
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Old 01-26-08, 11:06 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Pepper Grinder View Post
I hope to get something going with a dynamo wheel hub + my GPS this summer.
Here you go!

Four 1N5818 diodes form a bridge rectifier converting AC to DC.
Four Ni-MH AA rechargeable batteries clean and filter the rippled DC power from the diodes providing clean and safe power for USB devices connected to the USB connector. Go ahead and install 2 USB connectors, one for the PDA/Pocket PC and another one for the Bluetooth GPS receiver.
I built my own LED headlight and taillight and set them up to run on the Ni-MH batteries as well. You can't run USB devices and the LED lights at night from the batteries and dynamo. This is just too much power drain for the dynamo to keep up with.
The LED lights were setup so the dynamo is producing 120mA (at speed) of current more than used by the LED lights. This insures the batteries are recharged at the recommended slow rate to take care of stops when in traffic or hill climbing. If your riding continuously you should disengage the dynamo 15 minutes of every hour to prevent overcharging the batteries.

I use a Palm TX which has WiFi allowing e-mail and internet access at hot spots. I may also use the SD card from my camera in the Palm TX allowing upload of video and photos directly from the SD card in hot spots and I can write and upload reports on my progress.
I use Cetus software on the Palm for GPS. http://www.cetusgps.dk/
This software is free and allows maps to be displayed on the Palm. You can use maps from google and yahoo including satellite views. This software also allows you to scan paper maps with your own notations marked on the maps prior to scanning and converting them for use in the Palm. This is an extremely useful feature not available on any GPS unit.
Here is the Latest Bluetooth SiRF III GPS unit from DX. http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.10614
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Old 01-26-08, 12:21 PM   #10
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I have a garmin 60csx that works great. They make bike mounts for it as well. Does everything you could ever want.

However, if you want to actually use it for directions, you'll want to upgrade the maps, which will tack on another $100 to the price of the unit.

I just use it for speed, elevation, time traveled, average time, etc. since I know where I'm usually going. You'll definitely want to keep a few extra sets of batteries since I think the rated time is something like 8-10 hours.

I've used it in the rain with no problems. The units did have a problem with vibration, which of course is multiplied on a bike vs. walking, however I had my original one replaced under warranty and haven't had any problems with the new unit.
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