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gps2008.12.29 12:18

GPS for geocachers

EtrexhmapLast updated October 14, 2008

Geocaching is an extremely popular sport, and I’d venture to say that over 99% of geocachers use a GPS. But which one to choose? I’ll narrow the field, look at choices in multiple price ranges, and delve into other uses, mapping software, etc. By the way, all the units below have a high-sensitivity chipset for superior reception under canopy and in natural or urban canyons.

Budget GPS for geocaching

The Garmin eTrex Venture HC has a sunlight-readable color screen and the ability to accept detailed maps, such as Garmin'?#153;s TOPO U.S. (purchased separately). It comes with a USB cable for transferring waypoints, tracks and routes to and from your computer. The retail price is $200, but as of this posting the Venture HC can be found for under $115.

A lower cost model, the Garmin eTrex H, has a monochrome screen and you lose the cable and the ability to load maps. The eTrex H is available for around $90 at the time of this update. I highly recommend getting the Venture HC instead.

LegendMid-range GPS for geocaching

I’m going to recommend the Garmin eTrex Legend HCx as a mid-range unit. The Legend HCx has a color screen and expandable map memory. Plus, it supports turn-by-turn routing, making it useful for city navigation in your car as well. You’ll need a mount, City Navigator software, and preferably a power cord, but then you’re set up for turn-by-turn routing. The retail price is $269.99, but as of this posting the Legend HCx can be found for under $195.

Alternatively, the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx improves on the Legend HCx, adding a barometric altimeter and electronic compass.

The best GPS for geocachingGarmin

Without a doubt, the best geocaching GPS in the marketplace is the Oregon 400t. The killer app for geocachers is paperless caching. That's right, you get the full cache description, recent logs and more, right on your handheld. It combines a high resolution, touch screen interface with pre-loaded topo maps of the entire U.S. It also has a barometric altimeter and electronic compass, and a micro-SD card slot. Since it's new, the cost hasn't dropped much below the initial price of $600.

The Oregon 300, without pre-loaded detailed maps, is a good choice for someone who already owns an unlocked Garmin map set.

Posted by hoonijuni