Posted By auntie on January 18, 2013
hey! i just got back from a looong driving vacation, and i didn’t want to post anything till i was back home. i did manage to get some hiking in, but not as much as i would have liked, because of the dismal weather. it was warm enough, but the rain! lordy, didn’t know there could be so much rain.
i will publish the posts i wrote while i was away, so you can see what i was up to.
also, while i was gone, i got a gear question from a reader. my first! the reader wanted to know my opinion about hand held gps units.
i can’t really speak to anything more than my own personal experience. i use a garmin etrex legend hcx. i have mixed feelings about this unit. the good news: it’s super reliable. i have never lost the satellite signal, no matter where i hiked. and the battery life is fantastic. i can hike for a week without having to replace the batteries. the bad news is the 24k topo maps for this unit are expensive. garmin wants $99.95 each for them, and they have divided the country up into 12 different regions. for my recent trip, because we didn’t know exactly where we were going in advance, i bought 5 different regions. i did manage to find them for $65.95 each, but still, it was kind of pricey.
the only other thing that really bugged me about this unit i was able to hack a fix for. it has a rocker button on the front, and every time i put the gps in my pocket i would accidentally set, like, 20 waypoints i didn’t mean to set. it was driving me crazy. it was also really easily fixed with a little glue and a 25¢ nylon washer. see the picture below. the washer is just high enough that it protects the button from accidental activation, but still allows it to be used normally. it worked great. no more extraneous waypoints.
as to whether or not to use a gps, i wouldn’t be without one. i have a tendency to get easily turned around in the woods, and my gps has saved me more times than i can count. plus it helps me keep track of my mileage and speed, and elevation changes. and there is garmin software that allows you to save tracks and waypoints (intentional ones).
sooo, bottom line, aside from the issue with the maps, and once i fixed the problem with the rocker button, i like it a lot. hope that helps, reader.