/ gps device ?

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wolfbane 24 Dec 2018

I am really confused , I have spent a number of weeks now trying to work out a possible/best gps hand held device for myself- and still non the wiser.

I am a hiking , much preferring high less well known/used places in winter . I can use 1.25 OS maps well , but was looking to supplement with a device , the oregon and montana look overly complex , so was considering the  64st  but i would prefer OS maps on/in the device , any recommendations ?  thanks 

Welsh Kate 24 Dec 2018
In reply to wolfbane:

If you are happy and confident navigating with maps, then it might be worth thinking about just getting gps mapping for your phone (assuming you have a smart phone). Something like Viewranger or OS Maps would provide you with a back-up and grid ref, with mapping, to supplement your maps. They're good apps, and provided you have a means of recharging your phone on the hill in an emergency then probably a good option.

wolfbane 24 Dec 2018
In reply to Welsh Kate:

Hi , i have some OS maps on my android phone re the scratch panel , but after 3 hours my phone died from 100% , luckily though i had a power bank with me , was just thinking of extra back up  

Welsh Kate 25 Dec 2018
In reply to wolfbane:

Yep, GPS on phone does eat the battery, you can preserve it by putting the phone in airplane mode, or just using the app when you need it for nav help rather than having it running constantly.

RunningInCircles 25 Dec 2018
In reply to wolfbane:

For backup I use an Etrex 30 with OpenStreetMap topographical maps.These really make the difference.

Bang for buck it seemed to hit the sweet spot for me. Small enough to fit in a strap pocket of my running pack, so easily to hand. Easy to use, not too many features, just enough screen to do the job without drawing too much battery. Though, two AA batteries in the bag spare gives another days worth of backup.

Just my two penneth.


Deleted bagger 25 Dec 2018
In reply to wolfbane:

Garmin e-trek 10. Simple and easy to use. Mine mostly stay in my pack and only gets used to fix/confirm a position when extreme conditions.

Tringa 25 Dec 2018
In reply to wolfbane:

Agree Viewranger is good if you want something to track your route and give you distance and elevation change.

If you just want something as a check on you position from time to time the free OS Locate app might be all you need. It uses a smartphone's GPS to give you your six figure grid reference.


captain paranoia 25 Dec 2018
In reply to Tringa:

Howard Street's 'Grid Reference' app allows you to select #digits. I'm guessing the OS located app does, too...

I use OruxMaps with downloaded OS mapping, or OpenTopoMap mapping. I find my little MotoE2 can run that app all day (using route logging), and use about 50% of the battery. It's the screen and backlight that take most power; a modern GPS chipset is pretty frugal.

wintertree 25 Dec 2018
In reply to wolfbane:

On the rare occasion I have wanted a GPS for use in combination with a map I dust of my Garmin GPS 12.  Acquisition time is a bit slow compared to a modern device but its one of my favourite pieces of gadgetry.  Also I believe it has a NATO Stock Number which has a certain nerd factor to it.

If I was buying seriously now I’d get a mobile phone with a rugged outdoor battery case.  The screens are vastly superior to handheld GPS units and there’s a choice of offline OS viewing apps.  

wolfbane 25 Dec 2018
In reply to wolfbane:

Thanks everyone , for now I think I will stick with my android phone with the app and OS maps - and my power bank which did help lots when I went up Cross fell 3 weeks ago , 100% to 0% in just over 3 hours  as soon as I got to the top, but power bank back up worked fine, my phone having GPS and Glonass - ive just found out can only be of help.

Bellie 26 Dec 2018
In reply to wolfbane:

What Kate said. If you switch your phone to airplane mode, it will still pick up gps. The difference it makes to battery life is really noticable. I can use mine for 3 days in the hill with a combo of map compass and smartphone map.

In reply to Welsh Kate:

I would second this. Viewranger on an android phone is brilliant and I find it doesn't drain the battery that quickly. Carrying a power bank is a good idea though I rarely do. I tend to be on my bike and use tulips guides scrawled on a bit of waterproof paper and stashed in my pocket r glove so I look at my phone quite infrequently.

pass and peak 30 Dec 2018
In reply to wolfbane:

As most here have said good smart phone with ViewRanger or Memory map is far superior to most GPS's these days, Just make sure your turning the screen on/off to stop it tracking your whole route and only use it to confirm your position when in doubt! I work in the outdoors and it's pretty much what most instructors use as there back up/primary nav tool. HOWEVER, these are only good in summer condition, if your going to be using a device in winter, than you can forget about touch screens, they don't work with thick gloves, snow all over the screen and cold temps kill battery's. It's then that you could do with a dedicated GPS with push button navigation NOT touch screen! So if your going out in the snow best bare this in mind!

lone 02 Jan 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

Seeing that all you need is a grid reference usually with your GPS, so a Garmin Etrex 10 is ideal if your happy to use your GPS in conjunction with a map, it has a good receiver so will pick up a signal in most areas like deep valleys and woodlands. If you are happy to apply the Grid Reference to the map then this is a good unit and is low cost, less than £90.

If you fancy a bit better than the Etrex 10 then I use a SatMap to record my routes, its got OS maps 1:50 or 1:25 (mapping can be purchased as a bundle with the unit and SatMap also sell A1 refurbished Active 12 units at a reasonable price too) and you can relocate even quicker with a SatMap, especially if the weather is really poor or too windy to get a map out. If you accidentally go out without the SD card in the unit, it could be possible, you can still get a grid reference and your route will be saved to the internal memory. If you can get a good Active 10 unit, this in my opinion is a better unit than the Active 12, its quicker with the functions like editing the route mapping or coping files from internal memory to the SD card. You need to keep Internal memory free of any .map/gpx files as it affects the units resources if it starts to run out of memory.

You can get a pro-shield for the SatMap which keeps it safe from being accidentally dropped on rocks or submerged in water, it just bounces about like a ball.

I have both Garmin and SatMap units and over all I'd probably say for versatility the Etrex 10 is pretty good, being low cost, uses 2 x AA batteries, water resistant as standard, simple to use. If you put a way-point into it and you move the pointer to the way-point on the basic map screen you'll get a bearing displayed by the unit (most GPS's do this by the way), you can use your compass then to walk on that bearing, so its a good little unit.


Andy Johnson 02 Jan 2019
In reply to Deleted bagger:

> Garmin e-trek 10. Simple and easy to use. Mine mostly stay in my pack and only gets used to fix/confirm a position when extreme conditions.

Seconding this. I have an old e-trex 10. Runs for hours on a couple of AA batteries and I only ever use the OSGB location feature.

Frank R. 02 Jan 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

E-trex 10 is a pretty simple no-frills device. I still use it, mainly for logging my routes and grid ref for planning the route on a paper map, as the battery life is excellent with its two AAs (the monochrome screen helps), although it does have (like most cheaper Garmin units) some quirks. 8MB (sic!) of onboard memory with no card slot being one (you can still fit custom maps on it, basically simplified maps custom made for Fenix watches*, but good luck navigating with them, and you risk running out of space for track logging), lack of any screen lock functionality (sic!) being the other. Not so much of a problem if you clip it on your backpack strap, quite a problem if you throw it into the backpack's top pocket or somewhere with other stuff. The buttons can press accidentaly, adding nonsense waypoints, turning the backlight on fully, et cetera. A soft case helps a bit there. I would probably get a more advanced model to avoid some of the frustration if you plan on using it more like a full GPS device rather than just an advanced GPS logger with backtracking capability. For "just" finding your position or backtracking in case of foul weather, the E-trex 10 is quite adequate, with slightly better battery life then the 20 or 30 models. None of the E-trex models have a keylock feature, as far as I know, though.

* - http://www.gmaptool.eu/en/content/maps-garmin-fenix

Post edited at 12:53
wolfbane 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Frank R.:

...hi again , yep gone for an etrex 10 as a further back up to phone and maps , should arrive in a day or 2  .. many thanks

Post edited at 20:18
PaulJepson 11 Jan 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

I was considering buying the 64s but am now reconsidering as it's not had a single mention!

How does the etrek compare?

Frank R. 11 Jan 2019
In reply to PaulJepson:

The e-trex is a much simpler unit, with all the above mentioned limitations. Depends on what you need from your gps - just a backup to phone and maps, to save the tracklog (and possibly reverse your route), or looking at maps and choosing your routes right on the device. I find it suits my needs ok - YMMV

PaulJepson 11 Jan 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

I'm mostly going to be relying on maps but want something to check I am where I think I am and for emergencies. Sounds like I can save myself a bit and go for a less 'sat-navy' model. 

Seocan 11 Jan 2019
In reply to RunningInCircles:

Does your etrex, or any of the Garmins, support user input of projections,

I was looking to buy something for Greece, but I'm not sure if that is a supported system. I'm happy with map and compass, but the maps I've seen don't have the detail that the OS maps have, so I'm looking for a back up ...just in case.

ChrisJD 11 Jan 2019
In reply to Seocan:

OSandM mapping app on your phone with the Contours plugin. Just brilliant for outside of UK.

Download the regions/countries you want onto micro-sd card in phone before you go.

Post edited at 16:45
steveb2006 11 Jan 2019
In reply to Welsh Kate:

A thumbs up for viewranger


ChrisJD 11 Jan 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

We use Memory Map on phones (you get licence for 4 devices) for UK OS maps.  Have whole of the UK at 1:25,000 (hi-def version) stored on the phones micro-sd card; takes up ~30GB. 


It's a bit of an involved process to get the whole of UK as a singe file usable on a device and you'll need to format the sd card as exFAT to deal with >4GB files..

Post edited at 20:28
Seocan 24 Jan 2019
In reply to ChrisJD:

Interesting, can you tell me more about that. Outside of the UK.

Fozzy 24 Jan 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

I back up maps with an etrex10. Gives me a grid reference, it’s all I need. 

PaulScramble 08 Feb 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

I've owned a Garmin Gecko, Garmin eTrex 10, Satmap Active 10, Garmin extrex 20, and a Garmin GPSmap 62st. The Gecko is only good for a gridref. The entry level etrex 10 is superb and all most people will need, it has got me down off Kinder Scout in the dark (with a pre-programmed route). The etrex 20 is too slow. The Satmap was great, but unreliable in my experience. I have finally settled on the Garmin GPSMap series after getting lost in bad weather on Great Gable. It allows you to drop a pin on the OS map to create an instant route/waypoint, which is a godsend when you are cold, wet, tired and lost. On cheaper units like the eTrex10 you have to type in a grid ref to create a target. I would never rely on a mobile phone and an app, everyone knows how reliable they are!

Post edited at 19:49
wolfbane 09 Feb 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

Thanks , ive gone for the etrex 10 at the mo to supplement maps compass  and phone/OS app 

MrMJR 14 Mar 2019
In reply to wolfbane:

Hey, does it have to be a hand held unit? I've been using the garmin instinct GPS watch and it can sync to 'garmin explore' on your phone if you need the map... Great battery life can give you a grid ref and you can plot way points.... Pretty robust aswell! 

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