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#135014 - 06/11/10 02:10 PM Garmin eTrex - is it good?
arcane Offline

Registered: 05/24/10
Posts: 21
Loc: WV
I've been thinking about getting a GPS and am looking at both plain GPS receivers as well as units that can display a map. I am looking at the Garmin eTrex H GPS receiver as well as the Garmin eTrex Venture HC.

REI - Garmin eTrex H GPS Receiver

Garmin eTrex Venture HC GPS Receiver

At this point I'm not looking for something with alot of bells and whistles. Has anyone used this particular GPS model? Are there any considerations that I should be aware of? I'm fairly new to backpacking but do have good map reading/navigational skills.

I came across the following post , but a lot of informations wasn't included about the GPS unit.

I'm looking for something that I can use primarily in the backcountry and wilderness areas of West Virginia. I am inclined to forgo the map display feature, but I also do some cycling and the GPS unit would be handy for my bicycle rides.

I am also curious if anyone here has experience using solar battery chargers for charging the batteries.

Thanks in advance!

#135089 - 06/13/10 01:47 PM Re: Garmin eTrex - is it good? [Re: arcane]
billstephenson Offline

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3915
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I'm partial to GPS's that display maps. If you can find the lat/long that's given by a GPS on a printed map, then you don't really need the mapping feature. It's not to hard to do that, but it's still easier to view your location on a map displayed on the GPS.

I'm not a big fan of the eTrex series of GPS's though. I've seen two of them go wonkey, but these were when they first came out, so I don't know if there are issues that were resolved since them. In my experience, Garmin has some pretty good customer service, so I suspect they've dealt with those issues by now.

But I found the user interface to be clunky on the eTrex and it's been difficult for those I know that have them to remember how to navigate to the features they wanted to access. On the other hand, I carried my "Quickstart Guide" with me when I went hiking for probably a year and advised they did the same, but I was mostly ignored. I still use an old Garmin "eMap" and I still think it is a lot easier to use than an eTrex.

The screen is small on the eTrex, and the text is small and difficult for my old eyes to see. The eMap had a larger display and is easier for me to read.

Garmin gets a lot of money for their maps too. You can use free maps on some of the Magellan series of GPS's. This can save you hundreds of dollars so it's worth looking into.

That's about all I can offer you on this topic. I hope it helps some.


"You want to go where?"

#136297 - 07/14/10 06:30 PM Re: Garmin eTrex - is it good? [Re: billstephenson]
Heather-ak Offline

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
My husband and I have been geocaching on and off for five years.

We have a Garmin eTrex (green) - have had it and loved it for about 6 years.

We "upgraded" to a delorom Earthmate - I hate it and can't figure it out - I RTFMed and read online - still can't use it as well.

I love the Garmin - just got my mom-in-law the newest high sensitivity one and she loves it too.

Of the two links I would go with (Garmin eTrex Venture HC GPS Receiver) because of the front joy-stick. Yeah it sounds silly - but previously my mom-in-law had the other one in your list, and without the silly joystick it wasn't as easy to use.

I'm assuming you are using this on the trail/geocaching and not walking around in town or driving.



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