I'm about ready to buy my 1st topo GPS unit. I have a Garmin NUVI 350 for our cars and love it so I'm sticking with that brand.

Just talked to a Garmin "Outdoor GPS" guy & he said the new Garmin Colorado 400 T, due in stores & online in a month or two, is their best topo GPS. The 400T (T for topo) is PRE LOADED with N. American topos as part of the price. Also this unit will take coastal navigation charts - good for my sea kayaking trips.

* The Colorado series looks to be very impressive, although there's not been a formal rollout yet. They'll also be rather expensive, large and heavy compared to the etrex series, if that's important to you. The screens will be larger and IIUC may be touchscreens.

The 400T is waterproof to a few feet of water, takes a micro SD card (up to 2 Gb) and can use aftermarket software to download trails.

1. Is <trails.com> the best source of these downloadable trail maps?

* Don't know.

2. Does Nat'l. Geo.Trails have the software for downloading their trail maps? I like the accuracy of their plasticized paper trail maps.

* Magellan has a GPS forthcoming that will upload NG Topo! maps. Garmin doesn't have this capability.

3. What experience has anyone had with downloading trails to their personal download-capable GPS units?

* Trails, no but routes, yes. Magellen, Garmin and Delorme among others will upload routes and waypoints from 3rd party software, and download waypoints and tracks. All three companies' GPSs will upload proprietary topographical maps that contain trails, which is somewhat different that uploading just trails. Delorme also offers USGS 7.5-minute maps, sat photos and aerial photos for upload, which makes for a very different GPS experience.