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Adventure proof GPS

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  • #4430
    Gavin Gray
    Participant
    • Town/City: Hawera
    • Bike: R80GS Basic, KTM 990 Adventure, ZReX!!
    • Rank: 50cc Rider

    Has anyone got a recommendation for a decent GPS? I’m keen to take advantage of the route information that has been listed here so I guess it has to be a Garmin. How about the 62s model? Not a very big screen but it looks like it would take some punishment.

    I’ve been looking over the edge of the road on some of my Taranaki back country rides lately and I don’t think I’d ever be seen again if I went over the bank/cliff. A locator beacon seems a bit much but then again…..
    Is this something anyone else has done?

    #4431
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Town/City: Tauranga
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV, BMW R100GS
    • Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter

    I use a Garmin Colorado which is discontinued now but it has and still does serve me well. The 62csx was popular for many years. I’ve just had a look on the Garmin site and the 62S looks nice.
    It also looks like they took care of the one issue I have about my Colorado which is the placement and mounting of the mini USB port for running the device off external power. On mine it’s at the top of the device and sticks straight up in the air which is both inconvenient and very subject to wind pressure would would cause the power connection to drop and the unit would shut off. If you were recording a track and then discovered you’d missed the last few km worth it was very frustrating.

    I also have a SPOT Tracker which works like a locator beacon, but you pay your money for it.
    If you have cell reception you can use Glympse.

    I use Garmin because their GPS’s seem to be more widely used for off the beaten track, most of the car ones get upset as soon as you leave the sealed roads, and you can get free updated maps every week via the NZ Open GPS Project.

    #4445
    Box.a.Bits
    Participant
    • Town/City: Wellington
    • Bike: BMW R80 G/S, R100GS & M72 Sidecar, Gilera Runner ST200
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    I’m using a Garmin e-Trex 20 which has most of the functionality of the 62S at 1/2 the price. It’s small, been good on batteries so far, & is waterproof, so no issues with rain. I haven’t hooked it into the the bike power – in part because I have heard some people have had issues with them turning off with vibration.

    The GPs is attached using the Garmin cycle mount, which is relatively cheap compared to going down the ram mount track, but not quite as secure (effectively the mount is held on with cable ties).

    Got mine from Trig Instruments in Wgtn for circa $200. Kevin was very accommodating.

    A couple of things to think about:
    1. Most of the hiking type GPSs can frustrate if you are getting older, because the screen size is small. There is option within the GPS to boost text size. I’ve just found that;
    2. If they are running on battery, then the backlight may switch off fairly quickly (which is an issue on a bright / glarey day). You can choose the timing of this 30 sec, 1 min out to on all the time. Only just found that too;
    3. They don’t offer voice prompts – no issues if you don’t have your helmet wired for sound;
    4. I’ve found that they can frustrate where the level of detail disappears as you zoom out to get a bigger picture. This might mean you still (ideally) should still carry maps, so you can figure out exactly where the hell you are;
    5. Garmin products seemingly aren’t at all intuitive. I’ve heard them compared to early cellphones, which I find about right. There are a no of you tube tutorials, which I have found really helpful. What I’m trying to point out here is it takes a bit of learning, which I’d expect to happen over a no of trips.

    Basecamps, the software you need to plan trips, & to make sense of some the GPS files is a free download.

    As Eddie points out, use NZ Open GPS Project Maps. They are also free, & are regularly updated.

    I’m not far away from getting a EPIRB, mainly because I’ve had a couple of injuries in backcountry with no cellphone coverage. I like the concept of a one off spend, rather than Spot, where you need to buy the unit, then meet an annual subscription. Spot also assumes you keep batteries charged – the EPIRB battery charge should last 5 years from purchase.

    One more thing to think about with Spot Trackers & EPIRBs is that hey need to be able to see the sky to do their thing, & you need to manually set them off. That means that ideally they should be on you & easy to reach – not buried in a backpack or attached to a bike that might be 20 metres away.

    #4454
    Gavin Gray
    Participant
    • Town/City: Hawera
    • Bike: R80GS Basic, KTM 990 Adventure, ZReX!!
    • Rank: 50cc Rider

    Thanks for the replies – a few points I hadn’t considered there. I’ll hold off for a while and do some more research this weekend.

    #4481
    Gavin Gray
    Participant
    • Town/City: Hawera
    • Bike: R80GS Basic, KTM 990 Adventure, ZReX!!
    • Rank: 50cc Rider

    I settled on an Etrex 20 (thanks for the recommendation Stephen) because it looks like it’ll do the job, it was cheap, Noel Leeming had one (availability always a problem in provincial small town NZ) and I was able to familiarise myself with it on Sunday. Loaded up the free NZ Open GPS maps with no problems.
    Turning on the highway avoidance feature has opened up a world of good ideas about getting from A to B and I really think this thing is going to be useful.
    I’ll be loading some of the track files tonight.

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