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Fishinfool1978

GPS Unit, recommendations?

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I am going to Dog lake Missanabie in July. One of the gentlemen suggested I purchase a GPS unit. I have been thinking about getting one for the last couple of years mostly because I have been lost a couple of times on my atv and think the GPS could be a life saver. I think I would prefer a hand held device. I would like it to be helpful for both atv ing and fishing. I am not super tech savvy so simple to operate is important. I don't need a tonne of bells and whistles. I saw a you tube video of a Garmin E trek 10 seemed simple enough to operate.  I would like to be able to see a map of where I am at any given time as well as chosen way points that I have entered. Any suggestions for a different device or concerns with that device? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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if just wanting mapping ... you can use your phone.  either a free app or I purchased the Humminbird navionics app for aprpox $20.  It works great (if just wanting location and water depths).

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Garmin. I use my phone for, get this, to make telephone calls!

Edited by Old Ironmaker

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Two things I'd recommend:
1) If you don't already have navionics on your phone, get that (and download maps for the times you won't have cell service).
AND
2) Get a Garmin.  I've had a Garmin GPSMap 76CSx for YEARS now - the thing is bullet proof and has lots of bells and whistles you'd like - but is quite simple to operate.  You can set up that pages that you'd like visible when you scroll with page/quit buttons, incl one for map, and one to start a track.  I run a track everywhere I go, and then save that track to my laptop (they have good supporting software that's free).  I'd recommend hard buttons over touch-screen for practical reasons (I use mine year-round).  You really can't go wrong with Garmin.  The Monterra looks like a sweet unit - but I imagine anything you get will be great.  If you're going to get a map chip for it, I'd recommend get a CDROM, and then burn a chip, instead of just a chip ("microSD") - make sure the lakes you want are included - if you do a lot of "out-of-the-way"back lakes, they might not be hydrographically charted - in which case a topo chip is what you want - it will give you some idea of what's going on under the water based on topography, will incl. "rock, awash" hazards and no access areas and will have an accurate map, that will at least prevent you from getting lost.

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41 minutes ago, pike slayer said:

Ya definitely no cell service at dog lake. Get yourself a garmin 

Don't need cell service, just GPS. Any tablet or phone with navionics + GPS will outperform most (if not all) dedicated units overall.

Edit: This is of course, strictly for on-water purposes.

Edited by Sterling

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2 minutes ago, Sterling said:

Don't need cell service, just GPS. Any tablet or phone with navionics + GPS will outperform most (if not all) dedicated units overall.

Edit: This is of course, strictly for on-water purposes.

I don't know... I typically run with a tablet, my phone and my handheld - I find the handheld gps picks up signal faster, is more accurate, and updates quicker than the other two (at least once a second if not faster).  I don't trust my phone or tablet near as much as my handheld.  

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44 minutes ago, bassnass said:

I don't know... I typically run with a tablet, my phone and my handheld - I find the handheld gps picks up signal faster, is more accurate, and updates quicker than the other two (at least once a second if not faster).  I don't trust my phone or tablet near as much as my handheld.  

Lots of people running phones and tablets with "assisted GPS" which is a half-arsed GPS system. You need a real GPS, preferably with GLONASS. 

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A real GPS system is ideal, for those that are going to use it regularly and justify the cost.

My suggestion on the App for the phone or tablet was under the assumption this was a one time need.  :)

 

 

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I trust my handheld over a phone any day of the week. Dog lake is a big lake and I'd feel alot better with a handheld in my pocket but that's just me.

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Id buy a GPS combo for your boat, and a ram mount to mount it to your bike. Works mint. A navionics chip for the boat, and a backroads map chip for the bike and you are good to go anywhere. 

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Although the Etrex 10 is basic, it will get you in and out, I would go with a Garmin 78s, you can plug it in to 12v DC on ATV if the batteries die.  I've got an older 76CX and it's pretty accurate.  Saved me a couple of times in the fog on G Bay.

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39 minutes ago, Sinker said:

Id buy a GPS combo for your boat, and a ram mount to mount it to your bike. Works mint. A navionics chip for the boat, and a backroads map chip for the bike and you are good to go anywhere. 

This is really your best suggestion.  I have both a handheld and a portable sonar with 5 inch screen and GPS.  Much easier to see the sonar on my ATV handlebars than the little 2 inch screen on the handheld.  Love the handheld for hunting though.

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Thanks everyone! A lot of info to digest. Whether I am in the bush or on the water, Do you simply stop (on a long trip) periodically and make new waypoints? or are there functions that allow you to see exactly where you have come from? Like marker tape in the woods or bread crumbs? Sorry for my ignorance!

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You just need to start a "track" - the gps makes a breadcrumb trail for you.  On a fresh pair of rechargeable NiMH AA batteries, my handheld runs allllllll day.  New alkaline batteries would last even longer - but I hate buying batteries (for so many reasons - ps - if you get rechargeables look at "Eneloop"),   You can also make waypoints (so your launch point is a good one), but the "track" shows everywhere you go - as long as you have it "on" or "started".  

On the map page of the gps - you can hit the arrows, and send the cursor back to the starting point of your track (or anywhere) and tell the GPS to take you there (even if there's no waypoint) - be warned though - the GPS will navigate "as the crow flies" - in a straight line.  So if you don't have a map, it will take you over land and water.  If you're not prepared to traverse both, you'll be in trouble without a map.

It's really not very hard - get it well before your trip and play with it.

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A lot of good advice.  Similar to others, i suggest  things:

1) If you already own a smartphone, get the Navionics app. It's cheap and the maps are included. It's a nice little app to play around with.  Go to the Navioncs Webapp in your Browser to get an idea of what it's like.

However, I wouldn't use that as my soul source.  Why?  Battery life.  I don't know about everyone else, but my phone battery doesn't last long enough, especially with GPS on. It's even worse i the cold. You can get portable power pack rechargers though.  Not all maps are included either. I checked Dog Lake and it was strange, not sure if that's included or not. Looks like it, but I didn't see contours. Not sure what is up with that.

2) A handheld unit. I have a Garmin eTrex Legend (OLD) and am about to upgrade to the GPSMAP64s or the eTrex 20x.  My reason for Garmin is I already have maps on chips, so I want to be able to use them.

That's another very important point. Maps. They aren't cheap. I have two chips and both cost me $100+ each. Not sure if that's changed or not, as it's been quite some time.  That's another reason the Navionics Phone App is so appealing. The maps are included. The big benefit of a handheld is the battery life. Mine uses 2 AA and I can leave it on 14hours straight for a couple of days.  Just pop in new batters once or twice during the week.  Normal Duracell or Energizers are just fine. I'd stay away from most rechargables because they operate at a lower voltage.  Although, the Eneloops batteries mentioned are some of the best. Unnecessary though.  Lithium batteries may last a bit longer than alkalines, but they are generally not worth the extra cost unless your device needs surges of power. The Costco Kirkland brand of alkalines always gets high ratings if you're looking for something inexpensive.  I usually just buy Duracell on sale.

If your main concerns is not getting lost, a handheld is a better choice IMO. As mentioned, it's easy to record ant trails/bread crumbs to get home. Batteries will last all day and its very  easy to bring a couple spare AA's with you to replace them if you need to. Sure, you can probably do the same with a smartphone, but with poor battery life and the fact they are just not as rugged or water resistant makes me go with the handheld GPS.

A third option is a "portable" Sonar with GPS.  You can get some cheaper than a handheld GPS. Again, you have to buy maps (most likely) and you would be using a 12V battery. If it's just for waypoints and ant trails, it's a good cheap option but battery life may be an issue depending on the situation.

Edited by adempsey

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16 minutes ago, adempsey said:

A lot of good advice.  Similar to others, i suggest  things:

1) If you already own a smartphone, get the Navionics app. It's cheap and the maps are included. It's a nice little app to play around with.  Go to the Navioncs Webapp in your Browser to get an idea of what it's like.

However, I wouldn't use that as my soul source.  Why?  Battery life.  I don't know about everyone else, but my phone battery doesn't last long enough, especially with GPS on. It's even worse i the cold. You can get portable power pack rechargers though.  Not all maps are included either. I checked Dog Lake and it was strange, not sure if that's included or not. Looks like it, but I didn't see contours. Not sure what is up with that.

2) A handheld unit. I have a Garmin eTrex Legend (OLD) and am about to upgrade to the GPSMAP64s or the eTrex 20x.  My reason for Garmin is I already have maps on chips, so I want to be able to use them.

That's another very important point. Maps. They aren't cheap. I have two chips and both cost me $100+ each. Not sure if that's changed or not, as it's been quite some time.  That's another reason the Navionics Phone App is so appealing. The maps are included. The big benefit of a handheld is the battery life. Mine uses 2 AA and I can leave it on 14hours straight for a couple of days.  Just pop in new batters once or twice during the week.  Normal Duracell or Energizers are just fine. I'd stay away from most rechargables because they operate at a lower voltage.  Although, the Eneloops batteries mentioned are some of the best. Unnecessary though.  Lithium batteries may last a bit longer than alkalines, but they are generally not worth the extra cost unless your device needs surges of power. The Costco Kirkland brand of alkalines always gets high ratings if you're looking for something inexpensive.  I usually just buy Duracell on sale.

If your main concerns is not getting lost, a handheld is a better choice IMO. As mentioned, it's easy to record ant trails/bread crumbs to get home. Batteries will last all day and its very  easy to bring a couple spare AA's with you to replace them if you need to. Sure, you can probably do the same with a smartphone, but with poor battery life and the fact they are just not as rugged or water resistant makes me go with the handheld GPS.

A third option is a "portable" Sonar with GPS.  You can get some cheaper than a handheld GPS. Again, you have to buy maps (most likely) and you would be using a 12V battery. If it's just for waypoints and ant trails, it's a good cheap option but battery life may be an issue depending on the situation.

Good information. Some additions to what you've said;

Navionics is free for phones but you have to pay for the tablet ("HD") version. The HD version allows you to use Navionics on larger displays. I think it's $40?

Regarding battery life, it's essential to hook up your unit to some sort of power source, otherwise you're out of power within 3 hours or so. My boat battery charges a tablet faster than it drains. As you pointed out, cold can be an issue, but the main problem I encountered was excessive midsummer heat, where the unit was at first sluggish, then turned itself off. Blazing sunlight is another problem if you're in the open. Funny enough a white unit will absorb less heat and cope with this problem better.

Dog Lake doesn't seem to be charted. Navionics will often use available maps (government maps for example) to chart lakes. Then anglers fine-tune it by uploading their data. Dog Lake has some data available but not much. This will only get better with time. If Navionics doesn't have it, odds are it's not available elsewhere. Could be wrong though.

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16 minutes ago, Sterling said:

Good information. Some additions to what you've said;

Navionics is free for phones but you have to pay for the tablet ("HD") version. The HD version allows you to use Navionics on larger displays. I think it's $40?

Regarding battery life, it's essential to hook up your unit to some sort of power source, otherwise you're out of power within 3 hours or so. My boat battery charges a tablet faster than it drains. As you pointed out, cold can be an issue, but the main problem I encountered was excessive midsummer heat, where the unit was at first sluggish, then turned itself off. Blazing sunlight is another problem if you're in the open. Funny enough a white unit will absorb less heat and cope with this problem better.

Dog Lake doesn't seem to be charted. Navionics will often use available maps (government maps for example) to chart lakes. Then anglers fine-tune it by uploading their data. Dog Lake has some data available but not much. This will only get better with time. If Navionics doesn't have it, odds are it's not available elsewhere. Could be wrong though.

I paid $15 for that app!! I had to buy it again when I got my new phone too. I guess they changed that. Free is always good. If you have your own boat with a nice big battery etc. it's definitely more viable to use a smartphone. I always come from the perspective of flying into a camp and using camp boats. I still prefer my handheld, but I wouldn't go drop $100 to $200 on a GPS if it was for a single trip though if the smartphone was viable(who am I kidding,, I probably would).

I checked my MNR maps for Dog Lake and it's been partially mapped like you mentioned.  Probably about 50%  of it was mapped.  So, it's likely Navionics didn't want to include a partial map.

Edited by adempsey

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Was looking at the wrong Dog Lake.  The Dog Lake in Missanabie is available with the Navionics webapp. MNR map also available. Was mistakenly  looking at Dog Lake near Thunder Bay.

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If your GPS usage is anything like mine, battery life will not be an issue. I use mine mainly for canoeing and hiking and occasionally for fishing. I normally take it fishing but rarely have it on more than a few mins.

For canoeing I normally mark a few waypoints ahead of time if navigation is much an issue. e.g. Points or ends of islands where I would need to make a turn. I know that some paddlers leave them on and trace out their route.  I don't see any need for that. If I have a few points along the route marked I can easily connect the proverbial dots.  One set of batts normally last me for a week long trip. I always have a good map when canoeing---peeping at the map on my GPS is like looking at the world thru a keyhole. I thought about using a tablet with a built in GPS but then things like batt life and robustness become big factors.

I sometimes leave my GPS on when I lead a hiking group so I can record the path, the dist and the time. That's usually just a couple of hrs so batt life is not an issue.

I assume that you'd be following a trail on your ATV. If so, why not just waypoint the intersections?

When fishing I go with the hope that I'll find a few hot spots to mark but I'm often disappointed.:lol:. In most case I can remember them visually anyway e.g near a big rock or tree or whatever.

 

I hope this helps

 

 

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I'm going a different route here but will state the same thing as many others.

The whole reason for this thread is because you are going to dog lake. Most people will suggest you get a GPS for cartography reasons while on the water. As such, if you have a smartphone, download the App and you will have all of the functions you will need if this is a one and done type of thing you need.

I do not know enough about handheld GPS units nor do I spend extended time on trails in the woods so I cannot answer anything on that side but It sounds like the unit you are thinking about buying would be ideal for that part of your question. I am sure Garmin makes a unit that will do both but I honestly do not know.

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Either a phone with good apps, or a handheld GPS unit will do what you want to do. Battery life is not really an issue, since good power banks for the phone are really cheap and very effective. You don't need cell service for a good smartphone to get good GPS performance. If you are rally remote, take both: backup is always a good thing.

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