Builders' Forum Archives
Re: Kayak and GPS
Posted by Matt Croce on Sep 23, 2006
Alan, GPS's are like kayaks...you have to tailor your choice to what you want to use it for. I have a four separate Garmins; I use them each for different things...I use a FORERUNNER 301 for exercise (including kayaking)...it keeps track of your speed, your time, your distance, and most importantly for exercise, your heart rate, as well as using a rudimentary map (you can save points, and it shows your track, but there is no "map database" to show shorelines, roads, or anything else).
I use a FORERUNNER 101 if I'm just poking around a local area, and want to make sure that I know where I am, how far I've been, and how to get back. It also has a rudimentary map, just a bit more advanced than the FORETREX series.
The cool thing about each of these is that you can download the GPS tracks into Garmin's "Training Center" software (free), and see where you were, how far you were, what your speed, heart rate, etc. were at each point in the track. They are also tiny, and fit on your wrist. A buddy of mine just bought the new Forerunner 305, which is miniscule, but his has trouble picking up satellites, and takes about twice as long as my 301 to initialize. It may just be a bad unit, but I'm not buying one for that reason.
For navigation, I have an ETREX VISTA C, which is probably the most capable GPS in the smallest package; it has all of the same features as my last GPS (the 76S), with the only drawback being the small screen size. Both the VISTA and the 76S have extensive databases, and you can buy additional map sets to dump into them -- the maps are tailored to your use, just like the GPS. GARMIN TOPO series maps are good for back country and back water navigation, but as pointed out in an earlier thread, don't have as detailed road information as you may want, while their "city select" database has everything that you need to get around a strange city...you can even type in the name of a restaurant, intersection, city, whatever, and it will let you choose from a list of matches and navigate you there.
Bottom line -- if you want a GPS for kayaking in some familiar and unfamiliar areas, with the ability to accurately navigate through the waterways, I would go with an ETREX (there are several models increasing in performance and price) and buy the TOPO map set. Just don't plan on using it to navigate around a strange city, any more than you would take a plastic creek kayak out in the Everglades for a two week camping trip.
Have fun, Matt
In Response to: Kayak and GPS by Alan Speakman on Sep 23, 2006