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  • Handheld GPS Unit Advice

    My neighbor just bought a 12 acre chunk of land in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (for only $1000/acre, what a steal!), that's smack dab in the middle of some pretty dense forest. There's an acre, or so, of mostly cleared land at the front of the property that has a couple of cabins/sheds and a camper trailer. The remainder of the property is some seriously dense woodland. Dense enough that you can only see 20-30 feet out in front of yourself.. at least for the 100 or so feet we ventured in. He's got some cool ideas of what he'd like to do with the property, such as plotting out and creating a ATV/motorcycle/mountain bike course. But first, he'll need to explore his property, and find the boundaries, without fear of getting lost.

    As a quick aside, the previous owner of the property told us of a friend of his that wanted to do some exploring on the property and ended up getting lost for several days. The only reason this guy wasn't lost for a longer period of time was that the area Search and Rescue team was called in to find him. The previous owner also told us that it's not uncommon for people to get lost in the area. One of the big concerns about getting lost around there, is that it's prime black bear and wolf habitat. There have also been quite a few sightings of cougar (no.. not hot MILF's.. actual mountain lions) in the UP.

    There are also a lot of hiking and fishing opportunities in the area but, many of them of quite far off the beaten path and will require some navigational aid to get to.

    So, my questions are:

    - Does anyone have any experience with hand held GPS units?
    - If so, what brand/model would you recommend in the $100-$200 range?
    - While having a top tier unit would be nice, are they worth the $400+ price?
    - What features do you consider important to have in a hand held GPS unit?

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  • #2
    Re: Handheld GPS Unit Advice

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-t...prod30026.html

    Used this when I played airsoft works great! The 301 is cheaper though you lose a few little features that I can't recall of the top of my head. Features I consider important are the ability to manually set waypoints on the device without needing a computer, also crumb mode. Crumb mode basically shows dots of where you have been so you can retrace your steps back the way you came. The Garmin does both with ease, plus if you have two of them you can send each other new waypoints via its bluetooth connection feature. Good for trading hiding/fishing spots. The display needs to be easy to read, and the unit itself needs to have easy navigation through the different modes etc. Again, Garmin just does it so well. I would highly recommend it. One of my must have devices if ever there was one.

    [unit][squadl][command2]

    KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

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    • #3
      Re: Handheld GPS Unit Advice

      Ditto what Dredge said, we used this same model in Afghanistan. Its been forever since I used one and mine has long since been destroyed, but I recall it was easy to use and read.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Re: Handheld GPS Unit Advice

        Are you going to be setting up fences that can stop bears from climbing over them? Because that would be prime if you got lost and needed a landmark to get back to the entrance.
        Questions about those who deserve it!
        "Remember, no survivors" -Myself and probably what explains my methods the most

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        • #5
          Re: Handheld GPS Unit Advice

          I'm guessing the property lines aren't well marked if you're worried about getting lost in just 12 acres. :P

          Keep in mind that in excessively close terrain you might have trouble getting a GPS fix unless you get to a clearing. For example, our DAGR units were completely useless when we did our navigation training in the dense forests at Cloud Lake. (On the eighth day, before he rested, God scraped up all the rocks, trees, and water he had left over and dumped it in a big pile, thus was born Cloud Lake)

          Go figure, they're able to "operate in a class 5 jamming environment" but are stumped by a couple of conifers.

          On the other hand, we have a civilian Magellan eXplorist 300 that functioned quite well in the back woods of my homestead and on weekend treks over the mountains. Denser areas of the forest would still stump it, (pun not intended) but that's a problem with all GPS units. (including $2000 jamming-resistant military units with access to both civilian and military signals)

          Bottom line, you can't rely on a GPS in dense forest, make sure you have your map and compass and know how to use them. If you can't get somewhere with a map and compass, chances are a GPS isn't going to be a whole lot of help. Don't forget to set your compass for your magnetic declination, and have fun out there!

          As far as GPS units go, my Magellan performed quite admirably in the woods and was very easy to use. Single-click waypoints, excellent battery life. That, (aside from a durable, waterproof construction) are all I ask for in a GPS. The 300 has been discontinued, the replacement is the eXplorist 310, retailing for $200, the same as the Fortrex. The Magellan uses the SiRFstarIII chipset which for a long time was the gold standard in deciphering low-intensity and bounced signals (as you would get in the woods). I've never used a Garmin in the woods, but they're supposed to be pretty good stuff and I suspect there would be little difference in acquisition or accuracy, although Garmin apparently no longer licences SiRFstar in order to reduce their costs, and can have longer acquisition times. I haven't seen any conclusive comparisons though.

          Magellan GPS - eXplorist 310 North America
          Teamwork and Tactics are OP


          Strait /strāt/ (Noun) A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water: "the Northumberland Strait".

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          • #6
            Re: Handheld GPS Unit Advice

            Thanks for the feedback, guys!

            I'm pretty sure my neighbor will choose the Magellan unit, solely because it displays a map that he can use to better orientate himself.

            If either of the listed units has a problem acquiring and maintaining a GPS signal, I'd be pretty surprised, as my Galaxy S4 smart phone has no such problem. When I'm on the property, I'll be using my phone for navigation. I actually use it as such in the Manistee National Forest and it hasn't failed me yet. Although, when I had my Galaxy S2, it had serious trouble getting a GPS signal and it got us lost a couple times (luckily, I had a compass with me and knew a few landmarks). That experience left a bad taste for my neighbor and he can't bring himself to trust the S4. Not to mention, he'll need a GPS for the times I'm unable to to go on a trip.

            I've got no idea how to navigate with a map and compass but, I'd like to learn. Anyone have a link to a tutorial?

            sigpic


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            • #7
              Re: Handheld GPS Unit Advice

              Bam!

              Land Navigation (ArmyStudyGuide.com)

              [unit][squadl][command2]

              KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

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              • #8
                Re: Handheld GPS Unit Advice

                I love my Garmin Rhino 530hcx. It has excellent Sat reception, and it acquires the signals very fast. Which means you can turn it off and on when you need it, to save battery power. Battery will still last around 14 hours straight depending on usage. I don't remember ever losing a signal in the woods, in fact i can turn it on in my basement with just a 1x3 window nearby, and it will quickly acquire a signal. That never ceases to amaze me. Plus it has a GMRS 5 watt radio, barometer, and color screen with contour map. If your buddy has one too, you can transmit your position to him and vice versa. They are a bit pricey ($500 new), but I got mine used for under $200, well worth it imo. They also have a couple other lower models with black and white screens and less features for less $$.

                https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-t.../prod8523.html


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