Handheld GPS recommendations.

grasscutter

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We love our walking and are thinking of treating ourselves to a handheld GPS.
This will not be an inexpensive purchase as it will certainly need OS 1:2500 mapping.
We would also like it to incorporate European mapping to help with walks when we finally return across the Channel.
For anyone who has been up in the mountains when cloud descends will understand our need for one.
I know people will mention using a smartphone but I really need something that will work off satellites when there is no phone signal.
Any information will help us to make a decision and narrow the field.
Thankyou
Graham
 
Nov 5, 2014
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I looked into this last year and found that i could load maps onto my phone and then the phone used GPS to show where I was so not restricted to access to phone signal.
The problem I had was finding a reasonable priced OS map that was not on a yearly subscription.

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Jun 1, 2019
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I looked into this last year and found that i could load maps onto my phone and then the phone used GPS to show where I was so not restricted to access to phone signal.
The problem I had was finding a reasonable priced OS map that was not on a yearly subscription.
Great prices for OS like mapping here: https://talkytoaster.me.uk/

My handheld GPSr is from the Garmin Oregon 700 series.
 
Jan 19, 2014
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I've used a garmim montana610 with the 1.25000 os mapping..it has a good size screen a good battery life..the ability to take standard batteries in an emergency..
All in all very happy with it..
These folk are very good and offer excellent back up and training if you need or want that...
Andy

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Jun 1, 2019
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After finding these two sites
If you get a hand held Garmin map capable GPSr your mapping is sorted here: http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/

Great prices for OS like mapping here: https://talkytoaster.me.uk/

My handheld GPSr is from the Garmin Oregon 700 series.
I would not buy a GPSr with preloaded maps - other than a ‘free’ world basemap.
An entry level Garmin with a colour screen like an eTrex is what I’d look at.

These days you’d need to edit: up having a dedicated device with more channels than a smartphone.
It is harder to justify but I take my Garmin hiking, biking & cruising.
A pair of freshly charged pair of AA batteries last for a day & are easily swapped out if cold temps sap the battery or from forgetting to start the day with fresh ones :doh:

Edit: grammar
 
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Jun 1, 2019
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For comparisons take a look at https://shop.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/activity-gear/walking/gps-devices-watches/

I am sure you can get them cheaper but this OS site isn’t bad.
Just looking at a basic level of detail, their Garmin eTrex Touch 22X GPS combines our thoughts on an entry level mapping GPSr that can take free maps from the sources I checked out.
TalkyToaster has a free OS like map. I recommend the one off paid TT map that has contour lines.
If anything the TT OS like map is better than an OS one as it is zoomable.
 
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I use ViewRanger on my iPhone and download only the OS tiles I need for my walk. Many other map sources and apps are available. The accuracy is very good because alongside the standard GPS satellites it also uses the GLONASS satellites, wifi signals and cellular masts. This helps when the sky view is limited by steep sided valleys or trees. To get an accurate fix it needs 4 satellites so the more sources it references the better the chance of an accurate position. If it has a cellular signal you can call mountain rescue if all else fails.
 

AndyPK

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I used to have a Satmap Active 10 when trekking - not sure if they’re still made? :unsure:
 
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What is the advantage of a dedicated handheld GPS tracker over a smart phone with GPS.
I mentioned it is getting harder to justify a GPSr and mentioned one pro. Easy to change batteries.
One site with some others here

With only a smartphone there’s a single point of failure too 👍🏻

edit: rewrite of 1st sentence to make sense
 
Nov 5, 2014
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I mentioned it is getting harder to justify a GPSr and mentioned one pro. Easy to change batteries.
One site with some others here

With only a smartphone there’s a single point of failure too 👍🏻

edit: rewrite of 1st sentence to make sense
Thanks for that, I looked at handheld last year but couldn't see any advantage. If I am walking in remote areas I tend not to be on my own so there would be 2 of us with a smart phone. Also, I would be taking the phone in any case so why carry 2 items. I don't know enough about handhelds to say they have no advantage over a smartphone and appreciate any comments about them.

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Jun 12, 2016
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Personally I have a Garmon 700
If I was replacing i may go for one with the bigger screen
I would second andy63 Re GPS Training they are very good and their training package is well worthwhile.
I spoke to them on the phone and had some European maps added to an extra memory card but it's something you can do yourself with openstreetmap
I know some get by with a smartphone but it's not what I choose to depend on in the hills
 
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Mattyjwr

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I have a Garmin e-Trek which is great ... rugged, long battery life, easy to power (just swap the 2 AA batteries) but I've not used it for years ... my mobile phone does so much more than the e-Trek.

If I was in the OP's situation, I would get a rugged, waterproof/resistant case for my mobile phone plus an external power bank to keep it powered. I would also use map and routing apps that can be downloaded and used off-line
 

Lenny HB

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I used to have a Satmap Active 10 when trekking - not sure if they’re still made? :unsure:
Latest version is the Active 20, we have an Active 10 with maps of UK, France, Greece & Portugal.
It's great for serious mountain walking but for general walks we tend to use Maps. Me on the phone as that works well off line.

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One advantage of a smart phone is being able to use the emergency sms text messaging service if required.
 
Jun 1, 2019
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Thanks for that, I looked at handheld last year but couldn't see any advantage. If I am walking in remote areas I tend not to be on my own so there would be 2 of us with a smart phone. Also, I would be taking the phone in any case so why carry 2 items. I don't know enough about handhelds to say they have no advantage over a smartphone and appreciate any comments about them.
My GPSr has fallen off my road bike 3 times when I’m at speed. One day I’ll reposition the mount so bumps don’t shake out the GPSr. Until then, if a fall like that finally breaks the GPSr that’ll learn me 🤔

Having a dedicated GPS device just in a rucksack pocket that is sat doing just that is a plus.
Another for & against discussion here

On my bikes, the GPSr has a cadence receiver and - often left indoors unused - a heart rate receiver that “talk” to the GPSr & log data there.
And I use routes I’ve put on it & tracks I’ve taken off it easier & better resolution than possible on smartphones.
Edit: clarity
 
Jun 1, 2019
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Oh! Also, the Garmin outdoor GPSr can be mounted in vehicles to look like their sat navs.
Mine only has turn left & right beeps, i.e. no voice :rofl:

They do look the same tho (y)

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What is the advantage of a dedicated handheld GPS tracker over a smart phone with GPS.
The main advantage is that they can be used in bad weather. They have proper tactile switches that work in heavy rain and fog.

A smartphone is very hard to use on a mountain when the sun isn't shining, as the capacitive touchscreen becomes useless, both with the water and with the fact you have to wear Goretex gloves to ward off frostbite and water.
 

ceejayt

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I have a Garmin Inreach and have used it for a few years. 100% coverage as it is basically a sat phone and has emergency call button for help which alerts Inmar sat

Not horrendously expensive and the good thing is you can activate it fir a month at a tine so only when you need it. It also relays your position to people you want to know every 30 seconds or so.
Excellent piece of kit. Mine has been superseded with a better model but can’t recommend it highly enough

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I know a couple of my ski-alpy friends use Garmin extrex devices, none leave home without a GPS and all take a phone as well.
 
Jun 12, 2016
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If you plan to do much winter stuff one with buttons rather than a touch screen may be better
You can get gloves which can use a touch screen though
 

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I now use Garmin, having tried others (but not SatMap). You don't really need maps on a GPS if you use it for navigation. I use Memory-Map for planning but Garmin BaseCamp is better and cheap (all my data is in MM format and MM is what I cut my teeth with). If you want to read maps on screen, get a large one and make sure you can read the screen in bright sunlight. Battery life is important, so avoid rechargeable batteries. Another thing to consider is that (I find that) touch screens are difficult to use in inclement (cold/wet) weather - buttons work better. I've seen a SatMap device in use and it looked good but, for me, Garmin has been around much longer, so has better pedigree. They are not cheap, considering that a phone app appears to do the same thing, but you don't want a failure when the cloud comes down in the hills and Garmin make these for that purpose (only). They are robust and they work all day. I still take a map and compass, just in case, though.
(I have several old Garmin devices, if interested....)

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Jun 1, 2019
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I now use Garmin, having tried others (but not SatMap). You don't really need maps on a GPS if you use it for navigation. I use Memory-Map for planning but Garmin BaseCamp is better and cheap (all my data is in MM format and MM is what I cut my teeth with). If you want to read maps on screen, get a large one and make sure you can read the screen in bright sunlight. Battery life is important, so avoid rechargeable batteries. Another thing to consider is that (I find that) touch screens are difficult to use in inclement (cold/wet) weather - buttons work better. I've seen a SatMap device in use and it looked good but, for me, Garmin has been around much longer, so has better pedigree. They are not cheap, considering that a phone app appears to do the same thing, but you don't want a failure when the cloud comes down in the hills and Garmin make these for that purpose (only). They are robust and they work all day. I still take a map and compass, just in case, though.
(I have several old Garmin devices, if interested....)
My 2p
Memory Map has lots of import & export formats. Using the MM propriety format is optional but as *.mmo doesn't work on any (most?) Sat Nav & GPSr, users can switch to, for example, *.gpx for the import of tracks & export of routes/POI.

For batteries in a GPSr I DO recommend using rechargeable batteries. Modern AA/AAA rechargeable like Sanyo Eneloop or GP Recyko, etc. do have good performance & store well with great charge retention.
Their charge retention is good enough that they're sold charged ready for use :)

Remember that with the GPSr you are gaining a device that has e z battery replacement ;)
 
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Sep 29, 2019
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ViewRanger for me. £25 for the UK for a year is a bargain and accuracy is spot on. Only need to carry one device and it also integrates with my watch so I don’t even have to get it out my pocket.

French IGN maps were £16 for three months as well so transformed our holiday abroad where I didn’t need to faff buying paper maps.

Suggested routes, calorie trackers and seamless operation are excellent. I always carry a spare battery pack just in case we are late but so far never used it.

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