Ancient Garmin, still useful?


May 10, 2016
Hello everyone. I have an ancient (in the technology world) Garmin GPS III Plus that has been sitting in a box in the basement for many years. Our Cub Scout Pack wants to go geocaching this weekend and I'm wondering if this dinosaur might still have some life left in it for exploring the local state park. Anyone use one of these for geocaching, and if so how easy/difficult is it and how accurate is it?


2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
Northern Virginia
For geo caching it should be OK although the accuracy will probably be off by some feet, but not bad. I used an ancient GPS unit when I first got into the hobby and just learned to start looking at possible hiding spots before the unit jumped. I found even with a newer unit there are always some differences. I wasn't able to directly download the data to the GPS unit and instead had to plug the coordinates in manually, but it still worked. Well if I typed in the correct data. I have used my cell phone compass and that worked as well.


Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 7, 2013
Anchorage, AK
Yeah it will work. Like previous poster said, you're going to have to hand enter the coordinates manually, and that can take some time.

I wouldn't worry about accuracy too much. What they have improved over time is not exactly accuracy, but the time it TAKES to be accurate. Newer units lock on faster and average faster. The older unit will take longer to figure out where it is initially, but once it does, it will be accurate enough for geocaching.

If you'd like to do other GPS sports, look at

Happy Caching


Active Member
Apr 2, 2015
I have a 13 or so year old eTrex I still use. At one point, a new satellite was introduced, and the GPS would crash after about 2 minutes of operation, until I performed an upgrade to it (will need that old serial cable). Ever since then it's worked just fine.


Jul 6, 2015
We have gone geocaching a lot! I prefer the older GPS because it only gets you within 10 feet, a phone will put you right on top of the cache. So in this case, older is more fun!

Sent from my Nexus 10 using Tapatalk


May 10, 2016
Thanks for the help everyone. One of our other leaders was going to check out a GPS, but didn't, so this was the only GPS receiver we had on hand. A couple of other leaders had GPS apps on their smart phones. It worked well enough. As others pointed out, it takes a minute or two to scan for satellites when it first powers up, but once it gets through that it worked okay.

Accuracy wasn't perfect, it would get us within about 10 feet, and after that it would jump around a bit, but it was close enough that we were able to use it to find two different caches, and one was hidden really well.

The only strange quirk I noticed is that the date is off, by a lot. Time is accurate though. I found some posts online that Garmin had a fix for the date issue, but I'd have to find a serial cable to try the fix. Also, the on-board rechargable battery for the memory no longer seems to work, so I suspect I'll have to re-enter everything when it is time to swap out the AA batteries that power the unit.

Overall, this was a great GPS for a bunch of Cub Scouts to use, because I wasn't worried about them breaking it or losing it. If I had a $200-$300 model I'm not so sure I'd feel that way. I plan to let me 8 and 10 year old kids use this one over the summer to find geocaches when we are camping or even around our neighborhood. Since this was just collecting dust, any use they get out of it is more use than I was getting.