Recommendations for GPS for geocaching

mws

Member
Feb 27, 2013
37
I have done a bit of geocaching and the kids & I really enjoy it. The problem for me is my GPS has a little "joystick" type selector that navigates around the various screens. This joystick has stopped moving the cursor around so we cannot use it anymore and the warranty has expired. I would like to buy another one but would appreciate any recommendations from folks who have a GPS they like. Thanks.
 

bearman512

Super Active Member
Apr 17, 2010
1,229
Albuquerque NM
Santa Fe Jay said:
I have done a bit of geocaching and the kids & I really enjoy it. The problem for me is my GPS has a little "joystick" type selector that navigates around the various screens. This joystick has stopped moving the cursor around so we cannot use it anymore and the warranty has expired. I would like to buy another one but would appreciate any recommendations from folks who have a GPS they like. Thanks.

You have just opened a very large can of worms! [LOL]

Here is what I now use and I am a big believer in the traditional Garmin handhelds.

BUT THINGS CHANGE:

There are so many different choices out there it is totally up to you and what you need it for.
If you have an Android phone there are many free apps out there that will work great for geocaching and offroad trail driving, and if you have an IPhone/Pad then you are limited a little.
Most Garmin Nuvi's can be loaded with a geocache buy using Mapsource that is provided when you purchase a Garmin and then register it.

First choice for geocaching and offroad trail running is my 10" Samsung Android Notebook with BackCountry Navigator PRO GPS loaded. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.crittermap.backcountrynavigator.license&hl=en Best $10 I have ever invested into my expedition Jeep. I can keep this plugged in and don't have to worry about the charge.

First choice for hiking is a Garmin 60csx if you can find one cheap enough. This is a handheld that takes 2 AA batteries and will run for a week if you turn it off after each day of use.
You can get a really good Garmin eTrex from Amazon for $90.
 

BelchFire

I speak fluent vise-grip
Mar 29, 2012
1,704
SE Georgia
Bearman and I like the same units (I have an Etrex, HCx), but there are MUCH newer units out there than the Etrex series. I have the geocaching app for my droid; it's pathetic. I wonder if you can buy a "parts" etrex on Ebay or Craigslist and swap out the joystick. I b'leeve I'd try that before I scrapped a GPS that I like.
 

Wrenchgear

5 Star Eagle Camper
Aug 5, 2010
3,694
Near Elmira, Southern Ontario
I have a Garmin 60 csx. Got it off e-bay (a guy in Calif) about 2 years ago for $300 (mint). Son scours the internet for free maps, and sticks them in there. I also use an android phone. Sometimes I use them separately, other times I use them together. They both have ups and downs.

The Garmin is more accurate, holds tons more info., but needs to be loaded up with caches all the time before you go out. Also you can mark your campsite, hotel, rental property (of your holidays) as a waypoint. This way, when you're out there driving down a bunch of old gravel roads, looking for caches and getting lost, you can easily find your way back. Nothing like getting lost in the middle of somewhere you've never been before and can't find your way back to the Pup.

The phone can't be loaded before you go out (on holidays, for instance), but has a "find nearby caches" feature to grab a few if you have some spare time somewhere. It'll locate some in the nearby vicinity and get you there quickly. Still very accurate.

I like both.
 

vagov

Super Active Member
Aug 13, 2012
5,214
Pittsburgh, Pa
Bought 5 dollars
worth of chinese auction tickets at work fundraiser on sunday and actually won. Now i just have to figure out how to use it.

 

bknjohnson

Tyngsboro MA
Apr 1, 2006
397
Tyngsboro, MA
Pretty much any GPS handheld unit will work well these days, so it really depends on personal preferences. Paperless? Maps? Touch screen? What brand is your current model? I've noticed that for some people, it can be confusing to go back and forth between Garmin and Magellan devices. Something to consider but does not necessarily need to drive your choice. The geocaching app on the iPhone works well, however if you don't have cell coverage, you're out of luck.

Check out the geocaching website, they have some excellent user reviews of many different models.

Our first units were Garmin Geko 201s which are very basic, not very expensive, and we used them for a long time.
Our daughter now uses a Magellan eXplorist GC, and we have a Garmin Oregon 450.

A couple of suggestions to consider. First, look for a unit that is WAAS-enabled, this takes advantage of other systems and location data to improve the signal accuracy. Most handheld units are WAAS, but some are not. Second, it's helpful to connect to your computer and download geocaches directly to the unit. Some of the older models, like our old Geko 201s, needed a serial cable versus a USB. Just need to make sure your device can connect to your computer. Third thought, look at specs for battery life. Not a huge driver, most are the same these days, but if all things are equal between two choices that might be the deciding factor.

One final thought (and feel free to ask any questions about specific units), look around your area for event caches, geocaching 101 classes, etc. Great opportunity to meet other cachers and see what they are using, it's all personal preference. Our local library had a whole bunch of Garmin eTrex units they would lend to people to try out.

Also, the Garmin 60csx recommended by Wrenchgear, excellent suggestion. I've tried one before and we have friends who won't buy anything else.

Good luck and have fun!
 

jmcclung11

Super Active Member
Aug 10, 2008
1,163
Fishersville, VA
Like wrench, I have the same Garmin..love it. The only thing I don't like is that it ain't give you the hints or logs if you are having trouble finding the cache. Pre-loading the caches gets tiring too. I usually use my android with c:geo app installed.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3!
 

IGYPup

Active Member
Mar 7, 2010
478
vagov said:
Bought 5 dollars
worth of chinese auction tickets at work fundraiser on sunday and actually won. Now i just have to figure out how to use it.


Cool
 

vagov

Super Active Member
Aug 13, 2012
5,214
Pittsburgh, Pa
Newbe hear so i have a lot to learn i tried finding a micro with my iphone but no luck and buried under snow made it impossible. My phone said i was sitting within 10 ft. But no find. I do have a ammo can close. Within 2 miles as soon as this weather breaks i plan on trying to figure this garmen out! This is all new too me kinda like trying. To teach a old dog new tricks. So i will be asking a lot of questions im sure
 

mws

Member
Feb 27, 2013
37
Thanks for the input everyone. My unit is a Garmin eTrex (forget the # though). I have an account on geocaching.com & it's been helpful in locating & loading caches. I'll have to check out the eTrex60 for sure.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

generok

Super Active Member
Feb 7, 2013
3,457
Anchorage, AK
Since I started caching in 2004 with my Magellan unit, I've been searching for a paperless way to cache. As soon as I got an Android phone, I began using it and have not looked back since. I can cache at any time, any place, even if I travel. The accuracy on my Samsug Galaxy is spot on. I guess it all depends on the app you use...

For finding caches, I like C:geo. It's public domain, and works well for me. I also use "GPS Status" for navigation. I like the integration of the compass, GPS and error bubble.

The only thing that scares me about the Galaxy is getting it wet or dropping it in the woods, as it is expensive to replace (even with my insurance policy on it). Battery life can be an issue. If I'm going to be on a long hike for multiple caches, I will bring the Garmin 60 along to navigate, and use the phone only to read descriptions and log the find.

For me, the complete freedom from paper, pre-loading points and high accuracy makes smartphone caching so much more fun.
 

newbiecamper444

Active Member
Mar 23, 2013
171
following.

I started using a Garmin (don't know which one) little yellow cheapish one from WM. It did a great job but a pain in the butt to type all the caches in.
Then I used my galaxy 2. That did okay for many caches - but wasn't totally accurate.

tried using an iphone last time I went out - it seemed to be way off - unless the caches were gone.

but I want to be able to read the hints & I'm guessing that's not available on a regular handheld GPS....so I'm guessing I better stick with an app.
 

bknjohnson

Tyngsboro MA
Apr 1, 2006
397
Tyngsboro, MA
There are handheld units that will download the hints, look for "paperless caching" as a feature. Our Garmin Oregon 450 will do it, our daughter has a Magellan eXplorist GC with the same feature. Just depends on what you want to spend. If you run a pocket query and load those caches on your handheld GPS, you can also use the iPhone app and store that same query in an offline mode. That way you can use the phone to view the hints and use the GPS for the better accuracy and better battery life. It's a lot of extra juggling and since we do quite a lot of caching we went with the Oregon.
 

mckeapc67

Active Member
Feb 22, 2011
681
I use a Garmin eTrex Legend H as my primary geocaching GPS. It works well since I can download pocket queries from geocaching.com to it through the USB.

To back-up my Garmin for "paperless" caching, I have used my iPod Touch in the past and have now bit the bullet and upgraded to a Samsung Rugby Pro smart phone. I have the official Geocaching apps on both of them; so, I can do logs, pictures, etc. on them while I use the Garmin for navigation / location purposes.

I've found that the GPS in my Rugby Pro is pretty accurate; but, for now I still prefer using the dedicated Garmin GPS unit. The main reason is battery life. The Garmin can go a very long period of time on 2 AA batteries whereas both the iPod and smartphone drain battery pretty fast. I also can keep a couple sets of extra batteries handy and swap them out if necessary.
 

Hoomi

I write everything the voices in my head tell me.
Jul 20, 2012
873
85713
I upgraded year or two ago from a Magellan to one of the latest Garmins, the eTrex 20. It locks on to the satellites much faster than my older Magellan did, and also uses the Russian Glonass system for increased accuracy. When my wife started talking about wanting to upgrade her older Garmin, I ordered the eTrex 30 for her. Both are great handheld units, and terrific for caching.

I've added the mounts for them to our recumbent trikes, so we can also cache along the bike paths.

Our son's GF works for Garmin, so we get to hear about all their latest products in development. She often gets to take home units to try out, and they take them caching. That said, we were sold on Garmins before she went to work for them. When I was still using the Magellan, my wife and son both had Garmins. If we turned on the units at the same time, they would be halfway to the cache before my Magellan was even locked onto the satellites enough to give me a position fix, and often had me fifty to a hundred feet away from GZ, while their Garmins were always pretty darned close. It probably didn't help either that my Magellan was a couple of years older than their Garmins (my son actually got started on caching by borrowing the Magellan from me, and he in turn got us started on it). Still, I was leaning heavily towards the Garmins when I upgraded, and managed to get one of the first eTrex 20's to hit our local outdoors store when they released.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
I use my iPhone and the Groundspeak Geocaching app. Contrary to what was posted above, you can save caches while you are online for use where you don't have a good cell signal. The GPS isn't as accurate as a standalone one, but I've found a lot of caches with it.

The Groundspeak app is well worth the $10 or whatever it costs. The free version is an exercise in frustration and nowhere nearly as nice.
 

jmcclung11

Super Active Member
Aug 10, 2008
1,163
Fishersville, VA
Like others have stated...I use c:geo on the android platform and I love it. I however take my Garmin 60csx along, especially if we are hiking under lots of tree canopy or if it might rain.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk
 

HappyFamily

Active Member
May 20, 2014
607
Yesterday, for the first time, we didn't use our Garmin Montana to geocache but instead used our phones with the geocaching.com app installed on them. Previously, this didn't work well for us as the accuracy wasn't reliable when you got close to the cache. But hubby and I have both recently upgraded phones (I have a Nexus 5 and hubby has a Nokia 1080) they both worked great!

So, there is no excuse anymore. Download the app, and go out and search for your first geocache! Hit the compass icon to locate your position, and tap on one of the dots that is closest to you. Then head on out! We take our portable internet (freedom pop) to be able to read any hints if needed and log the cache right away.

If anyone has any questions, send me a message or post it here. I love to help people get started with this great (and free) hobby! [:D]
 




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