Buying a Handheld GPS Device

For years I have been using an old handheld GPS device that I bought used from someone on E-Bay. It is a Magellan eXplorist 200.


It was very inexpensive, and it has a TON of features. The only catch is that it is 100000% user-not-friendly. It takes forever to input anything because all you have to work with is the little joystick in the center of the buttons. AND Most of the images on my buttons are worn off.

You can track-back, store waypoints, store GPS searches, save notes etc etc etc… all with that one little joystick. It’s horrible. I need a new one ASAP.

I keep shamelessly posting on twitter that I need a new device hoping some travel magazine or camping company will send me one to review! Alas, no luck so far.

I would really like a topographical map. I am in LA hiking quite a bit and it’s always nice to take elevation changes into consideration when you’re hiking in the mountains! In MN I can get away with an as-the-bird-flies GPS device, but not in LA!

I would also love to be able to send geocaches from or straight to my device.

I do use my smart phone for geocaching when I’m in the city, but as I get more and more into it – and write more stories – I find myself without service in the coolest spots. I always want to save some GPS coords for later, but many times I just let the opportunity go because it’s going to take me 15-20 minutes just to get them into the GPS device I have now.

I would love to hear any recommendations you guys have. I am probably looking in the $150-$200 range.

I plan to go shopping soon, and I will report back my findings. :)

Take care!


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One comment

  1. Peter Young says:

    When I upgraded from my old non-mapping gps I bought a Garmin eTrex 20, and I like it. It is relatively small, so it fits in a pocket. It has USB connectivity and looks like a USB drive when I connect it to my computer, making it easy to transfer waypoints on and off. It also has a microSD slot if you need more memory (which I haven’t yet), and I’ve been happy with how long batteries last. It has colour mapping and I was able to find free maps online. You can also use both GPS + Glasnost satellites together, which is nice for accuracy. A big feature for me is that it has geocaching functionality built in, so I can see the cache description, previous logs, hint, etc. right on the unit easily. It’s a nice little unit and not too expensive.

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