[cdt-l] Which GPS?

Lawton Grinter lawtong at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 15 21:13:33 CST 2006

GT, Disco here.  I´m about 10 days out of completing the CDT and I´ve got a 
few ideas on GPS units for future CDT hikers.  I´ve thought about this issue 
a good bit and have a few ideas for you.

I finished with 5 other hikers.  So out of the 6 of us total, only 1 person 
did not have a GPS unit . . . my good friend Pi.  And he did fine without 
it.  P.O.D. and I carried a Garmin eTrex Vista (no color).  No Trace and 
Skittles had GPS units with topo maps uploaded into them also.  Speedo had 
the Geko which is about 3 oz and no maps uploaded.

P.O.D. and I have talked about this and we´ve both concluded that if we were 
to hike the CDT again, we´d carry the Garmin Geko.

A couple of reasons . . . 1) it´s 3.1 oz. and that´s freakin´light when it 
comes to GPS units, 2) the screen size on the eTrex vista is so small that 
it makes using the topo maps on the GPS unit while on trail an exercise in 
frustration, 3) you DO NOT need a GPS with uploaded topo maps if you know 
how to find your location using Ley´s Compass Rose Waypoints (on each map) . 
. . you do however need a GPS unit that will tell you your Lat/Long position 
in reference to Ley´s waypoints (the Geko will do this).  Once you get the 
knack of this, it takes about 3 minutes to do on trail and there is 
ABSOLUTELY no guess work involved.  Ley has detailed info on his website on 
how to use this method:  http://www.phlumf.com/cdt/cdtgps.htm.

Every CDT hiker will have a different opinion on GPS.  Some will tell you 
that you do not need one at all.  Some will tell you that you need the super 
expensive GPS/Cell phone combo.  All I would say is this . . . Try not to 
let your fears guide your decision.  I did.  And I realized within 2 weeks 
that all I needed was the Geko . . . or something similar that does not have 
uploaded topo maps.

And by the way . . . reception under tree cover was never an issue that I 
can remember.  Many times you will find yourself with no tree cover at all!  
I wouldn´t base my GPS model buying decision on the tree cover issue . . . 
it´s just really not an issue.

Hope this helps.

Best, Disco


>chris G <chgeth at yahoo.de> wrote:
>   After reading Yogi's book I have decided to buy a
>GPS for the CDT. I want a GPS that can load the US
>Topo Maps - therefore I can't use the Garmin Geko
>that I already own.
>After visiting several outdoor shops and studying
>Garmin's website I have already narrowed the
>down to
>- Garmin etrex Vista CX
>- Garmin GPSMAP 60 CSX
>The etrex is lighter, has a longer battery life and
>a lot cheaper than the GPSMAP 60. The only advantage
>can see in the GPSMAP 60 CSX is the much better
>SirfSTAR III receiver, that has much better
>under tree cover, in valleys, etc.
>But do I really need that? Are there reception
>problems on the CDT? Maybe I am too scared, but I am
>not really good at navigation....
>Thank you for your opinion!
>German Tourist

Get the latest Windows Live Messenger 8.1 Beta version. Join now. 

More information about the Cdt-l mailing list