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Jester
2011-11-16, 14:45
Anyone have any knowledge of the Garmin Oregon 450? I've never used a GPS before, but I feel like I might want one for the CDT. Thanks!

SGT Rock
2011-11-16, 15:09
Not directly. I looked into one of the Oregon Series when I was looking for a good GPS for doing trail tracks. The thing I didn't like about it was what I had heard about battery life, but no direct experience. What I was told by someone who had one (I can't remember the guy) was he went through two sets of batteries per day.

What I did end up getting and have used quite a bit is a Delorme PN-60 (without the spot). I get about 1.5 days out of a set of AA NiMh. I would probably get more time out of Li batteries and have been thinking of getting a Delorm rechargable LiIon set to try with it.

Cuffs
2011-11-16, 15:41
I have a Colorado, and Rock is right, it does tend to eat batteries. I also have and love the Garmin 60CSx. I find it more user friendly than the Colorado or the Oregon models and not as hard on batteries... drawback is no map base, you have to purchase separately.

SGT Rock
2011-11-16, 16:10
I don't think I have had to buy extra maps for mine. I've been very pleased so far with the device and the software it came with for my PC. I've been able to just about grab it and go. I'll also say that the 1.5 days off a set of batteries is based on very intense use. I'm often stopping about every 10 minutes to check the readings and/or waypoint stuff. IT has WAY more memory than I've needed. It currently has about 400 miles of data on it including a ton of waypointed stuff I've done, and memory still seems to be plentiful. My guess you could probably put at least 1/2 of the CDT in the thing with waypoints, maps, tack, etc, and not have any issues. You could possibly get the whole thing in there depending on the level of detail for the track you use, that, in my experience, is where the memory mostly gets eaten up at. I'm also guessing you could get a couple of days use out of a set of batteries if you don't look at the screen as much as I do. I also don't know if you want to leave the thing on the entire time you walk, chances are probably yes. But my old way of using a GPS before was pretty basic: I carried a map and only turned on the GPS when I wanted to verify my position when I was in doubt. If you went that way, you could go for weeks on a set of batteries and you could get by with a VERY basic and cheap GPS.

Mags
2011-11-16, 20:25
Get a GPS if you want one (and they can be useful), but many people have hiked the CDT w/o one. Myself included.

Put it it in the category of "nice, but not needed".

If you do go with a GPS, a basic one and using it the way Rock suggested probably does the trick. A GPS is best for the "WTF Am I" factor more than anything.

Of course, as with many parts of hiking, it probably does not matter in the end. :) You'll love the CDT either way!

Superman
2011-11-16, 20:46
Get a GPS if you want one (and they can be useful), but many people have hiked the CDT w/o one. Myself included.

Put it it in the category of "nice, but not needed".

If you do go with a GPS, a basic one and using it the way Rock suggested probably does the trick. A GPS is best for the "WTF Am I" factor more than anything.

Of course, as with many parts of hiking, it probably does not matter in the end. :) You'll love the CDT either way!

Tex asked me to hike through New Mexico on the CDT so I did. Tex is a wicked smart man but....he got the way points for the CD....not the CDT. We followed that damn GPS through briar and bramble. We were like 20 to 40 miles from the trail and we couldn't have done it with out the damn GPS. Tex walks along holding the GPS out watching our progress. Tex has three PHds in chemical engineering but he has to know where he is all ther damn time. I, on the other hand, have spent most of my life being lost and I don't mind it. :angel:

SGT Rock
2011-11-16, 21:03
Lost is a state of mind.

You can be in a Mall and decided you are lost - so you are. You can be on the AT and decide you are lost, hence the SPOT rescues on the AT last year.

On the other hand you can be in the middle of the wilderness, but know you have a river to the east, a road to the west, a mountain to the north, and your destination is somewhere along a ridge to the south, and all you have to do is get to the ridge and handrail it to where you want to be. You don't know where you are to the meter, but you ain't lost.

Superman
2011-11-16, 21:07
Lost is a state of mind.

You can be in a Mall and decided you are lost - so you are. You can be on the AT and decide you are lost, hence the SPOT rescues on the AT last year.

On the other hand you can be in the middle of the wilderness, but know you have a river to the east, a road to the west, a mountain to the north, and your destination is somewhere along a ridge to the south, and all you have to do is get to the ridge and handrail it to where you want to be. You don't know where you are to the meter, but you ain't lost.

zakly

SGT Rock
2011-11-16, 21:24
I can see the want for a GPS, it is nice to be able to track along with it when I am doing a track. On the other hand it is nice when I go out to just hike and not have to keep up with waypointing everything I think might be interesting or useful.

The BMT guide next season will cover 2012-2013. What I plan to do next year instead of working on a 2013 guide, is to take the data I have and make a GPS track/waypoint file for the BMT that matches my guide for folks that want to take a GPS on the trail instead of maps or along with maps. That way the hiker can follow on their GPS and find that water source that is a 0.3 mile bushwack a little easier.

Big Mac
2011-11-16, 22:42
Lost is a state of mind.

You can be in a Mall and decided you are lost - so you are. You can be on the AT and decide you are lost, hence the SPOT rescues on the AT last year.

On the other hand you can be in the middle of the wilderness, but know you have a river to the east, a road to the west, a mountain to the north, and your destination is somewhere along a ridge to the south, and all you have to do is get to the ridge and handrail it to where you want to be. You don't know where you are to the meter, but you ain't lost.

That is one of the best descriptions I've read of being "lost", or not.

SGT Rock
2011-11-16, 22:59
I've spent a lot of time off trail and spent a lot of time teaching map reading and orienteering.

I've seen students freaked out to the point of hysteria when they are standing on a road. That person was LOST.

I've been in the middle of a featureless swamp at night with zero illum following the glowing needle of a compass for about 8 Kms to within 100 meters of my objective. I never felt lost, but I didn't know exactly where I was until I saw the objective.

Lost people can do stupid things and pass obvious signs of where they are, they are in a bad state of mind. Staying "not lost" can be challenging at times too.

Roche
2011-11-16, 23:30
That is one of the best descriptions I've read of being "lost", or not.

"I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks".

Daniel Boone

SGT Rock
2011-11-16, 23:43
Exactly. Good quote.

Sent from my SCH-I500 using Tapatalk

Jester
2011-11-17, 00:51
Thanks for all of the replies, guys! Still not sure if I'm going to carry one, but you've given me some stuff to think about.

SGT Rock
2011-11-17, 00:54
That sounds dangerous.

Sent from my SCH-I500 using Tapatalk

Jester
2011-11-17, 01:39
That sounds dangerous.


Yeah, I try not to think, because it hurts the team.

SGT Rock
2011-11-17, 02:04
If you want to go with a GPS you just turn on and look at if you need to verify your position, I've got one from about 10 years ago. It is so old, it doesn't even have the ability to put maps on it. It basically just tells you where you are. You can program a waypoint into it manually where you want to get to by putting in the coordinates so it can give you a bearing to walk towards. I carried it in my bugout bag on both tours to Iraq, so it is a little beat up. With this one you still need a real map.

That said, one thing I didn't think of to mention about a newer model of GPS like the PN-60 I use is the ability to have the equivelant of many, many hiking topo mpas. Not that important on something like the AT where civilization is usually within a mile or two of the trail if you were to get off track. But out west I could see a legitimate desire to have to hike off trail for some distance in the case of a trail bail-out. A few years back a friend of mine had to get way off trail due to snow and situation. IF one were stuck with the standard trail maps that only show a few kilometers in the directions off the trail, that could be an issue. But with one of these new-fangled GPSs, you could have lots and lots of walking maps on a 2 gram memory card.

Jester
2011-11-17, 02:59
Yeah, that's mainly why I might want one. I know a lot of hikers carry the DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer pages for each state so as to give them wider topo views in case of the need to bail.

I'll probably do just that; I'm pretty good navigation-wise. But having a GPS to sort of expand the corridor without carrying a lot of extra maps might work for me too.

Cuffs
2011-11-17, 11:21
Lost is a state of mind.

You can be in a Mall and decided you are lost - so you are.

Or a corn maze. Or an apple orchard...

Jester
2011-11-17, 12:23
Hahaha! The corn maze thing was great! I wonder, when the police showed up, if the first question they asked was, "you are aware that corn mazes don't have walls, right?"

SGT Rock
2011-11-17, 12:42
Yeah, that's mainly why I might want one. I know a lot of hikers carry the DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer pages for each state so as to give them wider topo views in case of the need to bail.

I'll probably do just that; I'm pretty good navigation-wise. But having a GPS to sort of expand the corridor without carrying a lot of extra maps might work for me too.

I totally agree with that. When I'm trail tracking I rarely ever need me map, it usually sits in my pack waiting until camp where I can leisurely look over routes and such because my GPS is off as I try to save batteries. The GPS is way more useful than my real map when I'm walking since the GPS not only tracks, it also gives me lots of map "options" since it can serve as a very fine scale map too (like a 1:10,000) for looking for the detailed stuff like water, and be zoomed out for the big picture when I'm trying to find the way to a road from where I am. A GPS may not be a "need", but it sure is nice to have sometimes.

I've given this some thought on use out west, and have the theory that the wide open space of the west could present and opportunity that the AT doesn't: Solar power. I've cobbled together a AA battery charger that fits on a pack strap and only weighs about 3.7 ounces. It does take forever to charge one set of AA with good sunlight in my home experiments; BUT if one were to put a GPS on one strap, and the charger on the other strap, I think you could go through a long hike on two sets of good rechargeable batteries like the XXX Enloops, and keep an emergency set of AA Li batteries down in the pack in case you needed juice and for some reason the charging system had failed. See my theory is you can take all day to charge a set, since it will be in sunlight almost all day anyway (more than it really needs for a set of AAs) while on the other shoulder the GPS is tracking away in power conservation mode, using minimal power since you don't need to look at it all the time. Swap the batteries between the two every morning.

But here is also a cool option that might work. This charger can also serve as a USB power supply. You could route a cable from the charger to the GPS. I have no idea how well this would work, but I do know that my GPS doesn't use up any battery power while it is plugged into my computer. There is a possibility that running the charger cable on the straps behind the users back will also trickle juice over to the GPS so that the battery in the GPS only gets used if there isn't enough sunlight, and while the GPS is sleeping, the batter in the charger is getting all the juice.

All that said, I'm not an engineer. I could be so full of shit:albertein


Or a corn maze. Or an apple orchard...NO Shiite.

Jester
2011-11-17, 12:49
I've given this some thought on use out west, and have the theory that the wide open space of the west could present and opportunity that the AT doesn't: Solar power.

This is absolutely true. When I was on the PCT a lot of hikers had Solio solar chargers and they worked well out there. Much, much better than in the canopy of the AT. All that above tree line hiking is good for more than just great views.

SGT Rock
2011-11-17, 12:52
I don't have a use for the charger around here. I could loan it to you and you could see if it works. It isn't super "rugged" though.

Hog On Ice
2011-11-17, 13:43
one thing I have been wondering about is if an umbrella/sun shade could be made that includes a battery recharge system

Jester
2011-11-17, 13:49
I don't have a use for the charger around here. I could loan it to you and you could see if it works. It isn't super "rugged" though.

Thanks for the offer! I'll let you know -- I'm not a big carrying electronics guy (aside from the camera equipment). But if I go with a GPS I'll be in touch about the charger.

SGT Rock
2011-11-17, 13:49
I'm not totally familiar with all the forms solar cells come in. But the one I bought would probably not do well with an umbrella. Too stiff and heavy.

You can see what I used for the basis of my system here: http://www.matternetwork.com/2011/5/diy-making-solar-usb-charger.cfm

Instead of a mint can, I used one of these with a plastic sheet inside for a stiff "foundation", and the cell is zip tied to the mesh front: http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___42222

The 3.7 ounces includes all that, which also includes a set of batteries already in it as the storage cell for the solar electricity.

SGT Rock
2011-11-17, 14:14
Thanks for the offer! I'll let you know -- I'm not a big carrying electronics guy (aside from the camera equipment). But if I go with a GPS I'll be in touch about the charger.

No problem. I'm glad I gave some useful advice for once. I built the charger thinking it would be good for keeping a cell phone juiced up, and to charge other things like an MP3 player or something like that. I hadn't really thought through the GPS thing until this thread. I always assumed I would do the PCT and/or the CDT with just regular old maps. Now I have something to think about.

Tin Man
2011-11-17, 20:13
i have never ever been lost. every time i think i might be lost, i discover that i am right where i am.

Tin Man
2011-11-17, 20:21
There has been so much advancement in technology in all areas, except portable batteries. That may change soon. Many folks have been working on new battery technology, but i think this one has the best shot at changing portable batteries forever, mainly because it simply enhances current battery technology...


Engineers boost battery strength with small holes

Batteries for phones and laptops could soon recharge ten times faster and hold a charge ten times larger than current technology allows.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15735478

sheepdog
2011-11-17, 22:04
Or a corn maze. Or an apple orchard...

...,

john pickett
2011-11-18, 02:54
Thanks Sheepdog.
Fortunately I had just swallowed my coffee before reading the sign.

sheepdog
2011-11-18, 09:26
Thanks Sheepdog.
Fortunately I had just swallowed my coffee before reading the sign.

:star: