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  1. #1
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    Which GPS models can do this?

    OK I am admittedly new to GPS, and was hoping to get some of you experts with real experience to answer a few questions. I rode a trail last fall that I basically got lost on, and this was my fault. We probably had no business taking on a ride of this level without either going with someone who knew the area, or having better maps and the knowledge to use them. So having said that, I am looking for constructive feedback about the ability of today's mapping GPS, from those of you who have usits that can do this. Thanks in advance.

    I understand if a person purchases a Garmin device, they gain access to Garmin Connect. I am hopeful this will allow me to see a litany of downloadable files.

    •For those of you who have this service, does this allow me to download for free GPX files from others?

    •Am I correct in assuming GPX files once imported into certain models, will give me turn by turn directions for trails? I want and need the ability to see not only roads, but specifically trails. Are these file types the ones that give me breadcrumbs showing me exactly which way to go?

    •If I can import another's GPX file, is it really detailed, essentially telling me the trail on the left in so many yards as well as the Map? How detailed is it?

    •Can anyone tell me if there are GPX files for the Cannell Trail near Kernville? I got turned around there last year near Big Meadow and Cannell Meadow and it was confusing to me and my Brother who rode it.

    •Is the Edge 800 a model that will do all this and more? Are there other models you might recommend for less money that will do true mapping and allow one to import and export files easily?

    •Would I need to purchase a map for this device to see the Southern Sierra area? I will be doing at leat two rides there this year, and really do not want to get lost. Thanks again for your time and detailed feedback. Hopefully you can suggest models that do this well.

  2. #2
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    Which GPS for you

    1. Anyone can have free access to garmin connect. You can go there create and account and search for gps files of trails that you are interested in, view them in google earth, see how much climbing there is etc etc.

    2. Can can display any GPX (or file that can be made into a gpx) on most garmin GPS devices.

    3. I have never used a turn by turn feature to guide me when offroad. I think trails have too many turns and the ladys voice would seriously F with my chi. when you upload a gpx file your gps will display a line (or multiple lines of different colors of you upload more then one file at a time.) You can just look at the device when you get to an intersection and see which way to go. Yes its basically a breadcrumb trail to follow with a dot every few feet.

    4. The amount if detail depends on the map. You will be able to tell from zooming in the map how close you are to intersections. If you get a device with basic GPS abilily (Edge 200 Edge 500 Edge 305) you cannot upload a map at all. You just see a line which is your file, and a dot where you are. The more basic devices also cannot upload more then one file at a time say if you wanted to upload all of the trails in a trail network. The edge 305 is the only one of those 3 that allow you to zoom the map, enter waypoints or even view a map of where you have been which can be very useful for finding the car when riding in unfamiler areas.

    5. Let me google that for you

    6. The Edge 800 will do all that you want and more but its a very expensive unit. The least expensive unit that will do what you want is the edge 305 but its navagation capability is pretty limited and if navigation is your primary concern I don't think you will be happy with a 305.

    7. I think you would be happy with an Edge 800 705 605, Or one of the Oregon series GPS units. My opinion based on what you have provided is that the Garmin Oregon 450 is probably the best fit for you. They have come down in price and can do everything that you want.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalfaraway View Post
    1. Anyone can have free access to garmin connect. You can go there create and account and search for gps files of trails that you are interested in, view them in google earth, see how much climbing there is etc etc.

    2. Can can display any GPX (or file that can be made into a gpx) on most garmin GPS devices.

    3. I have never used a turn by turn feature to guide me when offroad. I think trails have too many turns and the ladys voice would seriously F with my chi. when you upload a gpx file your gps will display a line (or multiple lines of different colors of you upload more then one file at a time.) You can just look at the device when you get to an intersection and see which way to go. Yes its basically a breadcrumb trail to follow with a dot every few feet.

    4. The amount if detail depends on the map. You will be able to tell from zooming in the map how close you are to intersections. If you get a device with basic GPS abilily (Edge 200 Edge 500 Edge 305) you cannot upload a map at all. You just see a line which is your file, and a dot where you are. The more basic devices also cannot upload more then one file at a time say if you wanted to upload all of the trails in a trail network. The edge 305 is the only one of those 3 that allow you to zoom the map, enter waypoints or even view a map of where you have been which can be very useful for finding the car when riding in unfamiler areas.

    5. Let me google that for you

    6. The Edge 800 will do all that you want and more but its a very expensive unit. The least expensive unit that will do what you want is the edge 305 but its navagation capability is pretty limited and if navigation is your primary concern I don't think you will be happy with a 305.

    7. I think you would be happy with an Edge 800 705 605, Or one of the Oregon series GPS units. My opinion based on what you have provided is that the Garmin Oregon 450 is probably the best fit for you. They have come down in price and can do everything that you want.
    Thaks for the detailed response. Having said that, I did Google it, and if you go to Bill's website for example, there no longer are GPX files there. There is a link, but it simply does not work not does the link to his Cannell Video, just the older ride is up there. Also, several of the other links on your Google search do not in fact contain a GPX file for download.

    Regardless, I do appreciate the response, and am hopeful I can find a detailed map (gpx) of this ride. To clarify, I guess I really do not need turn by turn voice response Navi, but do need a clear line to follow that shows the trails so I easily know which way to go. Does this bring the other models back into contention? I was looking at the etrx 30 too. Your thoughts?

  4. #4
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    Garmin Edge 800

    Yes to all, except turn by turn directions à la an automobile GPS. But you don't need them since you have the route overlaid on a topo map (which is free). Several gpx files for the Cannell Trail and Plunge are on Garmin Connect. Most people who speak of the 800 here have absolutely no experience with it. I also have a 705, which I won't use since the 800 is so much better. Expensive? How do you like getting lost

    I've done the Plunge 13 times, but not when I had a GPS.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post
    Yes to all, except turn by turn directions à la an automobile GPS. But you don't need them since you have the route overlaid on a topo map (which is free). Several gpx files for the Cannell Trail and Plunge are on Garmin Connect. Most people who speak of the 800 here have absolutely no experience with it. I also have a 705, which I won't use since the 800 is so much better. Expensive? How do you like getting lost

    I've done the Plunge 13 times, but not when I had a GPS.
    Ah yes Steve. I am very familiar with some of your travels, and have read with great interest your tales of the plunge, like the first time you rode it. 2003? As for how I like getting lost, well it sucks. We rode Cannell last Fall, and perhaps not unlike your first time in some regards, it kicked my butt. With our "detours" we logged 34 miles. Where I really got turned around was at Big Meadow. We took a fire road, but it took us around the back side of the meadow, and finally we back-tracked and found the trail. From there, we went up a STEEP canyon, and crossed another fire road, which we took the wrong way for a spell. Finally yet another climb, and into Cannell Meadow. By the time we hit the Plunge, it was getting dark. Not fun when you are a Cherry. I am quite a ways removed from a Noob now, but humble enough to know I need some form of Navigation. .

    Well fast forward, I'm now running tubeless, finally acceped WAY less air in my tires, lost 25 lbs, and several hundred miles later, we are going back up there, hopefully EARLY June. I do NOT want to get lost again, and am looking at the Etrex 30. What do you think of this model? I do NOT need turn by turn, but do need to be able to see trails with some detail, and follow a line. As you mentioned, there are Cannell gpx out there from what you and others have stated. Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by trmn8er View Post
    OK I am admittedly new to GPS, and was hoping to get some of you experts with real experience to answer a few questions. I rode a trail last fall that I basically got lost on, and this was my fault. We probably had no business taking on a ride of this level without either going with someone who knew the area, or having better maps and the knowledge to use them. So having said that, I am looking for constructive feedback about the ability of today's mapping GPS, from those of you who have usits that can do this. Thanks in advance.

    I understand if a person purchases a Garmin device, they gain access to Garmin Connect. I am hopeful this will allow me to see a litany of downloadable files.
    as mentioned, anyone can get a free account and access and download tracks from Garmin Connect. It is not the only site, either. There are dozens, and more pop up all the time. Plus, many folks share .gpx and .kml (which can easily be convterted to .gpx) on their personal websites.

    •Am I correct in assuming GPX files once imported into certain models, will give me turn by turn directions for trails? I want and need the ability to see not only roads, but specifically trails. Are these file types the ones that give me breadcrumbs showing me exactly which way to go?
    no turn-by-turn from a .gpx file. there ARE routable trail maps out there, but the software to create them is very expensive so not many are available. and oftentimes, the ones that are are outdated or not legal for bikes. so basically, do not count on them. following an existing .gpx file, the GPS will only tell you when you deviate from that route. And it will do so by beeping and giving an on-screen prompt.

    •If I can import another's GPX file, is it really detailed, essentially telling me the trail on the left in so many yards as well as the Map? How detailed is it?
    sorta. it depends on the detail of the file you've downloaded. sometimes, you will find really detailed files, but they occupy a lot of memory. long rides are often simplified in order to load them onto a GPS, so they are less detailed. the longer the ride, the less detailed it will need to be to put onto your GPS. most models nowadays can handle tracks with 10,000 points. On the highest detail level (1 second recording intervals usually), you will max that out in just a couple of hours. so if you have a 6 hour ride or a multi-day bikepacking route, you will need to load a simplified version onto your GPS, even though you might find a file online with far more than 10,000 points (I have spliced together multiple tracks before and had more than 20,000 points in the file).

    •Can anyone tell me if there are GPX files for the Cannell Trail near Kernville? I got turned around there last year near Big Meadow and Cannell Meadow and it was confusing to me and my Brother who rode it.
    Google is your friend.

    •Is the Edge 800 a model that will do all this and more? Are there other models you might recommend for less money that will do true mapping and allow one to import and export files easily?
    it will do that. many of the handheld models would work just as well and cost less.

    •Would I need to purchase a map for this device to see the Southern Sierra area? I will be doing at leat two rides there this year, and really do not want to get lost. Thanks again for your time and detailed feedback. Hopefully you can suggest models that do this well.
    GPSFileDepot - Free Custom Garmin Maps, Ximage hosting, tutorials, articles and more for your GPSr is your one-stop shop for free topos for Garmin GPS receivers. There are also some trail map overlays there, depending on the area. One thing you need to be aware of is that the .gpx file format by itself can support all sorts of things, but the GPS interprets it VERY specifically. as far as a Garmin is concerned, a .gpx file may contain ONLY points, ONLY routes, or ONLY tracks. You may load multiple .gpx files onto the receiver, but it can only display one route at a time and a limited number of point files at a time. points aren't an issue because thousands can be put into one .gpx file and all displayed at once. but the track limitation is a problem. especially because that track MUST be a continuous line. you can try to load a .gpx file that represents a network trail layout on your computer screen, but the GPS will chop it up into unintelligible segments.

    there is a way around that limitation, however. using free software, you can create a transparent basemap overlay of that trail network so it sits on top of your topo map layer. you can make it routable with the aforementioned expensive software, but just having it visible on the map screen is a huge help. that can show you the whole trail network if you wish to do a little free-navigating. this essentially gives your GPS a similar display as would a printed map of that same trail network. you could still overlay a .gpx file of a track you wanted to follow and have the rest of the network for reference purposes. GPSFileDepot - Free Custom Garmin Maps, Ximage hosting, tutorials, articles and more for your GPSr has the tutorials on how to make this happen.

  7. #7
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    Getting lost

    Quote Originally Posted by trmn8er View Post
    I do NOT want to get lost again, and am looking at the Etrex 30. What do you think of this model? I do NOT need turn by turn, but do need to be able to see trails with some detail, and follow a line.
    I decided to get a GPS after being left on the trail in Sedona with no idea of where I was or how to get out. I know nothing of the Etrex 30, so I won't offer an opinion on it. But why are you considering a handheld when the 800 is designed for mountain biking, and is designed to fit on a bike? It fits perfectly on the stem so it is easy to use. It shows the route over a topo map too. And once you use a touchscreen you will never settle for less.

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    Nate, I was hoping you would chime in. So I am a little confused by the last part of your post pertaining to only being able to view either points, routes, or tracks. Would I not only need to see one of these to be able to follow it? In other words, would importing a gpx file with less than the maximum points compatible with my device not show me a line to follow? All I need to navigate is essentially to be able to follow a line right? I assume a line could be many things, either points, tracks or route? Thank you...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post
    I decided to get a GPS after being left on the trail in Sedona with no idea of where I was or how to get out. I know nothing of the Etrex 30, so I won't offer an opinion on it. But why are you considering a handheld when the 800 is designed for mountain biking, and is designed to fit on a bike? It fits perfectly on the stem so it is easy to use. It shows the route over a topo map too. And once you use a touchscreen you will never settle for less.
    Yup, I want the 800. It has all the bells and whistles, just hoping I could avoid dropping $450.00. I do like it's look, screen, maps, Bike mount, it is sexy to be sure, it's just a boat load of money. I may pull the trigger on it... I have a 110mm Ritchey stem, and suspect there is plenty of room for it too.

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    Tree Fort Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by trmn8er View Post
    Yup, I want the 800. It has all the bells and whistles, just hoping I could avoid dropping $450.00. .
    Tree Fort Bikes is selling it for $399 and first time customers got 10% off when I bought mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf View Post
    Tree Fort Bikes is selling it for $399 and first time customers got 10% off when I bought mine.
    That would be pretty compelling. I send them email asking if they could honor that. Thanks Steve.

  12. #12
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    I have an etrex 30 in the mail on its way to me right now. I had the 305 previously and was considering the 805, but after a thorough review of features and considering my endurance racing, bikepacking, and exploration applications, I decided the etrex 30 won hands down. Battery life and replacement of AAs was a feature that was highly desired, as well as a couple others...like an extra $150+ in my pocket.

    Consider your intended application and the features you need, do the research, then pull the trigger. It sounded like you were possibly already decided on the etrex, so don't be dissuaded if, after doing all the research, it is still the model that fits your application best.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trmn8er View Post
    Nate, I was hoping you would chime in. So I am a little confused by the last part of your post pertaining to only being able to view either points, routes, or tracks. Would I not only need to see one of these to be able to follow it? In other words, would importing a gpx file with less than the maximum points compatible with my device not show me a line to follow? All I need to navigate is essentially to be able to follow a line right? I assume a line could be many things, either points, tracks or route? Thank you...
    GPS data consists of 3 types: points, lines, and routes (as per Garmin's definition, anyway).

    points are just points. you can say you want to navigate to one, and the gps will tell you the distance and direction to that point "as-the-crow-flies". when you get there, it tells you. you wouldn't want to navigate a trail with points. but points are a bit outside the discussion. the GPS handles them differently than tracks or routes.

    only one track or route can be displayed at a time. a track is simply a detailed recording of where someone has been. you can have your GPS follow it, or follow it backwards. it will only tell you when you deviate from that track. "courses" in fitness models work this way and compare your current performance with past performance.

    routes are a mix between points and tracks. routes are lines connected by discrete points. I don't like to use them on trails because the connecting lines do not show you what to expect between points the way the detail of a track would. typically, you set a "route point" at intersections, and the GPS will prompt you that a turn is upcoming. routes are good for road rides.

    if you load a .gpx file under the maximum number of track points that represents a continuous line (rather than a network), then yes, the GPS will show that line on the screen when you choose to follow it. it will not show any other files that may be loaded onto the GPS at the same time.

    But why are you considering a handheld when the 800 is designed for mountain biking, and is designed to fit on a bike? It fits perfectly on the stem so it is easy to use. It shows the route over a topo map too. And once you use a touchscreen you will never settle for less.
    I found that the Edge models did not work for me, either. I did not use courses or any of the workout features of the GPS. I only used the HRM and wheel sensor for a few months while I was rehabbing. those features just were not very important to me on the bike.

    while the Edge models are designed to fit on the bike, many of the newer handhelds ALSO fit on the bike just fine. It appears to have been at least a design consideration. The Oregons, Dakotas, and eTrex models can fit just fine. And if you've got a tiny, short stem and can't fit it there, there's the handlebars, top tube, or any number of accessory mounts. I'm liking the ones that replace the top cap on the stem (Phil Wood and Purely Custom offer some like this). My Oregon has plenty of functionality for the bike. There's a "Fitness" activity screen that gives me a start/stop and a reset button like the Edge. It supports ANT+ so it can use a HRM or wheel sensor if I so chose to add it. It does not support power, IIRC, but that's not something I ever have a desire to dabble with. I also prefer user-replaceable batteries. I use Sanyo Eneloops and I have a couple of sets. So on long rides, I can bring multiple sets of charged batteries and be good for days. Plus, the GPS is functional for activities not related to the bike. I can hike with it, take it paddling, go find a geocache, use it hunting, whatever. There are a lot of good reasons NOT to buy an Edge. Not the least of which is the price comparison. I bought my Oregon for $250 1.5yrs ago. Even at $360, the Edge 800 is a lot more expensive.

    The eTrex 30 offers a lot of functionality of the Oregon. There's some it doesn't have, but it does have support for the Russian GLONASS satellite network, so it has more satellites to choose from when trying to pin down your location. If you specifically don't want a touch screen, it's a very feature rich model worth considering. Garmin's product pages can help you do a feature-by-feature comparison. Unfortunately you can't do that so easily with models in different product lines (you can't compare an Edge to an eTrex, for example).

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