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  1. #1
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    GPS for mt biking trails, hiking, and off path/road hunting? Garmin Dakota 20?

    I have a Etrex Legend HCx. It works for what I need hunting in most regards. I did not like that it didn't have an electronic compass, as it would get turned around & direct me in the wrong direction when I was off marked paths just hunting in the open woods. So, I contacted Garmin & they suggested the 3 axis electronic compass, which after doing some research would fit my needs. The main hunting need is that I turn it on, lay down bread crums to see my trail, then be able to get me back to my car location via that bread crum route OR directly back in a straight line.

    I'd also like to mount it to our mt bikes when doing trails that aren't completely marked good. So, somewhere along the line, the Dakota 20 was suggested for such a use. My question is about all the maps that can be purchases OR downloaded for free for it OR another Garmin unit. I realize this comes with a base map, but I'm not even sure what this is. I do have a 24K topo map card that I use for my etrex, so I'm assuming that will be a good addition to a Dakota 20 OR any Garmin without that mapping, correct?

    Can I add additional maps to the memory of a Dakota, other than adding that topo mini SD card. I see it has memory, but not sure how that works. I'm assuming that I can add biking trails to a Dakota from other bikers? Or, from some trail download. Not sure about this key point. For instance, in Michigan, the Pinckney-Potawatomi, just outside Ann Arbor Michigan, I'd love to have a map of that system. Is there a way to add that mapping to this unit OR any other Garmin Unit

    I suppose any info you lend will help me sort out if this Dakota is a good solution for me.

  2. #2
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    For free maps, check gpsfiledepot.com. I think the dakota will be fine, I'd take a hard look at the etrex 30 too. Because it's not touch screen, reports are the screen is easier to read in bright sun from different angles, which would be useful if you mount it to your bars/stem. Yeah, you should be able to use your preloaded card with either. Maps can be loaded to the built in memory on these two.
    I'm looking forward to regretting this.......

  3. #3
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    yep, etrex 30, that has the tilt-compensated 3-axis electronic compass that I need/want, so it may be the way to go.

    I was reading about the etrex 30 & watching youtube reviews & it mentioned having "the first consumer-grade GPS receiver that tracks both GPS and Russian Federation GLONASS satellites simultaneously. When using them together, the receiver has the ability to lock onto 24 more satellites than using GPS alone, ensuring you can “lock on” to a position more quickly" which can't hurt I suppose.

    I'll give it some more research...thanks

  4. #4
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    u might want to rethink about the etrex - after a bit of long term they shut down intermitently due to the vibration/shocks the unit rec'd - something gets disconnected in the unit....there's a forum on it....google it. ANd i think the screen is tiny - quite hard to seriously navigate with. Maybe good for a geocacher handheld but on the mtb the screen is pretty tiny for navigating.

  5. #5
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    As Machoman says, the etrex and other garmin units that used aa batts had some problems with vibration from being mounted on the stem/bars. Apparently this has been rectified in the new units, in the etrex series 10, 20, and 30, and also dakota's, oregon's etc.

    Screen size can be an issue, might be best if you have an REI near you to compare a few. A few years ago I went through the same thing, and decided a etrex vista hcx was the best all-round compromise. After several years of use it died (firmware corruption, not a battery issue) so I comparison shopped again earlier this year and decided that the unit that would best suit my needs (small, light, mapping, long battery life, easy to view in sun) was an etrex 20. Other people will have different needs/preferences. I will say that it seems to pick up a location faster and tracks seem to be more accurate with the Glonass sats enabled. FWIW.
    I'm looking forward to regretting this.......

  6. #6
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    I most likely won't mount it to my stem or bars. I have been carrying my present Etrex Legend HCx in my camelbak & that has worked fine, as I only use it when I'm honestly lost. Otherwise, it is in the pack just gathering our journey. I pulled it out 1 time during a trip in the last 2 years!

    I agree that the screen is small on the Etrex 30, but it is a touch lighter than the Oregon (1.8oz), Montana (5.2oz), or Dakota (.25oz) which will be nice while back packing & more importantly, I've read that the screen is bit easier to read in the sunlight/daytime hours, and I'm hoping that is so BECAUSE MY OLD EYES need every helping hand they can get!

    Quote Originally Posted by Machoman121 View Post
    u might want to rethink about the etrex - after a bit of long term they shut down intermitently due to the vibration/shocks the unit rec'd - something gets disconnected in the unit....there's a forum on it....google it. ANd i think the screen is tiny - quite hard to seriously navigate with. Maybe good for a geocacher handheld but on the mtb the screen is pretty tiny for navigating.

  7. #7
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    ive been asking this same question for days now basically and getting all the wrong answers!!
    i dont want to know my heart rate,i dont want to know how long ot took me to get around a marked trail
    i dont want to get lost and i dont want to use my phone
    now i can start researching these units
    do they make a handlebar/stem mount for these units if i did want to use it that way?
    i would pretty much do what you do and keep it in my pack or even in my pocket

  8. #8
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    The battery vibration problem only happened to me with rechargeable NIMH batteries, which were for some reason a bit shorter than standard AAs.

    When I put lithiium AAs in the Etrex, it never had that issue.

  9. #9
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    Here is a link to a stem mount thing...on sale here!

    Garmin Handheld Series Bike Mount

    Thought this camelbac backpack mounting thingy was a good idea...

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/shop...sories+Landing





    Quote Originally Posted by hotshotzny View Post
    ive been asking this same question for days now basically and getting all the wrong answers!!
    i dont want to know my heart rate,i dont want to know how long ot took me to get around a marked trail
    i dont want to get lost and i dont want to use my phone
    now i can start researching these units
    do they make a handlebar/stem mount for these units if i did want to use it that way?
    i would pretty much do what you do and keep it in my pack or even in my pocket

  10. #10
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    What kind of battery life do you get

  11. #11
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    I don't own the etrex 30 yet. I have a etrex Legend HCx, and I never had it run out of batteries on my 2 day weekenders. I hear that the etrex 30 gets 18-25 hours, depending on the person reviewing it. Did hear that standard AA alkalines, not rechargeables, are better in this unit for battery life AS well as they fit better & won't vibrate and shut the unit down DUE to a lose connection in the battery department.

  12. #12
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    basically, any of the mapping eTrexes, Dakotas, or Oregons with the compass would work for your needs. What differs between them is mostly size, memory, and battery life. I ride with an Oregon 450 when I need maps. I use it for all kinds of other things outdoors, too, and it's pretty solid. On power save, it will go for quite a few days of use with a couple/few hours of runtime per use. Sometimes it'll go a couple of weeks if it's only used a couple days per week.

  13. #13
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    From what i've read - sometimes it's the batteries vibrating or worse there's some kind of broken connection deeper in the unit. I'm hoping my GPSMAP 62s dont develop a problem like that. These units do see quite a lot of violent vibration on a typical mtb ride.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockymtbiker View Post
    Here is a link to a stem mount thing...on sale here!

    Garmin Handheld Series Bike Mount

    Thought this camelbac backpack mounting thingy was a good idea...

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/shop...sories+Landing
    While it looks great but i wonder how long will the velcro last - i see frequent detachings will degarde the velcro and the gps will eventually fall out.

  15. #15
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    my Oregon has been fine. I have used it with regular alkaline AA's, lithium AA's, and currently Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable AA's. no vibration problems. And it has been going strong for a few years. I think I bought it in 2010, IIRC.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I ride with an Oregon 450 when I need maps. I use it for all kinds of other things outdoors, too, and it's pretty solid. On power save, it will go for quite a few days of use with a couple/few hours of runtime per use. Sometimes it'll go a couple of weeks if it's only used a couple days per week.
    Echoing this, except mine's a 400.

    I put Energizer Lithiums in mine at the beginning of a 77 mile backpack trip in early May. I turned it on a half-dozen times a day just to check position relative to water sources and campsites, but didn't have track recording on. Since then I've used it to record several rides, some a few hours long. I think it's still around 75% battery life remaining.
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