This is what I have:
Usually a map of the area. Either one of those official maps with the topo lines and lat /long coordinates, or more often, a simple trail map this is missing this info.
Possibly a slightly older smart phone without a data plan that my brother upgraded away from.
A willingness to throw 100-150$ at this problem if necessary
A compass (although I have never needed to use it)
The main reason for me to use a gps is if I come up to a trail junction, and I can't tell which junction it is on the map. Or I happen to see a dirt road cutting across a trail and am not sure which one counts as the trail and which is the road. Previously, my brother would whip out his cell phone, and after some cussing at the gps lock, eventually he will come up with a coordinate. Either I will locate it on my paper map, or his phone will have a cached topo map and show that we are slightly south of this lump here, and west of that other lump. Sometimes he will also have a cached satellite image that shows which are the narrow trails, and which are the wide forest service roads.
Some features that I am pretty sure that the smartphone could do would be
1) upload the trail map and overlay it with an actual map with coordinates and topo features
2) somehow download a strava or garmin connect loop and let us follow that.
I think that's all I really want it to do for now, unless I discover some cool features. I don't think I care that much about recording and upload my own tracks. I already have a cycling computer, but don't care that much about speed or distance anyway.
So I was thinking of a couple possibilities:
1) The cell phone is good enough to work. I won't have to buy anything (yay).
2) The phone's gps is too crappy, and I should just buy a super basic GPS unit that just gives me the coordinates, and I and the off line cell phone will do the rest.
3) Get a gps with a screen that lets you upload and overlay maps like the Garmin Dakota 10 or Etrex 20. Ditch the cell phone. (I still carry a dumb phone, btw)
4) Pay a bit more and get the Dakota 20 / Etrex 30 that has a built in compass, so at least the screen knows how to point forwards. (I don't see what good the altimeter really does)
Any suggestions or advice? Thanks
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