Opinion Anyone own or used a Garmin GPSMAP 64?

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by axellotta, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. axellotta

    axellotta Hard Yards

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    Hi all, so after another late afternoon start to a ski tour last weekend trying to find the hut on a moonless night in deteriorating weather using map, compass and iPhone (with fast decreasing battery) I have decided to bite the bullet and invest in a handheld GPS. Leaning towards the GPSMAP64 / 64S as I don't want to have to remove my gloves and like the robustness of the design.

    Does anyone have an opinion on this model or similar? It seems that a lot of the reviews for GPS units are from the Geocaching community and no disrespect to them a lot of the things they rate as highly important for their particular type of train-spotting I have no requirement for. I am just after a reliable, accurate GPS that I can use to navigate with (map and compass as a backup) during bushwalking in the summer and ski-touring in the winter.

    I'm also tossing up whether to splash out the extra for the 64S for the electronic compass (I have no interest in the smart-phone connectivity (WTF is with everything having to be connected all the damn time, Isn't the point to get outdoors and unplug for a while?!!), or will the fact that I will have a standard compass always on hand mean that the electronic compass is not really required (very interested on people's opinions on this one).

    Cheers!
     
  2. Slowman

    Slowman Addicted
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    I have not used the model you are looking at but I have been using a Garmin Oregon 450 for some years and it has worked fine. I never use the electronic compass as I just use a normal compass if need be. Battery life is a bit ordinary if you leave it on.

    What I also found was that the sheer amount and weight of the electronics I was carrying got irritating - camera, phone, Epirb and GPS. This season I reduced it down to two items - a newer iPhone with a better camera and the very nifty Garmin Inreach Explorer which is a combined GPS/satellite text message/Epirb. It does require a monthly fee for service but you can suspend this if you are not using it for a period.
     
  3. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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  4. GS

    GS A Local
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    I use the earlier GPSMap 60 and have been very happy using it walking/skiing, as a navigator on a motorbike and some sailing. It also has the compass but I've never really used it.

    The OSM mapset is also pretty good these days as a free alternative
     
  5. iagreewithhim

    iagreewithhim One of Us
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    I've had a GPS60 (basic b/w, no maps version) since 2006 and it's still going strong. I find the operating system much more usable than Magellan's and the functions do everything I need (except show maps). I also would not bother with the compass - it's easy to find north with the basic GPS by just taking a couple of steps in any direction. I'm looking for a map-capable upgrade and will almost certainly go for something in the GPS 60 series.
     
  6. weerab

    weerab One of Us
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    I met a guy at fitzys hut who had just sold his garmin as his iphone was better. It looked great to me much better screen he was using an app wbose name i cant recall. He also sold his lumix point and shoot as iphone was better!
     
  7. zapruda

    zapruda Hard Yards

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    I got rid of the GPS a few years ago in favour of an iPhone with Gaia gps (app) and a powerbank to keep it going. The app is free and can be loaded with free NSW 25k LPI topos.

    It’s faster than the old etrex 30x and way easier to read and use.

    You can do all this offline of course. You don’t need data or reception. I find the iPhone very accurate.
     
  8. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    Where did you get the free topos?
     
  9. iagreewithhim

    iagreewithhim One of Us
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    I've tried to use the GPS function in my Samsung S4 a few times and found it bloody useless. Slow to refresh, inaccurate, clunky to use and short battery life. My Garmin will go for 24 hrs plus on a set of batteries; the phone with GPS and screen active is dead in a couple of hours.
     
  10. zapruda

    zapruda Hard Yards

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  11. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    Yep.
    Or Avenza on a phone - allows you to use free NSW topos and in Vic free self-defined georeferenced PDFs.
    But for walking and skiing I want something more robust than a phone.
     
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  12. jonathanc

    jonathanc One of Us
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    I have a ~4 year old GPS Map 64. Does all the basics but the standard maps are not great. I also find the menu incredibly unintuitive. However, the battery lasts long enough for multi-day trips unlike a phone.

    I will probably update it soon.
     
  13. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    where are the free topos for Avenza?
     
  14. ecowain

    ecowain One of Us
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    An attempted Avenza summary of getting free maps for nsw. May be able to get it to work elsewhere if there are other states that supply free topo pdfs, haven't tried yet.



    Google and go to "nsw sixmaps", free e-topo, hit download for the pdf e-topo that you want (need to know which map sheets you want, don't think you can do a bulk download, then on...

    (a) iphone, it opens a url in safari, copy this url, open avenza, hit plus symbol, “tap to enter url of map”, paste into avenza, amd watch it download and become available

    (b) android, download the pdf onto your device, then open with avenza. Depending on your device you may also be able to exactly follow the iphone steps. My wife could, my tablet couldn't.

    Hope you can work it out,..
     
  15. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    Thanks
    I’ll give it a whirl

    I’ve purchased a few topos on Avenza - at $1.50 or so it seems reasonable.
     
  16. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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  17. axellotta

    axellotta Hard Yards

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    Thanks Ziggy, yes that review was sent me down the path of the 64s in the first place. I am also aware that the base maps are less than perfect but I have a friend that knows how to get very detailed TOPO maps for free and manually reference them so you don’t have to spend $100s to buy from Garmin or the like.

    In regards to the other comments about just using your phone, this is something that I really wanted to work as I already carry one (iPhone 5 in life proof case) but especially in cold weather the battery drain is IMO unusable (78% to 9% in about 10 minutes) using ViewRanger. Yes I could carry a external battery but then the waterproofness of the phone is compromised and with the extra weight and bulk you are back in the same ballpark as a dedicated GPS anyway.

    It’s been interesting to read the comments about the lack of requirement for the inbuilt electronic compass of the 64s, to be honest this was the only feature I was worried I might miss but coupled with my complete lack of interest in the other connectivity features of the 64s means I am further leaning towards the straight 64 with its associated cost saving.

    Many thanks all,

    Tristan.
     
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  18. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    Yeah, it's not hard to dangle a compass from your neck and it is a bit of an interruption to pull out a GPS for a reading .
    Though these days I have a compass in the watch which gets used most of all.
     
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  19. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty
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    All the Garmin 6x units are great. Great hardware, good battery life, tough, durable. They are always my recommended unit.

    Phones can be nice and cool and everything, with hi-res screens etc., but the positioning is actually often not robust. From a bit of work I've seen assessing different mobile devices for mobile GIS data collection, it's clear that different phone manufacturers apply all sorts of funky and undocumented post-processing to GPS positions, which means they are often not reliable, or sensible, in a lot of cases.
     
  20. Alfred14

    Alfred14 Hard Yards

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    Out of interest which phone models have you been testing?
     
  21. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty
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    I haven't been doing it myself, but colleagues have. Generally the most ubiquitous phones amongst undergrad university students, iPhones and various Android, though mostly Samsung. They are both all over the show, but a typical problem is that the commonly work to snap your location to known transport infrastructure/points of interest etc. In some cases (like following walking directions around a city) this can be pretty useful. For lots of other applications it's not.

    There was a paper published that examined how difficult this makes analysis of mobile app based fitness and location tracking. I believe it also raises concerns for the use of such data for evidential purposes.
     
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  22. elray

    elray Hard Yards

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    I use one with work all the time. useing gis system for setting out baits and transects. highly recomended. use also for bushwalking. I use satellite image and basemap all the time. units get hard workout / trashed at work and have not failed yet
     
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  23. axellotta

    axellotta Hard Yards

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    How does the actual battery life compare to the claimed in your experience?

    I have just found a place offering the 64s for $299 which is less than the 64. Do you know if the 64s has any drawbacks compared to the 64 (for example I think it has a better backlit screen which this sucks more power).

    This thread has certainly become quite lively, very interesting to read about everyone’s experiences and opinions.
     
  24. iagreewithhim

    iagreewithhim One of Us
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    My 64 goes for a genuine 24+ hours on two AA alkaline batteries if I don't use the backlight.
     
  25. axellotta

    axellotta Hard Yards

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    FYI everyone, there is a store on eBay (no frills electronics) that has the 64s on for $373 but eBay currently have a 20% promotion which brings the price to $299. Offer ends tomorrow.
     
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  26. Seth

    Seth Pool Room
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    My love of new gadgets is making my finger very itchy.