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Garmin eTrex GPS

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If you like to hike back to fishing holes that are off the beaten path - like me - then a hand-held GPS is a must have tool to keep in your vest.  I just upgraded my old (produced in 1999) standard, base model eTrex with the eTrex Venture HC (pictured below).  The new device set me back around $170, but has tons more features than the old one.

 

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The Garmin eTrex Venture HC has pre-loaded maps (although somewhat limited) and can download (for a price) detailed city streets, topographical and marine maps.  I'm planning on getting the topo maps so I know whether that 1 mile hike includes several hundred feet of elevation change with it.  I can't tell you how many times I have been burnt by my old GPS that didn't give an indication of the elevation until I was standing there.  By then, it's too late.  So far it seems to be accurate and includes some really cool "throw-in" features like the best time of day to hunt/fish, ability to add notes, color display, good resolution (not great, but good), stop watch, games, calculator and other stuff I will probably never use.  So far I'm really happy with it.  I looked at many other products, read other reviews, and this device got high marks even considering its low price. 

 

Our 9 month-old Golden Retriever puppy decided that the old eTrex was better suited for chewing than mapping.

 

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The display is black-n-white, doesn't allow for anything more than a flat "this is where I've been" route, has limited storage, very limited features, and my favorite: it didn't come with cables to connect to my computer.  I had to buy a special cable after the fact.  Also, there is no software so I had to find a free 3rd party application to help me transfer way-points to Google Earth.  On the plus side, it is water resistant (for those days I take an unscheduled bath in the creek), has (or had) good battery life, and apparently makes a good chew-toy.

 

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The culprit.  A cute little chewing machine...

 

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