Any suggestions on GPS?

I am looking at purchasing at GPS system and have narrowed the search to the Garmin eTrex Vista and the Magellan Meridian Platinum. Does anyone have any experience with either of these systems? Any advice would be very appreciated.


I am using a Lowrance I-Finder with great success. It's small has a great bar mounted holder. I have downloaded onto a 125mb card my entire state with all the roads (even forestry roads), gas stations, stores and tons of other stuff. It's accurate down to width of the road I am on. It's very cool to watch yourself riding down a forestry road! When I get low on gas I just punch in "find Gas" and Viola! directions and milage. For about $200 you can't beat it. Although I have heard good things about both the models your looking for. Good luck.


Does the i-finder that you are using come with mapping software. Which model do you have?


Go with a Garmin. I have alot of experience using gps for aviation purposes and own three garmin handhelds. In my experience with the various gps brands the Garmin is by far the most intuitive and user friendly system. They have a very logical sequence of menus and nav pages. All the gps units will do the same thing as far as giving you a map, bearing and distance information but you will spend way less time flipping through the manual on a Garmin unit. Some of their units are a little more pricy but in my opinion the simplicity of their programs make them worth the price. A e-trex with a good land database should serve your purpose well.

Good Luck,



Thanks for the input. I purchased the Garmin eTrex Vista today. I agree with you that the unit is very intuitive and easy to navigate. I am excited to put it to use this weekend mapping Moab trails. Should be a lot of fun.

Thanks again,



What are you impressions on your new unit. Is that the one with 24mb of memory or 8mb. I've been looking at the Vista line also. Also what deal did you get (i.e. rebate from their website) how much etc..?

By the way, in order to get the whole state map of trails and roads etc.. What did you get and what's the cost of the software?

tks :)

i've had my etrex legend for a little under two years now. i have mixed reviews on it. here's a quick take:

the good:

1. simple user interface

2. aquires position quickly for a lowend unit

3. compact and lightweight

4. price point was good for me at the time of purchase

5. a layperson could use this unit in an emergency without having to be gps savvy

6. very accurate when waypoints collected from unit are compared to actual usgs benchmarks (i.e. ground truthed).

the bad:

1. lcd screen hard to read.

2. hard to set options in the field because advanced settings dug too deep into the UI

the ugly:

1. sporadic upload download connections to my pc...i.e. sort of like hitting a pop machine just right.

2. rounded toggle like button on the front plate, which controls 99% of movement around the UI is a total joke. the button wore out after about 4 months of use. now it's totally unpredictable...somtimes i can hold it down to mark a waypoint and it works...sometimes not.

3. problems with the unit shutting down always seem to come up when i'm on one of those "hell yah i'm glad i'm marking this sweet trail!" times. i've sat with the unit and wasted plenty of time trying to replecate this at home and still can't figure out what it is. and no it's not a ruggedized problem or battery shake problem.


i think the extrex line is great if you want to get into gps or want it purely for the "gee wiz" factor. but if you are planning on using it to undertake a large scale , long term project or plan to rely on it day in and day out riding, i would look to some of the higher end models.


Anyone tried/heard the Rhinos ? Radio might be handy for "you guys comin' or what ?" :)

Brian VT

I have the Garmin RINO 120, and use Garmins MapSource software. I bought this unit because of the built in radio, and carry it in my fannypack. Someday I'd like to mount it to my bars, but haven't found a good mount yet for this unit.

I load up maps of the areas that I plan on riding thru, and mark base camp. Here is a review of this Garmin unit:

I like the fact that I can beam my location to others in my party that have the same unit, which several do.

I would recommend not using Garmin's handlebar mount for the Rino. I had a Rino 120, until it bailed out of holder at 65 on a gravel raod in Baja (it's still down there... somewhere!). My friend had same set-up and his Rino fell out twice. Second time it fell into the drivechain and no longer works. It might be possible to use zip-ties tohelp secure it, but never had the chance to try it out.

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