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Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Best GPS to purchase for a starter?


Postby meridian » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:37 pm

Hi everyone,

First of all apologies if this has been asked before, I couldnt find anything on the forums (probably there is, but being new I couldnt find anything).

I've been slowly getting into walking and climbing, and absolutely love it. Nothing like it. My favourite so far has been Conic Hill and Ben'An. Just yesterday we decided to venture out and explore Douglas and its surrounding area's (I live 4.3 Miles from Douglas so keeping to the limit!) and while it was brilliant, we did get lost in one part where my mapping didnt help.

So the question is, what kind of GPS is best for starting out? I'd prefer to have something user friendly, and to be able to download/use with walking highlands GPS files.

Thank you for your replies, I look forward to them.

Best,
An avid adventurer
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Re: Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Postby jolly47roger » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:30 pm

Consider whether you really need a GPS. If you have a smartphone then, with an appropriate App, you have all the functionality of a GPS. The two things to worry about are battery life and waterproofing. You can carry a rechargeable battery that will be good for a few days and put the phone in something like an Aquapac. One thing not to worry about is cellular coverage as most Apps download maps at home and you can use the GPS in 'airplane mode' to prolong the battery.
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Re: Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Postby meridian » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:36 pm

Ahh brilliant, thank you for your suggestion bud. I didnt even think of this. Would you recommend one such app? I'll have a look at the appstore now.
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Re: Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Postby Marty_JG » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:40 pm

ViewRanger is probably the most popular app for Walk Highlands people and it's the official partner app. It's on App Store and Google Play. You can also download the Walk Highlands routes directly from ViewRanger instead of downloading them from the site an uploading them to your phone.

For your phone if you turn Airplane Mode on you should still get GPS but your "phone" stuff switches off saving battery life.
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Re: Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Postby davekeiller » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:52 pm

I'd second the advice to use a smartphone (assuming you already have one).
What GPS is a bit of a vexed question, and it slightly depends on what you plan to do with it. If you just want a grid reference to locate yourself, then pretty much anything will do. Fancier units have all sorts of colour screens and mapping options that I don't feel the need for, but some people like that sort of thing.
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Re: Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Postby meridian » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:22 pm

Thank you all for your suggestions and replies, I’m not the tech-iest individual as you can probably tell! I do have an iPhone and the view ranger app is brilliant. I just bought a years subscription for £4.99 and it’s given me access to a lot of stuff, including gps navigation. They had helpful videos on how to use etc and it was great.

Thank you all again, and stay safe!
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Re: Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Postby Tringa » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:20 am

As you have just bought a subscription to a mapping app this is probably academic, but there is also the free OS Locate app -

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/os-locate

It doesn't have a map but will, via the GPS, give you your six figure grid reference(and altitude) so you can locate yourself on a map.

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Re: Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Postby tweedledog » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:09 am

Do bear in mind that a key issue here is battery life. Like you, I have an iPhone and, of course, you cannot swap a new battery into that. In cold weather an iPhone will run down pretty quickly - not a welcome event in the Scottish hills in winter. The virtue of dedicated GPS is that you can carry spare AA batteries for it and easily swap them in.
I got my first GPS in 2002 (an eTrex Summit) at a time when there was a lot of scepticism about these newfangled thingies when compared to map and compass. The first time I used it I got caught in a blizzard on the North York Moors and as a test I decided to use it to get me back down to safety. It worked a treat and I continued to use it for planning walks, putting in waypoints, and all the rest of what it offered. A few years ago I thought I'd quite like one with maps and now have a Garmin 62s which also works fine and uses the blessed AA batteries. And as a treat for my 75th birthday i added a Garmin Fenix 3 watch which provides all sorts of entertaining information, as well as behaving like a bigger GPS.
If you are going to stick with the phone, then I'd echo the comment above about OS Locate. A good little app used in conjunction with a paper map. And by the way, ancient person that I am, I still carry map and compass and would recommend anybody to do so. Always worth having a backup...
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Re: Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Postby maremalin » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:59 am

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Re: Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Postby china88 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:41 pm

Meridian

Couple of points;

If you are going to use your phone to navigate put it into Airplane mode when navigating you will save battery and still be able to use the GPS signal. Works on Iphone 7.

One thing to always check before you commit to app navigation is does the relevant app let me print off the map that my route is on. I believe Viewranger does but not to scale. The crucial thing if you ever need to navigate by compass is for the app to let you print the map to scale. I personally like to print off my routes on a map (to scale ) and use that for my primary navigation and then use the GPS to double check my mistakes :).

There is a good review here of printing your own maps https://www.alexroddie.com/2019/01/skills-guide-modernise-your-mountain-navigation.html

Enjoy your Viewranger app
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Re: Best GPS to purchase for a starter?

Postby Marty_JG » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:54 pm

When you decide you have the confidence to move from summer trails to winter expeditions you're going to need a significant amount of kit and some new skills, don't be shy about asking here when that time comes.
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