Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Membership now as great as the outdoors!
Already a member? Take a look at the Co-op Members section of the community.
Ready to join? Explore all of the benefits here.

Looking for help with a GPS

Hi Folks,

This is my first post. 

I need some Garmin hand held advice.

I am a Meadow Rover at Mt Rainier NP. One of my assignments is to report back to the rangers any incidents needing their attention. I need to give exact coordinates.

For many years, I have used a Garmin e trex. I gives me my coordinates and that's all I need.  There are no maps to speak and I am an old school paper map guy anyways.

Well my e trex died on me and need to find a repair shop or buy a replacement. Any ideas.

Meadow Rover 70. 


4 Replies

You can use an app on your smart phone assuming you have one that is relatively recent. Smart phones have GPS.   There are a number of apps that will give you a simple position to those that do sophiticated mapping.

Another idea is to get a Garmin InReach.  I like the mini.  Then you can send the incident directly to the Rangers viaInReach's satellite messaging. That does require an active subscription that will cost you $200 - $300 a year...can be less if you only need it for a few months a year.

Or just get another eTrex since you know how to use it and they are relatively inexpensive.


I bought a Mini and returned it for the 66i.  I did not like the "mini screen" nor the difficulty in typing messages scrolling forever one letter, number, space...etc. at a time.  Try it.!  Yes, I could in my nice warm living room.  But that's not going to be easy out there when it's cold etc. and it hit's the fan and you are cold. Yes, I know you can type in some messages ahead of time, but if you have to talk with SAR, those won't work.  Plus you would most likely bring your smartphone for easier typing messages and navigating.  But IMHO are NOT great devices in the cold.  (I just witnessed a girl's go dead on Sat. with temps in the upper teens).  They are awkward and fragile.  I tried but, was not going to work for me.  So I got the 66i and it's a lot quicker to type out a message.  It has a much better battery life than a cell.  It's a rugged GPS with a much better map on it than I have with my Oregon 650 with a 24k Topo SD card installed, as far as accurate trails go.  The screen is the same size as the Oregon, (wish it was a little bigger) but it will do.  I bought mine on sale at REI $499.  That's less than half of my iPhone.  Also remember that you don't have to get the inReach service to use the gps part of it.  It's actually a very good gps with inReach capabilities.  That's my take.



I also have several generations of etrex, but that was then, this is now,  IMO your absolute best bet is to get a 'map app' for your phone. 

Gaia is the best one on the market hands down!

You can get your coordinates, view downloaded maps, with FANTASTIC visibility, record a track, upload a route, etc, etc, etc.

The battery life, cold weather  issues are not a valid argument as all  E navaids have the same concerns, keep them warm, keep them dry, keep them charged.

Worried about batteries?  Throw a small rechargeable battery pack in your pack. 

Pro tip - put your phone on airplane mode to use the navaids/gps functions, else your phone keeps looking for service and uses up battery life.

Pro tip - turn the thing off until you need it.

ps - I've been using my first inreach mini for about a month now and 2 short backpacking trips.  I can send as many of the 3 free pre written messages (I compose the messages, so one has to be clever) to as many folks as I want (you have to put the email addresses into the garmin website prior to your trip). Any more than your 3 pre-composed messages, and they charge you. (based upon the plan you selected, mine was the 'freedom' plan/cheapest)

So it's basically your SOS beacon with the ability to let your family/friends know you are on schedule.  You can get a grid coordinate, pay additional for a weather update, but the screen is about 1" or less square, so forget about using maps.

But you have to pay a subscription for all of the features, including the SOS beacon, so I'll deactivate my subscription when not using and use my resQlink beacon in the meantime.

REI Member Since 1979

Well, you are familiar with Garmin products.  Plus.  They ARE more rugged than an iPhone.  Plus.  They ARE better against the elements than an iPhone.  Plus.  You CAN keep the 66i in a shoulder strap case.  You can't with an iPhone.  Battery life IS critical.  Do you really want to add ANOTHER device (battery charger).  I hike in the White Mountains of NH.  Mainly in the winter, which is what I am referring to.  It's COLD, many of those days.  And I carry a lot of extra gear as it is.  Clothes, food, snowshoes, crampons....etc.  I don't need to carry and protect 3 electronic devices to do what one can.  And YES, always good to have paper map.  Think it through.  Go look at them.  Wish you the best.