The Geomate.jr is designed solely for geocaching, but more than that, its designed to make geocaching drop-dead easy. The Geomate.jr is pre-loaded with 250,000 caches, covering the entire U.S.
Having so many pre-loaded caches eliminates the need to download them from geocaching.com and transfer them to your GPS, making this the ultimate grab n’ go solution.
Priced at a reasonable $69.95, the Geomate.jr is a lightweight one trick pony. It’s not designed to be used like a traditional GPS, though you can store one custom location in it (home, a trailhead, etc.) to direct you back to your starting point.
Using the Geomate.jr
Getting started with the Geomate.jr is simple. Turn it on, let it lock onto GPS satellites, and it will point you to the nearest cache. Push the Next button and it will guide you to the second closest cache. You can scroll through the 20 nearest caches in this manner.
On the main screen, shown at right, you’ll see ratings for Find Difficulty, Terrain Difficulty and Cache Size. Inside the compass circle is an indicator of satellite signal strength, distance to cache, and which cache you are viewing (1 through 20).
The Navigation screen allows you to scroll through latitude, longitude, elevation and the number of satellites being tracked and used.
A Found screen displays the number of found caches, the geocaching.com GC code, the date a cache was marked as found and the order it appears in the found list.
The Geomate.jr compass on the main screen points you to the nearest geocache, but it’s not an electronic compass, so it doesn’t know which way you are facing. You have to take a few steps before it will point you in the correct direction.
An update kit will allow you load an updated database of geocaches, load caches for other countries and more.
The 1.2” x 1.2” monochrome screen is not what you’d want on a full-featured GPS, but it works just fine for what the Geomate.jr is. It has a 12 hour rated battery life (2 AAAs) and weighs a scant 3.2 ounces with batteries.
More Geomate.jr reviews
- A number of Geomate.jr reviews have been posted at REI
- CNet gives a 3-1/2 out of 5 star rating in their Geomate.jr review
- Geocaching.com’s discussion board has a Geomate.jr review thread
- A negative review from the NY Times
- A mommy blogger reviews the Geomate.jr
- TechCrunch has even posted a Geomate Jr.review
- The Neat Things in Life reviews the Geomate Jr.
- Cumbyrocks reviews the Geomate.Jr
- I’ll post links to more Geomate.jr reviews as they appear; for now, here are some other…
- The official Geomate.jr web page
- A PDF version of the Geomate.jr owners manual
- Geomate.jr update kit FAQ (PDF)
- A video demo of the Geomate.jr:
Conclusion and recommendation
I was very impressed with the Geomate.jr. Sturdy and accurate, it directed me right to ground zero for the caches I sought. It is an excellent choice for a wide range of people including:
- The casual geocacher who wants a grab n’ go unit
- Families who want a sturdy and inexpensive unit to put in kids hands
- Seasoned geocachers who want to keep a unit in the car, for those unexpected geocaching opportunities
Compare prices on the Geomate.jr at these merchants:
- Check the current price on the Geomate.jr
- Get the Apisphere Geomate.jr Geocacher from REI.com