UPDATE: Here’s a sixth reason – Garmin BirdsEye Topo.
Still rocking a Garmin 60CSx or maybe an eTrex? Have you wondered what the new units offer? Here are our top reasons to pony up for a new Garmin:
1. Birds Eye aerial imagery (above right) – This feature is better for those living in open landscapes, like urban areas and portions of the American West. It’ll cost you $29.95 per year, but it can be very helpful. Not so great if you’re always roaming under dense canopy though.
2. Garmin custom maps (above left) – Scan a park PDF map and put it on your Garmin. Or load up some USGS or USFS topo maps. There’s nothing quite like having the same map in your hand and on your device.
3. Advanced track navigation (at right) – This is by far my favorite feature on the new models, and is a boon to hikers, mountain bikers and anyone else following a trail. For years, we could display a track on our screens, but if we wanted to navigate to waypoints along the track, we were given “as the crow flies distances.” No more. With the advanced track navigation features you get the exact mileage to each waypoint. And it automatically creates a route with any waypoints along the track. Add this to the ability to download tracks for about any trail in the country and you’ve nearly got a revolution in backcountry navigation.
4. Paperless geocaching (at left) – If you’re a geocacher more than a hiker, this is a killer feature. No more printing out details for a batch of caches. Just transfer a pocket query to the device and go. You’ll have the description, ratings, hint and recent logs for every cache you load.
5. Profiles (below right) – This feature lets you easily switch a whole batch of settings (page order, track up/north, dashboards, etc.) at once. Change from geocaching settings to backcountry navigation, or from topo maps to aerial photos, with ease. Sun/shade profiles are popular for the Oregon series.
Which one to buy?
Of all the units out there now, our two favorites are the Garmin GPSMAP 62s and Oregon 450. Can’t decide? Here’s the pros and cons of going one way or the other.
A question for our readers
Do you own one of the newer Garmins with these features? If so, which are your favorites?