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Since I have a problem with buying gadgets... Let me rephrase. Since I have problems NOT buying every new gadget that comes along, I thought I'd give a brief overview and opinions on my GPS experiences.

I've tried Magellan, Garmin and Tom Tom in the handheld/mobile arena, as well as the Alpine Electronics and Dodge OEM vehicle GPS systems.

Automotive In-Dash Systems:
In my opinion, save your money and don't buy a built-in GPS unit for your car if you are given the option. They're just about worthless. The user interfaces are cumbersome. You can't use them while driving, for safety reasons. And the map updates are few and far between with hefty price tags of their own.

Handheld Units:
The mapping system used by Tom Tom seems to be great in Europe, but has FAR too many errors for North America. After buying and trying out the Magellan and Tom Tom units I quickly learned to loathe their user interfaces. The Tom Tom doesn't do street level routing worth a hoot. It simply says to "drive to the highlighted route." Next I tried out a Garmin unit (several versions over the years, actually). Garmin user interfaces are so simple and intuitive to use. Garmin also has very accurate street level routing. Nothing is perfect, however, including the Garmin. I have had my unit tell me to stay right when I really needed to stay left. I have also had it tell me to turn right onto a one-way street that I could only legally turn left onto. Other than these two occurrences, though, my Garmin units have always treated me well. So, for handheld or dash-mounted GPS units, I can only recommend Garmin.

Now, as far as off-road use is concerned...
The best GPS system for you will differ, based on your needs. You most likely won't be needing a unit that will give you driving directions, since you most likely won't be riding on any named roads or even any mapped roads. If all you want is a speedometer and the ability to find out where you are in general, the small, pocket-sized Garmin etrex Vista (MSRP $214) unit is excellent. The screen is small and dark, so if ready visibility is an issue, you might want to consider another choice. In order to read and operate an etrex unit, you will definitely have to stop and take hold of the device with both hands. The etrex Vista has enough memory to load up detailed topo map terrain data for the area you will be riding in. These maps, combined with the cookie crumb feature, will allow you to easily see where you have been and will let you backtrack your way to where you started, should you become lost. With the screen being so small, it isn't very easy to get a feel for where you are headed though. If you have a coordinate for your destination you can program it into the unit and simply follow the arrow that points you in the direction of your destination. Overall, I think the etrex Vista will do what 90% of riders need in an off-road GPS system. I should note that the etrex units are moisture and dust resistant, so off-road use shouldn't harm them, even if you're caught out in the rain or mud.

If you have more money to burn, and want a much larger and brighter screen, look no further that the Garmin Zumo 550 (MSRP $964). It is designed for motorcycle use. It does excellent street level routing, but can also function quite well in the off-road arena due to it's trip log feature. Combining the unit's off-road mode and the trip log is basically the same as using the cookie crumb feature in the etrex, except that it shows a solid line instead of dots. It is moisture and dust proof as well. If you have a street bike, the Zumo would be a logical choice because you could use it both on the street and off-road with your quad. If you equip your helmet with headphones and a microphone, you can even listen to music, routing instructions or use your Bluetooth-equipped cell phone while you ride.

The other handheld unit I have, the Garmin GPSMAP 76C (MSRP $375), I haven't really found a real use for. It's too big for pocket use or handlebar mounting, and too small and ill-equipped for automobile routing. I never use it. (Any buyers out there?) :lol:

The GPS unit I use for out of town driving trips is the Garmin StreetPilot C550 (MSRP $405). It has great spoken driving directions, bright screen, responsive touch screen and is easily updatable. But it wouldn't work very well for off-road ATV use.

If you have any specific questions, ask away.

Now some pictures.

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Actually the 76C is great for Geocaching. We got into it a few years ago and it was awesome. Since the baby we have been limited. The reason the 76C works so well is because it is a little of both worlds. You can use it in the car for directions while being directed by your co-pilot. Then it also works well on the trail when you are beating through the woods trying to find the stash. Let me know what you want for it.. :beerchug:
 

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Actually the 76C is great for Geocaching. We got into it a few years ago and it was awesome. Since the baby we have been limited. The reason the 76C works so well is because it is a little of both worlds. You can use it in the car for directions while being directed by your co-pilot. Then it also works well on the trail when you are beating through the woods trying to find the stash. Let me know what you want for it.. :beerchug:
I have a 60C and it does well just like you said, however it won't hold up to the vibration on the handlebars. I had the first one replaced under warranty, then the second one failed too. It still works but not on the quad :banghead:. I no longer use it. It would lose signal once in awhile too on some trails.
 

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I'm a Garmin fiend as well.

I have a Nuvi 350 that just will not die in the car. This thing flat out rocks and i love the small form factor.

On the Raptor I have a Garmin Rino 120 that is right at home on the handlebars. The RAM mount plus this GPS is a nice combo:



I wired it it run from bike power since the vibration would make it turn off when running on batteries. This unit is water / dust proof and it seems to be tough as nails. I hose it off on the bike when I wash it. as an added bonus it has a FRS radio built in. If you travel with someone elese who has a Rino GPS you can poll their GPS to see where they are. It's pretty cool.
 
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