Contributors to this thread:
I am going to be bowhunting a very large Nevada district (131-134 muley) that I've never visited before, and I need some help with deciding the right mapping approach. I've never put boots on the ground in those GMU's and they're HUGE.
I am looking at the various options for maps: paper (mytopo), chip (onx), and app (onx again). My question is how do folks think the smartphone apps compare to a dedicated gps unit with a chip? Which one gives you the longest battery life, and how much extra weight in spare batteries do you end up carrying so you can recharge? Are the functions between an app and a dedicated gps are going to be fairly similar? This will likely be several days in the boonies at a time. Thanks for the help.
ps If any other bowsiters are going to be doing this hunt or have hunted it in the past I'd love to hear from you.
Does the unit have cell coverage? That's key for onx. You can down load maps to your phone but they take space and you say unit is huge
Tracking with onx will suck batteries down. You can get a 20,000 + battery pack like an ankor and recharge but overall the gps will last longer. Much better display on the phone with sat imagery included.
I run all of my mapping strictly off my smartphone. In airplane mode I can get a couple of days battery life out of my iPhone before I need to recharge. I carry one power pack with me that will charge my phone 5-6 times. I use this pack to charge my phone and my inreach. works great. I carry a GPS for emergency backup only, it has only rudimentary mapping on it.
Contact the BLM district (s) that the units are in and they can sell you the maps you need. They are something like 8 bucks each, and they will mail them to you. That's what I did last year in NV and it worked well. But.... I like paper maps. Good luck on your hunt!
An example of battery life and smart phone. Yesterday I left truck at about 9:30 AM got back at around 6:00 PM. About half the time had phone service other half no service. Never put in airplane mode. I had maps downloaded for Onx. I had tracking functions on for whole trip. Looked at maps quite a few times through out day. Took some pictures with phone. One phone call of about 10 mins, sent receive a few text. When I got back to truck battery life was at 52 percent. Phone is about 1.5 years old Iphone 8 plus. Usually care a ankor charger and can charge several times.
Thanks for the tips guys. Turns out onx is running a deal where if you buy the chip you get the app also. I'm doing a scouting trip in a couple weeks, and plan to do the deal and take both a chipped gps and my app'ed phone and do a side by side comp. Borrowing a buddy's rino which he swears holds a charge forever, and wifey's phone charger pack. As pointed out above, if there isn't cell reception, I'll have to go with downloaded and stored maps, which would limit functionality.
William, since I'm a redundancy nut I'll chime in with my .02. I use a gps, Gaia on the smartphone and custom paper maps from Mytopo. While the electronic versions work great, I rely heavily on the paper maps for the "big" picture. When hunting a large area, I make my own maps in My topo and will have 2-3 separate maps for the area using the same scale. My hunting partner and I will spend hours pouring over the maps at night and during breaks. You can't do that with a smartphone or gps. Also, with my aging eyes, I think the maps are easier to use. They weigh almost nothing, are waterproof and can be ordered folded so you can slip them into your daypack.
I used to use GPS units and paper maps. Like Brotsky explained now I only use a phone app. I prefer Gaia, but any will work. You will HAVE to put the phone in "airplane mode" in order to conserve the battery.
I also use an InReach for safety. My InReach also has a GPS with a crude background map. This serves as my redundant GPS unit also.
^^^^^^^ Gaia with InReach for me as well, with Phone in Airplane Mode.
Having tried both Onyx and Gaia...I prefer Gaia, it has some features that work better for me, especially when using Satellite Maps.
For you guys running Apple products you might consider an app called IHIKEGPS. The cost is $9.99. You can download any size USGA map, 250K, 100K or the 7.5 minute maps most hunters want. Once you have downloaded the map it works offline as Onyx does and just uses the GPS unit in you phone or ipad. Of course, your ipad has to have a cell to get the GPS antenna In the OP's situation he could download all the 7.5 maps for all four units but I think he'll only hunt 131 and 132. He will also have cell service out of Ely, NV.