I do use a regular GPS as well.
But my newer Garmin 62st is easy too.
I will be trying a phone app this year for the first time but my etrex will be in my pack with my truck location marked before I head out.
Once ya get to know your unit of choice you will keep it for years and years.
Good luck, Robb
I run that with my garmin as a backup..
good luck man
One option would be to go on eBay and buy a used Garmin 12 or a Garmin 60 (the yellow one). I have a bunch of GPS receivers including a Garmin 12, two Garmin 60's and a Garmin 64st. A Garmin 12 is easy to use and will do everything you want, it's just slower at acquiring a fix than the newer and more complex/expensive models like the 64st.
You probably did what's really common and generally useless, show up in the woods without any idea of how to use it.
UTM is a grid that has been laid over the earths surface and it's much easier to understand than Lat & Long which is an angular measurement in Degrees, minute and seconds or Degrees and fractions of a degree.
Most topo maps have the UTM grid on them or little tic marks on the edges showing the grid and with that grid you can actually plot or estimate your location on the map using the UTM coordinates. With a little knowledge you can easily scale the coordinates of a feature on the map and input those coordinates into your GPS so you can navigate to it. Or you can read the coordinates of your location in the GPS and be able to determine exactly where you are on the map.
And yes, Straight Arrow makes a very good point about the datum. The default datum on your GPS should be WGS84 unless somebody changed it.
You should look at the map you're using and there should be some info about the datum. On a USGS 7.5 minute topo quad it's usually in the lower left corner of the map such as my example.
There's a bunch of gibberish about the datum and coordinates systems. This map says it's on the 1927 North American datum which is NAD27 CONUS in your GPS receiver. CONUS stands for Continental United States. You'll see many other options for NAD27 in other parts of the world but you want CONUS assuming your in the continental United States.
If your GPS is set to WGS84 and you try to plot the coordinates onto a NAD27 map or scale coordinates off of the map and input them into your GPS, you will be at least 200 meters off and possibly more because the two different datums are not compatible with each other.
If your map says it's on NAD83 you can leave your GPS set to WGS84 because the difference is so small you'll never see the difference.
The information on my example map that says the "1000-meter Universal Transverse Mercator grid ticks zone 13, shown in blue" is the UTM info I was referring to.
Along the left edge of the map next to the blue ticks are the numbers 4875, 4876, 4877, etc. Multiply those numbers by 1000 so they're actually 4,875,000 & 4,876,000 & 4,877,000 etc. Those numbers indicate the number of meters. There will be matching grid ticks along the right edge of the map and you can use a straight edge to draw a pencil line across the map connecting the grid ticks. Those lines will be the grid lines for your Northing coordinates. Some maps already have the grid lines drawn in.
Along the bottom edge of the map there are blue grid ticks with the numbers 300, 301 (301 is missing but the tick mark is just left of the word "FEET"), 302, 303 (also missing but right at the " on the 27'30"). Again, multiply these number by 1000 so they're actually 300,000 & 301,000 & 302,000 so on and so forth.
Again, draw a straight line between these grid ticks and the matching ticks along the top edge of the map. These lines will be the grid lines for your Easting coordinates.
Now that you have your grid drawn on your map with 1000 meters between each grid line you'll be able to estimate your position within that grid based on reading the coordinates on your GPS. The Easting is displayed first, Northing second in the GPS readout.
So now you can look at your UTM GPS coordinates as linear measurements along the surface of the earth rather than trying to convert lat/long to a linear measurement which is difficult because it is an angular measurement as if you were at the center of the earth and the coordinate is the angle subtended between the equator toward the north or south pole for latitude or between the meridians for longitude, etc. And by the way, the distance covered by one degree of longitude is the greatest at the equator and becomes less and less as you get closer to the north and south poles because the meridians converge much like the edges of an orange slice.
Translation... UTM is much easier. :^)
I made a clear plastic overlay that further divides the 1000 meter grid squares into a 100 meter grid. So if I want to figure out the coordinate of something like a small water hole, etc. I lay the clear plastic grid on the map and I can estimate the coordinates down to about 10 meters or less. I can then enter those coordinates into my GPS and navigate directly to the water hole, etc. Or if I want to plot the exact location of something on the map like a dead bull, I read the coordinates off of my GPS and use the grid to plot the dead bull on the map. Once I do that, I study the map and pick my best route to pack the meat out while avoiding steep terrain. I can also scale the coordinates off of the map of the route I want to walk and make waypoints along the route. Then I can confidently navigate along that route to those waypoints, even in the dark if necessary and I know that I'm not going to accidently stumble into a cliff or take a wrong turn.
Even without the additional clear overlay 100 meter grid that I made you can still estimate your position on the map fairly accurately using the 1000 meter grid you drew on the map. I only use the 100 meter overlay if I want to get very precise.
Sorry for the long post but hopefully it helps somebody...
Very simple to use. It will get you from point B back to Point A if you are just moving around. I you have waypoints set it will get you from where you are to the desired waypoint. . May have to go through hell and high water, but you will get to your desired location.
I spent probably 5-6 hrs reading the owners manual when I got my Oregon unit. But just learned the basics. Mainly just marking waypoints and navigating back to them. I really need to invest more time into it to find out what it can really do(to get the most out of it).
Your info will help greatly! Thanks again!
And yes, Straight Arrow is correct. If you're just using your GPS and you're not using a paper map, none of the information about the datum matters.
However, learning the capabilities of your GPS and how it can help you navigate can turn it into a very useful tool
It also gives barometric pressure and whether it is rising or falling, temperature, moon phase and moon rise/set times, and time. They probably should have called it the Sportsmen Track instead of Fishtrack because it's good for anyone enjoying the great outdoors.