Garmin Overlander

QKSAND

New member
Checked it out at the Expo East booth. NOT impressed. Way overpriced for the functionality, especially with not having it's own dedicated receiver. Having to pair it with another compatible device was a no-go for me. My daughter has a dedicated GPS receiver in her cheap GIZMO watch. No reason one couldn't be built into the tablet. Garmin missed the mark. If they build the In-Reach Mini functionality into one and drop the price $250 I might consider purchasing one. I seriously doubt that is happening. The hook has already been set in the gadget hungry crowds' mouths.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
Checked it out at the Expo East booth. NOT impressed. Way overpriced for the functionality, especially with not having it's own dedicated receiver. Having to pair it with another compatible device was a no-go for me. My daughter has a dedicated GPS receiver in her cheap GIZMO watch. No reason one couldn't be built into the tablet. Garmin missed the mark. If they build the In-Reach Mini functionality into one and drop the price $250 I might consider purchasing one. I seriously doubt that is happening. The hook has already been set in the gadget hungry crowds' mouths.
Thanks for the Heads UP, My brother just gave me a 7" Tablet which I have as a dedicated SATNAV, I have another one but the App people filled my tablet up with programs that make it run slower, I only have 3 Apps that I put on it and all the others were hidden within other Apps So Now it is all but useless, So with this new one I never connect it to the internet so they can't sneak in updates with more hidden Apps, They did the same with my phone and now it tells me I am running out of space Again I only 3 Apps on it and when I got it I think it had about 14 on it, NOW It's got flaming 37 of them on there and I don't know which ones I can delete,

I also have an old Garmin Street Pilot III which has hardly been used, It's great for off road or Sea and Air use, plus I got a couple of hand held Garmins, I don't like mapping software because I only want them to record where I go with the bread crumb trails,
 

spressomon

Expedition Leader
So, I just read one review and learned the Overlander doesn't have track back/bread crumbs w/o creating a track. Dumb. That's a feature I use on my ancient Lowrance Baja 540C when we're exploring an area with a myriad of trails and need a temporary reverse path w/o creating a dedicated track for it.

So many half-baked...everything on the market today. Garmin's Overlander just seems like one more that with just a little more thought...wouldn't need to be re-engineered. I guess the $700+ will just stay in my wallet for now.
 
I love the lowrances I had > I had the baja in color and 9 inch built into the center console of my chevy truck custom mount. Their stuff is so much better than Garmin.
 

Airmapper

High-Tech Redneck
I love the lowrances I had > I had the baja in color and 9 inch built into the center console of my chevy truck custom mount. Their stuff is so much better than Garmin.
Real shame they retreated back into mostly the marine market. They had a crop of handhelds that turned out crap and I think once that happened Garmin was able to grab away most of their sales, I'd guess it hurt them bad and made that outdoor / vehicle use segment not worth pursuing. They also toyed with turn-by-turn on a few units, and my understanding is it didn't go super great. Their mapping was detailed, but transferring and managing map data for your unit was cumbersome and restrictive, I think that annoyed customers as well.

I had 2 Lowrance handhelds in their heyday, my username comes from the AIRMAP 500 I had for aviation, and I later had an Expedition C, both were top of the line and as good as anything on the market at the time. I still have both, but today my phone can outperform either.

With the Baja units they sort of keep a toe in land nav, but those haven't really advanced at all, rather they are hanging onto an old school basic is better mentality, which I can buy into for a while, but that won't fund any advancement for them. Plus those share the marine unit bodies, no real innovation going on there.

I'm actually pretty ashamed of Garmin for not doing something better with the Overlander unit that blew away anyone thinking of just using an off the shelf tablet plus common apps. I think Magellan recently showed slapping a Android app into a branded tablet with a fancy housing didn't go over astoundingly well. And watching HEMA fall on their face with a failed app, they should have had some good ideas what doesn't work.

I've purchased several Garmin devices and am very pleased with several of their products. I love my Instinct watch and inReach. They threw something at the wall with the Overlander, I don't think it's going to stick, or I don't see anything about it to make it special that one could not easily replace with cheaper options.
 

shade

Well-known member
I've purchased several Garmin devices and am very pleased with several of their products. I love my Instinct watch and inReach. They threw something at the wall with the Overlander, I don't think it's going to stick, or I don't see anything about it to make it special that one could not easily replace with cheaper options.
For many years, I've wondered if the output of Garmin was about cynical product designs made more for their profit than for the utility offered to consumers, or if they were just a bunch of uncoordinated ********** that never quite got most products right for backcountry use. Could be both, I suppose. Maybe it's already underway, but it seems this segment of the company is overdue for some housekeeping if they don't want to be further marginalized by smartphone apps.

Edit: Really ExPo? We can't write "b00bs"? 🤦‍♀️
 
As I recall the Baja and the larger chartplotter came with reasonably detailed pre loaded topo with trails. What garmin or Magellan or anyone else needs to is actually fairly simple. Take the whole USA and download all the usgs 7.5 topo maps for the entire country into the memory . Enable a detailed zoom and gps tracking and the ability to map out a trail instal, that on a 9-10 inch ruggedized tablet . Sell the thing for under 500. They would corner the market if it were decent. Forget the fancy 3 d crap they try, forget air photos Everyone should be able to read and navigate on a topo map.
 

shade

Well-known member
As I recall the Baja and the larger chartplotter came with reasonably detailed pre loaded topo with trails. What garmin or Magellan or anyone else needs to is actually fairly simple. Take the whole USA and download all the usgs 7.5 topo maps for the entire country into the memory . Enable a detailed zoom and gps tracking and the ability to map out a trail instal, that on a 9-10 inch ruggedized tablet . Sell the thing for under 500. They would corner the market if it were decent. Forget the fancy 3 d crap they try, forget air photos Everyone should be able to read and navigate on a topo map.
Excellent place to start. Offer the ability to overlay other maps from Gaia, Alltrails, etc. on the Pro version, but give us what you described so there's always a solid base map on hand.

Add other countries by their marketability and available map base. Fee based, of course.
 

kai38

Explorer
I bought the Garmin Overlander at Expo West in May, waited for release date
Now that I've had it a few months I hate it.
I've spent over 4 1/2 hours on the phone talking to their customer service people that 80% of the ones I've talked to do not know anything about the unit. That's not counting time spent on line talking to CS people and watching their YouTube videos on how it works.
I have built/created routes using basecamp,mapsource saved as a .gpx file and imported into https://explore.garmin.com/Map I have also tried to make routes on the explore.garmin site (which is a huge PIA to do)
Once they are imported into explore.garmin and synced with the Overlander it will not follow the route I created, it skips waypoints, reroutes me a different way I laid the route out to follow.
What is a 9 hr drive from my house to Mexico the unit recreated a route taking me over 12 hrs if I had blindly followed it.
When I create routes for multi-day trips, 2 days up to 2 months I make separate routes for each day, name them to keep them in order as they are needed/used. but this new gps bunches the routes up into one huge crazy route making it un-usable.
Now Garmin is telling me the Overlander is NOT compatible with routes created on Basecamp.
But I was told all my saved routes & tracks for the last 10 years would be usable with the Overlander.
I have found this to be a huge POS, I have tried to get it to work and have missed the 30 day window for a refund from the retailer I bought it from.
I know how to create routes using Garmin basecamp & mapsouce and transfer into my Nuvi gps which works great. I've used it from Mexico to Alaska and never had an issue.
Any other Garmin Overlander users having issues ?
Best use I've found for the Overlander so far.
 

Attachments

shade

Well-known member
Sadly, that sounds about right.

Garmin should give up on hardware like this. Pick one Apple and one Android tablet, and develop for those specific models. Pick a new file format, and develop software that allows users to fully migrate old tracks into the new format, with a new desktop app for managing everything. Right now, it's an expensive, confusing mess.

The same goes for app developers. If I knew that Gaia was specifically designed to work on one Dell tablet, that's probably what I'd buy. While the app would be compatible with many others, using that specific tablet with it should make life easier for me.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Garmin should give up on hardware like this. Pick one Apple and one Android tablet, and develop for those specific models. Pick a new file format, and develop software that allows users to fully migrate old tracks into the new format, with a new desktop app for managing everything. Right now, it's an expensive, confusing mess.
That's the key I've found is to create tracks and not routes that you import to a Garmin device. I personally don't have a problem with their hardware but I'm only using the simple receivers, eTrex 20x and GPSMap 78. They are supposed to handle importing routes but even if you use the same map, same revision on the device and in Basecamp it still seems to ****** things up.

So in that sense Garmin is becoming irrelevant. The GPX file format is ubiquitous and works fine for tracks and waypoints across just about any navigation, GIS, software or hardware.

What you lose importing and following them is turn-by-turn on a Garmin. To get around that I create waypoints along the track periodically that I also import and use waypoint proximity alarms to know I'm nearing an important junction. If you deviate from the track then you're on your own to use the internal routing engine on the device to get back to a waypoint.
 

shade

Well-known member
That's the key I've found is to create tracks and not routes that you import to a Garmin device. I personally don't have a problem with their hardware but I'm only using the simple receivers, eTrex 20x and GPSMap 78. They are supposed to handle importing routes but even if you use the same map, same revision on the device and in Basecamp it still seems to ****** things up.

So in that sense Garmin is becoming irrelevant. The GPX file format is ubiquitous and works fine for tracks and waypoints across just about any navigation, GIS, software or hardware.

What you lose importing and following them is turn-by-turn on a Garmin. To get around that I create waypoints along the track periodically that I also import and use waypoint proximity alarms to know I'm nearing an important junction. If you deviate from the track then you're on your own to use the internal routing engine on the device to get back to a waypoint.
From the outside, it appears that Garmin has had competing groups developing hardware & software, with little coordination. What you described about routes & tracks, and using Basecamp illustrates the problem. If they want to remain relevant in the consumer market, they need to clean up all of that so they can compete with Gaia, Alltrails, etc. Those companies aren't standing still, and they don't have all the baggage of Garmin. For as much as they charge for products like the Overlander, they have to do better.

I still have my old Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx, and it only has two significant advantages over a smartphone. Battery endurance is quite good, and I can swap out AA cells as needed. The other advantage is it's a more rugged device. Other than that, Gaia on my phone is easier to use (just the screen size & resolution is a huge improvement), and I can work around power & durability issues. I've been surprised at the trails I've pulled up on Gaia, and I'm sure other apps have similar levels of detail available. I can't see myself buying another dedicated backcountry GPS unit, and even road GPS units have been nearly obsoleted by Google Maps and the like.
 

shade

Well-known member
I don't really care for using a phone for navigation personally.

Mostly it's the touch screen and poor interfaces but battery life, too. I've got to admit I'm pretty happy with the eTrex for what I do with it. It certainly seems I'm in the minority but I just don't see the advantage of a phone + battery pack or solar + clunky handlebar mount + weatherproof case over a fairly cheap and rugged GPS receiver.

In the truck a phone would be OK to replace the bigger GPSMap I guess but I'm in no hurry to jump into the modern era. The only reason I really even got it was to do APRSdroid.
As you said, it depends on the use. I just started using a tablet with Gaia in my truck, and it's a fantastic upgrade for solo navigation on unfamiliar terrain compared to paper maps or smaller screened devices. On the road, I prefer a Garmin road GPS to my phone, but Google Maps has narrowed the gap considerably.

For backpacking, I actually prefer a hardcopy map and compass to electronics. I find it much easier to pull a map from a pocket frequently to keep myself oriented, and there's no power budget to worry about. I keep an inReach running for tracking at 10 minute intervals, and shut it off once I'm done moving for the day. I only power up my phone for a quick fix to confirm what my eyes & map have already told me, and I manually adjust the screen brightness as low as I can to save power. I have a small battery for device charging. I'm usually moving during the best hours for PV harvesting, so I'm not sure I'll ever get much use from a small solar panel.

I haven't ridden a bicycle or motorcycle with a GPS, but I can see that presenting some difficulties. A roll chart has some advantages as long as you stay on a predetermined route. There may be some GPS apps or units that work better on bikes than others. I think it'd be cool to have voice command via a helmet mic to run GPS. One of the reasons I like my road GPS is the voice command, and having that kind of control while riding would be very nice.
 

shade

Well-known member
Those are the very reasons I hate phones. Now I don't have space for a decent sized tablet, which changes things. But a phone or small tablet is too small to substitute for a map or atlas and really isn't supposed to. GPS tells you precisely where you are but is supposed to complement a map for context. Even a big tablet just isn't going to be as easy *for me* as folding out a Trails Illustrated or Gazetteer and laying a ruler out and marking it with a pencil.

I'm not about to unwrap my head and leave maps and compass at home so the pull to duplicate them isn't strong. The GPS in my outfit is as much about recording my track for use later as anything and for that a Garmin device is perfect. It's always recording your track and with it set to roll a new track daily it's one less thing I have to deal with.
For planning and to gain an overview, I still prefer a hardcopy map or atlas. I was referring to using a tablet for navigating while underway. I decided to try a tablet after another trip full of questionable navigation provided by my co-pilot, and it has made for more harmonious traveling. No more multi-hour detours because of ... well, I'm not sure why, but I know I don't enjoy asking questions repeatedly about where we're heading until I finally pull over to look for myself. Orienteering isn't for everyone.

With the screen oriented vertically and at the appropriate zoom level, Gaia on a 10" tablet is very easy to read even when bouncing down a trail, and the screen size offers the level of detail and field of view of a paper map over several miles in your direction of travel. The Overlander should be able to easily replicate this experience; for the price, I think it ought to do even better than my cheap Asus tablet. Using a small phone screen wouldn't be nearly as good, and I wouldn't try using it as a replacement for paper. With a small screen, the level of detail is abysmal, or you're stuck with a myopic view of your route & area.

I forgot to mention that I have a small GPS data logger that I turn on at the start of a trip and leave in a door pocket. It's about the size of three stacked credit cards, with no display past a few LEDs. It only logs when moving, so power consumption is very low, and it'll go several days without a charge. I like that it's simple to turn on and forget about during a trip. With it running, I pop it in my pocket while hiking, or leave it in the truck and have a continuous track for a trip. Last time I was in Death Valley, I have a nice blip in the track from when a tow truck sideswiped my truck, so the accuracy is pretty good. :)
 
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