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monkeyrider

Observer
I'm looking for advice on a navigation device. This will be used primarily for bikepacking and the handful of races I enter each year. The races are typically gravel/fatbike events on forest service roads or snow machine trails. Most are not marked, but a GPX file is available. I like simplicity, ease of use, something intuitive. It seems many bikepackers use the Garmin eTrex 30, now the 30x. Advice appreciated.
 

ultraclyde

Observer
I just use my phone, but I'm not riding real wilderness. Most of my friends who do real backcountry are using the models you mentioned. The eTrex is frequently available used on the various bikepacking forums and groups for small investment. There is a benefit to using hardware that is common in the sport - problems are easier to sort out and anyone planning a ride will probably have that hardware in mind when creating route info.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I use a Garmin eTrex 20x mounted on my stem. I've been happy with it, zero complaints really.

The only thing is it can be difficult to see in bright sun unless the screen is facing the sun. I sometimes have to turn the backlight on high in mornings when the sun is low and not positioned well to illuminate the screen. It's a minor irritant. I get about 25 or so hours of reliable use from a pair of batteries, IOW about 3 or 4 days using it all day on a tour.

I'd spring for a 30x if I was doing it over. There's a minimal cost difference and the navigation itself is the same but you gain a barometric altitude sensor and the option to add cycling accessories like a cadence and heart rate sensor.

You can see how it mounts on my bike here. It's solid, easy to use and see, doesn't bounce around at all, out of the way. With 3/4" riser bars and Cane Creek bar ends I can almost flip my bike over without it touching the dirt.

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