Talk me out of a GPSmap 64

Jacobm

Member
So Costco has the GPSmap 64 (no maps) for $170. I don't plan to use this for vehicle navigation but rather for hiking and biking and as a backup GPS. Eventually I'd like to get a 66i or the new Montana 700i with InReach but it's not in the budget right now. I like that the older GPS takes AAs also. I will probably be getting a Gaia or OnX or similar subscription as well, but I like the redundancy of a standalone GPS. I plan to research and make sure there are free maps for where I want to go before I pull the trigger, but is there any other reasons not to buy that I'm missing? They've also got the Oregon 700 but I'm not sure I like the touchscreen aspect of it.
 

roving1

Well-known member
So Costco has the GPSmap 64 (no maps) for $170. I don't plan to use this for vehicle navigation but rather for hiking and biking and as a backup GPS. Eventually I'd like to get a 66i or the new Montana 700i with InReach but it's not in the budget right now. I like that the older GPS takes AAs also. I will probably be getting a Gaia or OnX or similar subscription as well, but I like the redundancy of a standalone GPS. I plan to research and make sure there are free maps for where I want to go before I pull the trigger, but is there any other reasons not to buy that I'm missing? They've also got the Oregon 700 but I'm not sure I like the touchscreen aspect of it.
For what it is worth you can put topo maps from the above link onto an old garmin Nuvi and many other street oriented GPS models and use an old nav GPS you might already have as a backup GPS.
 

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DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
These are the maps I use on my Garmin devices: http://www.gmaptool.eu/en/content/usa-osm-topo-routable

Andrzej Popowski is the guy behind them and he compiles an update about once or sometimes twice a year. They are based on OSM data, which is complete enough on stuff like topography and major infrastructure.

OSM is hit-or-miss on trails. It all depends on someone in the crowd doing the sourcing. I'd say OSM is about 80% good on lesser known trails, sometimes they don't exist at all and sometimes the track is there without all the information. If you do research you can put your own tracks to follow in or better even is map and upload them to OSM!
 

deserteagle56

Adventurer
For what it is worth you can put topo maps from the above link onto an old garmin Nuvi and many other street oriented GPS models and use an old nav GPS you might already have as a backup GPS.
Hard to fit a Nuvi in a pocket when hiking...........also doesn't work worth a darn with GPS tracks.
 

roving1

Well-known member
Hard to fit a Nuvi in a pocket when hiking...........also doesn't work worth a darn with GPS tracks.
Was coming at it more from a backup gps sort of angle but my Nuvi isnt any bigger than a big cell phone. 🤷‍♂️ But yeah they do suck for tracks.
 

pluton

Adventurer
Assuming you are familiar with modern (2012+) smartphone displays and operability, the tiny, grainy, low resolution screen on the GPSMap 64 will torture you to madness. Save your money.
 

Paddler Ed

Adventurer
Display isn't a huge size (but I tend to have paper maps with me anyway)

Menus are quirky (but quick to use once you know how they work)

Keyboard is not QWERTY

Official maps can be dated

BUT

It's a Garmin and it works - if you just want it for track marking, then it'll be fine.

I use mine with the Australian Topo maps, and that gives me full routable functioning, as it would on a Nuvi or similar.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Assuming you are familiar with modern (2012+) smartphone displays and operability, the tiny, grainy, low resolution screen on the GPSMap 64 will torture you to madness. Save your money.
That's an individual preference. I think phone sized apps aren't great either. The display on a Garmin handheld is no question smaller and lower resolution. The resolution is sufficient for vector maps, your fingers aren't in the way to zoom in and out and there's no navigation buttons on top to take up space. Depending on how you set up your dashboard you might even only have map and track displayed on the Garmin screen. Combined with operating it outside and with gloves I prefer using a handheld receiver with real buttons personally.
 

Jacobm

Member
I think I'll pull the trigger on it just to play with. I'm not expecting a whole lot from it, just to help me orient my paper maps and see topo and get used to GPS mapping. I prefer the physical buttons and the AA battery compatibility of the GPSmap series, and even on the newest touchscreen devices resolution isn't going to compare to a smartphone but it doesn't need to as long as I can read the map. Thanks for the advice guys, especially pointing me to the free maps.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
How you've described your intention is exactly the way GPS receivers were envisioned to work, that being to augment a larger scale map. They are ideal for knowing your place accurately but are terrible at context and overview. You need both to really navigate and even a tablet can't quite compare to a fold-out map or atlas, although it's not bad. Being able to use one source as you zoom in and out is certainly handy.
 

Jacobm

Member
How you've described your intention is exactly the way GPS receivers were envisioned to work, that being to augment a larger scale map. They are ideal for knowing your place accurately but are terrible at context and overview. You need both to really navigate and even a tablet can't quite compare to a fold-out map or atlas, although it's not bad. Being able to use one source as you zoom in and out is certainly handy.
Yeah, I definitely don't want to be too dependent on any one form of navigation. Granted it's been years since I tried, but offline maps on a cell phone with zero cell service just wasn't the experience I wanted it to be. I'll try Gaia out and compare that with maps/dedicated GPS and see which I like better. Eventually I'll definitely get an InReach device since I want that functionality but it's not in the budget right now with everything else going on.
 

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Red90

Adventurer
It is a good choice. All current model Garmin handheld do more or the less same things. Just look at each to decide which one you like best.
 

alanymarce

Active member
We have one which has worked well for us - South America, Africa, and Australia. You can load T4A on it for Africa. We don;t use it for navigation - we use it to know where we are and record our routes. For navigation we use maps.me, good maps, and waze.
 
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