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Satellite Navigation for Road and Trail
No matter what your outdoor adventures are, there’s a GPS navigational unit out there designed for you. We took a look at the new in-car nav units and handhelds that make most sense for outdoor recreation, as well as for driving to your outdoor destination. The in-car nav units offer more content-driven services, such as real-time traffic and weather information; some units cross over easily as portables for the outdoors. The GPS handheld segment is gaining more sophistication in the way of signal acquisition and retention, internal memory, SD card compatibility and preloaded topographic maps. Interestingly, some handhelds are going a little more practical, but with improved technology and ease of use.
Some of the mentioned models have sister units that vary in features and cost, so if one unit doesn’t quite make it in your book, visit the companies’ websites for a complete overview of all GPS units. Begin your navigation here.
Garmin Nuvi 500
This year Garmin includes outdoor recreation navigation capabilities in its new nuvi 500, converting this in-car nav unit into a portable personal navigator when needed. Preloaded with both road and U.S. topographic maps, the nuvi 500 provides a driving, bicycling, boating and walking mode via a usage mode indicator located at the top of the home screen. For the outdoors, the unit displays shaded digital elevation mapping on the 3.5-inch waterproof touchscreen, and comes standard with a compass page, track log, and a removable, rechargeable battery for extended outdoor use. Driving navigation features include a preloaded Historic Route 66 map guide. Options include marine cartography. $400. Garmin: 800/800-1020; garmin.com .
Garmin Oregon 200
The intuitive touchscreen interface on the 6.8-ounce 200 is taken from Garmin’s in-car nav units, while preloaded features stem from the company’s Colorado handheld series. This unit’s basemap can be supplemented with additional mapping or charts via microSD cards for viewing on the 3-inch screen. Selected uploaded topographic maps can be viewed in 3-D for a better perspective of the elevation. A high-sensitivity receiver and Garmin’s HotFix satellite prediction feature locates one’s position quickly and precisely, and maintains the GPS location even in heavy cover and deep canyons. The 200 also supports geocache gaming, enabling users to download geocaches and details straight to the unit, as well as picture viewing. Information can be stored on the unit’s 24 MB built-in memory, and Garmin says the waterproof unit can be submerged down to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. Two AA batteries (included) will generate about 16 hours of battery life. $450. Garmin: 800/800-1020; garmin.com .
Lowrance XOG Cross-Navigation
Not new this year, but still a good contender in the GPS in-car nav category is the XOG Cross-Navigation GPS, which marries turn-by-turn guidance with the rugged, weatherproof outdoor travel functionality. It’s preloaded with NAVTEQ street map de...
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