Wednesday, March 10, 2010
This Straight Shootin' Gear Review is a two'fer special. In the following multi-part video review, I'll show you how you can exceed the capabilites of a high-end mapping GPS with the plain-Jane Garmin eTrex H GPS and the TOPO! State Series topographic mapping software from National Geographic... at a fraction of the cost.
I chose to review these two products together because in my method of using them, they are a tightly (though manually) integrated duo that I depend on for outdoor navigation and for recording important details of my scouting and hunting trips. Any decent GPS can help get you where you are going and back in the woods, but only by adding the capabilities of a custom topographic mapping tool will you be able to create historical views of important details like feeding areas, bedding areas, trails, rubs, and scrapes. You can even attach photos and custom notes that can be viewed with a simple click of the mouse.
As an added bonus, I'll also show you the terrific Adventure Paper that lets you create totally waterproof, nearly indestructible custom topo maps straight from your inkjet printer.
Remember, no GPS is a substitute for a topographic map, a compass, and the knowledge of how to use 'em. If you are a newcomer to using those two essential outdoorsman's tools, or if you just want to refresh your memory, take a look at this article about topographic map basics then this article on compass basics and this article where I show you how to use them together.
Update: This article shows how I use the system out in the field.
Garmin eTrex H Sources
The eTrex H is widely available including these online retailers:
Amazon had the best pricing at the time of this review
National Geographic TOPO! Sources
Cabelas has a limited selection of states
Again Amazon had lowest prices plus the complete line of states
National Geographic Adventure Paper Sources