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My husband says I can lose my way within our campsite. Fair enough; navigation skills don’t top my list of attributes. But since I live in the electronic renaissance, all I have to do is embrace a GPS device (Global Positioning Satellite Device) and I can hot-wire a path through any wilderness.
Ready to hoist your own digitally-triangulated sail and set sail into a new world? Whether you’re a wilderness technophobe or a back country geek, the Nomadik team can get you bush-ready with a GPS device you can call your own.
GPS Device – Need To Know
Traditional compass users may balk at switching to a GPS device, but choosing one tailored to your needs will keep you tuned in and on track - literally.
- Custom Maps – Because not every trail is digitally converted, digital mapping software for your home PC is a smart investment. It can add 0 to the final sale, but it’ll help you pre-map national parks, camp back-country and generally do everything possible to avoid the grid.
- Digitally compatible – On screen mapping capability may seduce you, but make sure it’s compatible with your home PC. Being able to compare a printed map to the wireless information on your GPS device is great, but preplanning your trip by pre-marking waypoints and measuring distance could be a lifesaver (not to mention timesaver).
- Protection concerns – If repelling tops your list of activities, get a rubberized, cushioned case, but if thunderstorms are also a possibility look for a unit with an IPX7 rating – this ensures your unit can be submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. If you’re heading to Alaska, find away to keep the batteries in your unit warm. Or get a map.
GPS devices can deliver you from disaster, but don’t make the mistake of hopping from the car to the bush without some basic training. Digital mapping pinpoints your approximate location relative to permanent landmarks, but you’ll likely have to input waypoints to find your way home. Obscure trails, topographical oddities (like logging trails or washouts) aren’t picked up by satellite.
Room to Roam – Our Top 3 Picks
- Garmin Geko 101 – Equipped with a compass, stores 500 waypoints, calculates altitude and completely extinguishes all excuses for getting lost. We love that it’s also waterproof and the lightest unit on the market.
- GPS watch – A powerful little unit that surpasses some twice its size. Track weather, use up to 12 channels, set alarms and even keep a training diary – all on your wrist. No, we’re not kidding. Sells for 0 at
- Garmin E-Trex – Fits into the palm of your hand with all buttons on the side, so you truly can do it one-handed. Graphic icons, a track-back feature and up to 500 waypoints makes this a sweet tool. Sells for 5 at
About the Author: The Nomadik Fanatik Team at Nomadik.com encourages you to find your own wilderness safely with a GPS device. Visit their blog for some adventure story swapping.