I am still using the Garmin Colorado 400t. It is a great GPS and tough as nails. Really easy to use and no need to replace with a new one. It did get discontinued so they could put out a new model. If you get the Garmin line you seem to have more options on getting topo maps for them. ,aybe that is because I have a garin and only look for garmin maps.
my recommendation is go garmin.....then decide what model based on how you're going to use it. are you loading all kinds of maps? if yes maybe get one with decent internal memory rather than being limited by one micro sd card slot, do you want the bells and whistles like the 3rd axis compass? i got it...but my old etrex didn't and it was just fine,....the montana model is pretty sweet but for my own reasons i did not want to rely on a touch screen....so i ended up with the gpsmap sc for its large internal hd, and has a built in camera for when i dont want to bring one with or forget one...and a 3rd axis compass just for kicks
i had the etrex vista hcx for years......a reason to buy a new model is you set it down because you're an idiot, then see elk and start stalking them without picking it up, then realize it 500 yards into your stalk and cant find where you left it because it was in some really thick [email protected]#$...............................
In our household we have a newer etrex (not sure which model, and Luke has it with him in the field at the moment so I can't check) and a set of two garmin rinos. For longer trips, where there is any chance the two of us might split up (or in a larger party that might split up to hunt in smaller groups) the rinos are great. On several occasions Luke and I have separated in the field, and the rinos let us keep in radio contact until we met back up. Once several years back I waited on a ridge line for hours while Luke and his dad descended more than a 1000' feet in nasty terrain to recover a goat that took a death leap. Several times they thought they might have to spend the night in the crags, and it was really great to hear from them via radio for updates on their progress, as the weather got wet and foggy and they took a lot longer than anticipated on their mission.
The radios only work with line of sight, but we have found you can often poll the location of another user when the radios won't work, and it will show you where they are on the map relative to your location.
The downside to the rinos are that they are bulky and kind of heavy. For trips where we don't plan to split up, or where weight is more of an issue the etrex works great. Small and compact, with a good quality screen it certainly gets the job done when we don't need all the bells and whistles.
ha ha....funny guy. to make things even worse it was almost dark and i decided not to finish my stalk, was trying to get in front of some elk before they crossed a saddle. i was a long ways from the truck and decided i had better not try 3 miles in new country with no gps not being able to see....even though that's pretty much what i ended up doing anyways being that it was dark in 15 min, shoulda kept going for the elk ;(
i've considered going back to look, but doubt it would survive the winter, and i probably still couldnt find it....i tried that night for a couple min but knew it was hopeless
If you liked the vista, you will love the new etrex line. It has all the bells and whisles plus the rock solid durability that made the original such a sucess. To me the screen size is not an issue and you can operate it with gloves. The map detail is great, plus add the fact it connects to both US & Russian satts and you have very good reception. There are not many gps units out that have this ability yet, well atleast as of late last year there wasn't.
I agree watch for sales, I think the extex 20 was on sale for $149 at Cabelas. Just compare it's specs to the more expensive touch screens and you will find it has more to offer but it is also a newer unit. Only thing it doesn't have is a cell phone size screen to eat batts, my etrex 20 has ran for a 23hr straight period of time so it's batt rating are true.
I have the Garmin Oregon 550. It has a built in camera which is handy but it's only 3.2 megapixels. I have the HuntingGPSMaps downloaded on the computer which is very handy. You can download google earth and open up whatever area you have open on hunting gps maps on to google earth and get sattelite imagery of the selected area. Great tool!!!