Is the stand alone GPS a thing of the past?

Wyobohunter

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To me it is.

An OnX subscription is only $30/year and there are probably others that are just as good. I can now carry one thing for a phone, GPS, camera and source of entertainment in the tent (audiobooks/music). Seems that the GPS industry should be very concerned.

Other things are getting better and combining as well (binocular/rangefinder combos). I like it and welcome it. It’s cool to see technology make it simpler to get out and about.

My first experience with GPS was not good. Early 90’s, Okinawa, jungle training. Got turned around in the thick stuff and decided the give the new doodad a try. It was huge, heavy and… we soon found out, inaccurate. According to the doodad we should be treading water just offshore. Back to the map & compass.

Fast forward to the early 2000’s and I had an original e-trex. No visual anything so had to be used with a map. That’s ok because I still insisted on carrying a map and compass. Accuracy was way better than my first experience. I could now hunt very close to public/private land boundaries and could prove where I was was not on rancher Jim’s back 40.

Zoom up to the mid 2000’s and I had a newer GPS with a micro chip that shows topography and hunt unit boundaries. And is very accurate. Still had the backup map & compass though.

Then… phones started having built in GPS and someone in Montana had a lightbulb switch on. The app I am using is so much better than any stand alone GPS I’ve seen. More intuitive, faster to add and edit waypoints, topography plus satellite imagery. Zero weight penalty if you already carry a phone. Naturally, I still insist on carrying the good old map and compass ;-)

For the record. I’m currently trying to sell my little GPS. After discovering OnX I don’t have any use for it. I’ll not be a bit surprised if others feel the same exact way and it sits in my “extra junk” bin until the end of time.

Do you think stand alone GPS units will soon be in the collective “extra junk bin” of outdoorsmen? Unless Garmin and the others do something spectacular I think they will.
 

BBob

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Do you think stand alone GPS units will soon be in the collective “extra junk bin” of outdoorsmen?
Yes, I have an eTrex that's in perfect shape that no one wants and I've seen others for sale that never move. Gave up on selling mine. I went strictly to the phone 5 years ago give or take.

Oh yeah, I carry an inReach too so another reason to not have the dedicated GPS.
 
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Bighorner

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I don't take one often, but when I do its unfamiliar country, in timber, that I will probably be moving in while it's dark. To me it's a get back to the tent button and that's it. My phone will die pretty quick if its searching for service and cold. Both preventable, but it happens. It's really easy to get turned around with out land marks especially in the dark if you weren't watching. Its pretty much insurance.
 

Jethro

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Most likely. I loved my hand held Garmin. Especially for navigating. But for the sake of carrying 1 less gadget, it stays in truck as backup.
 
OP
Wyobohunter

Wyobohunter

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That makes sense. Though I’ll still not carry mine. It’s an extra 5 ounces that I’ll not likely need to use and if that situation comes up I’ll just stay put until I know where I am. Or if it’s safe to travel I’ll just move toward a linear landmark (road/creek/long meadow). I make it a point to keep a linear landmark in mind as I move about in thick stuff. I’ve done that before, it took a couple of slow hours of crying through deadfall but I made it to a logging road and was still in the tent in time to get some good sleep. It’s important to remember to put the phone in airplane mode and it’s critical to always have a plan:
B - Use map & compass, haven’t had to fall back on this for a long time but I stay in practice and note declination for my area before heading out.
C - linear landmark, used two seasons ago as mentioned above.
D - make a fire and stay put, did this a couple of times years ago. Not the best sleep but better than breaking a leg falling down a ravine.
 
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OP
Wyobohunter

Wyobohunter

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Most likely. I loved my hand held Garmin. Especially for navigating. But for the sake of carrying 1 less gadget, it stays in truck as backup.
Good idea. Maybe I’ll just throw mine in the glove box with some new batteries and forget about it… unless/until I lose my phone. It’s still faster than the map & compass. If someone… for some reason… decides they really want a used GPS I’ll know where to find it 😉
 

Trial153

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It is for me, between carrying a in-reach and iPhone I can’t see the need for a stand alone GPS
 

MuleyFever

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I still like my Garmin Montana. I just feel better beating it up than my cell phone. If I relied on my phone I would be carrying a battery pack anyway. Also nice having the whole states topo and aerial images all the time. If I am hunting a small area for the weekend I only take my cell phone most times and use one of the free apps. All this said I dont see myself buying another GPS when this one dies. That would probably be the point where I switch over.
 

TX1

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Still use my rino 750 just added a zoleo. The 750 has gotten me back to camp more than once in the dark and down off a mountain in the snow when we could not see the trail anymore.
 

JesseC

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I think the cell phone as the user interface is the way to go without a doubt. The user experience on the garmin topo devices is hot garbage.

I don't like the inaccuracy of the weak cellphone GPS antennas. To get around this, I just pair my phone with my Garmin InReach via bluetooth. The phone knows to use the better GPS glonas connection - and it works seamlessly.

If you don't want the added benefit of satellite communication - garmin also sells a standalone glonas antenna for about $100 on amazon last I checked. I used that before the inreach and it did the same thing - greatly improving the accuracy of tracks, etc.
 

Poindexter

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My trusty old Garmin 64st fits nicely in my bino harness side pocket. I have put a bunch of waypoints into basecamp over the years, so it is still useful to me.

Garmin's user interfaces haven't evolved well, but I am using their Xero scope on my Xbow. That thing is nifty! Have not seen the value in upgrading the handheld GPS to one that works with the Xero scope.

However, I did buy an OnX chip for the Garmin 64st. Hoping that was not money wasted. USPS says it is 3 days away.
 

wyodan

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I still use my stand alones every day. The graphics are way better on smartphones, but I can't get far enough away from a phone on the weekends. My brick phone can't OnX anyway.
 

Mt Al

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If I relied on my phone I would be carrying a battery pack anyway.......All this said I dont see myself buying another GPS when this one dies. That would probably be the point where I switch over.

Same for me, except I seem to also carry the battery pack! When I upgrade my phone, will opt for a better battery over other features and will probably make the switch then.

OP's right though, stand alone GPS days are numbered IMHO.
 

Elkfitness

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Colorado
It is nice to have batteries to just switch out vs having a battery pack/solar panel. I used my phone mostly this past year but always kept a the gps just in case. I think the days might be numbered but with the inreach units, that’s something you dont have in a phone, and those might push out the usability/usefulness today the stand alone gps.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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