In many walks of life, the modern smartphone has become the main survival tool for those essential needs such as phoning home, catching up with everyone on Facebook and checking the cricket scores. Most also come with a map tool that can tell you where you are and how to reach your destination. But don’t be fooled into thinking this negates the need for a good GPS if you are embarking on an outdoor adventure.
You would not use your phone camera to capture stunning wildlife photos, and you need more than a basic phone app if you are venturing into the outback or exploring the Queensland coastline. A handheld GPS can prove to be a genuine lifeline, particularly when the conditions get tough. As well as helping you find your campsite, walking track or private beach, many of the most popular GPS tracking devices have features such as radios and emergency beacons that can make all the difference in a survival situation. Let’s take a look at three of the top choices:
Top of the range
With everything, you get what you pay for, and the Rino 755C GPS has it all. It packs dual GPS/GLONASS reception, which in English means you can still track your location whatever the conditions.
It also has a very powerful 2-way radio as just one part of its impressive emergency alert system – it sends a message to other Rino 700 series users in the event of an emergency to tell them where you are, and when help is on the way; additionally, it will give you their location so that you know when they will be with you. At AU$850, it doesn’t come cheap, but for the extreme adventurer, it can’t be beaten.
All round performer
Perhaps the most popular all rounder, the ETrex Touch 30X has plenty of features and is around half the price of the Rino 755C.
It is very lightweight and comes with a built in compass and altimeter. The only downside reported is that the maps can sometimes be a little slow to download.
For a basic GPS on a budget, the 30X’s little brother, the ETrex 20X is well worth a look. Of course, at around AU$270, it does not have the same functionality as the more expensive models, but it comes with impressive memory capacity and will serve the hobby adventurer well.
Which is best?
In the final analysis, it comes down to budget and what you need to achieve. If you are likely to be spending days in the outback and getting into perilous situations, then it is worth spending more on a GPS with all the bells and whistles. But for mere mortals, either of the ETrex models should be more than capable.