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deciding on a good Cold weather Outdoor GPS

ib_redbeard 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
Hi All,
First thing first. I have never touched a GPS before although I am quite competent with a compass and map! :) My attitude chanced towards GPS's when I went snowmobiling for the first time a couple of weeks ago and got completely lost (my companions knew exactly where we were thank goodness) and fingers don't work well in really cold weather.

Because of that, I am going to buy a GPS. The problem being is that I live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada and there are no stores here that stock working GPS's for me to ohh and ahh about and decide which I like. So, after a lot of research, I have it down to a Garmin 60csx and a Garmin Oregon 450t with Canada maps. I have a few questions that I am unlear of and some of them will solely depend on experience that I do not have. Let me say though, that the GPS is going to be used mainly for pleasure rides on the snowmobile (winter) and ATV (summer) and also for hunting. Sometimes the hunts are days and days of hunting on the snowmobile. Last year the boss was gone for almost two weeks hunting Muskox and Caribou all from a tent and a snowmobile. Here are my questions:

1. Here in Yellowknife the weather gets to -40C regularly (although not so much this year). The snowmobile has a cigarette lighter jack so batteries aren't so much a problem. How will either fare in this type of weather? The touch screen REALLY concerns me. Is there another GPS that would do better?

2. The Oregon displays Topo maps. The 60csx displays what kind? What is the difference? Are topo maps really that great?

3. What are Bluechart g2 Map Compatible and Bluechart g2 Vision Map Compatible? The Oregon seems to have this while the 60csx does not.

4. Is 3d map view really that great?

5. Which one has the best high-sensitivity receiver?

6. Which one is easier to read in the dark? I can myself using the GPS more for snowmobiling that ATVing and it gets really dark up here really quickly.

7. Will the 60csx still be having maps published for it in teh future? I read somewhere that one concern of the 60csx is that it is discontinued and it won't be compatible with future maps.

Since I have to order online, it really sucks that I cannot even get my hands on one to play.

Thanks for all the help!


  • Boyd 1953 Points
    I really don't have any cold weather experience, so I'll leave that part to somebody else. But here are my comments based on personal experience (I own both a 60csx and Oregon 400t):

    1. don't know

    2. Both units will display traditional Garmin maps of all kinds (topo maps, street maps, marine maps). But the Oregon screen has 2.5x the number of pixels as the 60csx, so you can see a larger section of the map with more detail. The Oregon can display raster-based maps and the 60csx cannot. These are maps made from scans of paper maps or pictures, such as satellite photos. See these threads for more info on this capability which the 60csx doesn't have:

    3. The Bluechart vision maps are marine maps which you'd use in a boat. They contain raster imagery (see #2) so some of the products won't work on the 60csx

    4. Personally, I find it worthless. It only shows a small area and the detail is very crude.

    5. I think they are comparable, but 60csx fans tend to be rabid about the accuracy of their units. Some people believe that the antenna on the 60csx gives it an edge. I am not convinced. The 60csx recently changed to a different brand of GPS chip, so previous arguments about the superiority of its SiRFStar III chipset aren't valid anymore.

    6. I would pick the Oregon hands down for that, especially if you plug it into external power (it gets brighter than battery power). The Oregon screen can get washed out in bright, diffused light (bright cloudy day) but the backlight is very good, so dim and dark conditions show it at its best.

    7. I think it will be supported for a long time to come, since there are so many out there (as well as other models with the same limitations). However, you won't be able to use some of the new cool maps like those I mentioned in #2 above. I would think that the BirdsEye satellite subscription would be helpful for your use, and the 60csx is never going to support that.

    When you order online, read the vendors return/exchange policy very carefully. IMO, you would be better paying a few dollars more for a well known, reputable vendor who will allow you to exchange if you aren't happy.
  • Tim 1467 Points
    1. Here in Yellowknife the weather gets to -40C regularly (although not so much this year). The snowmobile has a cigarette lighter jack so batteries aren't so much a problem. How will either fare in this type of weather? The touch screen REALLY concerns me. Is there another GPS that would do better?
    (For those curious about the conversion, -40°C is -40°F too. :)

    Anyway, I haven't used the Oregon in conditions that cold. I've used it to about -20°C, keeping it in an inside jacket pocket where it was likely much warmer than the outside temperatures. It performed fine.

    DeLorme loves to market that the DeLorme PN-40 was taken to the North Pole on a couple of expeditions. I talked to one of the team members who went.
  • Thanks for the replies, it really helps in deciding. I think the biggest factor for me is the touch screen in the cold or not. I will Batteries last around 6 hours up here I was told because they freeze even when the GPS is in the inside pocket. Some people have battery holders sewn into the armpits of their shirts so they can thaw them out. Yellowknife is more of a tundra as well with the tree line not that far from here. The more resolution pics probably wouldn't help too much out far as everything would be just white. Closer to town though it would help.

    Thanks again!
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