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GLONASS worth the extra money?

So.... Normally use a old compass and topo maps, recently been using my cell phone with offline topo maps as well. Decided to pony up for one of them fancy new shiny GPS units. That being said, plan on using it for hunting, backpacking, motorcycling (on and offroad), in my UTV and occasionally for use in my truck around town, though most the time I use google maps on my phone (when I have service).

Had narrowed it down to 2 units, the Oregon 600 (found new for $300) and the Montana 600 (found a refurb for $360). Then realized the Montana 600 doesn't have GLONASS. I hunt in some super wooded areas, so not sure if its worth it or not, I know the Oregon does, and the newer Montana 610 does, but seems like those are $500. So is the GLONASS all its cracked up to be?

Also, the size and weight are attractive of the Oregon, but I heard for motorcycle use the USB connection (for all day power) will eventually break off or be hard on the GPS. Only real reason I am still looking at the Montana series is the cradle.

Thoughts or recommendations between these units? Or any additional units to consider?


  • Boyd 1999 Points
    Got a Montana 600 shortly after its introduction and still love it, especially the screen. I don't think GLONASS is such a big deal for my kind of handheld GPS usage. I have a Garmin GLO, which is a bluetooth GLONASS GPS receiver that can be used with phones and tablets. Very happy with that also, but the only advantage I see is (possibly) better track and point recording if I am gathering data. See this, for example - although a big difference is that the GLO provides 10 position fixes per second and Garmin handhelds only provide one per second.:

    For navigating the woods, I don't think the 610 is going to provide any advantage - certainly not enough the justify the cost difference vs. a refurb Montana 600.

    Another solution might be to get some better apps for your phone, and maybe a rugged case with a battery. All together that would probably be around $150. There are plenty of apps on both Android and iOS that store the entire map on your phone and do not require a cell signal.

    As much as I like Garmin handhelds (have been using them since about 2004), I have probably bought my last one. I have an iPhone 6s Plus in an Otterbox and several apps with all the data stored on the phone itself.

    Regardless, I think the Montana refurb is a good value and still competitive.
  • privet01 228 Points
    Although I agree that smartphones are starting to triumph over dedicated GPS devices for driving roads and highways. I still lean to a dedicated GPS device for off road and especially for situations where you'll be out of cell reception. Invarably I'd think you'll loose the gps signal at some point and, IMO, a dedicated GPS will reaquire quicker than a cell phone with no cell tower contact. But I've no practical experience trying to use my cell phones gps in the woods to base that belief on.

    I would also believe that because GLONASS is an entirely separate set of satellites, that the more the merrier. You should have a better chance of keeping a decent set of satellites to get a fix with both GPS and GLONASS while you move through woods and rough terrain. But possibly that's not true.

    What it really boils down to is how much accuracy do you really need and do you need it all the time. Hopefully you realize that 30 feet of accuracy is all you can really expect. And if you are used to using a topo map and compass, then you'll find that the map and compass are frequently more accurate.

    If you just want a GPS that you can power on and get a quick there-about, then any will do. As well any will keep a reasonable track record. Recording interval as mentioned above might be pertinent for some situations, but for slow moving off road, 1 second should be more than enough.

    So I guess to summarize, unless you absolutely need as much accuracy as possible, it's not worth the extra expense. Even then you are not really getting more accuracy. Just the ability to keep a signal.
  • Good info.. I think the main draw for the Montana, was recently went on a multi day off road trip in the desert with some buddies... A few of them had Montana's with power cradle they mounted on their dirtbikes, and someone had done a route in base camp with a ton of pins since most the "roads/trails" we were on were marked or recognized, then they navigated us that way to where we needed to go. If I had done the same thing I would have a map and been stopping all the time. Def nice and I figured I could get a GPS to do the same and then use for hunting and long range shooting as well....
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