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Garmin Etrex Venture HC - Good Choice?

Started by cachecow, June 18, 2010, 02:28:44 AM

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My wife wanted a GPS for use when horseback riding on trials.  Simply wants to be able to make tracklogs (bread crumbs) to show where she has been and get back to base camp.  Maybe save 4 or 5 trail experiences.  I have ordered her a Garmin Etrex Venture HC.

1) Will the base map already on the unit be good enough for tracking A to B and bread crumbs back to A?  No elevation and detailed topos desired by her...keep it simple.
2) Are there maps that you would recommend for off road trail use in western NC/SC that would cover more detail from a base camp going out no more than a 25 mile radius?
3) Did I goof up by not buying her a GPS with an SD card in view that she wants the basics?

Thanks from a handheld GPS Newbie


I have one of these and it has been great for my deer hunting and short backpacking treks.

Yes, the basemap will meet your needs.....for now.

The maps here are absolutely fantastic!  Find the one for your area and download it.  Very simple.  Even though you only have 24mb of storage, using the map tool in Map Source, I was able to load enough map segments from the Michigan Topo here to get me 400 miles north to the Upper Peninsula.  When I trekked beyond those maps, the base map kicked in.

That depends.  I now have a 60CSx and the features included are great.  However, I still use my Venture HC for deerhunting and frogging through the Michigan woods and forests.  It does all I need it to do.

That said, let me warn you......once she's been "bitten" by the fun of playing with a GPSr, you will have several more options for her upcoming birthday gifts.  :)

This site has all the best stuff on the Internet for your pleasure in the great outdoors.  Have fun!
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.


I'm going to have to disagree here. I would NOT buy the Venture HC, due to its extremely limited and unexpandable internal memory. Yes, it will meet the really basic needs you describe for recording and displaying track. This has nothing to do with the map. The basemap is, frankly, worthless for most purposes. It is largely blank and only shows a few of the most major roads (like interstates), big rivers (like the Mississippi) and state boundaries. This, again, will meet your basic needs but it's pretty comparable to having no map at all, as the screen will be blank in most areas.

The real problem is the 24MB memory capacity. This seemed like a lot ten years ago, but today it will be a major limitation if you want to add maps (like the ones on this site).

If you want to keep it cheap and simple, get one of the "x" models such as the Legend Hcx or Vista Hcx. These are basically the same unit, but they have a slot for a micro SD memory card. You can add a 2GB or 4GB card for just a few bucks and will then have all the expansion space you need to add detailed maps covering a large area.