Affordable Garmin unit that can use land Ownership Maps from this site

Started by Rudeseal, February 17, 2009, 12:57:17 PM

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I currently am using a Magellan Triton 500, but have since discovered that getting personalized maps like land ownership, BLM TOPOs is expensive and troublesome.  So I am looking to trade in to a Garmin.  I am looking a two different models, one, the Garmen eXtrex Venture hc that Walmart sells for $169, and the 60CSx that Amazon sells for about $130.00 more.  I plan on using the unit for hiking and backcountry uses along with driving around sightseeing in the car.  maybe Geocaching if I am in the mood.. LoL!..

Anyhow, the question I have is which is the better buy.. In otherwords, do I need all the power of the 60CSx or can I get by with the Venture hc?  What are the pro's and cons?


Keep your eyes open... I have seen the 60csx drop in price to ~$170 at both WalMart and Amazon, but  you need to catch it quickly!

Either unit is probably OK, but I am not such a fan of either due to the screen which is very low resolution - 160x240 pixels and only 256 colors. I have a 60csx and used to have a Legend C. The 60csx is a real classic, but showing its age in terms of screen quality and redraw speed. It is also a very poor choice for any sort of automotive use.

If you just want something cheap and functional, take a look at the Nuvi 205. You can find it for $130 or so on sale at the big box stores. It include the US City Navigator maps which would cost about $80 by themselves. It should work fine with any of the maps around here - I got one to test my own maps in fact. Screen is 240x320 which is twice the number of pixels on the model's you're looking at, and it supports millions of colors.

Downside is that it doesn't have as many menu choices to customize the map as a "real" handheld. But the touchscreen interface is nice and it has a sliding lock switch to disable the screen while carrying it around. Of course it isn't as waterproof or shock resistant as a real handheld either, but it's kind of a fun and handy unit if you want to use in the car as well as short hike. Voice guidance is also a plus for auto navigation and it comes with a car charger and mount which would be extra $$$ with the other models you mention.


Yes. I was originally going to buy that package, but decided on the Colorado 400i because of the inland lake maps that are preloaded. The bigger screen helped in the decision as well.   


i just bought the nuvi 550 from amazon for $270
it comes with all of N. America city nav, and you can put any of these customs on it

the 500 is the same unit that has lower 48 city nav and garmin us topo both included for the same price at best buy


The nuvi is more for auto (even the 500) than hiking; that may weigh in.
Dan Blomberg
Administrator - GPSFileDepot
GPS Units: Garmin Dakota 20, Garmin GPSMap 60csx, Nuvi 255W, Nuvi 250W, ForeRunner 110, Fenix 2, Tactix Bravo, Foretrex 401
See/Download My Maps!


i still havnt received the nuvi 550... im hoping it does a pretty good job for hiking... i guess i will soon see
do you have experience with it? I also have a rino 530 hcx, but the screen is so small, it is incapable of DEM shading, and it can only take a 2gb card


The 500 series is pretty odd and personally wouldn't interest me. For example, there is no way to lock the screen so it doesn't accidently get activated in your pocket. That is a major flaw for a touchscreen GPS designed for hiking. Even the cheapo Nuvi 205 has a sliding switch to lock the screen, and the Oregon has a button to lock the screen.

The 500 is also lacking just about all of the advanced menu options you would expect from a handheld. It's main advantage would be the preloaded US Topo maps and the fact that it's waterproof. Other than that, you're basically getting a Nuvi without text to speech. $270 is a pretty good price though.


the 550 actually doesnt include the garmin topo maps, but i already have them, and i much prefer the maps on this site....

the 550 leaves out the garmin topo maps in favor of having all of north america instead of just the lower 48... a must for me as i live back and forth between northern washington state and vancouver, bc

i dont much care about text to speech, im a tomtom convert (my one is dying and i cant charge it) so i needed a nuvi, and any help that it can give me for hiking and geocaching will be welcome... im hoping it will be good when i get it, but if not i will get an oregon down the road