Rambling Review – Garmin Etrex H GPS Unit

Rambling Review – Garmin Etrex H GPS Unit

Garmin Etrex
Garmin Etrex

Why:

In short, I don’t like getting lost.

When I moved to Arizona the new big country was very daunting and I always had a sick feeling in my stomach as I watched the truck get smaller and smaller the farther I walk away.  Specifically, quail hunting makes me nervous because as I wander around chasing birds, it is very easy to get disoriented. I have always found my way back, but before every hunt I mark the truck’s location, just in case. In the end it was a simple decision to spend the money and buy a little security with the GPS.

Note: I still always carry a compass so I can plot a course, just in case the GPS fails.

Batteries
Batteries

First impressions:

Solid Construction – When I held the Garmin Etrex GPS Unit is the store, I was struck by the solid block construction. I try not to make a habit of dropping electronics, but it has been known to happen. While tromping around the outdoors, a pack can be dropped or worse yet, the GPS unit itself could be banged around. The hard plastic coupled with durable rubber gives the Garmin GPS a very rugged feel.

Features – (Some key features that I thought were important)

–          Waterproof – Garmin claims that this device can take an “accidental dunk” in the creek. Not a terrible feature when it is lodged in my pack while I fish.

–          5.3 oz

–          17 hours of battery life

–          Able to log over 500 waypoints.

–          Not able to upload maps

Price – Tough to beat the price on this great GPS when others in the same market are hundreds of dollars more. Enough said.

Garmin Etrex
Garmin Etrex

Field Use:

I have been nothing but pleased with the performance of this GPS. One thing that I have noticed about this GPS is how easy it is to use. With only 5 buttons, this Garmin is very easy to navigate. Most of the use that this device sees is during hunting trips. Once I park the truck I turn the GPS on and mark a waypoint. Then I turn off the GPS to conserve battery life and put the unit in my pack. I have a fairly good sense of direction and can usually find my way back to the truck without a whole lot of difficulty, but there have been a few times where I need to take the GPS out and double check my bearings. This GPS is perfect when I am in a new area or even an old standby. I love having the extra insurance in my pack, knowing that it is there just in case.

I also like to mark locations of my hunting stands or quality bedding, feeding, “gamey”- looking spots. This makes wandering my way through the dark trying to locate a tree stand, much easier. Also, if I am feeling generous, I can give a buddy the exact coordinates and he can make his way to the stand on his own.

This particular GPS does not have an actual topographical map.  Instead, it offers a compass like view that points to whatever waypoint you have designated. This is perfect for my use, but I know some like the high-tech features that other more expensive GPS units have. I am a simple guy and like to keep my hunting simple. Becoming too reliant on technology is a recipe for disaster if that technology decides not to work once you are in the field.

Waypoints are generally logged as numbers but there is the opportunity to put specific labels on waypoints. This helps when I go back later and have things specifically labeled so I remember what waypoint is what. I have also used the sunset/sunrise features to figure out exactly what time I should be getting into my stand. I always make sure to carry an extra set of batteries just in case.

Waypoints
Honey Holes and Hunting Spots

Pros:

Simple to use

Rugged Construction

Flawless performance for over multiple years

Waterproof

Large waypoint capacity

Cons:

Black/White/Gray Screen

Not able to upload maps

Prognosis: An extremely useful piece of equipment to have in the field if you are looking for a little extra insurance that you make it back to the truck.

Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

11 Responses to “Rambling Review – Garmin Etrex H GPS Unit”

    • azwanderings

      I believe it. Luckily, living in the desert I don’t have to worry about this too much. Thanks for the kind words Rohan.

      Ben

      Reply
  1. Bruce

    Nice review it made me want to go out and get another GPS. My hand held broke years ago and I never replaced it, but I feel like maybe it is time.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      It’s one of those things you don’t think about too much until it really hits the fan. Always nice to have a little arrow pointing you home…

      Ben

      Reply
  2. David G

    Good review! I’ve been wanting to buy a GPS, but still haven’t. Getting lost isn’t all that exciting anymore.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      These Garmins are cheap and the way to go in my opinion. Simple yet functional. Let me know if you end up picking one up.

      Ben

      Reply
  3. Stephanie

    Garmin really has the market cornered on GPS.

    We felt the same way when we moved to CO. After considering the places we will have to go to hunt, we thought a GPS might be in order. Like you, we still carry the compass and map, just in case.

    Solid review – as always.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks Stephanie. Better safe than sorry. The GPS is great for this big sky country out west. Thanks for the kind words.

      Ben

      Reply
  4. mr blur

    I had that same unit. it was fun and easy to use. ironically somehow or another I lost it. I have found though that I don’t really need it, then again I’m not out wandering around the big empty where everything looks the same. it’s easy to get lost out there.

    I do kinda miss having all those hotspots on lees ferry waypoointed. then again I know where they are anyways.

    great product great price.

    hey – how’s the fishing been ? dog.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks Mike. Simplicity is the key when adding technology to outdoor activities. Complex equipment can take the fun out of a backcountry trip real quick. The way point feature is real nice. Fishing has been phenomenal. Just got back into town so I should have some Oregon and Alaska posts up here very quickly. Thanks again.

      Ben

      Reply
  5. Schermann

    Yeah, just picked up one of the ‘H’ models. Luv the shear simplicity! Something endearing about the rawness of LCD only. Mine is a 2007 issue ans so I’m now looking out for a USB connector and a software update, I hope I find it…

    Reply

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