Looking for handheld GPS unit for fieldwork
April 5, 2011 2:52 PM Subscribe
What's the best handheld GPS unit for hiking/fieldwork under ~$500?
I'm looking for a handheld GPS unit for fieldwork in the northeastern US. Here's what I'm hoping for in my GPS Mr. Right:
Good signal under forest cover: I'm not going to be deep in the Amazon or anything, but I can expect to be under a lot of tree cover, a lot of the time. I've had problems in the past with GPS units losing their signal in forests.
Waterproof: I'll be doing my work in/near rivers. I'm not going to go swimming with this thing in my pocket, but odds are good I'll lose my footing at a river crossing eventually and it will take a dousing. I do keep equipment in plastic bags when not in use, but, better safe than sorry. In any case, it'll certainly be out in the rain.
Reasonable elevation accuracy: This is possibly a lot to ask - I don't really know what I can expect in terms of elevation accuracy from a consumer-priced unit. I'm not so much concerned with knowing the absolute elevation at a particular location, but I'd like to do the best I can at documenting changes in elevation from site to site.
Those are the big three. Longer battery life is also nice, but I can carry extra batteries. The more waypoints I can enter, the merrier, but this isn't a big issue - I can download points at night, and I won't be marking thousands of sites in a day. It'd be great if it had an easy way to attach a lanyard so I won't have to worry about losing the thing.
I'll be paying for this out of my own pocket. So, the cheaper the better, although I'm willing to go up to ~$500 if I absolutely must. (I certainly can't afford the pro-level units with submeter accuracy - they run for thousands of dollars - but I'd like the most accurate unit possible within my budget.)