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Compasses (and GPS)

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:36 am
by radare
I want a nice compass for this year's rides. Since I'll be on forest service roads for some of the rides, GPS isn't reliable.

Specifically, I want one that is durable, accurate, and reliable.

What do you all recommend?

Re: Compasses

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:33 am
by fateddy
Assuming you mean an onboard compass, a marine compass. Nothing I've seen handles vibration and bumps like one designed to mount on a boat. Problem is, they're not very small. The smaller the compass, the less reliable they are, since the floating internal part needs a good bit of weight to keep them steady and responsive.

A lot of GPS units are actually pretty reliable now in canyons and areas with a lot of canopy cover. I like the Garmin eTrex models. I used my wife's Garmin Nuvi on some Forest Service roads last weekend with no glitches at all. Even though I like to keep my paper map and analog compass skills up, I'll be running an onboard GPS in new territory.

Re: Compasses

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:23 pm
by radare
Those eTrex devices look pretty nice. There are several models. I'll take some time and look at a few of them. Which do you prefer?

And do you think one would work out if you mounted it to the handlebars using something like this (or do you think the vibrations would kill it in short order)?

Image

Re: Compasses

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:48 pm
by arnehulstein
If you have the budget, Garmin does some really cool GPSMAPS that are handhelds to start with, but are great to mount to a bike. I know a lot of all road riders that use older 60cs's and then they have just launched their Garmin GPSMAP 64sc. ;)

Re: Compasses

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:41 pm
by SpeedRacerOnline
I just use my phone when I need a compass. There's a really nice app called "Smart Tools" that has several handy tools, including a good compass.


Re: Compasses

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:45 pm
by fateddy
radare wrote:
Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:23 pm
Those eTrex devices look pretty nice. There are several models. I'll take some time and look at a few of them. Which do you prefer?

And do you think one would work out if you mounted it to the handlebars using something like this (or do you think the vibrations would kill it in short order)?

Image
RAM mounts make a little beefier smartphone cradle that has gotten positive reviews on ADVRider. In fact, I've been toying with the idea of mounting one on the DR for my old iPhone 4 and just running map software.

I think Wendy's eTrex is the 55 or 85, I don't recall. The screen is a bit small for on the fly navigation, but it's really more of a hiking/backpacking/fieldwork tool. The Nuvi that she gave me is quite a bit bigger, has a color screen, and touchscreen navigation. There's a really good ADV thread on getting the most out of them. Plus, they can be easily wired into a distribution block.

Re: Compasses

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:14 pm
by xjardin
fateddy wrote:
Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:45 pm
In fact, I've been toying with the idea of mounting one on the DR for my old iPhone 4 and just running map software.
Yep this is what I do for all of my offroad activities or even if I'm just going to a new place. Download offline maps and even if I lose GPS signal I still have a map. You can even download different layers, like a POI layer to show fuel stations. Not sure about iOS but I know for Android there are several open source projects with offline maps to download at no cost.

Re: Compasses

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:14 am
by arnehulstein
There's a few for iOS as well, but as always, they are more expensive. (Ask me how I know. ;) )

The funny thing is, that I know quite a few guys who have bought cheap Chinese/Asian rugged Android phones to put on their bikes and keep their iPhone in their pocket. Prepaid data isn't that expensive anymore and neither are those phones.

On a side note, the guys that I know that do serious off roading and longer tracks all seem to move over to cheap 60CS's from there and then go up into the world of big spending GPS systems.

Re: Compasses

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:25 am
by xjardin
arnehulstein wrote:
Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:14 am
The funny thing is, that I know quite a few guys who have bought cheap Chinese/Asian rugged Android phones to put on their bikes and keep their iPhone in their pocket. Prepaid data isn't that expensive anymore and neither are those phones.
Yeah and I mean really you don't even need service on the burner to use offline maps and GPS. If you really need connectivity on the burner you can always pop an AP from your iPhone to connect it.

I traveled this way for a while with no cell service at all, just an old rooted nexus tablet loaded with maps. It was a great tool for helping me navigate forest service roads and find quiet little places to set up camp. I downloaded a topographical layer for the map that was invaluable as well. Best part is it's all freeeeee :thumbsup:

Re: Compasses

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:54 am
by radare
I don't mind spending money on one that will be durable and reliable. I'd prefer not use my phone simply because I rely on it for other things and its fragile. With my work email and such coming through, I don't even want it on while I'm riding; too much a distraction.

I had a TomTom Rider years ago and it was alright. I used it a couple of times on rides but it had too many feature I didn't like, like the Scala headset that would never pair with it. I think, ultimately, I'd like something that I can take off the bike and carry with me if I choose to hike around or camp. Something that has high accuracy.

Let's see, google . . .