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The Best Handheld GPS Units for Geocaching

written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/17/2009

What are some of the best hand held GPS units that are available for Geocaching? Find out here which makes and models reign supreme below. If you’re looking for the cream of the crop, read on.

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    GPS Devices for Geocaching

    Geocaching is becoming an immensely popular outdoor activity involving using a GPS device to locate caches that are hidden on public land with their coordinates recorded on a website dedicated to this large scale version of hide and seek. It’s not only fun, but it can be extremely educational for kids helping them learn the importance of team building and developing problem-solving skills.

    By reading part 1 (What Should I Look For In a Handheld GPS for Geocaching?) you will know the basic features you need for a GPS to be effective plus the more advanced capabilities that make for the absolute top of the line models. Now for the best; Garmin is the leader at making a GPS device which is most suitable to satellite-assisted treasure hunters.

    Garmin's feature-laden GPSMAP 60CSx is the best GPS for geocaching. Here’s a list of the features that make it the cream of the crop:

    • A High-sensitivity GPS receiver locks on to those satellites in heavy tree cover, deep canyons, and heavy cloud cover with 12 channels.
    • The electronic compass shows your heading and direction.
    • Barometric altimeter.
    • The IPX7 waterproof (and dustproof) case can even be submerged in water which bodes well for the clumsy seekers.
    • The display screen is large and in color, easily viewable no matter where the sun or moon happen to be.
    • Roughly 18 hour battery (2 AA) life.
    • Stores up to 1000 waypoints. Plenty of memory (with removable card) to download more maps.
    • A blank 64 megabyte (MB) microSD card comes with the 60CSx which enables you to store extra maps from optional MapSource® mapping software.
    • Use the USB cable to hook your device to your computer and you can load map data, cache points, or transfer routes and waypoints.
    • You can buy extra MicroSD cards that are preloaded MapSource maps if you want them. Garmin’s Topo maps are fantastic to have along with you.

    This unit looks and feels a bit like the walky-talky that a kid who was the product of the eighties might have had that would barely work from the front yard to the backyard. It is truly amazing when you step back to see that we’re evaluating here; which of these gadgets works best when having one at all was inconceivable not that long ago. But there is a new technological gadget that helps every generation rediscover a fundamental truth. It’s good to be outside enjoying the equanimity that communing with the natural world can bring. This unit will cost you roughly $350.

    The Garmin Oregon 400t Handheld GPS Unit is also an exceptional model for many of the same reasons listed above. In addition, the Oregon boasts an icon-laden touch screen to wield its geocaching power. It also has preloaded topographic maps and some find its user interface more intuitive. The Oregon transfers easily from navigating your vehicle on a road all the way to off the trail in the woods. It’s the luxury liner of the geocaching set. You might find one for as low as $400 or as much as $600 depending upon the feature set. But either way; those two Garmin models are your best bet if expense is not a concern. For the best in mid price range and the ablest device for the lowest price, read the next article in this series.

What are The Top Geocaching GPS Units?

This four part series first presents you with an in-depth look at the features and capabilities that make a handheld GPS device unit the ideal choice for geocaching. The remaining articles use that criterion to list several of the best brands and models based on performance and the price tag.
  1. Best GPS Units for Geocaching
  2. What to Look for in a Handheld GPS for Geocaching?
  3. The Best Handheld GPS Units for Geocaching
  4. Top Geocaching GPS Units: Budget & Mid-Price Ranges