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Garmin GPS Geko 301

in Navigation Gear & Accessories

Average Rating
4.00 / 5 (2 reviews)

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Craig Shelley
( craig_shelley )

Rocky Mountains
Garmin GPS Geko 301 on 11/19/2006 09:11:59 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

For years I used a Garmin eTrex Summit GPS. It finally died and I decided to downsize to the Geko 301. The weight is just 71 grams. I also carry the Geko 201 as a backup at just 66 grams. The combination weighs less than the old Summit at 145 grams (batteries not included for all weights, the Geko uses the smaller and lighter AAA rather than AA batteries too).

Most of my backpacking trips are off trail. I plan possible routes on the computer with MapTech topo maps. These are then downloaded to both GPSs and the topo map areas are printed. The weight isn't bad and I always no where I am and where I'm going. I always have some extra Lithium AAA batteries as backup and also in the spare Geko 201 that I seldom use.

In addition to navigation, I keep track of every picture I take with a waypoint. I also keep track of key waypoints, such as water availability in desert and access points, e.g., to pass through the Entrada sandstone and get into or out of a canyon.

I like the digital compass and altimeter in the Geko 301, but they are seldom used. I also think the combination of computer/mapping software with a simple GPS cannot be beat for navigation.

In short, I never leave home without it - even if I just have the GPS along to document photography.

I decided to downgrade my review from a 5 to a 4 on 2/5/07. First, it does not support SiRF. A GPS with a 5 should. I also agree that the serial interface is rather old and it should use USB. However, after using the GPS for about 18 months (maybe a little short of that), it died. Garmin will repair it for $69 plus the cost of shipping it to them, but my eTrex Summit lasted much longer than this and it hadn't been subjected to any abuse (like wet conditions that did the Summit in).

Edited by craig_shelley on 02/05/2007 18:36:53 MST.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Garmin GPS priced at: $165.98
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Craig S Stewart
( cstewart )

Southwest Germany
Geko 301 would be perfect w/ update on 02/03/2007 00:43:49 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I like my Geko 301 a lot. It is a good value for the money. It does not feel flimsy and the buttons have a solid feel to them leading me to believe they will hold up well long-term. Mine weighs 3 oz w/ AAA Lithium batteries and is easily compact enough to carry in a shirt or jacket pocket. It also can use rechargeable batteries which work fine for travel or day-hiking. I usually carry it on a Garmin quick-release lanyard while backpacking to keep it from being damaged if I accidentally drop it. It has most everything a person would need for the backcountry and interfaces well with NG Topo! Software. With a car/laptop adaptor cable and Microsoft Streets and Trips and Microsoft Autoroute software; I have car and foot navigated all over Europe and the US, extending its usefulness. EasyGPS free-ware software allows me to upload/download waypoints and routes while traveling. As good as it is there is room for improvement. Garmin should update the old serial interface to USB. Although I successfully use a serial-to-USB converter from Keyspan; most new computers no longer come w/ serial ports. Updating the GPS microcontroller chip to the newer SIRFstar 111 would enhance its ability to lock on weak signals in canyons and dense foliage. The software main menu system needs an update to allow you to scroll backwards if you accidentally go past a selection. The battery door is difficult to open. These are minor gripes though and I would not hesitate to purchase it again. I would have rated this 4.5 if available.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Garmin GPS priced at: $165.98
Garmin Lanyard priced at: $1.70
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