Monday, December 8, 2008

Is the Bushnell Backtrack the GPS for me?

I've been contemplating the need for a basic handheld GPS unit for about a year. I know GPS can be handy in the car, but I really don't want to spend the money when I never get lost and have a phone on my person at all times. What I really want is a bare bones GPS for outdoor use. I don't need software, I don't care about maps and color screens and advanced functions. All I really need is something where I can mark my position, say the start of a hike, or where my vehicle is parked, and find my way back to that point. I've come close to getting a Garmin eTrex or Geko a handful of times, but always abstained, knowing that there's always cheaper and/or better tech on the horizons at all times.

I may have found just what I'm looking for in the Bushnell Backtrack. It's about as basic as it gets, it runs on 2 common AAA batteries and is pocket size. I could even get it in camo, but that seems like a stupid choice. I once lost a camo Zippo the woods...because it was camo. I'm not saying if I order the backtrack I'll get the pink one, I just think there are better colors for outdoor gear than traditional ANY other color.

These things have a suggested retail of about $75.00 USD, though I'm seeing them all over online for between $55 and $65.
Here's the skinny, verbatim from Bushnell:
Store and locate up to three locations
Utilizes the latest digital technology
High sensitivity SiRF Star III GPS reciever
Self calibrating digital compass
Weather resistant
Operates on 2 AAA Batteries (Not Included)
Compact size stores easily in your pocket or purse
Lanyard included for easy attachment

Pretty funny, I've read several reviews that say the lanyard included with the Backtrack is garbage, but for that price, it's surely a Chinese made afterthought. Hell, the whole Backtrack unit may be a Chinese made afterthought for all I know! I just think it's cool because it's inexpensive and fits my very basic needs. I could go hard-core if I got a Backtrack, and secure my purchase to my person with a Tactical Tailor Pistol Lanyard!
If I order one, I'll likely have Eric make me one of his sick-as-balls handmade lanyards, or order a functional one spiced up with badass skulls from Scott at the Lanyard Zone

Anyhow, if anyone reading this sees the Backtrack for a ridiculously low price, or hears negative OR positive things about it, email me...keep me posted. As mentioned, all I really need is something entry-level that won't make me want to kick my own ass in the event I want to upgrade in the next year. So I'd like to keep my handheld GPS purchase under $150.00 USD. Pop has GPS on the boat, and I've never felt the need for it in my car. Shit, even my hiking is limited by my ever-present foot pain, so I really can't think of a need to spend more money that might be better spent on knives... or saved for once.

Hmmm....I'm gonna give this one some more thought. For my needs I've also read plenty of good reviews on Garmin's eTrex and Geko family of models also. I'm in no hurry, and in fact, if I haven't needed a GPS yet, I probably won't need one in the next several hours, or realistically until Spring 2009!

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