Welcome to part 2 of our Garmin GSMAP 60Cx GPS review. We will start out with a few highlights from part 1:
This review focuses on the new GPSMAP 60Cx, a unit that uses the superiorly sensitive SiRFStarIII Chipset, which is incredibly accurate. The new Garmin also introduces an external storage 64MB microSD memory card.
The 12-channel, Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS) capable, receiver by SiRF Technology and a built-in Quad Helix antenna work together to continuously track and update the unit's location. Advertised acquisition times are less than 1 second when warm, less than 38 seconds when cold and less than 45 seconds using AutoLocate. The update rate is 1 X per second, continuous. The GPS has a position accuracy of less than 10 meters (33 feet), 95% typical and a velocity accuracy of .05-meter/ second steady state.
In terms of navigation the Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx offers 1000 waypoint/icons with name and graphic symbol, 50 reversible routes with up to 250 points each, 10,000 point automatic track log, which includes 20 saved tracks with 500 points each that allows the user to retrace their path in both directions.
The map page displays a map of the area around the user's position. The IN and OUT buttons change the magnification, field of view, and detail seen on the map page. The purchased unit includes a 64 MB microSD memory card that can be used to load additional MapSource data. This data can be downloaded from Garmin's MapSource CD-ROMs or additional cards can be purchased from Garmin preloaded. The card is located in the battery compartment Included is a built-in Americas autorout basemap with automatic routing capabilities, including highways, exits and tide data (U.S.Only). The internal memory chip is preloaded with a marine point database. While on the map page the user can set waypoints. A waypoint is basically a marker that pinpoints a particular location. This marker can be set at the location that the user currently occupies or at another location pinpointed by the pan mode white arrow location. Waypoints can be stored, located and navigated to. Software, Trip and Waypoint Manager, is included with every GPSMAP 60Cx purchase.
Hunting and fishing tables utilized by the Hunt and Fish Page predict the best times for these activities in list form and also gives an overall prediction for that day (poor, average, good).
To this date my testing has been comprised of hiking trips, mountain biking outings and turkey hunting. During turkey hunting I used it to mark located birds making it super easy to hone in on bird after bird once the season finally got underway. It almost felt like cheating! During mountain bike and hiking trips I ventured where I had never gone before and explored remote areas with confidence. With the unit in your hand you always know where you are and where you need to go to get back to civilization whether it be by a new route or the exact same tracks you got there on.
Now to Part II testing:
As soon as I experienced the vast western expanse in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho I understood why GPS units were created. You could walk for days and not find another road or see another person!
The chip I received from Garmin was preloaded with the State of Idaho, so, long before my plane ever landed or my hunting partner and I drove to our hunting area I had roads, streams, peaks, valleys, trails, campsite locations, suspected wallows, and meadows marked.
The first test of the 60Cx came when we had traveled far on small back roads that turned into gated farm roads and finally into less distinctive roads. We knew there was a left turn somewhere along the road that would take us to our final destination and when the GPS told us to turn it didn't look too promising. The road to the left looked as if it didn't even go very far - more like a lane to a farm than a forest road. Still, we trusted the GPS and forged ahead. The road took us on a ride to nowhere but as we kept moving the GPS tracked the pre-marked road almost exactly giving us the assurance we were looking for.
Once the car was parked we did a little exploring before dark but nothing that taxed either my GPS or my partner's - he had one from another manufacturer.
The next day we headed for our hunting area and it was one of the hardest journeys I have ever taken. My pack weighed over 70 pounds and there was rugged terrain, plenty of side-hilling and a significant increase in elevation between the truck and the elk. The 60Cx far outperformed my friend's GPS in several ways. First, it would hold its satellite signals in denser cover, second it appeared to show our position more accurately along the trail and lastly - a very important distinction - it would run for literally hours longer on one set of batteries. The other unit was burning batteries like fire through a dried up Christmas tree. My hunting partner was disgusted.
Over the next five days I came to trust the Garmin completely, although I still carried maps and a compass - you never know when something bizarre may happen and the GPS bites the dust. We walked high and low, far and wide and through thick and thin cover but I always knew where we were and how to get back. The 60Cx keeps track of everywhere you have been - a trail of bread crumbs if you will.
Other notes on testing: The 60Cx was subjected to a total soaking from a dip in a spring beside our tent, several drops from heights between 1 and 6 feet and a direct hit from the bottom cam of my bow.
When it comes right down to it, I would never and will never travel into the wilderness without a Garmin by my side. It keeps me on track, lets me know what time it is, and most importantly gives me confidence to explore deeper than I would have ever dreamt of doing otherwise. Going into the wilderness - buy one now!