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Best GPS for touring?

Old 12-22-22, 10:55 AM
  #1  
rossiny
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Best GPS for touring?

Just got a Samsung Galaxy5 Pro, phone watch. I'm not sure if I'm going to return since the base is so round and cold it pushes into your wrist..What's the best option out there in your opinion?​​​​​​​I thought this was a good option as it has a claimed 80 hour battery and can use it as your only phone etc, and has a claimed 20 hours of running the GPS.
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Old 12-22-22, 01:06 PM
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I have a Garmin Enduro. Battery life is 50 days. It can probably be used for a month between charges navigating courses if you turn tracking off between glances (perhaps not convenient) and an easy 10 days in always on mode 7h/day. Enduro 2 has apparently better life. With solar power, recharging will be history in a couple of generations

Downside would be no phone feature.
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Old 12-22-22, 02:23 PM
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Do you need it to navigate ?. That rules out watches, whose screens are way to small to be useful. They do have good battery life, my Garmin Instinct 2 Solar goes 25 days typically and I've seen it go to 42 days when it's in the sun a lot. If you want a dedicate cycling device the Edge 1040 Solar goes 45 hors minimum and many more if it's seeing regular sunlight. Also very pricy at $750. The non solar goes 35 hours and runs $500-600
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Old 12-22-22, 04:40 PM
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Thanks

Thanks for advice. I just returned the Samsung Galaxy 5 Pro. 1. It would not connect GPS without the phone connection. 2. It mysteriously shut off with almost no use ,, yellow notice on screen said needs to cool down ?? Phone shut off by itself and my call cut-off. 3. Didn't have the same phone number as my phone promised.. Definitely not the quote : stand alone experience promised ..I'll be looking at the Garmin suggested, and this will save battery on my phone. thanks again... ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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Old 12-22-22, 05:01 PM
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Lots of cycling GPS devices out there. Wahoo Bolt 2, smallish but good design, and the Wahoo Roam. Garmin Edge 830, 1030 Plus (older model, lots of deals on these) and the flagship 1040 and 1040 Solar, as well as the Edge Explore 2, which is designed more for touring. Then theres the Hammerhead Karoo 2, as well as a Lezyne unit.
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Old 12-23-22, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
Do you need it to navigate ?. That rules out watches, whose screens are way to small to be useful. They do have good battery life, my Garmin Instinct 2 Solar goes 25 days typically and I've seen it go to 42 days when it's in the sun a lot. If you want a dedicate cycling device the Edge 1040 Solar goes 45 hors minimum and many more if it's seeing regular sunlight. Also very pricy at $750. The non solar goes 35 hours and runs $500-600
I still kind of hope that the garmin watches might be useful to give a reminder at turns and maybe some minimal usefulness of the tiny maps at turns. The little maps do seem to be useful for staying on the right track on trails in my limited experience. I have not tinkered with turn by turn directions though so I may be dreaming. I have an Instinct 2 and it is useful for a lot of other stuff like workout data and so on. IME on day rides/hikes it works well for getting back to the car if lost.
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Old 12-23-22, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I still kind of hope that the garmin watches might be useful to give a reminder at turns and maybe some minimal usefulness of the tiny maps at turns. The little maps do seem to be useful for staying on the right track on trails in my limited experience. I have not tinkered with turn by turn directions though so I may be dreaming. I have an Instinct 2 and it is useful for a lot of other stuff like workout data and so on. IME on day rides/hikes it works well for getting back to the car if lost.
Give a look at the Efge Explore 2. It's designed for touring, does not get loaded down with all the performance stuff, workouts, intervals, etc.... perfect for creating a route, loading and following. As well, having navigation on a device designed for it, with a map that's actually readable is a big improvement over a watch. I know, I have an Instinct 2 Solar and would never try any cycle routing on it. It's on sale a few places, runs around $250 - Garmin Edge Explore 2 GPS Cycling Computer | ProBikeKit.com
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Old 12-23-22, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
Give a look at the Efge Explore 2. It's designed for touring, does not get loaded down with all the performance stuff, workouts, intervals, etc.... perfect for creating a route, loading and following. As well, having navigation on a device designed for it, with a map that's actually readable is a big improvement over a watch. I know, I have an Instinct 2 Solar and would never try any cycle routing on it. It's on sale a few places, runs around $250 - Garmin Edge Explore 2 GPS Cycling Computer | ProBikeKit.com
Honestly I am still a paper map and fire up the phone once in a while to check where I am if unsure kind of guy. I am thinking of the watch navigation as a supplement to the paper map. Just a beep to say, "hey there is a turn here". In some places where I can rely of frequent charging I might leave the phone on and in airplane mode. Otherwise I might have it turned off unless I need to use it. Depending on how I am using it I can charge frequently or go a week or even maybe two on a charge (I have never needed to go two on a charge on a tour) and still text home daily and check my location once in a while.

I actually would be pretty happy with just using my phone if I was willing to deal with the battery issues. I am not sure about current models, but think I recall something like 12 hours battery for the Edge. I wasn't thtilled about living with that.
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Old 12-23-22, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
Do you need it to navigate ?. That rules out watches, whose screens are way to small to be useful.
Depends what you mean by navigation. A watch is a very competent device to follow a predetermined course. I've used dedicated GPS units, smartphones and watches and in my experience a watch is as good if not better than larger devices when biking (more so when hiking because you don't have to fish the device from your pocket, less so when boating where map layers are often critical).

It you mean course design, you are absolutely right. Pre tour, I try to generate courses on a computer. On tour, from a phone. From a watch would be excellent training to develop patience.
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Old 12-23-22, 05:08 PM
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The best GPS for touring is a phone.

The more crap you add, the more crap you have to worry about charging. You already have a phone. Keep it simple and use what you already have. Leave the gadgets at home.
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Old 12-23-22, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Depends what you mean by navigation. A watch is a very competent device to follow a predetermined course. I've used dedicated GPS units, smartphones and watches and in my experience a watch is as good if not better than larger devices when biking (more so when hiking because you don't have to fish the device from your pocket, less so when boating where map layers are often critical).

It you mean course design, you are absolutely right. Pre tour, I try to generate courses on a computer. On tour, from a phone. From a watch would be excellent training to develop patience.
Maybe its how I use it, but there is no useful map detail on a watch. Its so much better to be able to see map detail on a real screen. Watches are way to tiny in my experience.
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Old 12-23-22, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
The best GPS for touring is a phone.

The more crap you add, the more crap you have to worry about charging. You already have a phone. Keep it simple and use what you already have. Leave the gadgets at home.
Theres truth in this. I just followed a couple rode cross country. Used an iPhone of some sort and between Google Maps Cycling as well as Kamoots, did just fine. It does use up battery in a hurry so you need to plan on alternative power such as a battery brick or stick in the bar bag, but easy enough solution.
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Old 12-24-22, 10:16 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Yan
The best GPS for touring is a phone.
...
A lot of phones are impossible to see on a sunny day. If yours works for you, great. Mine does not.
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Old 12-24-22, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
The best GPS for touring is a phone.

The more crap you add, the more crap you have to worry about charging. You already have a phone. Keep it simple and use what you already have. Leave the gadgets at home.
This is what I do, extra battery for longer trips.

Sun can be an issue but just cover my head and phone with my shirt to see it.
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Old 12-24-22, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
[...]ts so much better to be able to see map detail on a real screen. Watches are way to tiny in my experience.
Yes, I understand. Perhaps a reflection of past experience. My first GPS (30 years ago) had no mapping capability whatsoever. Just a compass-like arrow pointing towards the target waypoint and a distance indicator. Still, was enough to get me through many mazes (including a cab ride in Beijing where the driver wouldn't go because my hotel was located in a hutong - I told him not to worry and relied on my eTrex. We made it.).

Maps are great but phone navigation requires 100 times more energy. A large battery bank will last, perhaps, 4 days if you navigate with a phone. A similar battery would be enough to power a watch for more than a year. Being comfortable with breadcrumb nav, I've stopped navigating with a phone 3 years ago.

ps. breadcrumb nav shows course ahead in tiny black line, track behind in green, and current position with an arrow. Makes it fairly obvious if you are off-course. And easy to anticipate changes in direction. The one significant drawback is, perhaps, when riding along an impassable obstacle (e.g. railway tracks). If you happen to ride on the wrong side of the track and you are on a road that isn't parallel (ex: 90-degree turn on your road whereas your course keeps going straight) you may get lost without a map. At which time you get your phone
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Old 12-25-22, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
The best GPS for touring is a phone.

The more crap you add, the more crap you have to worry about charging. You already have a phone. Keep it simple and use what you already have. Leave the gadgets at home.
Not grasping the logic here (no need to explain it).

Option 1):
> use the phone for navigation,
> it pulls lots of power to do so,
> phone may well be low or out of power when/if needed as a safety device or to call for help(injury, significant mech breakdown, weather forecast/tracking, crime..)
> best to carry a backup battery bank(a heavy, extra "gadget")
> need to carry a charger and USB cord that charges both devices

Option 2):
> reserve phone as nav backup,
> phone set to airplane mode or turned off when not needed, phone battery in good shape when/if emergency arrives, severe weather tracking, simple text communication
> use cycling(or hiking) gps for navigation that's designed for use with long battery life
> skip carrying a heavier battery bank
> carry a usb charger and cord that charges both phone and cycling gps

Same number of items carried in both instances. Second option is lighter in weight and with better tools for the jobs at hand.

I choose door number two.

You do you..doesn't matter to me.
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Old 12-25-22, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
Option 1):
> use the phone for navigation,
> it pulls lots of power to do so,
> phone may well be low or out of power when/if needed as a safety device or to call for help(injury, significant mech breakdown, weather forecast/tracking, crime..)
> best to carry a backup battery bank(a heavy, extra "gadget")
> need to carry a charger and USB cord that charges both devices

Option 2):
> reserve phone as nav backup,
> phone set to airplane mode or turned off when not needed, phone battery in good shape when/if emergency arrives, severe weather tracking, simple text communication
> use cycling(or hiking) gps for navigation that's designed for use with long battery life
> skip carrying a heavier battery bank
> carry a usb charger and cord that charges both phone and cycling gps

Same number of items carried in both instances. Second option is lighter in weight and with better tools for the jobs at hand.

I choose door number two.
FWIW I sort of tried option 2 back in the day of simple hand held gps models with minimal features and AA batteries. On one tour I mailed the gps home because I wasn't using it. On another I actually used it for turn by turn reminders. The reason I say I sort of used option 2 is because I carried and used paper maps as well. The trip where I used the turn by turn reminders was on dirt roads and off road much of the time. So getting a reminder was especially helpful since intersections may not have been marked or obvious.

As far as putting the phone in airplane mode or turning it off to reserve battery... You can do that even when using it as your primary navigation device. You can always turn off the cellular, wifi, and bluetooth stuff. You don't need to have the display on most of the time. That gives pretty long battery life on my phone. Much more than on most bike specific gps units that I have seen. Additionally I might be inclined to carry a spare battery or if I was really worried. They are not officially user swappable these days on most models but it is super easy to swap the one in mine and probably in many phones. There is a bit of an issue finding a charger that can charge the spare outside the phone, but Kastar makes some universal chargers that should work for that if you want to do so. Also there are a few phones that have batteries meant to be swapable. These lithium batteries are super light so a spare usually about an ounce.

Bottom line I think your conclusions about the weight of the two options is suspect or at least subject to preferences and personal choices.
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Old 12-25-22, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
...
Option 2):
> reserve phone as nav backup,
> phone set to airplane mode or turned off when not needed, phone battery in good shape when/if emergency arrives, severe weather tracking, simple text communication
> use cycling(or hiking) gps for navigation that's designed for use with long battery life
> skip carrying a heavier battery bank
> carry a usb charger and cord that charges both phone and cycling gps

... Second option is lighter in weight and with better tools for the jobs at hand.

I choose door number two.
....
Yup.

I have never used a cycling GPS so I really have no idea what I am missing. But I have everything I need with a Garmin 64, runs on AA batteries. I have figured out how to fool it into thinking it has the proprietary Garmin battery pack in it so that I can charge NiMH AAs in it from a power bank or from a dynohub.

I use the same or very similar GPS for backpacking, canoe trips, kayak trips, and on rare occasions for automobile navigation. (I also have a Garmin 62S does not allow internal battery charging like the 64 but otherwise is almost identical.)

Screen may be smaller than a phone but it is big enough. I configure it to not time out the screen so the screen is always on. But I am always careful to set the back light to off or minimum that is necessary. The screen on with backlight off lasts almost as long as with the screen timed out. Backlight cuts battery run time in half.

I have also used it for randonneuring, I load the route into it before the brevet and just follow the line on the map.

On a bike tour, the evening before I compare my routing options, paper map, GPS route (bike touring option), Maps.me auto routing on my android phone, and sometimes Komoot app on my android phone (Komoot app requires wifi or data). And decide which options look best at that time, subject to change later. Sometimes I decide at the moment that the paper map routing looks better than electronic routing.




Disregard the bike computer and separate heart rate monitor in teh photo, those are for when I am near home and leave the GPS at home.
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Old 01-04-23, 10:48 AM
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A - Airplane mode on the phone has nothing to do with GPS. Airplane mode just turns off the cellular radio. The GPS receiver in your phone does not care about airplane mode. Here's an explanation of what airplane mode does on a phone:
https://www.businessinsider.com/guid...rn%20off%20GPS.
"Depending on the phone model and OS, airplane mode may disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but it won't turn off GPS."

B - Using the phone for navigation consumes negligible additional battery life. It sounds like you are imagining the phone being mounted to the handlebar and displaying continuously? No. You look at the phone, remember with your brain where you need to go, repeat every hour when you have reached the limit of your memory. Unless your memory is for some reason absolutely terrible, you should only need to look at your phone occasionally, especially if you're touring which means you are riding in the countryside. We're talking about a few minutes of additional screen time per day. A modern phone can play video continuously for 10+ hours. A few added minutes in Google Maps is a drop of water in the ocean. It does not affect your battery longevity at all.

C - Not sure what you're trying to get at with the comment about chargers. Everything can share the same charger nowadays. It's all USB.

D - Option 1 is lighter than Option 2. Option 1 has a phone and a charger. Two items total. Option 2 has a phone, a separate GPS unit, and a charger. Three items total.

Originally Posted by fishboat
Not grasping the logic here (no need to explain it).

Option 1):
> use the phone for navigation,
> it pulls lots of power to do so,
> phone may well be low or out of power when/if needed as a safety device or to call for help(injury, significant mech breakdown, weather forecast/tracking, crime..)
> best to carry a backup battery bank(a heavy, extra "gadget")
> need to carry a charger and USB cord that charges both devices

Option 2):
> reserve phone as nav backup,
> phone set to airplane mode or turned off when not needed, phone battery in good shape when/if emergency arrives, severe weather tracking, simple text communication
> use cycling(or hiking) gps for navigation that's designed for use with long battery life
> skip carrying a heavier battery bank
> carry a usb charger and cord that charges both phone and cycling gps

Same number of items carried in both instances. Second option is lighter in weight and with better tools for the jobs at hand.

I choose door number two.

You do you..doesn't matter to me.

Last edited by Yan; 01-04-23 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 01-04-23, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
A - Airplane mode on the phone has nothing to do with GPS....
Well aware of that. Airplane mode is about battery preservation. A phone constantly searching for a cell tower depletes the battery.

Originally Posted by Yan
...A modern phone can play video continuously for 10+ hours.
That I'd like to see.

..don't really care about the rest..doesn't matter as I'll let you do you & I'll do the same.
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Old 01-04-23, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
Well aware of that. Airplane mode is about battery preservation. A phone constantly searching for a cell tower depletes the battery.


That I'd like to see.

..don't really care about the rest..doesn't matter as I'll let you do you & I'll do the same.

If you are aware of that, then why are you bringing up airplane mode to support your argument?

You're a bit behind on phone tech. Read this and be shocked. 10 hours of video playback is child's play for modern phones. They last significantly longer than 10 hours while playing video. The highest end new iPhone lasts a whopping 29 hours when only playing video with other functions minimized. Even when all other functions remain on, it lasts 14 hours playing video according to independent testing.

https://www.esrgear.com/blog/how-long-is-the-iphone-14-pro-and-iphone-14-pro-max-battery-life/

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Old 01-04-23, 04:11 PM
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I have yet to do my first dedicated bike tour but for regular rides I use my Garmin Fenix 5x wristwatch and sync it with the sister app. That's to track my performance not navigation. However, when I am backpacking I use a map and compass and have a GPS as my backup. I find that I can orient myself to the landscape better with a map than a 3" screen. Same thing goes when I'm on a road trip with my car.
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Old 01-04-23, 06:47 PM
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As the saying goes, the advice I am giving is worth approximately what you are paying for it. Go for a top end cycling computer geared towards endurance events or touring. For me that’s a Garmin 1040 Solar, amazing device perfectly suited for touring and bike packing. Features listed is extensive and easily researched. If you want maps then go maps but they are not even close in functionality or usefulness. Phones are designed to be phones not cycling navigation computers and suck when they are used that way.
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Old 01-04-23, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
As the saying goes, the advice I am giving is worth approximately what you are paying for it. Go for a top end cycling computer geared towards endurance events or touring. For me thatís a Garmin 1040 Solar, amazing device perfectly suited for touring and bike packing. Features listed is extensive and easily researched. If you want maps then go maps but they are not even close in functionality or usefulness. Phones are designed to be phones not cycling navigation computers and suck when they are used that way.
As a Edge 1040 user, I agree they are great units. Unfortunately there's plenty of experience out there that a phone can do a great job of navigating a person across the country. Makes that $750 a hard sell.
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Old 01-10-23, 04:15 PM
  #25  
Pratt
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My "heavier battery bank" weight 7.2 oz.
Can't argue with it being another gadget, but the weight is a non issue for me.
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