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GPS Watches

Old 06-04-22, 09:07 AM
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GPS Watches

I am thinking about GPS watches either for touring, training, and general outdoor stuff. I have been looking at the Garmin Instinct and trying to get my head around the features and how they might be useful. I am thinking it might be a nice device that would allow turning off the phone while recording workouts while still keeping data visible and recording it. Anyone use one? How did it work out for you?
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Old 06-04-22, 09:21 AM
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A light-hearted discussion in FOO

I've been happy with the Garmin Venu 2, which I got at REI. I posted a few pictures in the foo thread.
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Old 06-04-22, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
A light-hearted discussion in FOO

I've been happy with the Garmin Venu 2, which I got at REI. I posted a few pictures in the foo thread.
Thanks, a quick skimming of that thread was useful and I'll go back and read it more carefully.
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Old 06-04-22, 10:13 AM
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Garmin offers many models. I've settled on the Enduro for its battery life (70-200 hours with GPS) as I don't care for music or maps. I use it as an activity watch and bike computer.
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Old 06-07-22, 07:47 AM
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I really expected that if I got one it would be for collecting workout data more than anything else. A bread crumb trail back to the car on hikes or trail rides even if the phone was dead seemed like a nice plus. I am now starting to think it might actually be useful for turn by turn directions. I'd imagine that you'd want/need to supplement it with a map with a wider view ( phone or paper) for confusing situations. I know that I have hiked with a GPS that had a terrible display and relied mostly on the turn by turn directions, pulling out paper when/if a real map was needed.

Comments from those of you who may have actually used turn by turn directions with a Garmin or similar watch. How much effort is it to get directions from ACA routes into a watch? From google maps on a a phone in the middle of a tour? I assume the little screen doesn't show much of a map section. How useful is the little map screen?

My wife wants to buy me one for my 71st birthday and I am thinking maybe one of the solar Instinct 2 models.
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Old 06-07-22, 09:59 AM
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I have a Garmin Fenix 5, the model from a few years ago. I use it as a bike computer. I gives me heart rate, elevation, and GPS track data. I also use it for hikes. None of these things are that important unless you are serious about training. GPS tracking you can do just as well with a phone. Direction finding, the phone is vastly superior. For me it's just another fun gadget. If you have the spare cash to burn, go for it. Otherwise it's not a big deal.
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Old 06-07-22, 10:01 AM
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1. Breadcrumb nav: several considerations.
(a) TBT can be annoying. You get the warning (not always, depending on settings) which partially obscures the screen -- I no longer use it;
(b) some people have a strong preference for a map layer. I personally care more about battery life;
(c) it works very well for me. You glance at your watch (on your wrist when on foot, on your stem when biking) and it is easy to tell if you are on/off your route. Saved my skin a couple of times when trails are not discernable (e.g. rocks, overgrown vegetation etc.).

2. Pushing routes to your watch: there are many ways. My preferred solution it to generate the route from Locus Pro/Android and export to the watch via Gimporter. Makes it easy to design a route when underway and push it to your watch.

Happy birthday
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Old 06-07-22, 10:01 AM
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Good to see time, get notifications such as phone calls, texts, e-mails. Any smartwatch will do that. Ive an Instinct 2 Solar, battery generally around a month unless I'm in the sun a lot, then a lot more, I've seen 42 days battery life, Ive only infrequently used it for tracking a bike ride as I already own a Garmin 1030 and use that, which is generally more useful as it sits on the handle bar and is easier to see the screen. I do on occasion track a hike, used a lot to track my kayak trips, its good at that.
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Old 06-08-22, 05:45 AM
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Thanks guys. It sounds like I'll get enough function out of it to be worth it. It isn't a complete slam dunk since the phone does most of the same things, but I don't like keeping the phone out in sight. I don't like wearing the heart rate chest strap, even though I wash it I tend to get irritated under the strap and I do like to have HR data for all workouts. I figure that the watches remote phone functions will be nice in general life. I liked those when I had a fitbit that had some minimal ones.

For touring and backbacking I think battery is maybe one of the biggest things. On a backpacking trip or tour I typically leave my phone turned off to maximize battery life most of the time. I figure I could leave the watch on with far less charging concerns. It certainly varies with the number of sunny days and amount of sun per day but around home and for trips here in the deep south I'd imagine the solar charging works very well. The sun is brutal here.

It is kind of an expensive toy, but not expensive enough to be prohibitive and my wife will be happy to have something she can buy for me. It looks like it may take me a while to get my head around all of the functions and to figure out which ones are actually useful to me.
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Old 06-09-22, 06:00 AM
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The order went in for a graphite colored Garmin Instinct 2 Solar from REI. We will have a local REI store opening soon They say Spring of this year, but they are running out of time and I have not heard a date announced. So the watch is being shipped. It looks like it will arrive by Father's day and it will be a combine Father's day/Bithday gift (my 71st). My wife wanted me to have one, but wanted me to do the ordering, so I did. Prices didn't vary much and I figured that it would be easy to return locally (assuming the local store opens anywhere near when they say it will) given REI's still fairly good return policy if it didn't work out. Also there is the REI dividend.

I am looking forward to having a local REI store again. We had one about 15 minutes from home when we were in Maryland and will again soon.
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Old 06-16-22, 07:56 AM
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Okay, so I am sorting out the myriad features of the Instinct 2 Solar, Garmin Connect, and the various other services that I want to use it with. It was really confusing to start, but is starting to make sense.

One of the biggest issues is that I'd like to keep all my workouts on one service I used to use mapmyride/run to handle all my rides, walks, and runs, but it seems like they are no longer the great service they were with the free version. So If paying, Strava makes more sense since it is what everyone seems to use these days. That said, it occurs to me that I really don't care that much about all the Strava features (or the fact that if it isn't on strava it didn't happen) and might be pretty happy with mostly using Garmin Connect. I also use a Concept 2 Erg for rowing and want to use their community and app's features.

I think I might be happy just keeping everything on garmin connect with the erg workouts on both the concept 2 app and garmin connect. If the syncing is painless enough keeping ride data (and maybe rowing data too) on the free version of strava as well might be in the plan.

I set up syncing from Garmin Connect to Strava after today's workout and it didn't sync that workout (the sync showwed "success", but "nothing to sync"). I am assuming that is because it only does new workouts.

I am guessing it will be the same with getting my long history mapmyride/run and concept 2 stuff into Garmin Connect. Anyone done a transfer of a large amount of past data into Garmin Connect from either of those apps? How painful was it?

Anyone have hints of how to proceed before I dig too deep into this?

All this is befere even considering dealing with any of the features that really I'd want or need on tour.
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Old 06-16-22, 11:56 AM
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You might check out Training Peaks. I have found that a little more reliable than Strava when it comes to syncing with Garmin Connect. Garmin Connect is not a good platform in my opinion.
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Old 06-16-22, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Mrpotamus View Post
Garmin Connect is not a good platform in my opinion.
In what way? My first impression has been quite favorable, but I have not used it enough to really judge.
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Old 06-16-22, 02:40 PM
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I have been using a Garmin Vivoactive for ages for both cycling and hiking. There are some very useful apps out there. I use it primarily to record my activities. Almost as important to me are the statistics and information it gives me:
hiking: sunset time, current elevation, mileage, pace
cycling: total distance, elevation gain (tells me how much climbing I have left), average speed (this really helps to plan especially on rides with lots of climbing)

I have it set up to auto-upload workouts to Strava and RWGPS. Don't think I'd ever want to use it for navigation, I really like OSMand, voice prompts, and seeing how close I am to an intersection when going downhill (can I let loose or do I need to be careful around the bend?), although even that app on a large screen isn't without flaws.
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Old 06-16-22, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Anyone done a transfer of a large amount of past data into Garmin Connect from either of those apps?
​​​​​​I've spent some time trying to pull/push data from/to Garmin's ecosystem and concluded that it's not worth the time. Connect's web site is ok. The mobile app is actually all that I use nowadays. In fact, the watch itself does a decent job at providing key information.

Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I also use a Concept 2 Erg for rowing
Interesting. We have a Batiffe water rower in the mail. A low end unit that has decent reviews, is less noisy and could live in a corner of the living room (whereas the C2 would look odd, to say the least.)

If/when you've perfected the art of getting meaningful data from your erg, I'll read with interest. (Looks like Garmin watches provide rudimentary data. Serious rowers apparently don't care - they rely on PM5 connected to their watch. Sigh...)
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Old 06-17-22, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
​​​​​​I've spent some time trying to pull/push data from/to Garmin's ecosystem and concluded that it's not worth the time. Connect's web site is ok. The mobile app is actually all that I use nowadays. In fact, the watch itself does a decent job at providing key information.
I guess there really isn't a compelling reason to get the data for all sports into one place. It would be kind of nice to be able to look back and see continuity or lack of it for any given period of time, but I never do that any way.

I have a relatively long period of historical data in MapMyRide/Run and do have some concern that I'd lose access to it at some point when they go belly up, delete old data from inactive users, or become pay only. So It would be nice to save that data out somewhere some how. I guess there could be the same concern about Concept 2, but I have more faith in them.

Interesting. We have a Batiffe water rower in the mail. A low end unit that has decent reviews, is less noisy and could live in a corner of the living room (whereas the C2 would look odd, to say the least.)
I have a sunroom just off the livingroom where mine lives. I can turn the TV toward it and put on headphones to hear it. The Concept 2 is off of the house enough to not bother anyone in the bedrooms. It can be stood on end, but it is a big room so we seldom bother.

If/when you've perfected the art of getting meaningful data from your erg, I'll read with interest. (Looks like Garmin watches provide rudimentary data. Serious rowers apparently don't care - they rely on PM5 connected to their watch. Sigh...)
My initial plan was to possibly just use the watch as a bluetooth heart rate monitor with the PM5, but mostly because I don't find the Polar chest strap completely comfortable (not a big deal, but I tend to get skin irritation now and then). I find that the phone app along with the PM5 is great. Same features plus some, better display, and so on.

I wanted to get into actual on the water rowing when we were in Maryland, but it never happened due to my work schedule vs rowing club schedule. I did wind up with a nice Model D from the club because they had indoor regattas in the winter and sold off some of the machines in the summer.

For some reason while I hate running or biking indoors I actually like the erg. Here in Tallahasse when it is hot if I don't get out early exercising outdoors can be miserable much of the year. So the erg comes in really handy with our relentless summers. It is great for watching TdF stages, watching a tv series I missed, or re watching a favorite tv series. If I have nothing else to do I can always hop on the erg and cue up Justified, Fargo, Bosch, Goliath,The Kominsky Method, or whatever. When it is hot and dragging myself out to exercise is a chore hoppong on the erg is actually pleasant.
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Old 06-25-22, 03:10 PM
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So I got the Instinct 2 Solar. It has been interesting and fun to have a bunch of data to wade through. The sleep and heart rate data have both been interesting and useful. I continue to be a little puzzled what to use for my max HR. For sure it is much higher than either of the commonly used formulas indicate for me. I was also quite surprised that my resting HR during the night was still the same at almost 71 YO as when I was a young man. It shows as an average of 53 bpm min during the night (sitting and typing this it reads 67). That surprises me since I am not especially fit at the present time.

I have not decided whether to use the watch to record rowing sessions, To start with I plan to record both with the PM5 on my erg and the Instinct 2 to start with when I row again. I may cut back to just using the watch as a HR device for the PM5. I expect I will be rowing some when my schedule doesn't allow me to ride early and it is 100+ F when I can get out. At that point I typically opt to row rather than ride.

Any way I have been doing a short mixed surface ride every or at least most mornings and keeping data.
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