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NavELite with HzO WaterBlock Technology


NavELite has announced an agreement with HzO Inc. to provide their WaterBlock technology for use in the NavELite wrist compass. WaterBlock technology is a microscopic film that is applied to the internal electric components of the compass. WaterBlock technology allowed the NavELite to function after submersion and even during submersion. It adds no weight and does not change the functionality or appearance of the compass.

I recently had the chance to review the NavELite wrist compass and found it to be excellent. The addition of WaterBlock should make it even better.

Check out NavELite.com.

Tru-Nord Compass Face Redesign

Tru-Nord, makes the finest “button” compasses that I have ever used. They are rugged, reliable, and can be compensated for your area’s magnetic declination. Tru-Nord is introducing a new compass face design for 2013 (and going forward) that gives some more detail to the use. The original compass face offered only cardinal directions while the newly redesigned face has degrees marked in increments of 10.

Check out TruNord.com.

Tru-Nord Compass Redesign

Garmin BaseCamp

Garmin GPS devices typically come packaged with their MapSource Trip and Waypoint Manager software. It is used to move maps and waypoints from your computer to your GPS. In my experience the MapSource software works but it seems to be geared more toward on road use rather than on trail use.

Thankfully, Garmin now has their BaseCamp software available to download for free. BaseCamp is a more wilderness oriented product that offers some very nice functionality for those who take their Garmin GPS outdoors.

The best feature of BaseCamp for me is how easy it is to create routes and waypoints. You can plan an entire trip on your computer before you ever set foot on (or off) a trail. There is also support for Google Maps and Google Earth. BaseCamp lets you print professional looking maps that even have automatically generated map details, lat/lon or UTM grid lines, magnetic declination information, and maps scales. Sadly, the maps do not necessarily print in a common scale, but they are still very useful. I have found that it handles large topo map sets much better than MapSource Trip and Waypoint manager. It works great with the free maps from GPSFileDepot.com.

Garmin updates BaseCamp fairly regularly and there has been talk of upgrading the printing so that users can print in common scales like 1:24K. Product support and free software like BaseCamp is part of the reason that I own several Garmin GPS units.

Download BaseCamp from the Garmin website.

GPS File Depot

GPS technology has come a long way. My first hand held GPS had a basic base map with major roads and no expandability. It could tell you where you were and where you had been, but it wasn’t always useful for telling you how to get where you wanted to go unless you could walk in a straight line. Now hand held GPS units have evolved to the point that they have touch screens, incredible accuracy, and the ability to display complex topographic base maps. These base maps make the GPS infinitely more useful but they tend to be relatively expensive unless you know where to look.

I recently came across GPS File Depot (GPSFileDepot.com) which is an online repository for free GPS map data from around the world. They have topographic maps, detailed road maps, trail maps, land usage maps, and several other types of very useful maps. I have downloaded several maps that have all been accurate and easy to use. The amount of useful data that is available on this site is staggering.

Keep in mind that these maps represent a significant amount of work on the part of the creators so if you download you may want to consider donating to the site.

If you want to get the most out of your GPS, check out GPS File Depot.

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DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer

I like to have detailed maps on hand but it isn’t always practical to have USGS Quads for every place that I might find myself. That is where the DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer comes in.

The Atlas & Gazetteer is a soft cover book of topo maps that cover an entire state. The topographic detail is minimal but it is useful. It also has excellent detail on smaller country roads that don’t appear on road maps. The books are quite large which makes them very easy to read but still very portable. They won’t quite fit in a smaller hydration type pack but should fit most multi-day hiking packs or briefcases.

These are money well spent.

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