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The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.

- Alexander von Humboldt


Using the Garmin E-trex 10 while trekking in the Himalayaimage

Gear

Apr 06, 2013

Mountain Tested – Garmin eTrex 10 Review

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WRITTEN BY

Apoorva Prasad

The Garmin eTrex 10 is a rugged, waterproof, dustproof GPS / GLONASS receiver that is a device of choice for mapping Himalayan trails

Several months ago, Indian climbing veteran and The Outdoor Journal Advisor Mohit Oberoi told me about a trekking guidebook project he and Punit Mehta, National Outdoor Leadership School instructor, wanted to work on (A Traverse Across The Western Himalayas – coming soon). He asked me to choose a GPS device that would be perfect for mapping trails in the remote Himalayan wilderness. After some research and debate, we chose to do a Garmin eTrex 10 review.

This small yet hefty yellow-and-black rubber-encased device sits in your palm. It’s one of those dump-it-in-your-pack kind of devices that should last forever. We chose it for the following reasons.

  •  It was waterproof and rugged.
  •  It had a 25 hour battery life, using easily available (and rechargeable) two AA batteries.
  •  It weighed just over 140 gms, and cost about $110.
  •  It used both GPS (American) and GLONASS (Russian) satellites, helping you locate faster and accurately.

Compare the above specs to your average smartphone. Twenty five hours (always on) is a long time. In the mountains, I switched it on periodically to mark way-points on the trail, camp-sites and other locations. Switching it on each time took about 3 to 5 seconds, and it retained in memory the previous satellites used – which meant that we acquired our location very quickly each time.

“A single set of batteries could (and did) last an entire 10 day trip in the wilderness.”

Punit, the main author and one of our contributors, had been using the device for a few months. He showed me how to use it first. He switched it on on the roof of the building housing the Adventure18 shop in the Satya Niketan Market, New Delhi, and we waited patiently for the gizmo to acquire satellites. It didn’t take long. Within seconds it had four, then five, and kept going. We had our GPS latitude, longitude and altitude right down to a 5m precision.

But the Garmin eTrex 10 is a very basic device. It’s got a small, low-resolution monochrome screen (that’s also very legible, and saves battery life, not being color). It doesn’t accept SD or any other data cards, you can’t add maps on to it, it doesn’t have a touchscreen, camera or any other funky add-ons. If you’re looking for a color and/or touchscreen, camera, data cards and other extras, Garmin has other models in the Dakota and Montana ranges. The Garmin eTrex range is the most basic range, the 10 being the lowest-end model.

“It has a responsive, fast receiver and gets the job done”

Garmin eTrex 10 Review
Image © Anant Raina | The Outdoor Journal

It can tell you the sunrise / sunset times, has a calendar, storage for 50 routes and 1000 way-points (once back home you can back up your data with a USB connection).

All said and done, it does have a few cons. Apart from the no-frills, my one main worry was the tiny controller joystick button that sits on top, which obviously gets jostled around a bit in your pocket. After a few months of use, it was no longer super-responsive, sometimes requiring a slightly harder press or different angle to respond. Perhaps it should be replaced by a four-way button controller, or have a protective plastic cover or something.

Secondly, it’s obviously useful to have a way to clip the damn thing onto a pack shoulder or chest strap, so it’s right there when you need it, instead of having to dig through your pocket for it. The model itself comes with little spine with a D-ring at the back that unlocks the battery compartment. You can buy various accessory mounts including belt clips, lanyards and bike mounts – but we feel that some mounting system should come standard – especially for trekkers, who would make up a core market.

All said, these two points can’t take away the fact that this is one of the most useful GPS devices on the market, if you’re a serious trekker or wilderness traveller who needs to know where they are and where they’re going. If you’re mapping an area, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re following an existing, mapped trail – make sure you’ve programmed your way-points in in advance, and you’re good to go.

One last point. During a dinner-party conversation with other trekkers, we heard about a recent Himalayan trek with one member carrying an iPad pre-loaded with maps. This well-armed techno-trekker then was able to lead the entire party, local guide and all, point-marching each day (“there’s a small lake right up ahead, behind that ridge”). Sounds useful, but would you really want to carry your iPad into the Himalayas? How are you going to charge it, and how many porters are you hiring to carry the rest of your gear? We don’t know. For serious walkers, fancy devices should perhaps be left at home, unless the trip is very short, or there’s a veritable army of porters carrying your tent, solar charger, stove, gas and rations.

That said, perhaps more accurate, rugged-cased smartphones and mobile devices may indeed be the GPS wave of the future, at least for those following trails.

Place: Uttarkashi

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Adventurers & Explorers

Jun 29, 2018

Nixon Regulus: Timekeeping on the Engagés Greenland Expedition

During May of 2018, The Outdoor Journal reported on five French entrepreneurs who were traversing Greenland’s toughest terrain.

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WRITTEN BY

Maxime Lainé

Their goal was to complete 700km in 30 days. In the face of much adversity, the expedition finally made it home to Paris, having being trapped at the finish line without food, and unable to extract themselves due to bad weather.

You can read about those final few days here, and how Maxime Lainé reflected on the journey here.

Before leaving, Max and the Engagés team had to make key decisions regarding the kit that they would carry. One of those choices regarded timekeeping, and Max shares his experience of using a Nixon Regulus watch below.

The is the most impactful experience of my life… for now.

I crossed Greenland, from west to east, along the Polar Circle with 4 other entrepreneurs. It took 31 days to cross more than 550 kilometres of ice by foot, experiencing the harshest environment we had never faced. For this reason, we invested 6 months of preparation, mentally, physically, and planning our equipment. We tested and choose every piece of our equipment very carefully because eventually, our lives could depend on it.

We are very touched that some companies supported us in this crazy adventure, all in their own way. This was the case for Nixon, the watch brand. Via my role as co-founder of Weesurf, I have already had the chance to work with them.

I was very impressed by their will to take risk, and to give a chance to a young startup. That’s what I liked. As such, I decided to knock to their door again, this time with the opportunity to share with them another, but a very different adventure.

Juliette, Angélique and Louis from Nixon, provided each member of the Engagés team with the Nixon Regulus 46MM.

This watch was with us throughout our adventure, it faced the same extreme conditions that we faced, and today I’m still wearing it in one piece as I write this article (which isn’t the case for my toes). For this reason, I want to share with you some key points about this watch, and what makes it’s different.

Resistance

This is the most resistant watch I have ever had. As a surfer, I used to have a lot of them, but no other had ever convinced me that it is truly resistant. We were consistently facing extreme temperatures reaching up to -40°C, and still I never had any battery or display problems.

Weight

At first glance, it might look quite heavy, but is actually surprisingly light. For obvious reasons, this was a key point for us, we needed to carry as little weight as possible. The Regulus passed the test.

Features

The Regulus has what you need: a clock, stopwatch, alarm and timer. However, there is one feature that I particularly appreciate, much like the world clock on our phone, you can set two different times. It was very helpful for us to know what time it was in France, when we wanted and needed to think about our friends and family. When we were thinking about what they were doing at that very moment while we were on our side of the world facing the harsh environment. It helped us keep moving forwards, no matter what. It helped us overcome those daily challenges, and make it to the other side of Greenland.

Bracelet

Throughout the whole expedition, I didn’t take it off, when were setting up the camp, when we were walking, when we were sleeping, when we were cooking, when we were fixing stuff… it never broke. There is an extra element that keeps the bracelet well locked, as if it was made from just one piece, so it fits perfectly to your wrist.

Design

The watch might look quite big off the wrist, but the buttons are smoothly incorporated into the watch, so clothes did not stuck when we had to remove or put them on quickly. More than anything, the buttons are easy to tap, even when wearing gloves. This is a huge advantage because that last thing that you want to do is remove our several pairs of gloves when it was -40C.

Style

Robust and modest. It just rocks.

If you would like to find out more about the Nixon Regulus, then you can do so here.

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