You've never let me down, Gear Guy, and I know you won't this time either. My entry-level GPS (Garmin eTrex) seems unable to see the sky if there is a tree within 50 feet. On a recent Sierra backpack it did well above timberline but not in forest, even with big clear gaps in the canopy. Would a more expensive GPS do better? Help me, I need my waypoints! Frank Sacrento, California
Garmin GPS 60
Still, it's true that more money will buy you better reception. Garmin's GPS 60, for example, costs a still-reasonable $193 but comes with what Garmin calls a quad-helix antenna, providing better reception than the antenna in the eTrex. The GPS 60 can also take a plug-in external antenna, although I wouldn't think you'd want to fool with that. It's also waterproof and very compact, with one megabyte of memory for a ton of waypoints. Where you can receive a signal, the GPS 60 is also WAAS-enabled, allowing you to tap into the Wide Area Augmentation System for GPS, which improves accuracy.
Magellan's eXplorist 300 ($200; www.magellangps.com) also claims to have better-than-budget-model reception. It's also a mapping model with eight megs of memorypretty impressive for the price. And it has barometric elevation (more accurate than satellite-based readings) and a digital compass. A good choice for your needs, I would think...
Hope this helps you stay on course!
For more expert reviews of GPS units and other great navigational gizmos, check out Outside Online's all-new GPS Buying Guide.