Oregon 200
Oregon 200 (courtesy, Garmin)
Gear Guy

Which GPS is good for a Rim-to-Rim of the Grand Canyon?

I planning a trip to the Grand Canyon (from rim to rim to rim) and would like your advice on the best GPS. I'm looking at the Oregon 200. Thanks. Kran Avondale, PA

Oregon 200

Well, with all due respect, what in the world do you need a GPS for? When you get on the trail, you’ll start at Point A and can clearly see Points B (the bottom) and C (the opposite rim). I can sort of see needing altimeter/barometric info, but a simple watch that doesn’t eat batteries every eight hours can offer all of that—plus wake you up.

Oregon 200 Oregon 200

I mean, isn’t it time we all got lost? Wouldn’t that make life better somehow? Speaking personally, I’d love to be lost for a day or three. Maybe more. I mean, why not? We used to stumble around the woods on weekend hikes without GPS devices and cell phones and altimeter watches and we somehow always managed to come out. Well, almost always. But now, there’s this rising sense of panic if we don’t know where we are within five minutes and seven degrees of whatever our exact longitude and latitude.

Besides, being “los”” is not an absence of information about whereabouts. Hell, Lewis and Clark were lost their whole damned trip. It’s an emotional reaction to a situation. And it sounds like, “My GOD—we are LOST…we are all going to DIE!!!” And then people start running over ridges (“The car must be right there!”), backtracking over trails they’ve already covered (“I KNOW the trail was over here!!”), thrashing down brush-choked drainages (“Follow the river!”), and doing just plain dumb stuff until they are dead. GPS really won’t fix that.

So, people, relax!!! Nobody really gets lost! They just get temporarily disoriented, and then they freak out!! And it’s usually on a very small scale. Getting a few hundred yards off route, getting stuck on the wrong side of a ridge, finding a cliff band…and the rest is history.

There’s my rant.

As for a GPS, sure, whatever. I like the Garmin Oregon 200 (retail $425; street price more like $300) just fine. A lot, in fact. It has a lovely color display, an easy-to-use touch screen, all kinds of SD slots you can plug into it with precise mapping, etc. It costs too much for what you need, in my view. Garmin’s eTrex Venture HC ($170) keeps track of where you are, lets you map your waypoints, and so on.

So, yeah, buy one. Stock market needs us to shop, so shop.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021 Lead Photo: courtesy, Garmin