The Deer Runner

The Deer Runner

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

eTrex 20

It's handy being able to look back and check training this time last year.  It's a good reason to do these blogs and chart the training, so I am going to try and post at least once a week.

Training is going well so far, despite jumping onto the program a bit late.  The routes have been around the local country roads lately so I'll have to head to Bennachie for some hill work soon.

During December Lynne asked what I'd like for Christmas.  I've never had an all singing and dancing GPS watch, I always liked the look of the Sunnto Ambit but just couldn't justify splashing the cash.  I began to do my homework into this sort of watch with navigation in mind and came across the Garmin Fenix.  Now don't get me wrong, both seem like really good watches, perfect for ultra running so I almost took the plunge but changed my mind at the last minute.

Now I'm no expert on navigation, but as far as I could tell, mapping would be very basic on these watches and would only allow you to "track back" if you took a wrong turn.  A track could be run, logged with waypoints and returned to at a later date, this feature would be fine for the Double Cateran as I intend to do a night recce run. 

I needed more for my main challenge though, the East to West Scotland run.  Something robust, light, waterproof, could download maps and had good battery endurance.  The Garmin eTrex 20 fitted the bill nicely, which Santa duly delivered on Christmas day.

There are three models in the eTrex range.  The entry level 10 which has a monochrome screen, the 20 which I opted for due to the colour screen and ability to download detailed maps and the 30 which adds a barometer and electronic compass.  Battery life is quoted as 25 hours from 2 AA batteries which was perfect for my needs.

The supplied map from Garmin is too basic, and so began a mind boggling day of researching different maps which could be downloaded onto the Garmin.  TOPO maps, Birdseye, Raster, OS mapping, I was spinning round in circles looking for a map for my needs.  Being a Scotsman, it all came down to cost, so this is where OpenStreetMap came in.  The website talkytoaster was a mine of information with instructions on downloading the free map of Great Britain.  The only thing I needed was a micro SD card, sourced out of an old mobile phone.  I followed the instructions, the download was very straightforward and the Garmin brought up the mapping straight away once powered up.

I've taken the eTrex out on a few runs where I am very happy with it.  Routes can be saved and brought up on Garmins Basecamp software on the computer for analysis.  I'm still getting to grips with some of the features, but so far so good. 

I'll do another post on illumination soon, the powerful hand torch arrived in the post today.

Week ending 29th Dec - Mon 3 Tues 3 Wed 3 Thurs 3 Fri 20 Sat 3 Sun 12. Weekly total 47 miles.

Tues 4 Wed 8 Thurs 6 Sat 22 Sun 12. Weekly total 52 miles.

1 comment:

  1. I would be interested in learning your conclusions about using the eTrex20 as a running watch. Does it work well? What stats can you get? Im planning on running the GR10 in France and need a solution with lots of battery and storage capacity, but I would still like to track where I've been and get the running stats. Can you help?