Gear Review: Garmin GPSMAP® 76Cx

Gear Review:  Garmin GPSMAP® 76Cx

Garmin GPSMAP 76CxTrips Used: 10

Pros: Having previously owned the Etrex Legend (until I dropped it in the river!), which does not float, I decided I needed to upgrade from just waterproof, to waterproof and floating.  This is where the GPSMAP 76Cx fits in perfectly.  The fact that it floats is the main “pro” to this unit in my opinion.  Over my many years on the river I have learned that no matter how much more it costs, it is always better to wait and save up to get the unit that is waterproof – and floating if they make such a version.  In the end it will actually save you money.  The x-tools scale is a great example of this and on the waterproof but non-floating side there are a few cell phones now and numerous choices of digital cameras.  But, back to the GPSMAP 76Cx, this unit is color which I also feel is important because it makes it much easier to see which lines are rivers as compared to roads, railroads, trails etc.  Color is also helpful if you plan on using this as a navigation device for the car because you can clearly see roads, and the differences in them (HWY, Interstate etc) based on their color coding.   I also like the removable microSD card in this unit so that you can simply buy more memory to install maps that cover the entire region or country if you so choose.  This is important because you no longer have to connect to your computer and select the new area you are traveling to and install those maps on your computer.  The basic map that comes with the unit only shows major roads and no rivers.  The Topo US software will run about $75 to $100.  Garmin GPSMAP 76Cx Floating

Cons: If there is a main “con” it is the size.  The unit is a good bit larger than the Etrex, but I have a feeling that is how it has to be in order to float so I would much rather have that tradeoff.  The dimensions are 2.7″ x 6.2″ x 1.2.”  The screen is however slightly bigger than the smaller Etrex series so at least they used the bigger size to make the scree a little bigger.  Similar to the Etrex, the unit has a hard time in the thickest woods at picking up the satellite signal, but if you have signal before you enter into these areas it keeps the signal just fine 90% of the time.  This is common with a lot of GPS devices as well.  Just hang in there a few extra minutes and it will usually find enough satellites to give you your location.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

Conclusion: A GPS for river bassin is just as much about helping you find the access points as it is having it on the river to know where you are on your float.  I really only take the GPS with me on a float that I have done many times for safety sake in case something happens and we have to hike out or, ever worse, call someone to give them our GPS coordinates if something real bad has happened.  Also, if I am doing a new stretch of river or a camp out it is nice to have it on me so I can see how much further we have to go until our takeout.  I mainly use my GPSMAP 76Cx when scouting new access points to get into the river and so far this unit has been very solid as most all Garmin products are.  If you are in the market for a GPS for river bassin I highly recommend this unit.

One Response to “Gear Review: Garmin GPSMAP® 76Cx”

  1. Redfish says:

    Great article, Drew! Garmin’s GPS is a good investment. If my Etrex Legend ever quits, this will be the one I go for. Thanks.


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