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Garmin GPSmap 62s Review

GPSmap 60s imagePaperless Caching

Our main reason for upgrading to the GPSmap 62s was mainly for it's paperless caching feature and this it does very well however as users of Garmin products will know all to well their manuals are next to useless. Hopefully this will help to explain paperless caching.

Cache descriptions and locations can be downloaded directly to the GPSmap 62s by plugging it into a USB port on your computer and logging on to and using the Garmin communicator plug-in. With this method you can only download one cache at a time, which is a bit laborious, an easier way is to produce a 'pocket query'. You have to be a premium member to do this  but it is a little easier, you can build a pocket query using various criteria. These pocket queries are then sent to you as an attachment or you can download them. The file is sent compressed as a zip file which you will have to unzip. The file is in .gpx format and simply needs to be copied to the GPX folder on the GPSmap 62s.

To access the geocaches in the field it is quite easy, just either go to the geocaching page and select the cache you want from the list of caches nearest to you or if you are in the map page use the joggle switch to move the cursor over a cache icon the cache name will then be displayed at the top, select it and then press 'Enter'. Then select 'Go' if it is not already selected press 'Enter'. You are now navigating to the cache. To stop navigating at anytime press the 'Find' button and select 'Stop Navigation'.

view geocachedescriptionsTo view the cache details press the 'Menu' button and select 'View cache details' on the next screen you can select and view any part of the caches details, to return to the previous screen press the 'Quit' button. One thing the GPSmap 62s is capable of which is not very well documented by Garmin is its ability to record field notes. When you log a found cache you will see a button to 'Add Comment'. You can then use the on screen keyboard to enter the comment. These comments or field notes are stored in the 'Garmin' folder of the GPSmap 62s as a text file called 'geocache_visits.txt', you can then open this file in any text editor on any PC. If you are a premium member you can import these field notes directly into your account, which makes it much easier to record your finds.


One thing I do like about the GPSmap 62s is the 'Profiles', this is where you can adjust the GPSmap 62s's settings for specific activities. There is a Recreational, Geocaching, Automotive profile and you can add your own custom profile and I have one set up for cycling with the map screen set up with all the data fields such as speed, cadence, height and trip distance that I like to see when I'm cycling. For geocaching I prefer a different set of data fields, if these have previously been set up then it is quite easy to then switch to the geocaching profile. To make it quicker to change profiles change the order for the main menu icons so the  'profile' icon is near the top.

External Power Supplies

The GPSmap 62s will run off an external power supply using either the Garmin power supply or through the supplied USB lead, however you need to make sure the input voltage is a smoothed 5v DC current. When using the USB lead when you initially plug it into a non PC power supply the GPSmap 62s boots up into volume connect mode thinking it is connecting to PC after 15 seconds it reboots itself into normal GPS mode. If you remove the external power supply the GPSmap 62s will ask you if you wish to change to battery power or it will switch itself off. It would be nice if you could set the GPSmap 62s to automatically do this as a set up in the system settings.

Working with Tracks

One thing that I don't like about the GPSmap 62s is that you can't stop recording track data like you could do with the Etrex Vista Hcx. If you forget to save the track and you shut down the GPSmap 62s and then switch it on in another location you end up with the tracks amalgamating together, which is a bit irritating. To get around this you must get into the habit just before you start off of saving then deleting the current track and making sure that as soon as you finish you save the track, otherwise you will have to use a track editing tool to get rid of the data that you don't want.