I like to track the path when I cycling or hiking (e.g. this). Now I use my phone for this purpose which is totally inconvenient because of the battery.

So, I looking for something which can track my path

  • Ideally, without any display.
  • With a big enough battery.
  • Ideally, with an ability to put some marks on the track.

I tried to google, but it looks like Garmin watches have too many options. And spot 3 requires some annual plan which probably an overkill for me. Also, I don't need heart rate tracker/cadence/whatever sensors.

Are there any types of gps devices that fulfill these criteria?

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    How much battery life do you need? A phone with all data connections and the screen turned off, just logging GPS data can do pretty well – Chris H Apr 22 '18 at 15:50
  • And the phone may not even need a sim card, an older model you can buy cheap might do. – Willeke Apr 22 '18 at 16:02
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    Garmin eTrex 10 ticks all thous boxes for around $US100 – user5330 Apr 23 '18 at 9:05
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because is shopping question. TGO is not consistent in closing these but in my view, looking at the newest answers, it is time to close this question as a shopping question. There is no reason to believe new answer will add LASTING value. – James Jenkins Feb 12 '19 at 16:49
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    This is nothing personal at all kharandziuk, and it's not your fault, but I agree with @JamesJenkins. We, myself included, are inconsistent about shopping questions, but, with this specific type, there is precedent. For example, Looking for a programmable hand-held/wristworn GPS and GPS Unit for Road Cycling and Mountaineering were both closed as shopping questions. If it helps, the close reason came from this SO blog post. – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Feb 12 '19 at 22:28

For one day a phone will do it. Most android phones allow GPS in flight mode and there are plenty of apps that will log tracks offline (I use one called IPbike as a bike computer with data and WiFi turned off, for example). Some allow you to select how often to get your position, to save battery.

An alternative is an old non-mapping GPS. I've got an old etrex that does about 20 hours off a decent set of alkaline batteries. It records tracks (but you need a serial port to get them onto a PC). For navigating you would need to use it with a map, though it can display a route for you to follow, and a bearing to the next waypoint

  • I don't need any navigation, just a tracker. Also probably it's better to buy a dedicated tool instead of buying a cheap phone – kharandziuk Apr 23 '18 at 8:28
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    A dedicated tool is liikely to be much more expensive. My point about the features of the old devices is that it's not navigation as we know it now. In fact the original Forerunner GPS running watch had very much the same features and enough tracking for you but nowhere near enough battery life. – Chris H Apr 23 '18 at 8:34
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    You could consider repurposing a cat tracking GPS but they tend to need a subscription and/or SIM card, and it's not clear whether you can extract the tracks form the proprietary software – Chris H Apr 23 '18 at 8:37
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    I've used my phone to track lengthy walks (15 hours) without an issue in the past. Obviously depends on the phone but this is totally possible. Ensure you've disabled wifi/bluetooth and use the screen sparingly to help make the battery last. – user2766 Apr 23 '18 at 9:32
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    Newer eTrex (HCx series) will log to files on a microSD card. The filesystem is vFAT, so reasonably easy to access from any machine with a suitable card reader. Although it seems like overkill to have the display, I use it without backlight for a couple of days per pair of AA batteries. – Toby Speight Feb 11 '19 at 10:54

The Garmin etrex series have what you need. It has long battery life (24+) active tracking and what's better you get them accepting AA batteries so you can bring spares. If you set down the tracker timer to once every minute and switch it off when you are immobile it 'll last even longer. The screen is not iPhone quality but you don't want to stare at a screen, it eats battery. It provides what you need and is fairly cheap. It helped me navigate some tricky terrain, where the path was gone and difference between wrong and right was less than 10m. I hate getting surprised by fog, but fortunately sturdy and no-frills equipment makes continuing your life more plausible now and then. Edit: you can down and upload maps and tracks with USB. And they are waterproof.


The offer is quite qood these days if anyone is interested

With MTK based chipset (MTK II - MT 3329 - GPS constellation only). Almost all have bluetooth to communicate position to smartphone (better quality position probably, since smartphone is not optimized for GPS reception)

  • Qstarz BT-Q1000 and variants. Has button for POI (to put marks in the log). Has replaceable battery - the common and easy to find Nokia battery BL-5C
  • Transystem I-Blue 747 - same as above, one seems to be a clone of the other.
  • Transystem GL-760 - has button for POI, integrated Li-Ion battery. No bluetooth.
  • Holux RCV-3000 no button for POI, has replaceable Nokia battery BL-5C. No button for POI unfortunately. Newer variants have chipset Mediatek MT3333 which has Glonass, Galileo also

With Sirf chipset :

  • Canmore GT-750F - chipset Sirf Star IV (GPS constellation only) . Uses the same Nokia BL-5C battery. No button for POI

  • Transystem GL-770 - chipset Sirf Star V - (GPS, Glonass, Galileo etc). Integrated Li-Ion battery. Has button for POI

I tested almost all of them except Transystem GL-* and all have battery duration like 24 - 30 hours in logging mode. Precision seems better for Sirf one (Canmore GT-750F)

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