Looking a gift GPS in the mouth

Etrex Venture HC - ditch or stick?

7 messages
12/03/2012 at 13:19

Howdy chaps - after 5 months stuck indoors following a bit of a knock I'm itching to get back up t'hills. A kindly relative has given me a Garmin Etrex Venture HC to spur me on - a 60th birthday pressie, yay!

I've had the use of a couple of other gps handhelds over the last couple of years but they have had OS based maps, or at least recognisable maps. This Venture has some Merkin crap as basemap. Now for a measly £150 I could buy something Garmin call an 'OS based' map for GB, but it looks a long way from the maps I know. The Venture has a 24mb memory, or possibly will accept a memory card up to 24mb, either way that doesn't sound much space.

So should I trade on the bnib bargain (insert link to ebay sale here) and use the proceeds to buy something better, or risk £150 on some iffy-looking mapping? Will this unit get me across the Carneddau in a white out?  

Due to complications and embarrassment the kindly relative is to remain in blissful ignorance.

12/03/2012 at 13:43
Your venture HC isn't compatible with OS mapping. A typical OS based map of a part of the UK will take at least a 2 Gigabyte card
12/03/2012 at 13:46

Depending on how keen you feel, you can always get OpenStreetmap based mapping for Garmins... I can recommend openmtbmap.org for hiking-type maps. They're free and high quality for a reasonable amount of the UK.

Garmin's own hiking and topo maps tend to be overpriced and under quality, so you'd be best off avoiding those.

I also wouldn't expect to get a whole lot for it second hand. The Venture HC is a a bit long in the tooth these days, though it will be perfectly adequate as a GPS. Remember that even if you don't like/don't use the mapping function, you can still use it to tell you where you are (getting an OS grid ref you can look up on a nice big map instead of a tiny screen!), where you've been (for the purposes of backtracking, for example), and in which direction you are going (in the absense of a compass, perhaps).

12/03/2012 at 13:48

Zuma - Just as I suspected. Call me a snob but if it ain't OS it ain't much good to me.

It seems this Venture HC is faster than most at getting a postion fix, but other than that I'm not sure what else it is good at - so can anyone suggest pros and cons for it?

 Serriadh - 'in the absence of a compass' !!!? Heresy! However your suggest mode of use is the best use I can think of for it. After all I will always have a paper map with me, and that clock thingy with the spinning needle.

Edited: 12/03/2012 at 14:02
12/03/2012 at 14:04

Pro less battery use since no maping is involved, probaly also a lightweight GPS (not so heavy as currrent monsters). Perfectly usable for geocaching with also the use of pen and paper 9no paperless geocaching)

 Con's none other than no OS mapping.

Edited: 12/03/2012 at 14:05
30/03/2012 at 12:43

I use a Garmin Legend C with TOPO mapping. The GPS is an older model than yours and so far as I know is fairly similar save that yours has the micro-card facility and an altimeter and a more sensitive aerial. Anyway, the TOPO mapping is not what I recognise as OS. It certainly does not compare to a 50,000 let alone a 25,000 map. What it does have is contours and a bit of detail but really it is not worth £150.  In my view the GPS unit is fine but the TOPO mapping is not essential and given the choice again, I would save the money or put it towards "proper" OS mapping.

If what you want is contours,  the SMCoffer a free and entirely legal download from


Have a look at that and save yourself £150.

30/03/2012 at 13:01

Right - that seems fairly unanimous - use it for what it can do and don't spend any more on it. The location fix/grid refs it gives are pretty good, but I'll find something which does a bit more. Plenty of threads on here to help with that!

Thanks peter H - good steer. That site looks very promising.

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