On The Bench: Magellan eXplorist GC GPS Receiver

Welcome To The World Of Geocaching

Geocaching is treasure hunting for people who enjoy exploring and the challenge of finding things other have hidden. As of August 17, 2010 there are 1,158,583 geocaches hidden worldwide. Every geocache has an identifier which starts with “GC."

I was first introduced to geocaching by a customer who was attending a technical training session I was hosting in Bakersfield, California. The customer was from Missouri, and was eager to go geocaching after work. The temperature that day was 105 degrees. We hiked about three miles and discovered five finds, which highlighted the accomplishments of famous women of Kern County. My favorite aspect of geocaching is learning about the places I travel, just as if I were on a guided tour on my own schedule.

I now have over almost 800 finds, and have hidden 21 geocaches of my own. Compared to the other activities I participate in, geocaching is by far the most inexpensive and easy to do anytime. If you are interested, head over to geocaching.com. At no cost, you can create a user name, enter your home address, and start finding geocaches in your own neighborhood.

Having a GPS (a navigation device that receives Global Positioning System signals for the purpose of determining the present location) makes it possible for you to navigate to a geocache site. Your choice of GPS device determines how easily you can add locations and go paperless. It's also instrumental in getting you close to the cache.

For example, car navigation systems are used for locating addresses of buildings, and will generally get you within 60 feet of a geocache. Sixty feet can be a large circle to hunt in. Most hand-held GPS units will get you within 15-25 feet. In my experience, every once in awhile, my own GPS will even show a cache one foot away. Lo and behold, the cache is at that location. You can spend as little as $100 for a used GPS to over $1000 for the most deluxe features.

Today, we're looking at the Magellan eXplorist GC. The “GC” in the model name designates a “Geo Cache”-specific unit. During the process of evaluating this product, I found 30 geocaches in six states over a five-week period. In all but one condition (one find), this GPS unit worked great. It consistently allowed me to get within 15 feet of each geocache.

For comparison purposes, I used a Garmin Vista HCx. The cost of the Magellan eXplorist GC is $200. The Garmin Vista HCx's base price is approximately $225. With Street Maps and an SD card, I have $350 invested in this Garmin.

Check out Phil's Geo Stats

  • letsgetsteve
    reminds me of an episode of numbers.... sounds like it might be cool though. i might just have to give it a try.
  • silentq
    Title of the article tells me there will be comparison charts, graphs, stats etc.. "on the bench"... the article, however, offers none of those. Instead we get a vague personal point of view. Same as the Corsair's headset "review". Not impressed Tom, not impressed.
  • blackened144
    My parents have been caching for a few years now.. They have 1300+ finds in 12 states and 5 countries.. Im taking them to the airport this morning and they are flying to Germany.. My sister just had her first baby, but they are going to take a few days to drive around Europe again and do some more caching.. I think they are going to Belgium and Luxembourg this time and I think they are going back to the Netherlands and France so they can get 5 in each country..
  • f-14
    i am really more interested in about why Nvidia 400 series video cards are still being bottlenecked at below 256bit bus speed, also talk to AMD about what their take on bus speed below Nvidia's 320/448/512 bit restriction is doing for their products?

    inquiring Tom's readers want to know
  • squallypie
    @ f-14, are we reading an article of graphics cards ? :P

    well anyways, tommy, why arent we seeing this month's best card for the money article?
  • Onus
    Interesting. My sister and her family have a lot of fun doing this. I will send this to them.
  • vvhocare5
    Cmon squally - not another best card for the money article - doesnt anyone ever buy one and move on?

    Ummm is this a geo-caching recruiting article or some sort of comparison? I dont think this really belongs on TH. Now maybe if there was a FPS comparison of a 3d world simulation of geocaching - that might be interesting....

  • g00fysmiley
    lil odd and out of left field.. but interesting, sounds like a fun hobby. i'm glad i read it and learned about geocaching, muight try to pick one up and set a few caches around a few historical landmarks in my area to teach people about the many old forts and parks
  • squallypie
    vvhocare, sometimes its just nice to know which card is at the top right now. i've got a new card recently so im not ready buy another one within some time soon.

    builders on the other hand build computers all the time so they can choose the best card depending on the budget a customer has offered them.

  • Proximon
    This sounds like a great idea. I'm sold.