Why I prefer an eTrex

It doesn’t look pretty, it lacks a lot of options that dedicated cycle computers have and it sure won’t win the user friendliness award (no app? Gasp!) Why on earth would you want to use this?

Fact is, if you want a navigation system that has the user friendliness of a Garmin/Wahoo, the looks and connectivity of one and the functionality of one, then buy one. This is perfectly fine and totally acceptable. You have my permission. No amount of tinkering is going to make your eTrex behave like a Wahoo or a Garmin. The most important thing is that you’re comfortable and having fun, otherwise you won’t go out and ride your bike. The following is a list of reasons why I use an eTrex:

  • Long, long, long and even longer battery life. I can get 40-50 hours out of one set of batteries
  • It takes AA batteries, which are sold pretty much everywhere, in addition, they’re highly portable. You can even put in rechargeable ones if that’s your thing
  • You can attach it to an external power source for (you guessed it) even longer battery life
  • I bought it around 2012, this thing has taken a serious beating over the course of many trips, many years, and it’s still working perfectly fine. No issues. Still waterproof.
  • I like how it does not have a touchscreen. I can operate it with gloves on, in rain
  • Expendable internal memory, which you can use, or not.
  • I can tinker with map colors, mine have such good contrast I can see everything in full sunshine with the backlight turned off
  • I can attach it to a decent bicycle mount
  • The fact that I can’t connect it with my smartphone (or Strava) is a huge plus for me. When I ride my bike I’m disconnected from the online world, which is mental relaxation time for me.
  • I like the rugged look it has, it makes me chuckle
  • It connects to various accessories including my Garmin Forerunner, displaying heart rate