Apparently, more people are lost than ever before. Because sales of GPS (global positioning) devices have been brisk worldwide.  

Want one? There are a couple ways to go: expensive, and cheap. We decided to go cheap. That’s because expensive can be pretty expensive. We went to our local absolutely enormous electronics store and saw that Delorme$300-$400 was what it took. If you wanted a large screen, which was not that large, and have it mounted in your car, the cost was over a thousand.  

DeLorme and Microsoft both sell GPS devices form less than $65, but you need a laptop to use them. That brings them back to being expensive, of course, but there are some advantages. For one thing, a laptop has a much bigger screen than the GPS devices, like the top selling Garmin products. If you don’t have a laptop, you can buy one and still come out for less than mounting a Garmin unit in your car. And you get to have a laptop besides. 

The two low-cost systems cover the U.S., Canada and major roads in Mexico. (Other makers, like Garmin, have GPS software for many countries, but of course you pay much more.) Both DeLorme and Microsoft’s hardware and software worked for us but there were problems. If you’re going to get one of these, you should expect to spend some time learning how to use them before you go out on the trail, so to speak.  

DeLorme and Microsoft use small receivers that can detect signals from satellites. You attach them to your laptop with a cable and use a suction cup to stick the receiver onto a window or windshield. The suction cups were just about worthless, but you can put the receiver on the dashboard. Load the software and you’re in business – or not, as the case may be. 


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