15 December 2011

Garmin Foretrex 401- A Review

Over the past 3 years or so I have been using different tools to log my outdoor activities to see how far; fast I have been running, biking or hiking. I had a cycle computer that broke and a GPS (Garmin Foretrex 201) that I used during that time.

But the one thing I did not have was one tool that I could move from bike to bike or carry on me. In the search for the one tool to do all I needed to define what my requirements are and research for something that could meet those requirements.

Requirement List:
1. I need something that I can use on both my mountain and cross bikes. (Two mounts)

2. Heart Rate.

3. Cadence.

4. Altimeter.

5. Wireless.

6. Waterproof.

7. Electronic Compass.

8. I need something that I can use running and hiking.

9. I can download the data (Workout or GPX file)

10. Navigate with it

11. Good price point

after looking at the specs of different cycle computers and heart rate monitors and Garmin products, I think I found the one that meets my requirements. The Garmin Foretrex 401 is my choice.

It's the big brother of the 201 that I already had. The Foretrex 201 is a discontinued model and lacked a lot of the features of the 401. If you remember reading this then you will know I was hard on the 201 that day but it proved to be able to take everything that I was dishing out to it!





As you can see from the picture both units look about the same, but the 401 can do so such more. But compared to most GPS units it does lack a lot of the features that most people are looking for in a GPS. The Foretrex 401 does not have a base map nor can you upload maps to it. Software and updates are also lacking.

The Foretrex comes with a wrist strap, a belt or equipment strap, a USB cord, and a user manual on CD. There are a couple of tools that you can download from the Garmin site. Garmin's BaseCamp and Garmin Connect. You can also use 3rd party sites like Mapmyride or GPS Visualizer. I am still working on how to use BaseCamp... Maybe that will be another post.

So is the Foretrex 401 for you? Maybe or maybe not, you have to figure that out for yourself. For what I can tell the market for the foretrex 401 is military types. It is hands free and there is a tactical pouch made for it. Important when you need to use your hands but still know your location. Also there is a jump master feature. If you check out Dateline's Rescue in the Mountains you will see when they jump from the DC-3 one of the jumpers has the Foretrex 401 on their wrist.

I think the list could go on, para-gliders, UL backpackers, cyclist. But I think having a strong background in navigation and route planning is a must for users of this unit.

I have only had the Foretrex 401 for about 30 days and I plan to give it some more testing and use and will give a updated post.

1 comment:

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