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Backpacker Magazine – Fall Gear Guide 2009

Gear Review: Garmin Foretrex 401

This wrist-ready, weather-resistant GPS device is only 2.2 ounces.

by: Testers Jonathan Dorn, Kristy Holland, Kim Phillips, Kris Wagner

Garmin Foretrex 401 (Courtesy Photo)
Garmin Foretrex 401 (Courtesy Photo)

Ultralight
Get a GPS with core functions in a wrist-ready, weather-resistant package that weighs little more than a watch. Said one minimalist tester: "The 401 complemented my map-and-compass navigation and gave me extra confidence when I was in tricky terrain in Rocky Mountain National Park." It's a bit bulky on the wrist, so we usually strap it to a pack's shoulder harness. The 401 stores up to 500 waypoints and 10 tracks, and the high-sensitivity GPS chip rivals those in more expensive units.

Other features include a barometric altimeter, electronic compass, and the ability to share GPS info wirelessly with other compatible Garmins. Expect 12 hours on two AAA batteries. Caveat: The 1.8-inch, black-and-white screen is surprisingly readable in direct sun, but it isn't designed for advanced onscreen navigation. No preloaded maps, either. $250; 2.2 oz.; garmin.com

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READERS COMMENTS

MagSkier
Dec 06, 2011

I had the original 101 model for years and loved it. I don't spend my life tinkering with data, so it did what I needed it to do in the field. With the addition of a barometric altimeter I will almost certainly get this one since my old one finally died.

J from Duncannon PA
Sep 06, 2011

Great GPS!!! Good on batteries and great small size. 5 stars

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