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Garmin eTrex 10 (2012)


LFTO rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

Recent developments in Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers have focused on developing colour touch screens that put digital Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping at your fingertips. But while the latest high-tech GPS receivers offer almost everything a hillwalker wants, they carry high price tags and perhaps offer more than most hillwalkers actually need.

The yellow Garmin eTrex first appeared in outdoor stores in 1998 and back then it was one of the most popular gadgets for hillwalkers. Over the years improvements in receiver sensitivity, as well as the development of colour screens and better mapping facilities, means that the original eTrex may now be fighting for a place in the pockets of hillwalkers. But there is one thing you cannot take away from the eTrex, and that is the price tag: as at around £100 it is clearly one of the most affordable GPS receivers on the market.

The new Garmin eTrex 10 takes everything that was great about the original but places it into a new housing with a better screen and better functionality. It’s still a greyscale device without the facility to display colour OS mapping, so you have to input your waypoints either directly via the digital keypad or download them into the device via computer software such as Garmin’s BaseCamp. Also you can visit Garmin’s to download geocaches and the device will display information such as full descriptions that include terrain, hints and difficulty.

Operation of the device is very simple, thanks to a clear screen that points you towards your chosen destination waypoint. There is a joystick that helps guide you around menu functions, and when pressed this selects the function. A ‘back’ button is ideal for retracing progress through menus and screens. Like all modern GPS receivers the unit is very fast and accurate when it comes to tracking satellites and finding its position, even indoors! If you want to pay more you can get the eTrex 20 (£180), which can display colour OS mapping; or the eTrex 30 (£230), which can display OS colour mapping and has a compass and a barometric altimeter on board. But actually the eTrex 10 is all you often need, for most of the time your paper map can provide the big picture and the eTrex is perfectly capable of telling you where you are as a grid reference and it can point you in the right direction to reach your destination.

I really enjoyed returning to a more basic form of navigation; and with most people not wishing to burn cash unnecessarily the eTrex 10 is really all most walkers will need, plus a trusty paper map and compass of course!



The Garmin eTrex was a classic GPS, and thanks to a facelift the Garmin eTrex 10 looks set to become just as legendary as its predecessor.


Size 10.3x5.4x3.3cm

Screen 4.3x3.6cm greyscale

Batteries 2 x AA

Battery life 24 hours

Route storage 50

Waypoint storage 1,000

Weight 150g

Stockist details


Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine February 2012

User's Reviews

  • you CAN load maps into eTrex 10!


    User's Overall Rating rating is 4.5

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    Performancerating is 4
    Build qualityrating is 5
    Value for moneyrating is 5

    No, seriously, Garmin Etrex 10 is an remarkable GPS device! Just look: a new high-sensitivity receiver with GLONASS support, low-power but high-performance processor, efficient sealing rubber - and all this features at a price comparable to noname car devixes! But an epic fail of Garmin Etrex 10 is a few storage capacity. It seems unclear: today, when a flash memory costs even a dime, why the manufacturer have installed only 8MB of internal memory or simply have not provided a slot for SD card? It is obviously: with greater storage capacity Garmin Etrex 10 would satisfy the requirements of the 99% of users and beat all other "advanced" (and more expensive!) devices. It is no wonder that the manufacturer, widely advertising useless basemap, insolently states that custom maps could not be downloaded in Garmin Etrex 10! Nevertheless, loading topo map in a vector IMG format to Garmin Etrex 10 is not easy, but very easy! Simply connect your GPS device to your computer in а "Mass Storage" USB Mode and just replace the file of the base map gmapbmap.img by a topo map file with the same name. Only what we shall download? Detailed topo maps of a whole state have a size of tens of megabytes! However, for most users - fishermen, backpackers and geocachers the whole area is not immediately needed. At my site you will find a set of topo maps and graphical interface for downloading into your device. Maps are good detailed and their elements are optimized for the monochrome display of Garmin Etrex 10. And all this maps are free.

    (Written by: etrex10)

    28 May 2014 21:54

  • Simple, effective.


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    User's Overall Rating rating is 4

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    Performancerating is 4
    Build qualityrating is 5
    Value for moneyrating is 3

    Got mine for £90. It's all I need; I plot my route using OS' Getamap service, then load the GPX data into the e10. (Then I print off the Explorer route-map onto A4 sheets for reference when walking.) The e10's simple to use, and using lithium AA batteries, power lasts for ages, giving well over 20 hours of continuous use (especially with backlight off). It's rugged and highly water-resistant too, so I don't need a case and wear it on a lanyard round my neck - and I can use it with gloves on. I'd heartily recommend this to anyone who wants to navigate with a compass and map, but wants a bit of additional security.

    (Written by: Jeffz)

    28 March 2013 20:52

  • Garmin Etrex 10 Review

    Michael Hunt

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    User's Overall Rating rating is 4

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    Performancerating is 5
    Build qualityrating is 5
    Value for moneyrating is 3

    Garmin Etrex 10 Review I must state at the outset that I rarely use a GPS device for personal navigation, priding myself on the ability to navigate efficiently by traditional means. However when guiding in the mountains (my job with Sierra Nevada Guides) I have carried the old yellow Etrex H for years. In the spring and autumn though I do run Navigation Courses including GPS navigation. In my armourie of GPS devices I have recently added the Etrex 10 to my Garmin 60, Oregon, Etrex H and SatMap10. Wow what an improvement on the old yellow Etrex! Its speed, ability to load waypoints quickly, follow routes, etc. Everything is faster and better. Another plus point is that this new model comes with the cable to connect it to your P.C. which was an additional £20+ before. For me though, the addition of the joystick giving the ability to load a grid reference quickly (unlike the old Etrex H) and perform a “take me to” to get one back on track in poor conditions is the best improvement. I can see that this new device will have a wide appeal to those wanting to start geocaching and is bound to prove popular. There is no doubt that this is the best bottom of the range device. The only pity is that you could previously buy the Etrex H for around £60 and this one comes with a price tag of £110. Once the price drops a bit then it’s got to be a winner!

    (Written by: Michael_)

    23 February 2012 16:30


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