Gear reviews, GPS / Navigation » Garmin GPSMap 62 series

The newly designed GPSMAP 62s is a remake of the venerable 60 series featuring a faster chipset and totally redesigned software. Major new features of interest to bikepackers are the track manager (much easier uploading of routes), custom raster maps and new track following software. In general the unit is easier to use and runs faster than the older 60 series (or VistaHCx line).

The 62 series comes in various flavors: 62, 62s, 62st, 62sc, 62stc. Here’s what the abbreviations mean: s = adds sensors (electronic compass and altimeter). c = adds 5MP digital camera. t = adds pre-loaded topo maps.


Unit dimensions, WxHxD: 2.4″ x 6.3″ x 1.4″ (6.1 x 16.0 x 3.6 cm)
Display size, WxH: 1.43″ x 2.15″ (3.6 x 5.5 cm); 2.6″ diag (6.6 cm)
Display resolution, WxH: 160 x 240 pixels
Display type: transflective, 65-K color TFT
Weight: 9.2 oz (260.1 g) with batteries
Battery: 2 AA batteries (not included); NiMH or Lithium recommended
Battery life: 20 hours
Waterproof: yes (IPX7)
Ability to add maps: yes
Built-in memory: 1.7 GB
Accepts data cards: microSD™ card (not included)
Waypoints/favorites/locations: 2000
Track log: 10,000 points, 200 saved tracks

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Comments (7)

ScottMAugust 25th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I’ve put quite a few miles in with this GPS over the summer, and it’s become one I can depend on and also recommend to other bikepackers. The newer software and faster chipset (vs. the old 60 series) is so much easier to use — on the map screen, in the menus and especially for uploading tracks! The 500 point x 20 track limitation for saved tracks is no more! You can store 200 tracks of 10,000 points each, meaning the most you have to do is simplify a track down to 10,000 points before uploading. So much easier!

I’ve found GPS reception to be top notch, as is expected of Garmin units these days. I can’t say for certain, but I do feel like the quad helix antenna gives better reception under tree cover than a comparable unit (such as the Dakota 20, which I also have a lot of trail time with).

The main difference between the Dakota 20 and the 62 series is the user interface. I love having tactile buttons! I could never get used to the touchscreen when used on the handlebars, and screen visibility has always been a problem as well with the Dakota units. Both of those problems are gone with the 62 — it’s clear and has the best button layout of any GPS I’ve used.

Now, the downside is that the 62s is quite a bit larger than the Dakota or Oregon (and eTrex series, both old and new). This downside can also be a plus — for people that have trouble seeing small screens or negotiating smaller buttons, this GPS is a good compromise on size and usability. For racers I might recommend something smaller and lighter, however.

For anyone doing a long tour, like several weeks or a month on a trail like the Great Divide, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this GPS. As you use the GPS over the long haul the buttons and visible screen will be quite welcome, I think. I used the 60csx for my divide route tour, and would go with a 62 if I were to do it again.

I did have a few freezing issues with the GPS, but they were caused by the memory card (pre-loaded topos) getting dislodged or not being properly seated. The unit has plenty of internal memory for topo base maps and custom maps, so I’m not sure an extra SDcard is necessary.

I used the custom maps feature quite a bit on this GPS. It’s become my goto way to upload a route (or multiple routes) as long as it isn’t too long. Instead of uploading GPX files (especially when there are multiple options, when GPX file management becomes an issue), I simply load all the files and options I want in TopoFusion, then export a myTopo custom map straight to the GPS. Done — I have full topos and whatever GPS lines I need to navigate too.

The unit I have is the 62s, and it’s the variant I would recommend.

lReillyAugust 26th, 2011 at 7:54 am

How do you go about recharging it out on the trail?

ScottMAugust 26th, 2011 at 7:59 am

I just carry (and buy) spare batteries. Lithium AA’s, especially, have a pretty long runtime (I estimate 25 hours or so). You could recharge a set of AA’s along the way, too, but it’s easier just to replace.

JustinSeptember 4th, 2011 at 4:49 am

I have a 62s and can recommend the durability of the device. I was descending a fairly steep hill and the (not so great) handle bar mount cracked and the GPS unit went bouncing down the firetrail at about 60kms and hour. The unit seems to be working just fine and only really recieved cosmetic damaged.

mbraun73May 14th, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I have used the GPSMAP 62sc on the Susitna 100, White Mountains 100, Coconino 250 and StageCoach 400. I echo every comment Scott M. made. It’s the best GPS for longer bikepacking tours where a few extra grams are not an issue. I usually mount it with the Grmin mount right on my stem for a bomb-proof connection. I usually have my SPOT tracker less than 8 inches away from it (despite recommendations from the SPOT manufacturer to keep their unit away more than 1 foot from any other GPS device) and I never experienced any interference issues. Battery life with AA Ultimate Lithiums is >30 hours when used with battery saving feature and still > 24 hours with the screen on at all times. I did hear about other people having mount failures, but I had none after more than 5,000 MTB miles logged.

The camera of the 62sc is substandard. Any modern phone takes better pictures, so think twice before putting down the few extra bucks.

Brian ManaganAugust 11th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

My older Map60CSX can’t hold the entire set of GPX files for the Great Divide that are published by Adventure Cycling.

Does anyone know if the entire GPX set (all 6 US sections) fits into memory on the new 62 series?

TommiJanuary 11th, 2013 at 6:27 pm

I like that the 62stc takes standard batteries as well as the rechargeables it comes with. It also picks up and pins down a position faster than any of my other Garmins [38, 76map , 76mapcx], and maintains a fix under tree cover or in urban canyons. It is a rugged unit, too; I have put a lot of miles on it while it rests in a RAM GPS mount on my Norco Bushpilot. I always tether my GPS, too, just in case. The camera is so-so, and geotags the photo with coordinates, which is handy for waypointing a particular spot.

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