How to Use Garmin eTrex GPS

By Martha Burg

The Garmin eTrex GPS has only five buttons that enable you to mark trails, establish points of interest and find your current location, not to mention finding your car again. Mapping your hikes with the Garmin eTrex is done by capturing "tracks" that show the trail you have traversed and waypoints, which are special places you wish to make note of. Using the Garmin eTrex consists of simple commands to take you to a chosen location.

Things You'll Need

  • Two "AA" batteries

Step 1

Insert two "AA" batteries in the back of your eTrex unit. Remove the battery cover by lifting the D-Ring and turning it counter-clockwise while pulling the cover away.

Step 2

Turn on the eTrex GPS by pressing and releasing the power key located on the upper right side of the unit. You will see a welcome page and then it will move to the satellite page. The satellite page will display "Acquiring Satellites" until four satellites are located by the unit. You will then see your "Location Coordinates" on the screen, which are your ground location and elevation coordinates.

Step 3

View the main pages of your eTrex by pressing the "Quit" key located on the upper right side. This key will take you to the main pages you need to navigate. The "Map" page displays your movements and a map of your area. The "Compass" page guides you to a chosen location and the "Main Menu" page provides advanced features and settings.

Step 4

Mark your location as a "Waypoint." This can be your home or any location you would like to save. Press the "Enter/Rocker" key located on the top left front portion of the unit. This will give your current location an I.D. number and identifying information. To save this location, use the "Rocker" key to select "OK" and press "Enter."

Step 5

View your progress on the "Map" page. Press the "Quit" key located on the top right side of the unit to cycle through the pages until you get to the "Map" page. This page will show you the area around your current location and your progression through the area.

Step 6

Navigate to a designated location by pressing the "Find" key located on the mid left side of the unit. Use the "Rocker" key to select "Waypoints" and press "Enter."

Step 7

Choose the location and highlight it using the "Rocker" key. Press "Enter" and the selected location information will appear. Use the "Rocker" key to select "Go To" at the bottom of the page and press "Enter." This will begin your navigation to the selected location or waypoint. Follow the directions on the screen to your chosen location.

Tips & Warnings

  • The eTrex provides a satellite bar which shows the minimum count of four satellites your unit must be "locked" on to find your location.
  • When the eTrex cannot find a satellite signal try moving to a new location with no overhead obstacles such as trees or buildings.
  • Always save the location of your parked car or starting point when you are hiking.