Garmin etrex. How to set routes using grids (or any other method)


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Maybe I'm just a bit thick (and now in vino due to frustration) but I've been trying to work out how to set a route using waypoints in to a Garmin etrex (the yellow one).

There does not seem to be anyway of setting a route with waypoints using grids unless you have a cable and a PC. I don't have the cable and won't always have the PC when I want to set routes.

In fact as far as I can tell from the mangled English in the instruction booklet the only way to set waypoints is to be in the location or to set it as a distance and angles from your current location.

As I type Mrs BA is calling me to say she has given up on the instruction book, I have wasted £££s on another useless gadget and if I want another beer it's in the fridge, holiday wasted blah blah....
Right, switch on and go to the menu with "Mark Waypoint" on it. Select Mark, press enter (left-hand side, below the arrows). Scroll down until the grid reference is highlighted. Press enter again. It should switch to an "Edit location" screen; one digit of the grid will be highlighted; press enter to change it, scroll up or down till you're happy. Repeat for the rest of the grid, then scroll to OK and press enter. Set the elevation if you want, then scroll up to OK again and press enter. Repeat this tortuous process for every single grid.

Take a map as well. Not the best thing Garmin ever made.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer

We got it in the end - its not intuitive. It appears to have been programmed by some one who did not understand what it is for. Either that or I'm unusual in wanting to set a route and follow it.
Or - go to the map screen, use the joystick to scroll around until you find the grid you want, push down on the joystick thing and when it says "no map information at this point - do you want to create a user waypoint here?" click YES. When the waypoint screen pops up instead of pressing GOTO press MAP. Repeat this process until you have all the waypoints that you want. As you scroll around you will see the grids change in the top left corner. Just move until you find the grid you want. It's a lot easier than trying to enter grids manually in the menu.

Then - go to the main menu, select routes, press NEW and SELECT NEXT POINT. Click waypoints and add all the waypoints you've just made, adding them one at a time using SELECT NEXT POINT.

You can create a route directly from the routes menu using the map but I find this method a bit easier.

It's a great bit of kit, unfortunately the interface is showing it's age when compared to iphones!


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer

garmin etrex yellow.jpg
Apologies - I have the Vista HCX. It has a joystick. Sorry for wasting your time! If you go and buy one my reply will make a lot more sense.
If I was looking to buy a gps to basically use it for this purpose, and for it to give me my actual grid ref, would you recommend this model?

Just looking for a cheapo that will do the basics.
I would recommend the Vista HCX. It's got great battery life and because it takes memory cards you can download free worldwide maps onto it from "open streetmap". You can use it for the basics as well but it offers loads more. The new generation ones are a bit too TomTom and too expensive. The vista series fit in your pocket and last for ages on 2 AA batteries. The downside is that the interface is a bit fiddly.

The Garmin forerunner series are great for just pinging waypoints as you go around and giving you a grid location. And they go on your wrist.
I was going to start the personal abuse when I noticed the picture of the 'yellow' etrex - without joystick. ;-P

I've used my - blue - Legend for the past 12 years in all sorts of flat, wobbly and confusing places and only got lost when the Castle/Serengeti/Tusker kicked in. Good kit.

Similar threads

Latest Threads