Garmin Trots Out New Wearable Navigation Aids

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GPS manufacturer Garmin has introduced two near wearable navigation aids designed for campers, hikers, skiers, and others who go off the beaten path. The Garmin Foretrex 401 and Foretrex 301 put high-sensitivity WAAS-enabled GPS receivers in a waterproof, lightweight device that’s designed to be worn on a wrist, along with a high-contrast LCD display and 17 to 18 hours of battery life off 2 AAA batteries.

“Whether you’re on a leisurely hike or in the toughest conditions imaginable, you need navigation that’s simple to use and easy to access,” said Garmin worldwide sales VP Dan Bartel, in a statement. “Our new Foretrex models help you keep your hands free and your focus on the path ahead, all while ensuring you make it to your destination as easily as possible.”

Garmin says the units can get GPS fixs even under heavy tree cover or in deep canyons, and the devices can accurately track routes, waypoints, and paths, making it simple for users to retrace their steps back to their starting point (if they like). The LCD display may not have sexy maps, but it does offer a dual-position readout showing a location in multiple formats, including latitude and longitude; the units also pack hunting and fishing information, a trip computer, sunrise/sunset info, and a trip computer. In addition, the Foretrex 401 features an electronic compass and a barometric altimeter, and can be used wirelessly with a selection of other Garmin devices, including GPS systems, cadence sensors, and heart rate monitors. Both units connect to Macs or PCs via USB.

Both units should be available in the third quarter of 2009, with the Foretrex 301 carrying a suggested retail price of $199.99, and the 401 going for $249.99.

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