Garmin Colorado 400t GPS Review
Whether you are locating treestands, hunting the backcountry or finding your way out of an unfamiliar area, the GPS revolution has made life much easier for big game hunters. Each year, GPS manufacturers add a number of features that are quickly adopted by those that spend a great deal of their time in the woods. Garmin has long been a leader in GPS technology and the Colorado 400t leaves little doubt that they are continuing to set the bar very high.
Garmin Colorado 400t GPS
The first noticeable difference between the Colorado 400t and most other handheld GPS units is the very conspicuous "wheel" located on the front of the unit. The wheel is historically one of man's greatest inventions and resulted in a dramatic increase in efficiently getting from one place to another. Garmin has continued this concept, as the "Rock 'n Roller" wheel on the Colorado 400t makes menu navigation, and therefore actual navigation, much more efficient. Instead of fumbling with various push-buttons that are found on the front and sides of most units, a quick spin of the wheel guides the user through menu choices. To ensure the user rarely has to concern themselves with any other buttons, a left, right, up or down command can be achieved by pressing on the corresponding part of the wheel and the middle acts like a select button.
Rock 'n Roller wheel used for most menu navigation and selection
Marking waypoints with the Colorado 400t is simple
and the unit is the perfect size for one handed operation
Although the Colorado 400t measures only 2.4" x 5.5" x 1.4" and weighs a mere 7.3 ounces (with batteries), Garmin included a vast array of functions in this compact unit. Detailed topographic maps (with 3-D map view), barometric altimeter, electronic compass, ability to accept an SD card, photo viewer, color display and the ability to share information wirelessly with other Colorado users are just a few of the many features.
Menu shortcuts make the GPS very user friendly
A GPS with inadequate maps is not much better than an oversized compass. The Colorado 400t not only provides high-quality U.S. topographic maps and a built in worldwide basemap with shaded relief, Garmin took it one step further by giving the user an option of a 3D view. Standard elevation lines will give you a general idea of the terrain, but the 3D view gives you a much better perspective. When you are trying to locate a ridge for a treestand or putting a stalk on a mule deer, being able to visualize the topography can save you a few miles on your hiking boots.
3D View of terrain
Many outdoorsmen believe the moon phases have a great deal to do with their success in the field. The Colorado 400t includes a Hunt and Fish Page, which allows the user to select the date and determine the animal activity forecast for that day. Predictions range from Poor Day to Excellent Day along with the Best Times and Good Times during that day for success.
Hunt/Fish Calendar suggests best days and times for success
The Colorado 400t's ability to save 1000 waypoints, 50 routes and 20 tracks should be more than sufficient for most hunters. Many prefer to keep their honey holes a secret, but occasionally you might want to share a particular spot with someone else. Garmin made this easy by allowing the sharing of waypoints, tracks and routes with other Colorado users through the use of wireless technology. By holding the two units in close proximity and selecting send from the unit containing the information, the other unit receives the selected data.
Sending waypoint through wireless connection
Another unique and surprisingly handy feature of the Colorado 400t is the Area Calculator. Most big game hunters have tried their luck at putting in food plots. One of the critical elements in putting in a food plot is ensuring proper seed coverage. Too much and the plants will crowd each other. Too little and the plot might be overbrowsed. By simply selecting Area Calculation on the Colorado 400t and walking around the perimeter of the food plot site, the user can quickly determine the area of the plot and subsequently exactly how much seed is needed for maximum growth.
Area calculator provides precise measurements of food plot fields
Few people keep an eye on the weather as much as hunters. An approaching front can indicate it is time to get in the stand or off the mountain. The built in altimeter can be used to plot barometric pressure over time. A Pressure Plot gives the user a quick visualization of changing weather conditions and allows them the opportunity to make decisions based on those conditions that can ensure their safety or increase the success of their hunt. For those dedicated hunters who don't let a little rain keep them out of the woods, the waterproof design of the Colorado 400t gives them one less thing to worry about.
Barometric pressure plot can help predict inclement weather
Although innovative features are always welcome, a GPS must also be easy to use for its original intended purposes - marking waypoints and finding those points. The Colorado 400t makes it about as easy as possible. The user simply selects Mark Waypoint from the shortcut menu with the Rock n' Roller. The point is assigned a three-digit number, which can be edited to display any number or word that makes sense to the user. To go to that waypoint, the user simply selects the Where To? shortcut, selects Waypoints and then selects the desired waypoint from the list.
Waypoint naming and customization is easy with the Colorado 400t
The Colorado 400t operates on two alkaline, NiMH or lithium AA batteries. Battery life is dependent on many factors including display brightness, frequency of use and amount of satellite searching, but averages about 15 hours. One thing a user will quickly notice is that each time the unit is turned on, the display backlight defaults to the lowest setting. A quick tap of the power button allows you to adjust the setting, but having to do this each time the unit is powered up becomes a minor annoyance.
The Colorado 400t operates about 15 hours on two
AA batteries and accepts a readily available SD card
Whether you are a weekend hunter or fulltime guide, you will undoubtedly find the Garmin Colorado 400t to be a valuable addition to the backpack. With its innovative features and user-friendly design, chasing big game and finding your way home just got a little easier.
For more information about Garmin GPS products, visit www.garmin.com.
Larry R. Beckett Jr. is a full time freelance writer, photographer and videographer. His greatest joy is spending time fishing, hunting and hiking with his wife and son. Larry discovered his enthusiasm for the outdoors at a young age and devotes much of his time trying to instill that same enthusiasm in future generations.