Garmin Etrex 30 GPS Receiver

I recently purchased the Garmin Etrex 30 GPS receiver. Quite a bit of research was done prior to pulling the trigger on this unit. I considered many other units, mostly Garmin units like the Edge 500, Edge 800, and Oregon receivers.
I really wanted one that was compatible with heart rate and cadence sensors, but also one that was able to import base maps with topo, points of interest, and hopefully satellite imagery.

I have been using the GPS in my Android phone for a few years now to record the routes of my mountain bike rides, as well as any hikes, runs, walks, etc.
Although the accuracy and precision of the different smartphones are less than desirable by my standards, I was enjoying the different challenges and social sharing of this geospatial data.
A few of the web sites with these features which I have been using are STRAVA, Endomondo, Ride With GPS, and Geoladders.
At first, I preferred Endomondo (I still enjoy many aspects of it), but I quickly became a huge fan of STRAVA. Ride with GPS is my new favorite, but since it hasn’t caught on as much by my fellow riders in the San Diego area, I tend to still use STRAVA a little more often.

Back to the Garmin Etrex 30.
I found out after purchasing the Etrex 30, that neither STRAVA, nor Ride with GPS support direct uploads from the Etrex 30.
STRAVA supports the EDGE series and many of my friends have the Edge 500. Its great, but no base maps. I had an Edge 305 about 5 years ago and enjoyed it, but it didn’t have base maps and I realized quickly that phones and almost every other GPS device you use now have an ability to display base map information so you can see where you are in relation to the world, not just in relation to your own recorded tracks and points.
The Garmin Etrex 30 has a barometric altimeter, full ANT+ wireless functionality to use with cadence and heart rate sensors, but it is able to load base maps and is a wonderful handheld GPS device for other things beside cycling. (EDIT: (12/17/2015) Endomondo now supports ANT+ sensors if your Android phone can receive ANT+ signals. My Samsung GALAXY S5 supports ANT+. Unfortunately, STRAVA still hasn’t gotten with the program to support ANT+ devices like heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, etc. , but they do support Bluetooth accessories.)
I put in a request to STRAVA support to see if they would someday support the Etrex 30.
Here is STRAVA’s response to me about supporting it:
“I’m sorry we don’t have full support for your device. We do our best to offer support to as many devices as possible. At this time we do not have plans to add support for the Etrex 30.”
For less than the price of a Garmin Edge 500, I have exactly the right GPS receiver for my needs, too bad Strava won’t support great devices like this one. My current work around is to upload my activity to Garmin Connect, export the .tcx file, then upload to STRAVA. It works for getting the recorded track and heart rate into a Strava activity, but I wonder why Strava wont support it directly.

>>>Here is a great webpage on setup for the Garmin Etrex 30:


Manufacturer Description

The Garmin eTrex 30 takes one of the most popular and reliable GPS handhelds and makes it better. Enhanced ergonomics, an improved interface, paperless geocaching and expanded mapping capabilities makes eTrex more versatile and user-friendly, while maintaining its toughness and durability.

See The Way

eTrex 30 has an enhanced 2.2 in 65K color, sunlight readable display. Durable and waterproof, eTrex 30 is built to withstand the elements. It has an upgraded interface and stands strong against the elements – be it dust, dirt, humidity or water, none of which are a match for this storied navigator.

New Tools For Your Trek

eTrex 30 adds a built-in 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass, which shows your heading even when you’re standing still, without holding it level. Also added is a barometric altimeter which tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude, and you even can use it to plot barometric pressure over time, which can help you keep an eye on changing weather conditions.

Go Anywhere

With an array of compatible mounts, eTrex 30 is designed for use on ATV’s, bicycles, in boats, as a handheld or in your car. Use the auto mount capability and City Navigator NT® maps for turn-by-turn driving directions, or the rugged mount for your motorcycle or ATV. Wherever you think you might take eTrex, it has the mapping and mounts to get you there.

Go Global

The new eTrex series is the first-ever consumer-grade receivers that can track both GPS and GLONASS satellites simultaneously. GLONASS is a system developed by the Russian Federation that will be fully operational in 2012. When using GLONASS satellites, the time it takes for the receiver to “lock on” to a position is (on average) approximately 20 percent faster than using GPS. And when using both GPS and GLONASS, the receiver has the ability to lock on to 24 more satellites than using GPS alone.

Add Maps

With its microSD™ card slot and 1.7 GB of internal memory, eTrex 30 lets you load TOPO 24K maps and hit the trail, plug in BlueChart® g2 preloaded cards for a great day on the water or City Navigator NT® map data for turn-by-turn routing on roads (see maps tab for compatible maps). eTrex 30 also supports BirdsEye™ Satellite Imagery (subscription required), that lets you download satellite images to your device and integrate them with your maps.

Share Wirelessly

eTrex 30 lets you share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches wirelessly with other compatible Garmin GPS devices. So now your friends also can enjoy your favorite hike or cache – simply press “send” to transfer your information to similar units, and let the games begin.

Keep Your Fix

With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver and HotFix® satellite prediction, eTrex locates your position quickly and precisely and maintains its GPS location even in heavy cover and deep canyons.

Find Fun

eTrex 30 supports geocaching GPX files for downloading geocaches and details straight to your unit. Visit to start your geocaching adventure. By going paperless, you’re not only helping the environment but also improving efficiency. eTrex 30 stores and displays key information, including location, terrain, difficulty, hints and descriptions, which means no more manually entering coordinates and paper print outs. Simply upload the GPX file to your unit and start hunting for caches.

Small in size, but big on features. The new eTrex are the perfect companions for all of your outdoor adventures. ”


So that’s a quick rundown on what this GPS receiver is all about.

Here are some pictures of the receiver.  Hopefully I will do a full review with mentions of the various features and which I use most, as well as why.  Comment if you want to see me post more on this GPS….I intend to.

About Nick

A servant and worshiper of Christ, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a gecko breeder, a guitarist, a mountain biker, a GIS specialist.
This entry was posted in Android, Geography, GPS, Mountain Bike, practice, San Diego, space, time. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Garmin Etrex 30 GPS Receiver

  1. Dave Hall says:

    Hi, Nick! Interesting post about this GPS device. I have and use an older Garmin on my road bike and love it. Have never thought about using such a device on my mountain bike. Something to consider… We should connect at a nearby Starbucks someday. Would be nice to catch up on where life is taking you and your family these days.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s