Guest Gear Review By: Jeff Eichers
Weight: 5.25 oz. with batteries
Size: 2.2 x 3.9 x 1.3” (WxHxD)
Garmin packs a lot of utility into a small, lightweight, and rugged package with their Dakota 20 GPS. This unit has multiple personalities and performed very well as a hiking companion, a personal fitness trainer, and an in-car navigation tool. These personalities or profiles, are customizable and easily accessed via the touchscreen menu. The Dakota’s TFT display was crazy easy to read in direct sunlight and it had great real-world battery life making it my favorite on the trail. The unit’s small shape, wireless capabilities, and fitness log, made for an all-inclusive bicycle computer when paired with the available heart rate monitor.
While the Dakota won’t take the place of your in-car navigation system, it worked well navigating the streets while in automotive mode, especially when paired with additional street maps. The Dakota runs on two AA batteries and is waterproof, meeting the IPX7 standard. The unit has 850 MB of built-in memory which is expandable via a microSD slot. Navigation is enhanced with an electronic 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter. The Dakota’s wireless capability enables it to perform unit to unit transfers with similar devices. Activity logs such as distance, elevation gain, and speed, can be viewed and graphed on the unit or on ‘Garmin Connect’, Garmin’s online community. The Dakota 20 prevailed as an easy to carry, value priced, and full featured GPS. Some words of caution: The current generation of GPS touchscreens are prone to scratches so I would recommend some screen protection. The wireless range of this device is extremely limited, requiring a handlebar mount while cycling (versus jersey rear cargo pocket) when paired with the heart rate monitor.