Exploring Nova Scotia with a constellation of satellites to guide me along the way. Producing hiking, outdoors, local drink & food videos, you can find Jim's contributions on novascotiablogs.com and a few other places. Jim carries a ZOLEO Satellite Communicator for all of his outdoor adventures.
If you are using Garmin BaseCamp to plan your next adventure, you might be interested in adding data from it to Garmin Explore. This blog post talks about how to do this with an easy workaround that is sure to increase productivity!
Transferring from Garmin Basecamp to Garmin Explore
To transfer your data from Garmin basecamp, you must first go to Garmin BaseCamp and simply select “My Collections” and click on “File” > “Export My Collections”. From there, choose GPX as the file type.
If you have a large library of data, you might want to export by waypoint, routes, tracks as individual data sets. You won’t be able to export geocoded images, birdseye imagery, or Garmin adventures.
Setting Up Garmin Explore
Garmin Explore is a web-based tool that allows you to sync your GPS data with outdoor-based GPS devices. This is built off the inReach portal, so you may not see all the same features if you are using a Montana or GPSMAP 66.
With the recent addition of the Garmin Tread off-road GPS device, Garmin Explore is now embedded in the device. This means that you don’t need to sync your Explore collections, all you need is your smartphone data services to view the Explore content on the Garmin device. Older devices will still need to sync a collection via the Garmin Explore smartphone app.
From the MAP tab, you just need to create a new “Collection” this is where we will group our Basecamp data. All the data is structured similar to Basecamp where you have your “Library” and then create collections or filters to view data sets. So in this case, we will create a new collection called “Basecamp Archive” where we will import our exported files and associate them to the collection.
Once you have created your collection, it is time to import the data. Select “Import” and choose which format or file you would like to upload into Garmin explore (Tracks / Routes). I will use Tracks in this example but note that Routes files do not allow for additional detail, so I would avoid using this.
When I did my import, I’ve noticed the following issues as of January 2022:
Waypoints are limited to 500 per upload
Can only upload one file at a time
Files larger than 50MB may be rejected.
Waypoint icons specified in Basecamp does not carry over
I would recommend breaking up your Basecamp export into smaller files are indicated above. Another big issue is if you’ve spent time adjusting the icon for each waypoint, you will need to start over again once the file is imported. This is a major flaw that I hope Garmin addresses to encourage the adoption of Garmin Explore.
Ready To Sync To Your Devices?
Once you have imported your data, it is ready to be synced to your devices. You can either use the Garmin Explore website or app to do this. If you are using the Garin Tread device, then you just need the Tread smartphone app to allow connectivity to your Garmin Explore account.
Everyone should have a 72-hour emergency kit. It is an essential part of being ready for emergencies that may happen at any time. Whether you are at home or in the car, it is important to be prepared for anything life can throw your way. This blog post will give you three-day emergency kits ideas on what to include in your kit and how to pack it properly so that when something does happen, you are ready!
Put together a bag with everything you might need in an emergency.
Make sure that the bag is waterproof and easy to carry.
The items should be of high utility, meaning that they are necessary for day-to-day life as well as during emergencies. For example, a whistle would be useful in an emergency but it isn’t something you need every day so it wouldn’t make sense to put it in your bag.
Include things like water, food, first aid supplies, and other necessities
This one requires a bit more planning and maintenance to manage. Typically, a person needs about 2 liters of water per day. This means that if you have a three-day kit, it should include at least six liters of water.
Pack items like granola bars and trail mix to keep your energy up until help arrives or you return home. You may also want to pack some snacks for your kids in case they get hungry while you are waiting for rescue personnel to arrive.
A list of some important items: a flashlight, extra batteries, a first aid kit, water, and non-perishable foods (like canned goods), blankets/sleeping bags, toiletries like toothpaste and soap.
Keep the bag in your car or near your front door so it’s easy to grab if needed
From experience, our bag is in the closet of the main entrance to the house. Anytime we need something like a headlamp, first aid kit, or thermometer; it’s there quick and easy to access.
Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers located on your 72-hour kit. It is also helpful to keep the number for poison control, as well as animal bites or insect stings in case anyone needs medical attention while you are waiting for help to arrive.
If there are children living at home with you, it’s important that they know where things like the band-aid are, or items they can use safely.
Add items as necessary – for example, add blankets if you live somewhere cold or sunscreen if you live somewhere sunny.
The most important thing to remember is that a 72-hour kit should be tailored to your specific needs. Make sure to stock up on any medications you might need, as well as food and water that will last for at least three days. Be prepared, and stay safe!
Be sure to pack extra clothes and shoes for yourself and any children who are living with you because they may not have enough of their own clothes or if you need to leave the house quickly, you may not have time to grab clothes, etc.
Don’t forget to put in any food or supplies for your pets!
For more information on what else you may need, look up these resources:
This article is about wiring your house to use a generator in an emergency. With power out, and no water or sewer service available, many people are left without light and the ability to cook food. We will discuss how you can wire your house for these occasions by installing a transfer switch that will allow you to connect the generator safely to your home’s electrical system so that all of these needs are taken care of until power returns! Also related is our 72 hour emergency family go bag.
Selecting the right transfer switch
There are a few things you will need to consider when selecting the right transfer switch for your home. The first is the size of the generator you have. You will also need to know what type of electrical service your house has, either single or three-phase. Most homes in North America have single-phase power, so we will focus on that one, but really this is something that we did not have to consider.
The last thing you will need to consider is the method of installation. There are two types: hard-wired and plug-in models. For our purposes, we opted for a plug in model because it made things easier when wiring up everything before turning on power with the generator switch—which we recommend doing outside your home’s breaker box!
There are two types of transfer switch that we considered: typical wall mounted switch which is next to your home main breaker box and the meter mounted type (Generlink) which required the power utility to come in and install it from the outside. The Generlink switch is more expensive, but it does not require any additional wiring in your home.
Both cost the same, but we opted for a traditional wall mounted switch as the other type was not easily available in our area and had some reliability issues at the time.
Picking the right generator size for your home
Picking a right generator size is probably one of the most difficult parts of getting prepared. If you get too small, it will have trouble keeping up with your energy needs and then you’ll be out in the dark anyway. However, going big will mean that you’re spending more money on gas to run it than if you had gotten an appropriate sized generator.
Luckily I had a friend who also went through this process and during hurricane Dorian, he made a rush purchased and got a 3000 watt generator. Unfortunately for him, he actually had to use it a few times and found that it could not power the basics in his home: water pump, water heater & fridge.
If you are not getting city water or sewer and need electricity to power things like your well then you need to consider the starting amps when these motors turn on. This is the important factor to consider when sizing your generator.
We opted for a generator with 6800 starting watt and with a constant of 5500 watts. This should provide us with enough power and get a room heated if we have an outage in the winter.
Last thing is the power cord to use. We have a 30 amp cord and it plugs right into the generator from outside the house. We should not run the generator inside the house – ever.
Now that our house is wired for a generator, we are ready for anything. Stay safe out there!
With the increase in popularity of outdoor activities, Garmin and Zoleo have made it easier to stay connected with friends and family. Satellite communication devices like the Garmin inReach mini and embedded products and Zoleo Satellite communicator can now send text messages, GPS locations, SOS alerts for emergencies, as well as tracking data from these devices back home to those who are concerned about them. However, there is a lot that goes into satellite communications technology before this type of device works properly. This blog post will outline how Iridium satellite communications work when using these types of devices so you can make an educated decision on whether or not they’re right for you!
Iridium Satellite Network
First thing is to know about the Iridium satellite network. The Iridium satellite constellation is a network of 66 low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. These satellites orbit the Earth at an altitude of 48 degrees north and south latitude, which means they are able to provide service to two-thirds of the globe. This also includes much of the polar regions where other satellite networks do not have coverage. This means that you can use satellite phone or text devices that use the Iridium network to communicate from anywhere around the globe except for these location:
Inside a building or cave
The Iridium satellite network was designed for use in the most extreme environments and is the only satellite network that has coverage over both the North and South Poles. This also makes it an ideal choice for marine applications as well as other outdoor activities where cell phone service is limited or non-existent.
Obviously when using a satellite communication tool, your device needs a clear line of sight to the sky. Garmin InReach and ZOLO satellite devices both use the Iridium network.
For an emergency it is a great tool to have when you need help. This device allows you also both tracking and navigation even in remote areas, which makes this tools a must for hikers, climbers or mountain bikers that venture into the wilderness alone.
Another interesting feature worth mentioning of these devices is that they can be paired with your smartphone.
What Happens when you trigger a SOS?
Your emergency contacts will receive an email or text message with your GPS coordinates and a link to a tracking page where they can see your location in real-time. They will also be able to communicate with you through the two-way texting capability of the device. And, if help is on the way, they can follow your progress until you are in safety.
GEOS is the main emergency response monitoring service found on both Garmin inReach and ZOLEO. They have a team of highly trained professionals who are available 24/365 to coordinate emergency responders in your area.
If you’re ever lost, injured, or stranded and need assistance from GEOS, just push the SOS button on your device and help will be on the way.
Remember that an activated SOS is not only going to notify your emergency contacts, but GOES will also triage down to the local authorities.
Getting Weather Forecasts From inReach and ZOLEO
Both inReach and ZOLEO offer weather forecasts provided by DarkSky.
DarkSky is a weather forecasting service that provides hyper-localized forecasts for specific locations.
Their entire forecast system operates on an algorithm which calculates the local temperature, humidity levels, wind speeds and direction, pressure readings from multiple sources (including NOAA), cloud coverage percentages throughout the day, precipitation amounts/type over time as well as sun rise and an outlook over 3 to 5 days. DarkSky was purchased by Apple a dew years ago so it remains to be seen if they will continue to provide access to the API.
Sharing your location while hiking
Another feature of these devices is to allow your friends or family to track your progress by viewing your position on a map. This is done by sending an “I’m OK” message from the device which will include your location coordinates. You can also share your location with specific contacts for a period of time, or indefinitely. This can be helpful if you want someone to know where you are in case of an emergency.
Check Out Our Tutorials
Want to know more about inReach or ZOLEO? Just watch our short how-to tutorials.
Originally released in the fall of 2020, Garmin has finally added a lower price option for the PowerSport focused Garmin Tread – Base Edition GPS device. The original offering included the group radio option, but oddly only was available in the US and not in Canada. This was a head scratcher for a device that is geared for ATV’s, Side by Side and Snowmobile users; it ignored the home country of one of the major PowerSport producers and customers.
With the Garmin Tread – Base Edition, we can finally get our hands on this device and see how it operates and compares to other devices such as the Montana 700.
Out of The Box Overview
Physically speaking, the Tread shares the same hardware as the Garmin Zumo XT but unlike being configured for motorcycle touring, the Tread is focused on navigating from the house to the trailhead and off-road riding.
The box contains the mounting equipment necessary to mount on a ATV or Side by Side, USB cable and coloured accent plates in neon green, red & black (blue comes already on the device).
My unit came completely discharged so I could not get the device booted up to get past the initial setup wizard. The unit also came in forced demo mode where you needed to travel a short distance before you can unlock it. While you can add wifi and pair bluetooth in demo mode, you can’t use wifi or update the device. Don’t expect to get this at the last minute, spend 20 min at home getting it setup before you leave. Expect to spend some time to get past this first time power on.
Also the smartphone pairing was the most painful I’ve ever had to do with a Garmin product. For some reason, the Tread emits two different bluetooth devices and if your phone does not find the right one first, then it messed up the process and you don’t fully realize the mistake until it is too late. Because I do tutorial video, I tend to reset a lot so I need to pair the device to my phone several times. It was very noticeable that this was not working well and expect to take several attempts to get it right.
Once you get past the pairing to the Garmin Tread smartphone app, there are some interesting features on the device. Mainly having Garmin Explore built-in. So no longer you need to have the Garmin Explore app on your phone and try to sync collections.
The Garmin Tread can only send data to another Tread device via bluetooth as it doesn’t have ANT+. This is a bit of a limitation as we have been very used to sharing items between many handheld devices over the years.
Pre-Loaded Maps and POI’s
The Tread comes with several map products: City Navigator North America, Garmin Topo Active PowerSport North & Central America, US Public Lands and several POI files from iOverlander, Ultimate Campgrounds, TripAdvisor, Power Sports Dealerships and Adventure Points.
Updating the maps via the device and wifi is handy but expect it to take a few hours while plugged into the USB power port.
Smartphone Needed For Extra Data
You’ll need your smartphone data in order for weather, traffic, music and notifications to appear on the Garmin Tread.
In this video, I’ll show you how to use the Gaia GPS Apple Watch app to record a hike or outdoor activity. First thing you’ll need to do is to download the GAIA GPS smartphone app on your iPhone and the watch app should automatically download onto your Apple Watch. If it doesn’t simply go into your watch app on your phone and enable the app.
From the watch, you just need to find your Gaia GPS app and open it. From here you will have three main screen: Music controls, settings & notifications and main controls (Record, Navigate).
This video will focus on recording hikes, and not navigating routes, mainly because it doesn’t seem to work on for me just yet. But the track recording works very well is a good alternative when you don’t have a GPS handy.
The main thing to note while recording your track, is that the Gaia GPS needs to be the top app, meaning that you can’t switch apps on your phone this will pause the recording until you switch to Gaia GPS. The best way around this is to lock the app so Gaia GPS is locked on your watch face.
Previous versions of this watch app would. Mirror the smartphone app, meaning that the recording was done on the phone, not on the watch. The version used in October 2021 uses the GPS data from the watch leaving you to use the Gaia GPS app on your phone to lookup maps, create routes and other things.
Once you are done recording your hike the Apple Watch will transfer the track data to your phone pretty much within a few seconds. You can then review the track under the saved tab and edit accordingly.
In this video, I’ll show you how you can export a track saved in Gaia GPS and import it to Garmin Connect or Garmin Explore. Here I’m using iOS so this will work on iPhone and IPad, but will also work in Android and on your desktop. Here I’ve recorded a hike using the Gaia GPS Apple Watch app and have it saved in Gaia GPS along with a few photos.
During this hike, I couldn’t use my Garmin device (batteries were dead) but I want to add this hike into my Garmin Connect history or Garmin Explore library for future use. From Gaia GPS, I should be take to export the track as a GPX file and then import it to either Garmin Connect or Garmin Explore.
Step By Step
Go to your SAVED section in Gaia GPS and select a track, route or waypoint you want to export. Click on MORE and EXPORT, select GPX.
(Garmin Connect) SAVE your GPX as a FILE.
(Garmin Explore) If you have Garmin Explore app installed on your device, you should see the EXPLORE ICON in the share pop-up window and SELECT.
(Garmin Connect) log into Garmin Connect via the desktop and click on the Import Data icon
(Garmin Explore) the GPX file will be automatically imported into the Garmin Explore Library as a new collection, ready to be sync to a Garmin Device.
(Garmin Connect) BROWSE and upload the GPX file you just saved and upload.
(Garmin Connect) Once the GPX file has been imported, edit the activity and upload photos as needed.
More Gaia GPS Tutorials Here
Check out my playlist on other topics related to Gaia GPS and Garmin Devices.
Planning A Hike With Gaia GPS
How To Contribute Your GPS Track To OpenStreetMap From A Garmin GPS
How to Export Garmin Montana 700 700i 750i GPS Track To Gaia GPS Using Explore
How To Download Property Parcel Boundaries Onto Your Garmin Using GaiaGPS
Gaia GPS How To Export Tracks To Garmin Connect or Garmin Explore
How to Use Gaia GPS And Apple Watch To Record A Hike
I want to talk about the three main areas when considering a Tilley Hat. I’ll be using three styles of hats from my collection to demonstrate Build Quality, Sizing & Maintenance along with a few tips how to clean and wear your Tilley hat.