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This page documents how to do basic tasks with the Garmin eTrex Vista C GPS unit.

Online Manual

eTrex Vista C Owners Manual.pdf

Re-setting the Unit

1. Press the MENU button twice to display the main menu

2. Use the ROCKER key to highlight the "Trip Computer" icon

3. Press ENTER to display the Trip Computer menu. This will tell you a variety of things about your trip.

4. Press the MENU button to display the sub-menu

5. Use the ROCKER key to select "Reset..." and select it with the ENTER key.

6. Enable the "Select all" option.

7. Use the ROCKER key to get to "Apply" and ENTER to select it.

8. It will prompt you asking if you really want to reset the unit. Hit OK.

9. Your eTrex GPS unit is now reset!

Recording a Waypoint

1. Press in and hold the ENTER key until the Mark Waypoint Page appears.

2. To save the waypoint to the Find Menu Waypoints List, highlight "OK" and press ENTER.

Viewing a Waypoint

1. Press the MENU button twice to get to the main menu

2. Use the ROCKER key to toggle over to the "Find" option

3. Press ENTER to select it.

4. Use the ROCKER key to toggle to the "Waypoint" option and use ENTER to select it.

5. Use the ROCKER key to select the way point you wish to find, then to select the "Map" option.

6. Press ENTER, and you will be taken back to the map, viewing your waypoint.

Creating a Track Log

  • The GPS unit must have a location fix before the Tracking feature starts.

1. Turn on GPS unit and press the MENU button twice to display the Main Menu. Use the ROCKER key to highlight the Tracks icon.

2. Press ENTER to display the Tracks Page. The page contains ON and OFF buttons (in the upper right corner), check to make sure ON is selected.

3. Beneath the Track Log field are four on-screen buttons to “SETUP”, “CLEAR”, “SAVE”, and activate the “TRACBACK” feature for the current log.

4. To setup a track log, highlight the SETUP button and press ENTER to display the Setup page. Check “Wrap When Full,” to continue recording when full by overwriting the oldest data with new.

5. Highlight the “Record Method” field and press ENTER to display the Distance, Time and Auto options. Because a track is made of a series of points that define your path of travel, they can be placed a specified “Distance” apart or placed at a “Time” interval you specify. The “Auto” option allows you to choose from five intervals.

6. Next, set the interval for setting track points.

7. When completed, press the quit key to return to the Track Log Page.

    • To save a Track Log:

1. With the Tracks Page displayed, highlight the SAVE button and press ENTER. You will be asked “Do You Want To Save the Entire Track?. If you select YES, a “Saving Track” message appears followed by the Saved Track Page.

2. If you select NO, a map showing the entire track appears and prompts “ Select the beginning point for the saved track.” Use the ROCKER key to move the Panning Arrow to the point on the track line that is the BEGIN Point of the Saved track and press ENTER.

3. The next prompt asks you, “Select the ending point for the saved track.” Use the Panning Arrow to mark the END Point and press ENTER. A “Saving Track” message appears followed by the Saved Track Page.

4. The Saved Track Page allows you to name the track, view the track distance, view the area encompassed by the track, and choose a color for the track when shown on the map page (Show On Map). On-screen buttons at the button of the page allow you to delete, view it on the Map, navigate the track back (TracBack), and to save the track (OK).

    • To View a Track on the Map:

1. With the Saved Tracks Page for the track or the Track Log displayed, highlight the MAP button and press ENTER to display the Map Page.

2. A map showing the entire track appears with BEGIN and END markers.

Going Over an Entire Trip:

It seems that we have a several options for going over a trip to Springwood with the GPS unit. The instructions above should be sufficient to cover all options below.

Using Rdate to set the time on the PMP, it has been confirmed that both the PMP and GPS will have the same time displayed.


Set up a tracking log. The tracback feature seems to include a time when it takes the waypoints, so feasibly we could simply set up a track and after the trip, go back over it and see what times we were where.


Set-up and go. We simply set it up at the start of the trip, do our business, and then check back later.


Extremely unreliable. Getting the time out of the various points of the tracks is a tedious process and seems to only work the first time the tracback feature is used.

Only a limited amount of space for a track log, entirely possible that if points were taken at too short of an interval, some data could be lost or simply not gathered.


The GPS unit can set waypoints, which have a note about the time they were set. We simply set waypoints at each of the significant locations that we sample.


Much more reliable than the tracking feature, guaranteed to have both a location and a time.

Little risk of running out of space.

If the waypoints are in sequence, it's possible to make a route out of them, which is almost the same thing as the tracking log.


The GPS would have to be out at all times, we couldn't simply set up a log and then keep the GPS in a safe place. Someone would have to have it in hand at all times to be able to set waypoints.


Set a waypoint at the beginning of the trip, then enable a track log, and then set a waypoint when the trip is finished. This would give us a starting point / time, an ending point / time, and a trace of where we were going.

Using the trip calculator, it would be possible to measure how far we've traveled and the average speed of the trip. Using some mathematics, we could calculate roughly where we were at any given time.


Perhaps the most versatile of the two approaches, it can virtually guarantee us a pinpoint location if properly executed.

Takes much less effort than the full-manual approach and much more reliable than the full-auto approach.


Unlike the other two approaches, this approach would require mathematical calculations to figure out where we were and when we were there.

If the trip was made at a non-constant speed, there is a possibility of losing some precision in regards to when we were at location X