GPS How-to page

How to - record a track using an eTrex 10/20/30

These notes are here because the routines needed are hidden in the menus of the GPS
There is no advice in the Garmin operating manual for the unit


To record and store a track, the stages are.....

  1. Remove any previous data from the GPS memory
  2. Re-set the odometer (Optional, but usual)
  3. Walk around the chosen path
  4. Store the data on the GPS


1   Removing previous data

If you do not remove previous data then it will end up being attached to your new track. If the old data was recorded elswhere, then the two sets will be joined by a straight line.

To record and store a track, begin by.....

  • Switch on and wait until the satellites are located ....(Wait not strictly necessary)
  • Press the Menu button to get a menu looking somewhat like this one.....
  • Use joystick to go to "Track Manager" on the menu and press
  • Select "Current Track" and press joystick
  • Select "Clear Current Track" and press joystick
    (This may need scrolling to see the menu item on some models)
  • You have now cleared the GPS working memory (an essential task)
  • Press the Menu button for Main Menu


2   Re-set the Odometer

This is usual, although there may be cases where you wish to keep the totals.

  • Begin from the Main Menu
  • Use joystick to select the "Trip Computer" and press the joystick
  • Press the Menu button again
  • Use joystick to go to "Reset" and press the joystick
    You have now re-set the Odometer (an optional task)
  • Press the Back button twice to get the main menu


3   Record the walk

Simply walk the route with the GPS in a top pocket of your rucksack or equivalent.

Blocking of the satellite signal can occur with metal layers and water.
(Tree leaves and people both contain water. Rucksack materials do not.)

Feel free to use the menus during the walk: the track will record as a background task.


4   Save the track

At the end of the walk save the track immediately: you do not want any extra points added!   So....

  • Go to the Main Menu
  • Go to "Track Manager"
  • Select "Current Track"
  • Select "Save Track", maybe with the appropriate options
    All three types allow saving to GPS memory. But my earlier hopes are dashed...
    Sadly there is no option on the eTrex 20 and eTrex 30 to save tracks on their microSD card.
  • N.B. Easiest file name is the date (Default Name)
    Scroll directly to "Done" and press joystick.

If you suspect you are in the wrong menu then press the "Back" button on the upper R of the GPS to get the Main Menu and proceed from there.



1   To transfer the files to your computer, all you need to do is to connect the GPS to the computer with the lead provided by the manufacturer. The GPS will appear as an additional drive and you will see the file there. You can copy it or move it to the computer.

2   In the Garmin eTrex 10/20/30 models, for the first time, the file format is GPX - a public domain format. A very welcome step forward! Such files can be used with a lot of software and on-line mapping.

3   In the menu images of the notes above, please be aware that the menu items can be re-sequenced by the owner of the GPS.