Sick of losing lock on satellites when hiking? Don't want to walk around like an idiot with a GPS in your hand? Spouse telling you to keep up on the trail while your nose is buried in your GPS? This Instructable will tell you how to make a simple, cheap and durable GPS mount for your hiking stick. Mounting it to your hiking stick will keep the receiver oriented to the sky and will not cause you to lose lock during a hike. It is also easy to see the screen on the pole for quick mileage checks.
Step 1: Bill of Materials
1 Small Piece of Plexiglas
1 3"-4" 90 Angle Bracket
2 1/4" x 20 Machine Screws
2 Lock Washers
2 1/4" x 20 Wing Nuts
About a foot of tent pole shock cord
Stickyback Velcro the size of your GPS (industrial is best)
Not Pictured: 2 Zipties
1 Black Dry Erase Marker
Cutting Tool such as Dremel or Hot Knife
1/4" Metal Drilling Bit
Optional: Removable Thread Lock
Step 2: Outline GPS on Plexiglas
CAVEAT: My plexiglas broke before I could even use the mount, so I am planning on updating the design with sheet aluminum.
Outline the GPS on the sheet with the dry erase marker. You will want about 1/4" on each side. I put the marker plumb (vertical) to the side of my Etrex and it created enough offset from the shaft to the center of the marker.
Step 3: Cut & Sand
Cut out the sheet (plexiglas or aluminum). I used a hot cheap soldering iron, because the chuck is stripped on my Dremel knockoff. If you use a Dremel, I would recommend the router attachment with a cutting drill bit. Sand the edges smooth, you don't want extra first aid on the trail!
Step 4: Mount the Angle Bracket
Hold the angle bracket on the cut sheet with the 90 degree end of the bracket near the back of the GPS silhouette, otherwise the mount will be upside down. Mark through the holes with your Expo marker and drill the holes with the 1/4" bit. Sand any burrs off. Feed the bolts through the holes in the sheet, and then the holes in the bracket. Add a lock washer to each bolt, and then screw on a wingnut. If desired, put a small dab of removable threadlock on the threads according to the instructions on the bottle. Don't tighten the nuts all the way yet.
Step 5: Measure and Cut Velcro
Measure and cut the velcro by tracing the bottom of your GPS on the back of the velcro. My battery door comes off, so I mounted the velcro on that. Make sure you cut holes for any hardware or access ports, and don't seal your battery door shut. Mount the fuzzy, non scratchy velcro on the GPS.
Step 6: Mount Velcro and Retaining Straps
Cut scratchy side of Velcro (the hooks) to the sheet size and shape that you measured in Step 2. Cut a length of shock cord and tie a small loop in the end. Put the loop on a bolt between the bracket and a lock washer and tighten the wingnut. Place your GPS on the mount and loop the shock cord across the GPS once, across both bolts and back to the bolt that doesn't have cord tied to it. Make sure it is tight the way you want it and tie a loop in the other end. Place that loop on the other bolt in the same fashion.
Step 7: Mount to Hiking Stick
You're finished! Mount the bracket to the hiking pole by threading the zip ties through the holes on the vertical part of the angle bracket and around the hiking stick. This design allows the mount to be slid up and down most poles, but did not slide down on its own when I field tested it in the Uintah Backcountry for 5 miles. This design works best if your hiking stick is a perfect cylinder, not a carved stick.
Note: You can also mount these to your vertical adjustment straps on your backpack with some Velcro cable straps to view the GPS at a glance hands free.