I have owned both the Magellan and the Garmin and prefer the Garmin. I find them very durable and easy to use. I also have all the topo maps for Canada and US for the Garmin. You are welcome to copy them if you go this way. It would be nice to get a handheld like the Vista with memory card capability.
HI im not a gps pro but i have a garmin 76 that i bought at canadian tire. I use it for kayaking and hunting its got a whole lot of gadgets like a speedomater ,average speed ,time and most importantly your location. The down fall is that there are not mutch rivers on the unit.But you can use your tracks option to put it on yourself as you go down river for the first time. You can also create way points,so if you create a waypoint at your final destination and then use your navigation option on your way down river it will show you exacly how far you are and your aprox arival time.That being said i hope i helped you and didnt confuse you .
I have a Magellan Triton 500 I got for christmas of 08.
I liked the screen and maps but hated some aspects of the software(I couldn't even get my canada topo to work). Magellan sent me a new sd card which fixed the topo problem(they're registered to your unit though so I can't use it on more than one machine unless someone could tell me how) then they put out a software update last summer/fall.
I absolutely love it with the new updated software! It does everything I thought I was missing. The graphic capabilities come out far better now. I use it for biking and hiking whenever I get the chance. It also seems pretty waterproof so I need not worry too much about getting it a little wet.
My only remaining complaint is that the batteries don't last very long at all and it resets your profile when you change them.
I say go with garmin too. I have a map76s and it has taken a beating and keeps on ticking - Waterproof, floats... etc. - 8 years old now - added features with the "s" are a barometer and magnetic compass built-in.
With the e-trex units, they're smaller - not sure if that might affect satellite signal reception in dense areas. Also, from what i have heard, b/w screens use less battery.
can topo map available free online - ibycus topo - integrates right into MapSource software.