Luminae Designs were already on our radar after Gorgeous Jim got hold of one of their Smart Watch Covers.
Given that Jim said nice things about the watch cover, which was easy because it’s really good, Davy at Luminae offered to send us a GPS mount to put through the wringer.
He sent us one in Camouflage for Thomas to review. Colour chosen because Thomas is a serving Infantier. They are also produced in a solid green colour and hi-viz.
We received the Garmin 401 Model, Luminae also make one for the newer Garmin 601.
This was going to be a joint review with Ben. However, Ben has excused himself as he liked it so much he decided to stock it at TRC Outdoors, meaning he was now not neutral.
So, you’ve bitten the bullet and finally gotten yourself a Garmin Foretrex, just to escape the tyranny of your boss demanding a 10 figure grid of your position over the net RIGHT NOW THIS MINUTE (I lost count while I was pacing, OK? Sue me). You are now a navigation god, lord of all you survey – at least until the CQ runs out of Triple As, or the Chinese scuttle their space station and deny all our satellites. However, you’re not exactly sure where you’re going to carry the damn thing. A few options present themselves, none of them great.
COA 1: On Your Wrist. Handy to consult. However, if you’ve already got a watch on your other wrist, which you probably will, you’re now starting to resemble go-go gadget arms.
Also, because the Foretrex is quite bulky, removing a daysack or a Bergen in a hurry normally leads to a caught strap and, in extreme circumstances, your pricey GPS getting ripped off your wrist in the darkness and vanishing into the Ulu. Not ideal.
COA 2: In a pouch/pocket. OK, so the GPS is definitely protected, but if you’re doing a night move over complex terrain with a bunch of RVs and you’re way-pointing, that pocket is going to be working overtime as you shove your hand in there every 2 seconds to sanity check that you’re not going in circles.
Plus, webbing pouches make noise and trouser pockets aren’t exactly safe if you have to go prone in a hurry. You can also miss the pocket while knackered or fail to close it, and end up dropping your GPS.
COA 3: On your armour. It’s to hand, it’s not getting dropped. Everything seems good. But this still isn’t a 100% solution. For one, unless you use the shorter strap (which means you can’t wrist mount if you want to) the unit has to be threaded through at least 2 rows of PALS or it flops about.
Secondly, it’s exposed screen outwards, meaning that if you go suddenly prone on rocky ground, or have to climb through a high window or over an obstacle, it may take a battering it can’t recover from (cracked screen etc).
That’s where the Luminae GPS cover comes in…
The fine folks at Luminae have designed a low profile mount for a GPS unit that allows it to be mounted onto MOLLE PALs, and provides a solution to many of your GPS carrying woes. It comes in Multisham or a variety of other colours and is essentially composed of 3 parts. A MOLLE mount, a hinge, and a GPS cover. It’s really easy to mount using the clip that comes with it. It just slides onto MOLLE and locks in place. You can also mount it on vertical and horizontal straps.
So how does it work? Essentially, you remove the GPS strap and mount it onto the Luminae hard cover. Because of the way it’s set up, the mount folds vertically, flush with your armour, when not in use, and the vulnerable front of the GPS is protected from knocks because only the rear (kydex covered) part of the GPS is outward facing when you’re not looking at it.
To deploy the unit, simply apply pressure with one hand in a downward motion and the unit will lock outwards with a (very meaty – no concerns there) click. The GPS now sits at an 80° angle, perfectly placed to be consulted visually.
You can play with it with your off-hand, leaving the other free for your weapon or what have you, or you can have it hands-free either as you walk or while you’re writing down or dictating a grid.
This is especially convenient because it’s immediately under your eye, so you don’t have to consult, put down/away, start writing, forget the grid, consult again, etc.
It’s also impossible to leave the unit light on, which can happen otherwise, as it’s staring right back at you. The signature it emits is also slightly reduced due to its positioning.
I love it! I have struggled with my GPS. I don’t like it on my wrist, because I find it gets in the way of my jacket cuffs, and I don’t like it just dangling because I’m worried about damage to the screen.
I was using a Dixie’s Corner GPS pouch but it was too much of a faff getting the GPS out to change batteries. This Mount allows you keep you GPS out of the way and protected until you want it.
The positive retention on the hinge means it won’t pop open when you don’t want it to and is at just the right angle to look at the screen with out craning your neck.
In summary, this thing is cool as hell, and very reasonably priced when you look at some of the tablet/nav board mounting solutions available on the market.
In essence, it’s a perfect solution to a problem I kinda knew I had but didn’t know how to solve, and now my life is significantly easier as a result.
For the price, and the tiny footprint (two rows of PALS) that it occupies on your kit, you’d be daft not to pick one up. The mount also works on the wider MOLLE yokes, although I haven’t tested it in this setup to see how it would interfere with a daysack.
If you had MOLLE on the front of, say, your front left ammo pouch, it would probably fit well there too.
- Cost – ££: £30.95 gives great protection to an expensive bit of gear at a more than reasonable price!
- Value for money 1-5: 5. Solid and really effective.
- Ease of use 1-5: 5, Slots straight into place without any issues.
- Construction 1-5: 5, good solid materials and construction throughout.
- Allyness 1-5: 3, You’ll probably get the mickey taken out of you at first for being a gadget nerd, but you won’t be the one with a smashed screen in fog at 3 in the morning….
This Kit Pest Review was written by Thomas Roke
Hopefully you enjoyed it and if you have any thoughts or comments related to this article then please feel free to leave a comment!