I really appreciate the knowledge here and I am hoping that OsmAnd is my solution. For a long time I have been using google maps as my preferred method of navigation just because it's so easy and there is a web based interface that I can create my maps with (which i have gotten pretty decent at). The one nice thing that I really love about google maps is that you can download your area for offline use (menu > Make available offline) so you don't need to use any data, just GPS signal. I was just in the appalachians so I downloaded about 250 square miles of the area I was going to be in before hand.
However I really want to be able to load up some GPX maps that have been created by the community and OsmAnd seems to be the ticket, just tested and loaded up some .gbx files. They have a great how-to as well:
As for the debate of smartphone vs. Garmin I can only speak to the smartphone and for the money I feel it's a viable solution despite the shortcomings (not waterproof and screen visibility in sun). My gloves (dianese 2-stroke) work on touch screens and in mild rain my windshield protects the phone from getting wet (while at speed), in heavy downpours I pull the phone off the mount and throw it in the tank bag until it's safe. It works but if I had $500-$700 with nothing better to spend it on it seems like a dedicated device would be pretty nice.
I have been using a Galaxy GS3 for over a year and it's been great, just got a GS4 and it's pretty awesome, however they just announced a GS4 'Active' which is waterproof (AT&T only right now).
After a few rides I'll report back on how well it's working for me.