Best GPS For Hiking

Recommendation No. 1
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator - Best GPS For Hiking
  • Rugged handheld navigator with preloaded worldwide basemap and 2.2 inch monochrome display
  • WAAS enabled GPS receiver with HotFix and GLONASS support for fast positioning and a reliable signal
  • Waterproof to IPX7 standards for protection against splashes, rain, etc.
  • Support for paperless geocaching and Garmin spine mounting accessories. Power with two AA batteries for up to 20 hours of use (best with Polaroid AA batteries)
  • See high and low elevation points or store waypoints along a track (start, finish and high/low altitude) to estimate time and distance between points
Recommendation No. 2
Garmin GPSMAP 64sx, Handheld GPS with Altimeter and Compass, Preloaded With TopoActive Maps, Black/Tan - Best GPS For Hiking
  • Rugged and water-resistant design with button operation and a 2. 6” sunlight-readable color display
  • Preloaded with Topo Active maps (U. S. and Australia only) featuring routable roads and trails for cycling and hiking
  • Know where you’re at with a high-sensitivity receiver with quad helix antenna and multi-GNSS support (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) and 3-axis compass with barometric altimeter
  • Wireless connectivity via BLUETOOTH technology and ANT+ technology available on GPSMAP 64sx and GPSMAP 64csx models
  • Battery life: up to 16 hours in GPS mode
Recommendation No. 3
Garmin eTrex 22x, Rugged Handheld GPS Navigator - Best GPS For Hiking
  • Explore confidently with the reliable handheld GPS
  • 2.2” sunlight-readable color display with 240 x 320 display pixels for improved readability
  • Preloaded with Topo Active maps with routable roads and trails for cycling and hiking
  • Support for GPS and GLONASS satellite systems allows for tracking in more challenging environments than GPS alone
  • 8 GB of internal memory for map downloads plus a micro SD card slot
Recommendation No. 4
Garmin GPSMAP 66st, Rugged Multisatellite Handheld with Sensors and Topo Maps, 3" Color Display - Best GPS For Hiking
  • Premium GPS handheld with Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription and TOPO maps
  • Large, 3” sunlight-readable color display for easy viewing. Display size - 1.5 W x 2.5 H inch (3.8 x 6.3 cm); 3 inch diag (7.6 cm)
  • Multiple Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) support to track your travels in more challenging environments than GPS alone plus three-axis compass and barometric altimeter
  • Access to Birdseye Satellite Imagery with direct-to-device downloads and no annual subscription and preloaded TOPO U.S. and Canada maps
  • Expanded wireless connectivity supports Active Weather for up-to-date forecasts and animated weather radar and Geocaching Live for mobile syncing and updates
Recommendation No. 5
Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with Topo Maps and GPS Navigation - Best GPS For Hiking
  • 100 percent global Iridium satellite coverage enables two way text messaging from anywhere (satellite subscription required)
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center
  • Track and share your location with family and friends. Water rating : IPX7. Battery : Rechargeable internal lithium ion
  • Pair with mobile devices using the free earthmate app for access to downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery and more
  • In reach explorer+ device adds preloaded Delorme topo maps with onscreen GPS routing plus built in digital compass, barometric altimeter and accelerometer
Recommendation No. 6
Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Features GLONASS and Galileo, Heart Rate Monitoring and 3-axis Compass, 1.27", Graphite (Renewed) - Best GPS For Hiking
  • Rugged GPS watch built to withstand the toughest environments
  • Constructed to U. S. Military standard 810G for thermal, shock and water resistance (rated to 100 meters)
  • Built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter, plus multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) support helps track in more challenging environments than GPS alone
  • Monitor your estimated heart rate, activity and stress; train with preloaded activity profiles
  • Stay connected with smart notifications (with a compatible smartphone) and automatic data uploads to the Garmin Connect online fitness community
Recommendation No. 7
Garmin eTrex 30x, Handheld GPS Navigator with 3-axis Compass, Enhanced Memory and Resolution, 2.2-inch Color Display, Water Resistant - Best GPS For Hiking
  • UPGRADED DISPLAY Features a 2.2” 65K color sunglight readable display offering increased resolution (240 x 320 pixels). Physical dimensions: 2.1" x 4.0" x 1.3" (5.4 x 10.3 x 3.3 cm)
  • LOAD MORE MAPS Large 3.7 GB of internal memory and microSD card slot lets you load a variety of maps, including TOPO 24K, HuntView, BlueChart g2, City Navigator NT and BirdsEye Satellite Imagery (subscription required)
  • PRELOADED BASEMAP Includes a worldwide basemap with shaded relief
  • BUILT IN SENSORS eTrex 30x adds a built in 3 axis tilt compensated electronic compass and a barometric altimeter which tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude, and you even can use it to plot barometric pressure over time
  • WIRELESS Wirelessly share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches with other compatible devices simply press “send” to transfer your information also wirelessly connects to compatible Garmin devices, including VIRB and accessory sensors
Recommendation No. 8
Garmin GPSMAP 66st, Handheld Hiking GPS with 3” Color Display, Topo Maps and GPS/GLONASS/Galileo Support (010-01918-10) (Renewed) - Best GPS For Hiking
  • Premium GPS handheld with Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription and TOPO maps
  • Large, 3” sunlight-readable color display for easy viewing. Display size - 1.5 W x 2.5 H inch (3.8 x 6.3 cm); 3 inch diag (7.6 cm)
  • Multiple Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) support to track your travels in more challenging environments than GPS alone plus three-axis compass and barometric altimeter
  • Access to Birdseye Satellite Imagery with direct-to-device downloads and no annual subscription and preloaded TOPO U.S. and Canada maps
  • Expanded wireless connectivity supports Active Weather for up-to-date forecasts and animated weather radar and Geocaching Live for mobile syncing and updates
Recommendation No. 9
Garmin Montana 700 Hiking Handheld GPS Bundle | with PlayBetter Tactical Pouch, Portable Charger, GPS Tether Lanyard | GPS/GLONASS, ABC Sensors & TOPO MAPS | Rugged GPS Touchscreen Navigator - Best GPS For Hiking
  • [GARMIN MONTANA 700 HANDHELD HIKING GPS BUNDLE] - Garmin Montana 700 Handheld Hiking GPS, Lithium-Ion Battery Pack & USB Cable
  • [PLAYBETTER HIKERS BUNDLE] - PlayBetter Tactical Pouch PlayBetter GPS Tether Lanyard (Black) & PlayBetter Portable USB Charger (2200mAh)
  • [RUGGED GPS WITH MAPS, SENSORS & TRACKING] - Tested to withstand challenging conditions, the Montana 700 is constructed based on U.S. military standards. Navigate your adventures with the preloaded TOPO maps plus public land boundaries, and be guided in exciting trails using the ABC sensors. Get the latest weather updates, photo-realistic views plus dog tracking features.
  • [MULTI-GNSS SUPPORT, LOCATION SHARING & BATTERY OPTIONS] - Be confident in exploring beyond your familiarity with its powerful access to GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO satellite networks; plus share your location, tracks, and routes with the LiveTrack feature. The Expedition Mode allows a low-power GPS reference that can track for a week, and choose from 2 battery options to power-up your Montana.
  • [ULTIMATE HIKERS BUNDLE] - Keep your hands free and action-ready with our GPS Tether Lanyard, the ultimate GPS accessory to keep your handheld both secured and accessible by wearing it around your neck - while the Tactical Pouch will keep your handheld looking like new and the PlayBetter Portable Charger will ensure all your electronics are charged at all times!
Recommendation No. 10
Garmin GPSMAP 64x Handheld GPS with 16GB Camping & Hiking Bundle (010-02258-00) - Best GPS For Hiking
  • Rugged and water-resistant design with button operation and a 2.6” sunlight-readable color display | Preloaded with TopoActive maps (U.S. and Australia only) featuring routable roads and trails for cycling and hiking | Know where you’re at with a high-sensitivity receiver with quad helix antenna and multi-GNSS support (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) and 3-axis compass with barometric altimeter
  • Cellular connectivity lets you access Active Weather forecasts and Geocaching Live | GPSMAP 64csx adds 8-megapixel autofocus camera that lets you geotag photos | Battery life: up to 16 hours in GPS mode
  • The GPSMAP 64x handheld series comes preloaded with TopoActive maps featuring routable streets and trails so you can take the journey off the grid. Now you can know your surroundings — such as waterways and natural features as well as buildings, international boundaries and more. You can also find thousands of points of interests, including shops, restaurants, universities, parks and accommodations.
  • [BRITE-NITE DOME LANTERN] - Our Brite-Nite Dome Lantern will certainly light up your life. Using common and readily available AAA batteries, it is ideal for camping, hiking, emergencies, power outages, and other night-time outdoor activities. With the powerful magnets, hanging hooks, rubber anti-slip feet, 3 lighting modes, and multi-function design, the Brite-Nite Dome Lantern will make your next camping trip conveniently bright.
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: GPSMAP 64x | USB cable | Documentation | LED Brite-Nite Dome Lantern Flashlight | 4 Rechargeable AA Batteries Charger | 16GB Micro SD Memory Card | Tactical Flashlight and Tactical Pen Set | 2-Pack Tactical Emergency Bracelet

Hiking is freedom and glory in its rawest form. You can lose yourself in the kind of beauty and adrenaline rush that’s hard to come across in conference halls and corner offices. But you need to find a way back to civilization sooner or later.  The best hiking GPS can be a reliable partner in this quest. These are handheld GPS devices that are lightweight and suited up to meet the demands of a hiker. While GPS is being packed like into every device available like cheese in fast foods, having a hiking GPS brings instant advantages, similar to the best hiking compasses. It is user-friendly and devoted to the most important job on the field: getting you back home. We covered the 10 best GPS for hiking to keep you good company through labyrinthine trekking routes. “We have also written a complete guide about best hiking compasses“.

Why use handheld GPS for hiking?

In the age where you can have GPS in smartphones and some of the best hiking watches, the handheld GPS has fewer takers. But if you are a hardcore hiker who likes to stray off the beaten path, it is possible that other small devices may fail you. There are a few reasons why you should have a handheld GPS for hiking:

  • A hiking GPS device usually has a sizeable screen to give you navigational details. They are much easier to see routes on, compared to GPS watches. A touchscreen handheld GPS can be operated even with sausage fingers. Touchscreen hiking watches like Garmin Epix have in-built maps but you might get frustrated viewing them on a small screen.
  • Many hiking GPS devices carry topographical maps. When you are out hiking, knowing the topography of the hiking area can help you decide on the hiking shoes, hiking boots or hiking equipment. More information means less unpleasant surprises.
  • A smartphone can lose charge fast when you have GPS and navigation on. It might be unable to serve the primary need of calling for help or emergency if it runs out of charge. A handheld hiking GPS will shoulder the burden of navigation without draining the smartphone’s battery.
  • Since handheld GPS for hiking are meant to be survival devices, they also pack other useful features like radio for communication, compass, barometer, altimeter, internal memory. Each feature is designed to keep the hiker aware of her/his path or the metrics related to the physical activity.

How good is the GPS reception on GPS hiking devices compared to hiking watches?

The quality and speed of GPS reception depends on a number of technologies working in tandem. Many hiking GPS units have WAAS and HotFix apart from GPS and GLONASS. Hiking watches usually feature only the last two. What are they, you ask?
GPS: Global Positioning System(GPS) is a global navigation satellite system of 31 satellites orbiting the earth. If your GPS receiver can lock into any 4 of them at a time, they will provide real-time geolocation and time information. It is created by and maintained by the US. It has the best global coverage of the available commercial navigation systems. But the reception depends on antenna and the system software. So, not all GPS systems provide the same performance. “We have also written a complete guide about best hiking watches“.
GLONASS: GLONASS is the Russian version of the GPS. It an alternative system to GPS and provides comparable accuracy. However, when these two are used together, the accuracy of reading can be improved. GLONASS has at least 24 satellites in orbit. So if you activate GPS and GLONASS, you will be utilizing any of 55 total satellites to pinpoint the location.
WAAS: Wide Area Augmentation System(WAAS) is a navigational aid that helps improve the accuracy of GPS in the western hemisphere. It consists of a few ground reference stations positioned in the US which monitor anomalies in the GPS signals of satellites. These are evaluated and the correction messages are sent to the WAAS satellites. Signals from these satellites help the GPS receivers correct the values via their calculations.
HotFix: The GPS HotFix is a technology aimed at improving the speed of GPS reception. HotFix uses predictive calculations to figure out where the GPS satellites will be in the future. The behavior is modeled based on the current position of the satellites. These readings are then used in locating the satellites and obtaining a lock faster.

Which is the best hiking GPS device?

There are few enterprising handheld hiking GPS devices which have held their ground in the market with a useful bunch of features. We picked up 10 best hiking GPS amongst them based on:
Navigation: Most of the best hiking GPS devices use both GPS and GLONASS to pinpoint your location and find routes to your destination. When combined, they get 55 odd satellites to work in your favor.  This allows you to find distances faster and with more accuracy. The GPS alone is quite adept in most devices.
Speed and accuracy: When the daylight is running out, you depend on your navigating device to be fast and responsive. The best hiking GPS locks on the satellites fast and pulls up geolocation immediately. And they leverage GLONASS to find the location where the GPS falters.
Budget: Hiking GPS are purpose-oriented devices. You do not want to spend exorbitant amounts on them, especially with the arrival of GPS watches in market. The best hiking GPS balance useful features with price to give you the maximum return on investment.
Features: The best handheld GPS for hiking carry a number of extra features that can help with survival in the wild. These include altimeter, barometer, route logs, waypoint log, fitness tracking capabilities, radio communication etc. Each feature earns them street cred.

1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver

If antique appeal means something to you, you should look at the Garmin GPSMAP 64st hiking GPS. This brings back memories of the old Nokia phones. This is available in a number of models differing in their connectivity and topographical maps. We have covered the version with US topographical maps. The 2.6-inch display makes map reading a child’s play. Garmin has packed every possible feature into the mix to beef up this device. We think you should quit fiddling with the watch and go for this instead. Its excellent reception aids its quest to top the best hiking GPS list. Match with the best boots for hiking and you’ll have an adventure like never before.
Garmin has gone for a chunky architecture with the GPSMAP 64st outdoor GPS. But you start appreciating its structure as you use it. The unit measures 6.3” x 4.2” x 1.4”. It weighs 9.8 ounces. The length is mostly contributed by the antenna. You can tuck it in your breast pocket with the antenna peaking out. Major part of the body is covered by the 2.6-inch screen. This is a 160×240 pixel display. Even though this is lower resolution display than many of the handheld GPS units covered here, there are no issues viewing and discerning the maps.
There are 8 buttons on the face of this outdoor GPS and a central pod with browsing arrows. These are Page, Menu, Enter, Quite, Find, Mark, Zoom In and Zoom Out. They are built to tactile advantage. The reasonable space between them allows them to be pressed with gloved hands. It has a battery life of 16 hours.
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st handheld GPS combines GPS and GLONASS in an effective collaboration. The quad helix antenna excels at communication with the satellites in both open and closed spaces. Even if you are under heavy tree cover, the GPSMAP will lock onto the satellites for your location. Together, both the technologies offer accuracy of distance up to 10 feet.  In hiker’s dictionary that’s an excellent number. If GPS alone is not enough, it also encloses a 3-axis electronic compass. This makes it easy to go through the old courses.
Navigating you to the right location alone is not enough. The GPSMAP 64st hiking GPS has the capability to store your routes. It boasts of 8GB internal memory and extendable memory through an SD card slot. You can save almost 200 routes on the device and mark up to 5000 waypoints on them. These could be points of photography, medical care, eateries, important junctions etc. There’s a special Mark button devoted to marking waypoints.  You can also add additional maps. There’s a barometric altimeter which ascertains your elevation. The barometric sensor can be used to create pressure graph over time and find if there are any imminent storms headed your way.
GPSMAP 64st outdoor GPS comes with a shaded worldwide basemap. But this is not all that detailed. The TOPO US version has preloaded with TOPO US 100k maps. These are topographical maps which are comparable to 1:100,000 scale USGS maps. Roads, rivers, coastlines, seasonal streams, campsites, picnic spots etc all are covered in these US maps. They also give you elevation profile so you can estimate how difficult your hike is going to be. One year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery is provided with the package. This gives you photo-realistic views of the terrain.
The single biggest advantage of any Garmin unit including this hiking GPS is its device-friendliness. It can connect to Garmin tracking units like footpod, heart rate monitors, VIRB action camera etc. This particular model is also equipped with ANT+ and Bluetooth. So you can receive smart notifications wirelessly from your phone including your email and text alerts. You can connect the GPSMAP 64st to the computer and share your routes and logs with other Garmin users. It is not just a plain and drab hiking GPS, it also comes with 250,000 geocaches. It partners with and helps you participate in discovering geocaches hidden worldwide. The global community collaborates in this treasure hunt and makes it a quest worthy of pursuing. Location, terrain, hints, difficulty, all are stored by the GPSMAP allowing you to participate fully in this game. The device is also loaded with BaseCamp. This is a software for planning a hiking trip. You can set up maps, routes, rest points etc. You can create a full-blown Garmin Adventure, may be a treasure map for your friends and family. It also displays detailed topographical data on your device when paired with the Birdseye feature.
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st handheld GPS comes in 5 different versions. The basic model boasts of internal memory. There are ANT+Bluetooth, ANT+Bluetooth+TOPO Canada, ANT+Bluetooth+Camera apart from the ANT+Bluetooth+TOPO US and base model.

  • In-built worldwide basemap
  • TOPO 100K US maps, highly detailed
  • 8 GB internal+SD card memory for storing routes, waypoints etc.
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth-capable
  • Barometric Altimeter and electronic compass
  • Preloaded Geocaches


  • Takes a few seconds to lock in on satellites

2. Garmin ForeTrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Garmin ForeTrex 401 hiking GPS is aimed at the military. But it is quite the life-saver for regular hikers as well. The quirky thing about this hiking GPS is that it comes with a wrist band. It is lightweight enough to be worn on the wrist, lighter even than most of the best hiking watches. It looks chunky and destructive, but it can save your life. The features of ForeTrex 401 are elaborate. Apart from GPS, it sports important navigational facilities and some military features. When we tested ForeTrex 401 for the best hiking GPS, it hit the ground running and remained sharp through the journey.
As the Garmin ForeTrex 401 hiking GPS is originally meant for military, its design is pretty low key. It has a curved rectangular face which is mostly occupied by the screen. It is done up in an army green shade. The buttons are placed on the side. It is attached to an expandable wrist band. This band is quite breathable. You can also attach this band elsewhere, like your backpack, if it has a loop.  The case measures 2.9” x 1.7” x 0.9”. The screen is 1.4” x 0.9” in dimensions. 401 GPS weighs 87.3g. That’s much less than the dial of Garmin Fenix 3 HR. The hiking GPS is IPX7 rated. This means it can be submerged under 1m water for up to 30mins without damage. So if you have to dunk into water, your GPS unit will be safe.
ForeTrex 401 boasts a battery life of 17 hours. It works on two AAA batteries. So you can swap them out for extra power. It also has a USB port for interfacing but it doesn’t charge the device. The display is 100×64 pixels resolution. It is black and white so it’s easy to read in spite of the lower resolution. It also has a backlight in case you want to read it in the dark.
Garmin ForeTrex 401 outdoor GPS device uses GPS alone to settle on your location and navigate. But it also utilizes HotFix. Garmin HotFix enables your GPS unit to lock in on the satellites pronto. This is done by estimating the GPS satellite positions in future. The behaviour of the satellites is predicted based on say today’s data. If you turn on the GPS unit in the next few days, it will use the predictions to locate the satellites quickly. If that isn’t convenient, what is! It gives you instant reception even if you are beneath a thick cover of trees or looking for way from a canyon.
This hiking GPS is not just for getting from point A to point B. It can store up to 10 of your routes. This is useful if you want to take the same path again. You can also mark way points on it.  Up to 500 such points of interest will tell you if there’s an important milestone to look forward to. There’s a TracBack feature. If you stray too far into the wilderness, this will help you get back to your starting point by tracking back. This is an important tool if you go camping and get split from the group.
Having military chops, ForeTrex 401 hiking GPS is easily configured for MGRS. You get the 10-digit grid in dual position readout for instant access. You can also customize the LCD display with four quadrants to show relevant information. It gives you either latitude/longitude or MGRS. Sharing coordinates is easy with other GPS units, especially other ForeTrex 401s.  It has an odometer to give you total distance down to tenths of a mile. A barometric altimeter reads the elevation based on pressure difference. The pressure is read in millibars in case you want to detect a pressure dip. A low pressure region implies rain and storm.
Although Garmin ForeTrex outdoor GPS looks simple, it supports Bluetooth. You can connect wirelessly to tracking accessories like Heart Rate Monitors, cadence sensors, biking sensors etc.. You can also connect the unit to computer and transfer all your data, including analyses and your tracks, using Garmin Connect. The USB cable is shipped in the package. It also has the JumpStarter function for HAHO, HALO and static jumpers. This gives you glide angle, forward speed, descent rate and other metrics, useful during under-canopy. Other perks of ForeTrex 401 include digital compass, trip computer, fishing and hunting information. You can live as a real caveman, provided you have this one device. ForeTrex 401 is accurate, speedy and feature-smart enough to be worth twice its price.

  • Very lightweight and wearable
  • Lightning speed detection with GPS Hotfix
  • Can store 10 routes and 500 waypoints
  • Dual position readouts of 10-digit coordinates
  • TracBack feature to lead back to starting point of the trail
  • Barometric Altimeter and digital compass
  • Jumpstarter function
  • Wirelessly share location, routes, waypoints


  • Limited storage capacity for tracks

3. DeLorme AG-008727-201 InReach Explorer Two Way Satellite Communicator with Built in Navigation

DeLorme InReach Explorer is more than just a handheld GPS device. It is a satellite communicator. If you are an adrenaline junkie and interested in the difficult hikes, this is a sturdy and highly helpful device to have by your side. Using satellites, it can lead you out of the soup. It can also help you contact folks and give them your coordinates. A number of route logging and tracking features are enabled to support the hiking GPS. If you are planning to hike to the ends of the world, DeLorme In-Reach Explorer is one of the best hiking GPS to have by your side.
DeLorme InReach Explorer hiking GPS brings the Nokia nostalgia back. It looks every bit the satellite communicator with the antenna sticking out. It is a beefy unit measuring 5.87” x 2.44” x 1.02”. It weighs only 7 ounces so you can put it in your handwarmer pockets or breast pocket. It has 1.8-inch LCD screen which is big enough for texting and perusing options. The colored display is a welcome change from the usual black and white characters. There are only four buttons and they are easy to operate with gloved/mittened hands. It can keep up with literally any temperature. It is IP67-rated so it can be submerged in water up to 1m for 30 mins.
The battery life of this outdoor GPS is rated at 100 hours! That’s obviously keeping in mind that this is a communication device first. Using navigation drains the battery faster. So you should expect lesser hours with GPS navigation on.
One thing to know about DeLorme InReach Explorer is that it’s not a standalone navigator. On its screen you will only get an arrow showing where to head next. You have to pair it with your smartphone to see the actual maps. At first it might sound like a big flaw. But            then come to think of it, if you are in a remote region, you can set your smartphone on flight mode, except for Bluetooth, and save charge. Using Bluetooth, it will show the navigational maps without wasting its own power for GPS. InReach Explorer itself has good power capability. Instead of viewing the map on a dingy device, you can turn to your colored smartphone screen. Plus it has many other features, the chief amongst them being satellite communication capability. There’s a free Earthmate mobile app to use the hiking GPS with your phone. You can create routes and waypoint ahead of your journey using this. You can also download free topo maps and US NOAA charts.
Satellite communication is the main takeaway from DeLorme InReach Explorer handheld GPS for hiking. It uses Iridium, which is the commercial satellite with maximum coverage. Do note that there are multiple monthly subscription plans to use satellite communication. DeLorme claims you won’t be plagued by coverage gaps. You can send and receive messages with your location anytime. During an emergency, you can press the SOS button to start an interactive conversation with GEOS , the 24×7 search and rescue monitoring system. InReach Explorer will inform you if the SOS Alert has been received by them and what is their plan of action. GEOS informs the authorities local to the emergency area and updates you with ETA. This eases the mental pressure if you are in physical distress. You can also share your journey details via MapShare. Other people can ping you on Explorer for your coordinates. You can share your location, course, altitude, speed instantly using texts or even social media.
The Explorer hiking GPS allows your family and friends to track you in real time. Tracking intervals vary between 10 minutes to 4 hours. The SOS automatically kickstarts remote tracking to keep the authorities updated of your location and condition. It has barometric altimeter, accelerometer and a digital compass to tell the bearing. Although the navigational capability of Explorer is limited, it is a pretty useful device. It is also reasonably priced for it features. There’s base version with no navigational capabilities.

  • Navigation and satellite communication
  • Shows full maps on phone via Bluetooth conserving its battery
  • 100 hour battery life
  • Instant SOS alert to GEOS during emergency
  • Send 160 character text messages
  • SOS Alert read confirmation, ETA and updates
  • Location pinging and real-time tracking for friends and family
  • Compass and barometric altimeter


  • Activation/suspend procedure is tedious

4. Garmin eTrex Touch 35t with TOPO US 100K

eTrex Touch 35t hiking GPS is Garmin’s state-of-the-art navigational device. This touchscreen device might not be a big upgrade from the previous models. But for a first time buyer, it has some excellent features. It is a compact device with weapon-grade abilities to find, log and track routes. In-built worldwide maps with Topo US or Canada maps helps you find new ways out of the wilderness. It is lightweight and easily readable. With sufficient battery life and internal memory, it will labor with you through exhilarating hikes. Its wireless capability and geocaching make it more than just an ordinary navigating device. eTrex Touch 35t has everything the best hiking GPS list demands.
Garmin eTrex Touch 35t is a small but beefy device. It measures only 2.3 inches in width and 4 inches in length. But it is 1.3 inches thick. It weighs only 5.6 ounces. There’s no antenna peripheral sticking out so it doesn’t get caught on clothes. It has a plain 2.6-inch TFT display.  It offers 160×240 pixel resolution.  Since this is a touchscreen device, we were expecting higher resolution. But there are no issues with viewing the screen in different lighting conditions. 35t is IPX7 rated so it can survive under 1m water for up to 30 mins. Drop it in the stream? Don’t worry. Fish it right back out and continue using the GPS.
This handheld GPS has a battery life of 16 hours. This is another area of improvement required. But it uses 2AA batteries, so you always hike with extra batteries. There is a USB port. But it’s meant mostly for connecting to the PC and sharing data.
Being Garmin’s top offering, eTrex Touch 35t handheld GPS for hiking uses both GPS and GLONASS satellites for location. And it uses Hotfix to predict satellite locations and lock on to them at top speed. The navigation is reliable up to 10 feet. It is yet to fail us whether we stood under deep tree cover or inside a building.  It has an in-built arsenal of worldwide basemap with shaded relief. The base model eTrex 35 does not have topo maps. The 35t version comes preloaded with US Topo maps. These show us elevation profiles and topographic detail. So you can plan your hiking gear accordingly.
Hiking options have been redesigned into a more intuitive menu on this outdoor GPS. It has an internal memory of 8GB against eTrex 35 which has only 4 GB. You can also extend its memory via microSD cards. You can store up to 200 routes on this. You can add custom points of interest or waypoints on the map. With the ability to store up to 4000 waypoints, the 35t helps you create comprehensive routes for future journeys. As usual, you can easily share these routes wirelessly between two eTrex 35t units or between 35t and other compatible units. It also utilizes Garmin Connect app to transfer data to the PC. You can use it share your routes with the online Garmin community as well.
Apart from the important functions, eTrex 35t hiking GPS has a number of small utility features. It has a tilt-compensated electronic compass. A barometric altimeter tracks your elevation. It also comes preloaded with geocaches for the global recreational activity. All the hints and suggestions to reach the caches in your area are provided. It is both ANT+ and Bluetooth capable. So you can get smart notifications from your phone including email and text alerts. Through ANT+, you can control VIRB action cameras. It can also connect wirelessly with number of sensors like Tempe temperature sensor, Chip sensor, cadence sensors etc. You can utilize the BaseCamp application to plan your hiking journey and mark the stops.  It gives you a number of details regarding the path which helps you avoid traffic to get to your trail. BaseCamp provides audio alerts for making turns. This way you never realize too late that you missed the turn.

  • Touchscreen display
  • GPS, GLONASS and Hotfix
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Log routes and waypoints in 8GB memory
  • Accepts micro SD cards
  • 100K TOPO US maps
  • Barometric altimeter and compass
  • ANT+, Bluetooth


  • Not many upgrades from the previous models

5. Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro

There are many types of hiking GPS in the market. The Bad Elf 2200 GPSPpro is actually a datalogger and GPS receiver. It has to be used in conjunction with an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad to record and share your location. This is especially useful for folks doing field work. You can check the data log later and evaluate your journey. The thing about Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pros is that it grabs and latches on to the GPS signal steadfastly. Your route will be recorded sincerely. It is an excellent device for high altitude hikers and fliers.  Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro brings badass value for the money, hence its place in the best hiking GPS list. And for hiking enthusiasts, getting the best hiking backpacks is also as important as having a GPS.
Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro hiking GPS hides precise skills under the punny name. This is a tiny device that fits in the palm of your hand. It measures 2.4” x 0.7” x 3”. It weighs only 3.2 ounces. The front face has screen divided in 4 quadrants. Each quadrant gives you different data. There are three buttons on the side and an arch on top to hang it off a lanyard strap. A neck lanyard is supplied with it. There’s USB port for charging the device.  It is IPX4-rated. So it is immune to water splashes. The LCD display is backlit for usage during night time.
Battery life of this outdoor GPS varies between 16 to 32 hours depending on whether it is connected to other devices or working standalone. Minimum 16 hours in paired mode is not a bad number.
The data logging capability of Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro handheld GPS is its USP. It offers up to 100 hours of position storage. The datalog is created by taking your GPS location every 1s. This creates continuous path of your activities. The GPS reception is top-notch. GPS Pro takes no time to lock onto satellites. The paths travelled are very accurate. Sometimes the GPS dataloggers can veer strangely off-path due to GPS interruptions. But the GPS Pro held its connection strong even under cover. The data log can be transferred from the unit to your phone and PC and tagged as per your preferences. The datalog can be shared with your folks in KML or GPX formats. Due to the adaptive format it can be imported by mapping apps. For field experts, this is a very convenient facility. They can geotag their photos based on the information from the datalogger. They can also document their journeys for much cheaper than the expensive devices that give survey-grade positions.
The real advantage of this hiking GPS is its Bluetooth connectivity. At any point of time it can connect wirelessly with up to 5 iOS devices. This facility is not available with Android devices. You can use this device with an Offline map with much better accuracy than that of the phone or tablet GPS receiver. Many people have used it with Navionics with impressive results. This way you don’t have to depend on phone GPS or the puny screen of the hiking GPS for directions. This saves you from having the GPS app running on your iPhone or iPad. The battery drain from the connected iOS device reduces.  So you have those many more extra hours of iOS entertainment. You can share position updates with up to 10 times per second. This is especially useful if you are travelling as a group with your family members and friends.
Those of you who are used to GPS navigation devices like Garmin GPSMAP 64st or Garmin eTrex 35t would probably see the lack of map-based navigation as an issue here. But here’s a device that seamlessly combines the best capabilities of a GPS receiver and the high-resolution screens of smartphones and tablets. Even the touchscreen eTrex 35t has a low-resolution display.  With Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro outdoor GPS, you have much better accuracy. Plus it’s relatively small. You can use this, your phone and one of the cheapest of the best hiking watches, the Casio SGW300HB in conjunction for full hiking arsenal.

  • Can log 100+ hours of data taken once per second
  • Data can be exported to other devices and tagged
  • Can connect with up to 5 iOS devices simultaneously via Bluetooth
  • Can update location through Bluetooth 10 times per second
  • Can be used with Offline Map apps as GPS receiver
  • Accurate and speedy GPS reception


  • Standalone only gives current GPS location

6. Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera

Garmin Oregon line is known to offer some of the best navigational capabilities. Their 650t hiking GPS adds digital camera, touchscreen and topo US maps.  The opinion is divided on whether we would prefer the photos to be taken by 8MP camera of the GPS unit. This could be useful when you are documenting your journey with photographic evidence. They can be geotagged right when they are taken. All the time-tested armory of features of GPSMAP64st or eTrex 35t are all there. The only downside is that its topo maps are not routable. So you can’t enter a destination and be navigated there. That’s the reason Oregon 650t resides a few pegs down the best hiking GPS list.
Garmin Oregon 650t outdoor GPS is a good-looking device. Its 4.5” x 1.3” x 2.4” body is easy on eyes. It weighs only 7.36 ounces. It twice as heavy as the ForeTrex though.  The bulk of its face is covered by a colored touchscreen. It has, by far, the best display of the Garmin handheld GPS devices covered here. This is a 3-inch screen with 240 x 400 display. The bright visual ensures that it is easy to read in any lighting condition. There are no buttons on this device. Its operation is entirely based on touch. Apart from the camera lens, there’s a D-ring at its back to hang it off a lanyard strap.
The battery life of Garmin Oregon 650t hiking GPS is claimed to be 16 hours. 2 AA batteries are used for power. With GPS on, the value is closer to 10 hours or less. The unit is also waterproof up to 30 mins under 1m water.
We have waited and waited for a Garmin handheld GPS for hiking which has a good resolution screen. The Oregon 650t is such a device. Its beats the 160 x 240 display of the previous Garmin devices with 240 x 400 pixel resolution. All the functions are triggered by touch alone. Garmin has integrated multipoint touch here. You can Zoom out, Zoom in by pinching your fingers on the screen and even rotate.  You can operate the display with gloved hands. But thick mittens will be difficult to register. The trade-off is between screen size and accommodating buttons. Garmin went for the screen size.
This handheld GPS is noteworthy for its 8MP autofocus digital camera. It accommodates dual orientation. So you can take both portrait and landscape photos. Each photo is geotagged to show the location it was shot at. This way you can always retrace your steps to a scenic place on the trail. And it’s handy for someone who is doing investigative field work. It has 4 GB internal memory to store the photos. It also has a microSD card slot. So you can load other photos and view them on the device.
The Oregon 650t hiking GPS uses GPS and GLONASS to hit upon your location and find routes. You can save up to 200 routes and 4,000 custom waypoints on the routes. The routes formed by you can be shared with other people and groups easily. This version also has topo 100K US maps preloaded into the system along with worldwide base map. The problem? The maps are not routable. You cannot search for a destination and be routed to it.  You have to download some app for that. Fortunately this outdoor GPS comes in a model without the topo maps which costs less.
In this handheld GPS, Garmin has packed unlimited number of geocaches. You can download caches with full paperless support. Hints, logs and information about the nature of caches and ability to filter them are provided. Share photos of the geocaches right off the device. You can share your data wirelessly from unit to unit. Garmin Connect is utilized here as well to share your routes, data etc with friends and online community. Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless services facilitate its connectivity. You can share photos through this or connect to fitness tracking devices.

  • 8MP autofocus, flash camera
  • Touchscreen with multipoint touch
  • Route and waypoint log
  • Memory to store and view photos
  • Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless connectivity
  • Unlimited geocaches
  • Ability to use third-party apps


  • Topo maps are non-routable

7. Garmin eTrex 30x

The Garmin eTrex 30x hiking GPS is one of their moderately priced yet elaborately featured devices. It is a minor upgrade on the eTrex 30 with better screen resolution. It has all the popular features that make Garmin GPS unit so hike-friendly. Additionally it can also be used by bikers, on boats, cars, hot air balloons etc.. The WAAS and HotFix augmentation ensure that the GPS location is both speedily and accurately captured. Wireless connectivity helps during a group hike or when you want to share your experiences with your friends. As with the other Garmin devices, this also brings new features to the table along with time-tested ones, hence its place in the best hiking GPS list.
Garmin eTrex 30x hiking GPS is the successor of the eTrex 30. This is a button-operated device. Most of its front face is covered by a 2.2” screen. This gives you a more comprehensive view of the maps. It is also higher resolution than the eTrex 30 at 240 x 320 pixels. This makes the display bright and readable even in dark or dusky conditions. It measures 4” 2.1” x 1.3” in all directions. All the buttons except one are on its side. These are easily accessible even with gloved hands. Browsing the maps is a user-friendly experience. The unit is waterproof up to 30 mins under 1m water.
This outdoor GPS claims a battery life of 25 hours.
Garmin eTrex 30x handheld GPS is quick to locate the satellites and lock on to them. It is loaded with both GPS and GLONASS, Along with HotFix., accuracy and availability of GPS navigational coverage is unrivalled.  It instills confidence in you for scaling difficult and interior terrains. It also uses WAAS to improve the location services overall. A worldwide basemap is preloaded into the device. Additionally you can download external maps like TOPO 24K, BirdsEye Satellite Imagery(via subscription), BlueChart G2 etc..
This hiking GPS has an internal memory of 3.7 GB. Its memory can be extended via external microSD card as well. So it has space for extending the base map. You can also log your routes. You can mark waypoints on these routes for emergencies, photography points and resting points. You can use the BaseCamp software to create routes and waypoints. This is a handy software that allows you to plan and share your trips with friend and family or store them on your PC. It also shows 2D and 3D topographic map data including elevation profiles and what not. This aids in deciding what gear and hiking attire you should don.
There a barometric altimeter in the eTrex 30x GPS for hiking. This gives you the elevation at any point based on barometric sensor. This means the pressure is being tracked. So you can create a pressure graph to identify dips and hence, approach of a low pressure area.  An electronic compass is also present. Wireless connectivity is lent by both Bluetooth and ANT+. Bluetooth allows you to share maps, routes, waypoints etc. with other devices by a single button press. It also supports geocaching. You can download the relevant hints and description right into your device for paperless caching.  Garmin Connect ensures that the data is logged and shared with PC and the online community need be. ANT+ allows the eTrex 30x to connect to various tracking devices and VIRB action camera wirelessly.

  • 7 internal memory extendable with microSD
  • Large screen of good resolution
  • Route and waypoint log
  • Electronic compass and barometric altimeter
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Supports geocaching
  • Compact


  • Has a learning curve for first time users

8. Garmin Rino 650 US GPS

Garmin is slaying the best hiking GPS list.  Their Rino 650 hiking GPS is a simple device with just the right mix of features. This is meant for GPS contact in every situation, be it from Davy Jones’ locker. And more importantly, it is also a two-way FRS/GMRS radio. So here’s an emergency contact device built into your navigational device. It helps you keep an eye out for your partners.  All the other perks that Garmin GPS units usually bring are integrated here as well.  These allow you to plan, pan and share your hikes. It is a power-hungry accessory though and goes through 4 AA accessories at a time. Still Garmin managed to surprise us pleasantly, so we cruised Rino 610 straight to the best hiking GPS list.
While Garmin strives to pack more into a small package, the Garmin Rino 650 US GPS outdoor GPS is on the bulky side. Most of its 7.5-inch length constitutes the antenna for communication and GPS. It is 2.4 inches wide and 1.8 inches deep. It comes with a carabiner clip, so you can hang it off your backpack for instant access. It clocks 11.3 ounces on the scale with 4 AA batteries on. Half of the front face is covered by a transflective 1.43” x 2.15” screen. This is a glove-friendly Touchscreen. But unfortunately the resolution is low at 160 x 240 pixels.  But the display is readable, just not very bright.
This hiking GPS chugs out 14 hour performance on 4 AA batteries. That’s not bad considering it replaces both a GPS device and a radio communicator. It is IPX7-rated for being waterproof under 1m water for 30 mins.
Garmin Rino 650 handheld GPS for hiking is a highly sensitive GPS receiver. It is WAAS-enabled. So the GPS location and navigational services are more accurate and speedy. The variation in GPS signals are corrected by WAAS for a correct reading. It is also supported by HotFix. This technology predicts the future positions of satellites and helps them connect faster to the GPS receiver in the upcoming days. The quad helix antenna can work through dense tree cover and even deep canyons. With the BaseCamp software you can pan out your entire journey on electronic platform. You can setup up to 200 custom routes and mark up to 2000 waypoints on it. It also gives you turn-by-turn routes when you have mapping installed.  BaseCamp routes can be shared with friends and family. When connected to the PC it shows 2D and 3D topo maps. These include elevation profile and difficulty level of the hike which helps you stock up for the journey better. When paired with the BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription, it can pull satellite images into the Rino 650 GPS device.
This handheld GPS unit sports a 5W FRS/GMRS two-way radio. It can converse over FRS up to 2 miles and over GMRS up to 20 miles. If you are travelling as a group, especially in a hunting party, you can get separated over such short distances. The Rino 650 lends you coverage in the middle of nowhere to get back together. A position reporting feature allows you to send your exact location to other Rino users of your party within the specified distance. Even in loud and windy conditions, your voice will be transmitted clearly. With 5W transmit power, you can send unit-to-unit text messages, as calls can disturb the wildlife. You can also share waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches this way.
The Rino 650 hiking GPS has an in-built NOAA weather radio. Using Specific Area Message Encoding, it can deliver warnings and watches displayed for every county on the unit screen. This is useful to take cover in case of emergency or natural calamities. Rino 650 also rises to the occasion in case of a search and rescue effort. If your laptop has BaseCamp, the BaseStation allows your laptop to serve as a control center. You can view real time location and data of the Garmin Rino users. 650 has a microSD card slot which can be used to improve it map database. It has a barometric altimeter and a 3-axis compass at your service.

  • GPS with WAAS and HotFix
  • 5W FRS/GMRS radio for communication up to 20 miles with other such radios
  • BaseCamp support for route and waypoint logging
  • Simultaneous position report to multiple parties
  • NOAA weather radio for weather warnings
  • Allows base station setup for real time tracking of a team with Rinos
  • microSD capable


  • Software bugs need to be fixed
  • Garmin needs to document better

9. Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

Although Garmin eTrex line has advanced far into the future, their older devices prevail and they are available at a low cost. Since they aren’t out of production, we decided to check them out. The eTrex 10 hiking GPS turned out to be a basic model that should satisfy the light hikers. This has access to Garmin’s vast artillery of small but useful features. It has excellent satellite locking and location-spotting capabilities. Garmin claims it’s the first consumer-grade receiver to harness GLONASS. It took no time navigating its way to the best hiking GPS list.
The Garmin eTrex 10 outdoor GPS looks a lot like its expensive cousins at the face value. Most of its face is covered by a display measuring 1.4” x 1.7”. This is low-resolution 128 x 160 pixels monochrome screen. Although it’s clear, it’s just not as exciting as that of the eTrex 35t.  The buttons go on the side just like eTrex 35t. Both of them share the Thumb stick which is an innovative way to browse the maps on a non-touchscreen device.  The unit itself measures 4” x 1.3” x 2.1” and weighs 5 ounces. So this is highly compact and portable device. It is IPX7-rated so it can survive in shallow water for 30 mins.
The battery life of this hiking GPS is 20 hours and it delivers because of the limited functionality. It is powered by two AA batteries.
The eTrex 10 hiking GPS from Garmin goes ballistic on the whole location-defining concept with GPS, GLONASS, WAAS and HotFix. As a result, the GPS reception is speedy and the readings are highly accurate. GLONASS and WAAS play their part in tightening the accuracy uncertainty. HotFix makes sure that the satellites are locked on fast.  It comes preloaded with a worldwide basemap. But these are mostly for reference. You can download free maps and use them for navigation instead. You can create route maps and mark them with waypoints for future reference.
The BaseCamp app is a great help in this outdoor GPS device. It helps plan out your hike by creating routes. You can mark waypoints on them where you find supplies, medical care, picnic spot or such important milestones. You can also create a waypoint at your starting point and be led back to it when you stray too far from the path. There’s a Track feature to lay a breadcrumb trail from the point you started. If you realize you have lost your way, you can trace your way back to the starting point with this feature.
This hiking GPS has Bluetooth support. So you can share your routes, waypoints etc wirelessly with other devices. It also supports paperless geocaching. The functionality here is much limited than the succeeding models. But eTrex 10 costs much less too.

  • GPS, GLONASS, WAAS, HotFix support
  • Works with BaseCamp
  • Bluetooth capable
  • Route log and waypoint creation
  • Breadcrumb trail feature
  • Affordable


  • Detailed maps need to be downloaded

10. Garmin Montana 680t

Garmin closes the best hiking GPS list with another ambitious product. Garmin Montana 680t hiking GPS is a GPS receiver and a digital camera. It uses the whole location-related package for navigation. This version also comes preloaded with topographical maps, so you don’t have to install or pay for them separately. It is a robust device with almost all the top features we have seen in every Garmin outdoor GPS device  till now. The usual Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity are missing here. The problem is Montana 680t is over-priced at its current cost. But it outsmarts many devices to be on the best hiking GPS list. Some of the best hiking watches also has some of the features of a GPS.
The Garmin Montana 680t hiking GPS looks more modern than many of their devices. This is a 5.7” x  2.9” x 1.4” GPS unit. A major part of the front face is covered by 4-inch screen. At 272 x 480 pixels, the resolution of the device is better than many Garmin handhelds on this list. It weighs 10.24 ounces. It is large but the display is clear and relatively easy to operate and view when mounted on an ATV.  It can be used with gloved hands easily. It is shock and water-resistant. It can be dunked in up to 1m water for 30 mins without damage.
The battery life of this outdoor GPS ranges between 16-22 hours based on whether you use Lithium ion or 2 AA batteries.
Garmin Montana 680t handheld GPS for hiking goes all out in terms of locating you. The GPS is augmented by GLONASS, WAAS and HotFix. HotFix brings speed to the satellite locks by presuming satellite locations based on past satellite positions.  Russian GLONASS satellite network and WAAS help in increasing the accuracy of the location reading and navigation. It is loaded with a worldwide basemap and US topographical maps. Apart from 8GB internal memory, it also has microSD slot for extending the memory and adding more maps to the database. The BaseCamp software helps to add routes and waypoints on the maps. Up to 4000 waypoints and 200 routes can be stored.  This, along with the 3D profile on the computer screen will help you effectively plan your hike.
This hiking GPS is known for the 8MP camera it carries. You can take decent pictures right from the device. It is geotagged automatically. You can even click pictures of the waypoint and have them tagged rather than typing out the names. Pictures can be clicked and viewed in both portrait and landscape orientation. It has a barometric altimeter and a tilt-compensated electronic compass. You can connect it via a USB to the computer and use Garmin Connect to share your experiences, routes and variable information. Montana 680t comes preloaded with 250,000 geocaches and all information pertaining to them to create a paperless hunt. There’s a facility to share your data with other Montana users wirelessly.

  • GPS, GLONASS, WAAS and HotFix
  • 8MP camera with automatic geotag
  • 8GB internal memory and microSD card slot
  • Route and waypoint log
  • Preloaded topo US maps
  • Barometric altimeter with electronic compass
  • 250,000 preloaded geocaches


  • No Bluetooth

11. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

The Garmin Foretrex 401 is a highly sensitive GPS receiver equipped with HotFix in order to improve performance and reception no matter what your location.
The Garmin Foretrex is a slim wrist mounted GPS navigator that works well for outdoor activities due to its high sensitivity water proof receiver. Its electronic compass and barometric altimeter works well for hikers, skiers and campers. The data can also be shared with others simply by connecting the Foretrex to a computer with a USB or sending the data wirelessly to another computer or device. Through this simple connection, a user can also analyze their activities and can get a detailed assessment of their outdoor activities by using Garmin Connect. The box includes the Foetrex 401, a wrist expansion strap, a USB cable and manuals.
The Foretrex 401 can be used for more than just military use and is about twenty percent smaller than its original version i.e. the 101 although it has a backlit display of the same size. It can also clone itself with another 401 without needing any Wi-Fi which makes it an excellent way to share mission way points as well as routes with other members of the team.
It has a two axis digital compass and a barometric altimeter. It also comes with a Jumpmaster function which is used for static, HAHO as well as HALO jumping which allows the user to set data points under canopy guidance. It also has options for forward throw, wind speeds at altitude and HARP lets the user arrive at the right location. The Garmin also has improved sensitivity and can pick up signals faster than an aircraft, but ideally it should be used as a backup for the primary altimeter.
It assists in keeping track of routes, detours as well as heart rate with its add on heart rate monitor. These can be operated with two AAA batteries. It is equipped with a TracBack feature which retraces the user path through its LCD display which has a resolution of 100 x 64 pixels. Its battery life lasts for 17 hours and it can track 10000 per track log. Its display size is 1.41 x 0.91 inches. It also has unique feature such as the trip computer, sunrise/sunset times, hunting and fishing information, electronic compass as well as a barometric altimeter.
The Garmin Connect is a one stop sight that creates access to an activity table and allows the user to view their activities by using Google Earth. The user can also access uploaded routes from close to 12 million customers and also share their experiences through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
The Garmin has a compass feature which works as accurately as a standard compass even if it moves in a 360 degree circle. A standard compass and the Garmin units are both at par with one another and in fact complement one another for navigation which makes use exceptionally simple if one is on a more complicated terrain. The Garmin Foretrex 401 can store up to 500 waypoints and 10 tracks as well as highly sensitive GPS chip which can compete with more expensive GPS units.

  • It is small which is ideal for outdoor activities.
  • It is inexpensive.
  • It is accurate.
  • It is tough.
  • It has a reasonable battery life.
  • It has batteries that can be easily replaced (AAA batteries are used for many common household items).
  • It has a sturdy a stylish wrist strap.
  • The wrist strap fits very well and comes with an extender which can be worn over a coat or even up the forearm.
  • The lights work well and the date and time feature is perfect and the user doesn’t need to wear a wash in addition.


  • The altimeter is barometric which isn’t altogether useful because a barometer isn’t reliable for measuring elevation.

12. Garmin eTrex 20x

Garmin is among the key players for GPS systems long before they were used in car systems and continue to be a leading brand still with handsets that are available in a variety of budgets. The eTrex 20 has been Garmin’s most popular offer that is aimed mainly at backpackers and sports enthusiasts. No matter what the price point, it has more features than a regular user would anticipate.
The Garmin eTrex 20x has an upgraded display system which features a 2.2.” 65 K color sunlight readable display that has increased resolution of about 240 x 320 pixels. It is an advanced version of the Garmin and is a popular handheld device which has increased memory alongside its impeccable resolution. The resolution and enhanced memory increases ease of use coupled with durability as well as affordability. It can also be used on ATVS, bicycles, hot air balloons and other vehicles.
It also comes with its first ever consumer grade receivers which tracks both GPS and GLONASS satellites simultaneously. When it uses the GLONASS satellite (which is a system developed by the Russian Federation), it also takes its twenty seconds faster for the receiver to lock on to a position. The unit weighs only 5.1 pounds and has all the basic functions of a GPS held handheld unit. It can hold up to 2000 waypoints and 200 routes and comes with a basic base map and an option to upload topo maps. While it may lack some features that high performing models may have, for instance wireless share technology, electronic compass or a barometric altimeter, it has a larger, easier to read screen and all the necessary faculties to be a top notch GPS tracker.
It has internal memory of up to 3.7 GB and has a microSD card which can allow a variety of maps to be uploaded which includes the TOP 24 K, HuntView, BlueChart g2, City Navigator NT as well as BirdsEye Satellite Imagery (although a subscription is required for this one). Additionally it also comes with a preloaded base map which includes one of the world with shaded relief. Its display size is 1.4 x 1.7 inches.
The Garmin eTrex is also highly sensitive and has a WAAS enabled GPS receiver, a HotFix satellite prediction along with GLONASS support through which the eTrex can help locate the position precisely and is able to maintain an accurate location even under heavy cover and through deep canyons.
Through its geocaching GPX files that download geocaches as well as details, it also stores as well as displays key information which includes but is not limited to location, terrain, difficult spots, descriptions which means that the user no longer has to manually enter the coordinates and extract paper printouts.
The BaseCamp also displays topographic maps data in 2D or 3D on a computer screen which also includes contour lines as well as elevation profiles. It can additionally transfer never ending amounts of satellite images from a phone on to the device especially when paired with the Birds Eye Satellite Imagery subscription.

  • It is inexpensive for a colored screen GPS device.
  • It is lightweight.
  • It is easy to use.
  • It has excellent screen quality.
  • It has a long lasting battery life.
  • It has reliable push bottoms.
  • Its battery works well.
  • The d-ring twists open on the back panel through which one can change the batteries and with these normal alkaline batteries one can get a day’s use of them no matter what the brightness or the usage level is.
  • Data fields can be customized according to how you want to see them and your most used functions are right at the top.
  • It is water proof and durable.
  • It has a sunrise and a moonrise option.


  • The screen is easily scratched.
  • The mini USB port creates a reason to carry yet another cable.
  • Typing using the joystick can prove to be an exhausting experience.
  • It does not have an electronic compass.
  • The Base map doesn’t work well in case you’re trekking.
  • It is not as user friendly if you are used to an Android or an iPhone.
  • The Garmin maps should be free.
  • The screen is slightly small.
  • It does not have a mount or a lanyard.

13. Magellan CX0310SGXNA eXplorist 310 Waterproof Hiking GPS

The Magellan is a beautiful, understated, yet ergonomic design built for the adventurous consumer, one who likes to dabble in the wild but likes to do it with caution. The GPS design has a World edition which also includes a detailed road network, water features, urban and rural use as well as a shaded relief background.
The Magellan has a 2.2 inch LCD display. Its sturdy IPX-7 waterproof GPS receiver is also accompanied with a sunlight readable color screen as well as a high sensitivity SiRFstarIII GPS which provides accuracy of up to 3 meters with the help of WAAS, EGNOS and MSAS which access to worldwide location information. Through its intuitive design, the user can easily begin his or her journey with a simple click and keep an eye out for useful statistics such as distance travelled, average speed, ascent and descent as well as average time to find. By keeping a log of all the steps that are taking throughout the day, the user can also keep a digital log of all their outdoor adventures and their results. It also has 500 megabytes worth of user memory in which it can store its summit series, topographical maps, geocaches, waypoints and tracks.
The GPS device has an easy to operate main menu, user friendly contextual menus and graphics that are vivid and ready to use as soon as they’re taken out of the box. It also has a detailed road network, water features, urban as well as rural land use alongside a realistic shaded relief background. It also has eighteen hours of battery life alongside power-saving features that allows the user to use it for an entire day without having to stop to replenish the batteries.
Its ability to geogache without using paper also allows users to download as well as view up to twenty unique characteristics of each separate cache while viewing, searching as well as filtering on the device. The Explorist 310 GPS also has outdoor navigation with high resolution colored screen, a design that is protected by water, excellent mapping alongside a preloaded Word Edition and uploadable map capability.
It has up to eighteen hours of battery life which means that the user does not have to stop in the middle to conserve battery life by putting the device on battery saving mode. It happens to do that by itself as the suspend mode ends up turning everything off except for the GPS tracking device. All the user needs to do in order to have it up and running again is to click it.
The GPS receiver is water resistant and has been tested to IPX-7 standard which means it can stand depths of up to one meter for a total of 30 minutes.

  • Excellent quality due to its ability to power up easily with very little waiting time.
  • It’s ergonomically designed with buttons that are simple to press.
  • Excellent edition for the family, especially those inclined for the great outdoors.
  • It allows users to plan their trips better days before their adventure as they can follow electronic mapped out instructions of where everyone needs to go.
  • It has a dashboard which tells users how far they have come and how far they gave to go.
  • The user interface is easier to read.
  • It has all the main hiking GPS functions.
  • It is reasonably priced for the amount of features it offers.
  • It has a tough exterior which helps it withstand wear and tear.
  • It is water resistant no matter what the climactic conditions.
  • It has a preloaded worldwide base maps so it can be used immediately.
  • It is easy to load and alter tracks alongside other data.


  • The startup guide isn’t helpful so new users and even some old timers would find it difficult to understand the first time around.
  • It lacks some important features e.g. it does not track speed.
  • It is difficult to read it in sunlight.
  • The screen is smaller than other handheld offers.
  • It does not have a micro USB slot.
  • It has only 512 MB memory.

14. Magellan eXplorist 710 Waterproof Hiking GPS

The Magellan is built with convenience at its front and center. With just one button control, the operation of the GPS device is simply a breeze.
It has a 2.3 inch grayscale LCD and it is covered with rubber, resistant to wear and tear and impact and also comes coated in a water proof shell. The Magellan is a classy, understated yet cool navigation device which is hard to miss because of its bright yellow color. It is designed to provide GPS abilities for those who have a hard core outdoor life. Through Magellan’s powerful and easy to use technology, the users are able to track their progress and location and share it with the rest of the world. The eXplorist 200 can store up to 500 way points, 20 routes and five tracks along with up to 2000 points where each provide enough storage even for those who navigate more frequently. It also has a built in North American background map which has access to roads, parks, waterways, airports and a whole lot more.
The eXplorist 200 is built to be compact and fit into pockets easily therefore measures at just about 4.6 by 2.1 by 1.3 inches (11.7 by 5.4 by 3.3 centimeters) and weighs less than four ounces (115 grams). Even then it still has space for a 2.3 inch, four level grayscale LCD. Additionally, its zoom capability and amber backlight creates optimum viewing space even at night. It is made from impact resistant plastic which increases its sturdiness and with that it also has a water resistant seal which comes in exceptionally handy in case the user plans a water rafting or a camping trip.
The Magellan comes with the TrueFix technology which has a fourteen parallel channel, and a WAAS/EGNOS enabled GPS received. It can also store up to 500 waypoints, 20 routes and five track logs. The WAAS/EGNOS enabled GPS allows the GPS receiver to provide the exact position points which three meters while simultaneously maintaining satellite signal acquisition and tracking. It is so easy to use that it doesn’t even require a manual. It has three navigation screens which assist with plotting and also make it easier for the user to find their way back. Its one button access makes the user make use of the functions he is most likely to operate e.g. the menu, navigation screen, personal points of interest or backlighting. It has 8 MB worth of internal memory.
Its track feature works well and it has menu buttons which can be pushed easily. This can also be a problem because sometimes the buttons can be pushed unknowingly. It can run on two AA batteries and can be used for up to 18 hours continuously, without needing to be recharged.
The Magellan has a large backlit display screen which is easy to read whether it is day or night. Its navigation screen can also be customized to show the user the location, speed, direction, destination and even more, depending on what the user wants to see and how. Additionally, it does not have any service fees and is easy to use without any need for activation. Moreover, it also has a full warranty of one year in North America and up to two years in Europe. It doesn’t hurt that it has a killer resolution of 3.2 M pixels to accompany it!

  • It has unique multimedia features.
  • It has extensive GPS functions.
  • It is reasonably priced.
  • It has language capabilities i.e. it can be supported by 10 different languages.


  • Entering coordinates is not easy.

15. Garmin 010-01772-00 Foretrex 601, 2 inches

Those who were interested in the Foretrex 401 but have the wallet to endure spending just a little bite more money should purchase the Garmin Foretrex 601. This product is especially handy for hikers, military, preppers as well as mountain bikers.
The Garmin Foretrex 601 is built up to military standards and even has night vision which is goggle compatible. The device looks a lot like its earlier additions and is the same size i.e. 2.9” x 1.7” and weighs 3.1 pounds. It can be easily charged with two AAA batteries. Its display is 2” and has a four color grayscale display which is far larger than its previous version, also doubling the resolution.
This GPS device is built to work with GLONAS and Galileo satellite systems in order to ensure that the positioning is correct. Through its navigation sensors (which also includes the 3 axis Accelerometer, the 3 axis compass and a Barometric altimeter) and smart notifications, the device can receive emails, texts as well as alerts. Its battery life can last up to forty eight hours during navigation i.e. up to one week in UltraTac mode and about a month in watch mode.
The Foretrex 601 can track your routes, mark your location with just one button and even share the waypoints with other devices similar to it. It’s water resistant to a point i.e. the user can take it to the shower but anything beyond that would be a test of the machine that it may or may not live up to.

  • It is light weight.
  • It fits the wrist adequately.
  • It can be attached to any other device.
  • It is a sturdier, improved version of its predecessors.
  • It is a reliable edition for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • It is water resistant.
  • It has a large screen that increases its readability.
  • It is easy to use for novices.
  • It keeps a track of most routes and marks locations.
  • Most of it can be operated with a simple button.
  • It is ergonomically designed.
  • It can be operated with AAA batteries which are simple to access as they are used for many common household appliances.


  • This is not the tool for mapping and other extra features that come with other GPS devices, it relies on the base map.
  • The batter compartment can be accessed by removing one side as it is behind the band.
  • Its water resistance has limitations.

Last update on 2021-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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