8 Best Hiking GPS Devices to Guide Your Adventures

Losing yourself in nature can be an overwhelming experience by keeping yourself away from the noise, traffic, tensions and letting yourself enjoy the nature and its awesomeness. However, losing yourself completely in the wild is something that you may not want to happen. Hence you should always keep a hiking GPS in along with your gear whenever you plan to go somewhere unknown, this way you make sure you know how to get back. 

Here are 8 best GPS devices suitable for hiking along with a GPS Buying Guide. Also, check our Buying Guide below on how to choose a hiking GPS device and find the one suitable for your needs.

8 Best Hiking GPS Devices to Guide Your Adventures

Garmin eTrex 20x – AffordableGarmin eTrex 20x

Garmin eTrex is one of the most affordable yet filled with plenty of features required for a hike. This unit comes with a display of 2.2 inches with 65K color support and it is also readable under the sunlight.

In order to allow you to store maps in a large volume. It offers a 3.7 GB of internal memory. Also, you can place additional Micro SD card so you can easily load a variety of maps.

Using the micro SD card, you will be able to load maps like HuntView, TOPO 24K, City Navigator NT, BlueChart g2, and so on. However, some of the maps may need a subscription.

Also if you prefer touch models over buttoned then check Garmin eTrex Touch 35 which had total touchscreen making it easy to use.

eTrex 20x also comes with a WAAS-enabled GPS receiver GLONASS and HotFix satellite prediction support. This will help you to quickly locate your location as well maintains the location tracking in deep canyons or in deep jungles.

Pros

  • 2.2 inches with sunlight readability.
  • 3.7 GB of internal memory.
  • Free Maps.
  • Affordable price.
  • Good battery life.

Cons

  • No 3-Axis compass.
  • Changing preinstalled map is tricky.

Garmin GPSMAP 64s – Most PreferredGarmin GPSMAP 64S

Garmin GPSMAP 64s is the most affordable GPS device with most need features for hiking. The unit features a 2.6 inches’ color display with sunlight readability support. Also, it has the high-sensitivity GPS plus GLONASS receiver. On the top, there is a quad helix antenna which works as a superior reception.

We can use 2 AA batteries or you rechargeable Lithium batteries to power it. The best thing about the NiMH or Lithium battery pack is that it can be charged while the battery is inside.

Also, Garmin GPSMAP 64ST comes with a built-in 3 axis tilt electronic compass. The compass is cable of displaying your head when you are standing still. In addition to that, it comes with 4GB of internal memory with support of external memory card. Plus it offers a 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription. In the end, it also had wireless connectivity via Bluetooth technology and ANT+.

Pros

  • GPS+GLONASS support.
  • Ability to upload maps.
  • Navigation sensors.
  • Fast reception and high accuracy.

Cons

  • Low battery life.
  • Big and heavy to carry.

Garmin Oregon 750 – Easy to Use

If you are looking for some hybrid GPS devices. Then the Garmin Oregon 750 would be a perfect option for you. It comes with a touchscreen display with sunlight readability. The screen size of the device is 3 inch and one of the good things about the unit is that it comes with dual orientation. This means you can use the device as landscape or portrait view.

Oregon 750 also comes with the ABC sensors along with a 3 axis tilt compass. Also, you are getting the support of accelerometer and Barometric altimeter sensors.

Also to offer durability, the device comes with a rugged design. The design offers a strong protection against the dust, dirt, and humidity. Also, it is waterproof thanks to the IPX7 rating. Plus, it comes with an 8 MP camera with autofocus and led flash.

It also comes with an active weather feature. Furthermore, it comes with multilink wireless connectivity. Apart from these features, the unit has everything that you expect to be in a GPS unit.

Pros

  • High quality build.
  • Easy to use.
  • Wireless Sharing & smart notifications.
  • Worldwide basemap.

Cons

  • Small display.
  • Quite expensive.

Garmin Montana 680t – Touchscreen & Camera

If you are looking for easy to use GPS device for hiking, then Garmin Montana 680t can be a good option. This device comes with quite a lot of features. The GPS unit comes with more than 250,000 preloaded geocaches from the Geocaching.com.

Furthermore, the device has an 8 MP camera and comes with 8GB of Internal storage. In addition to that, you can insert a MicroSD card additionally to expand storage up to 32GB.

Montana 680t unit sports a screen size of 4 inches with a resolution of 272 x 480 pixels. Also, the display of the unit is touch screen and sunlight readable. In addition to that, the display is an oriented one. This simply means that you will be able to get portrait and landscape view.

Furthermore, the unit is capable of tracking GPS and GLONASS satellites. Also, it is waterproof as it has the IPX7 rating. The device also features a rugged mount. The mount will help you to mount the GPS device on your bike or cycle. The device also comes with preloaded TOPO 100k maps for the United States & Canada, if you are from other countries you can buy at your local sites to get maps of your country or region like Europe, Brazil etc.

Pros

  • Fast positioning.
  • GPS+GLONASS support.
  • Sunlight readable touchscreen.
  • 8MP camera.
  • Preloaded TOPO 100k maps.

Cons

  • Little heavy to carry.
  • Expensive.

Garmin Rino 750 – 2-way Radio

The best thing about Garmin Rino 750 is that it comes with a two-way radio that has a 20-mile range. Also, it allows you to communicate by voice or text. Plus in order to offer better tracking, it comes with the GPS and GLONASS satellite reception.

Furthermore, the Garmin Rino GPS unit is a waterproof device as it has received the IPX7 Water Rating. The battery of the device is capable of offering 13 hours of battery life and yes it is rechargeable.

Talking about the additional features, the unit is offering voice activation,5.0 Watts GMRS. Also, it has the worldwide base map for basic navigation functions. This feature allows you to see the location of others Rino users.

Talking about the box contents, along with the device you will get a USB cable, & AC charger. Also, there is a 3 pack of the screen protector and screen cleaner included with it.

Pros

  • 2-way radio communication.
  • Location sharing via radio.
  • Radio range is up to 20 miles.
  • Waterproof.

Cons

  • Voice quality of the device is just good.
  • Small screen.

Garmin Inreach Explorer+ – Messaging & SOS

For our next pick, we have the Garmin Inreach Explorer+, this unit is available in two variants. One of the variants is the Garmin Inreach Explorer+ and the other one is the Garmin Inreach Explorer+ with a powered mount.  Also, both of the variants have a different price tag.

Talking about the features, well the GPS unit offers a 100% global iridium satellite coverage. Which enables 2-way text Messaging from anywhere on the Earth. So you can easily communicate with your family and friends from anywhere by sending messages and your location. However, you will need a satellite subscription.

Garmin inReach Explorer+ also comes with SOS button to inform emergency services that you need rescue. Once you activate the SOS your location will be sent to goes which is the organization that informs the nearest rescue center to your location.

Also, you will be able to pair your mobile device with the free Earthmate app and sync data and maps between the devices. It also comes with some preloaded apps, that includes GPS routing. Plus, built-in digital compass, Barometric altimeter, and Accelerometer sensors are also available.

Pros

  • Send SMS & location to anyone from anywhere.
  • It offers 100% global satellite coverage.
  • SOS button for emergencies.
  • Navigation sensors.
  • Good battery life.

Cons

  • Subscription for SMS & SOS to work.
  • Quite expensive.
  • Unreliable GPS features.

Garmin Foretrex 401 – Wrist Model

If you are looking for a low-cost unit then the Garmin Foretrex 401 can be a good option. The device is waterproof and comes with some decent features required for outdoor activities like hiking.

Talking about the features, it has a high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix which offers an improved performance for the GPS. Hence, as a result, it is capable of offering reception in deep jungles and canyons.

The unit is capable of keeping tracks of routes and waypoints and needs 2 AAA batteries to run. These batteries provide 17 hours of battery life in normal mode.

Foretrex 401 features a display with a resolution of 100 x 64 pixels. Also, it supports dual position readout, view current location like features. Also, it offers the sunrise and sunset time.  In addition to that, you can also check Hunting and fishing information. Plus, it supports electronic compass and barometric altimeter navigation sensors.

Talking about the overview The Foretrex 401 is a slim wrist-mounted GPS navigator. The navigator is perfect for the outdoor activities. Also, it comes with wireless connectivity.

Pros

  • Decent battery life.
  • Waterproof.
  • Low cost.
  • Navigation sensors.

Cons

  • Tiny display.
  • Doesn’t show maps.

Garmin eTrex 10 – Budget Option

In the end, we have the Garmin eTrex 10, it is a low-cost GPS device yet comes with good features for the price. The device comes with a rugged handheld navigator. Also, it comes with basemap preloaded.

The device sports a 2.2 inches monochrome display.  Plus you are getting the support of HotFix and GLONASS. Also, you are getting the WAAS-enabled GPS receiver. Furthermore, the device is waterproof thanks to the IPX7 rating. As it has the IPX7 rating the device can easily survive itself from rain and splashes.

In addition to that, you are getting the support of paperless geocaching. Plus it comes with Garmin spine-mounting accessories. Talking about the batteries, the device needs two AA batteries which offer a battery backup of 20 hours.

Talking about the overview, on the left side of the device you are getting the zoom in and out button. The zoom in and zoom out button can be used to navigate menu list and zoom in or out the map.

Pros

  • Good battery life.
  • Decent pricing.
  • Easy to use.
  • GPS+GLONASS support.

Cons

  • Small display.
  • Doesn’t show maps.

Finally, these are the 8 best hiking GPS devices that are suitable for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing and more. Also, read our hiking GPS Buying Guide below and select the best suitable handheld GPS device for your requirements.

Hiking GPS Buying Guide:

Battery life:

Battery life is the most important thing while selecting a device, as you never know where your hiking will lead you to. Maybe you will be at a place where there will be no electricity. So it is always good to go with a device that comes with a good battery life.

18 to 20 hours of battery life in a single charge is good enough and most devices support AA batteries. So, having a couple of AA batteries can be a lot helpful and extends the battery life of the unit.

Maps & Planning Software:

You should go for a device which comes with a planning software for PC and Mac. By using a planning software, you will easily be able to create waypoints and routes for your trip. And once you are done with your planning simply import in on your device and you are good to go.

Apart from this, a planning software also allows you to get the advanced information about the routes. Such as distance, ascent, weather and a few other kinds of stuff.  Also, some of the brands do offer their own planning software. For example, Garmin has their BaseCamp app.

Wireless Features:

Wireless features are also something that you need to look for in GPS devices which can communicate with each other are quite helpful. As both of the devices will able to share maps, geocaches, and other data, by doing so you will be able to save quite a lot of time.

Also, some of the units are capable of satellite communication from the remote areas. Hence, as a result, you will be able to communicate for help if you ever face any danger.

Some of the devices also offer smartphone compatibility over a wireless connection.  This type of unit is good because it helps you to get notifications related to the weather, or if you have taken a wrong path.

Compass:

There are two types of compass that comes with a GPS device they are differential compass and electronic compass. Differential compass is the outdated compass available in old and low-cost models. They are good and easy to but just not as easy as an electronic compass, users need to place the device in a steady and horizontal state to find the correct directions. However, you wouldn’t need or wait for it in electronic compass, users would get the right directions straight away whenever required. Both the compasses are good to use but if you want the advanced unit then go for electronic compass devices.

2-way Radio:

2-way radio is a great feature. As it allows you to communicate with other 2-way radio users. Some of the GPS devices come with 20 miles of range. This feature is very helpful for people who are hiking or hunting in groups. This feature is available in Garmin Rino devices which allows you to talk, text messaging and sharing location between compatible devices within the 20-mile radius.

Build Quality & Water Rating:

Build quality and water rating also matter quite a lot. You never know what will happen to you when you plan to go for Hiking. Your device may fall from your hand, or you may splash water on it. And these are the things that can easily damage your device. So it is better to choose a device which comes with a great built quality and water rating. This way you may never need to worry about breaking your device and getting lost in the wild.

Navigation Sensors:

Navigation sensors are very useful for hiking they let you know the altitude, air pressure, speed you moving and much more. Most common and useful navigation sensors are Barometric altimeter sensors which calculate the altitude of the device. The accelerometer is another sensor that appears in a few devices it provides data of how fast the device is moving or traveling. Compass also comes with the navigational sensor and is used to find directions and we prefer electronic or 3-axis compass over the differential compass.

Automatic Routing:

When provided with detailed maps like TOPO 24k maps or City Navigator maps the device shows the direction to a destination with routing similar to Google Maps in our smartphones. However, many maps like TOPO 100k maps are not detailed hence this feature doesn’t work with these maps. This feature is very useful whenever you have reached a new rural place and doesn’t know much about it.

Buttons or touchscreen:

Now if you have noticed that some of the GPS devices come with buttons and some of them have a touchscreen. So the question is what is the difference?

Well, the touchscreen devices are easy to handle. It offers you an easy to type and navigate experience. Also, touchscreen devices can be used in landscape or portrait view, but there are few cons.

For example, if you are planning to hike in cold weather. Then you have to remove your gloves at first to use the device. Although few of them supports gloves touches, but those are pretty expensive.

Talking about the Buttons, well as of now not all of the software is developed to understand the touchscreen commands. Hence most of them choose a button enabled device over a touchscreen one. Navigating and using a buttoned device is a tough job, typing something may take ages.  So it is good to go with a touchscreen one unless you are visiting cold and snowy places.

These are some of the top features that you should look for in a GPS device for hiking. However, to make it more easy for you, we already have mentioned all the GPS devices good for hiking. So make sure you are checking each and every device and get the best device for your usage.

About Author:

Hi, I am the founder of RallyeGPS.com and I am a technology enthusiast and digital marketer. I like to write blogs around gadgets and technology and share my experiences.

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