Do you like to go hiking or trekking? Perhaps you are part of a trekking or hiking club, who takes those tedious, but adventurous journeys, once in a while.
Maybe you like to explore new trails and pathways on the inviting mountain ranges or hills nearby your locality.
When that is the case, then you might want to take all precautionary measures. The most important thing that one needs during these expeditions is the proper direction. Unless you know where you are headed, you may not reach your destination and come back safely.
To help you out, we have compiled a list of the best hiking GPS handheld devices just for you. We have come up with the list after extensive research and time. That is because, when you look at the market, you can find tons of options to choose from.
How do you know which one is best for you? You may not be able to choose the device that meets your budget and feature needs. This is a complicated item filled with technology, and knowing the specifications and other details can be tedious for a layman.
So, how do you know which model is the most suitable for you?
In this review, we will take you through some of the best hiking GPS handheld devices. These devices are available on popular retailers and are affordable. We will also mention their main features, along with pros and cons.
These details will enable you to know how to find the one that is right for you. For several years now, handheld GPS systems are ideal for outdoor activities like hiking and trekking.
Climbers and mountaineers have depended on them extensively because of their ability to accurately pinpoint the location that they are in and accurate measurements.
This is when some of you may ask, so why a GPS handheld device, when you have them in watches and other modern instruments? What is so exceptional, or is it worth your time and money? That depends on your exact requirements and preferences.
How hiking GPS handheld devices help you out?
You do not have to be a professional climber or trekker to own one of these. They are not very expensive but come in handy. These devices give you the ability to navigate your way through using the satellite easily.
They are also reliable and do not get damaged easily. Not to mention, their battery life, which is the most crucial component, is far better than smartphones.
Hence, when you make use of a dedicated GPS handheld device on your journey, you know that its battery will not let you down when you need it the most.
When you are up there on the hills or mountains, the visibility decreases. During storms and the rain, things can get worse. You may not be able to see or view where you are headed to. This is when the handheld GPS device enables you to find your way.
They come with more benefits than smartphones and other devices that come with GPS. These GPS devices operate on rechargeable batteries, and you can replace them once they get over.
In this Best Hiking GPS list of products, we have also looked for features like weather resistance, tracking, alerts, and battery life.
Best Hiking GPS For Hiking: Our Top Picks 👌
1. Magellan eXplorist 310 Summit Series
The Magellan eXplorist 310 Summit Series is ranked first on our list. It should surprise many professional hikers or trekkers because a common name in GPS hiking devices is Garmin. But we felt that the Magellan eXplorist 310 is slightly better in performance than Garmin.
It comes in a compact size; it is waterproof and has a durable battery. The main features of this handheld GPS hiking device are that the screen is more than 2”, it also comes with a topographic map, displays elevation or height, and has a tracking mode.
You need to enable it and find out where exactly you are. This is a waterproof device, so you do not have to worry about storms and rains. The batteries can be replaced once they get over. It can provide you with more than 16 hours of battery.
Lastly, the handheld GPS device only weighs 5 pounds. The handheld model is reasonably priced, and the display offers you sufficient details to be seen. Hence, some of you may feel that the screen is slightly compact.
It can tolerate more than 20 minutes of immersing in water. This is useful because you do not have to get worked up when you drop it inside a creek or pond during your trekking. You need to enable the active tracking mode to keep track of your surroundings.
The elevation details are also displayed, which shows your elevation, both topographic and flat map modes. These enable you to find out your exact locality. According to some users, the battery pack is unique and cannot be replaced by your standard ones.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Magellan eXplorist 310 Summit Series that earned it a spot in our list of Best Hiking GPS For Hiking in 2021.
- It comes with a long battery life.
- It is a light device.
- The screen is bright and visible even in dim light.
- There is an optional sleep mode.
- The details are accurate and correct.
- It is priced cheaply for your usage.
- Few users felt that the screen is not bright.
- The batteries cannot be replaced.
The Magellan eXplorist 310 Summit Series is a feature-rich product. When you are in search of an accurate handheld GPS device, then you know that this device can help you with your hiking and trekking expeditions.
The Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator is the first of our Garmin models on our list. You might not want to get amazed to see several of them. When you look up the internet for GPS hiking devices, Garmin is all you can see.
Similar to the earlier product, this one comes with plenty of features. The Garmin handheld device comes with a 2.2” screen. It also provides you with details about the elevation and the topographic map.
There is a manual tracking system that comes with waypoints, and it is resistant to water. Its battery life is lengthy at 20 hours. It makes use of 2 AA batteries and weighs 5 pounds. The handheld devices come with an internal memory of 3.7 GB.
It can access both GLONASS and GPS satellites. When you are expediting in America, then the GLONASS satellite would be much more useful and helpful for remote areas. Though the screen is small at 2.2”, the 240 x 320 resolution is visible.
The topographical map is detailed. You can quickly know where you are located. The device also has an elevation display. You can manually log waypoints during your hike and trek. Since battery life is lengthy at 20 hours, you can also replace them when you want with 2 AA batteries.
With an internal memory of more than 3 GB, you can store anything you want. However, this device though powerful is slightly different from other Garmin models. Even professional users found it difficult the first few times.
So, when you have planned to go on a trek or hike, using this device, then you might want to familiarize yourself with it. You certainly do not wish to have any unpleasant surprises on the way during your journey.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Garmin eTrex 20x that earned it a spot in our list of Best Hiking GPS For Hiking in 2021.
- It comes with a long battery life of 20 hours.
- The batteries can be replaced.
- It is light, and you can take it around with you.
- The resolution of the screen is visible and has sufficient clarity.
- Its details are accurate.
- The device can receive signals.
- The device is cheaply priced.
- The screen is not adequate for a few users.
- It takes a while to learn how to use the handheld GPS device.
The Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator is loaded with features. If you are a professional trekker who is familiar with Garmin handheld devices, then you can consider this for your future journey.
3. DeLorme AG-008727-201 InReach Explorer
The DeLorme AG-008727-201 InReach Explorer Two Way Satellite Communicator with Built-in Navigation is perhaps the best competition to the Garmin models. This handheld device comes with a massive 100 hours battery life and weighs less than 200g.
If you are not satisfied with that, then you will be impressed with its navigation and GPS capabilities. The handheld devices can send text messages to your smartphone and email. You can communicate with the 24/7 emergency authorities too.
Of course, you will need to pay extra to make use of these features. You can also pair them with a smartphone or tablet and explore more on it. The unlimited NOAA and topographical maps can be used.
When you are willing to carry both a smartphone and GPS, this is the best option for you. The handheld device can be used in airplane mode and helps you to save battery life to access unlimited maps simultaneously.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The DeLorme AG-008727-201 InReach Explorer that earned it a spot in our list of Best Hiking GPS For Hiking in 2021.
- You can view or create a route and drop waypoints.
- You can also navigate easily on the screen using the maps.
- Details like bearing to destination and trip distance can be viewed.
- It has a digital compass, accelerometer, and a barometric altimeter.
- You can receive and send more than 155 character messages along with GPS coordinates.
- You can receive delivery confirmation and trigger SOS.
- The device and services used can be slightly on the expensive side.
The DeLorme AG-008727-201 InReach Explorer Two Way Satellite Communicator with Built-in Navigation comes slightly expensive. But, with numerous features and services, you might want to give it a go.
4. Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
The Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS is ranked fourth on our list. It comes with decent features like a 3” screen display, automatic route tracking, and a topographic map. The handheld device also comes with an elevation display as well as it is waterproof.
You can change the batteries as it users AA batteries. The battery life is acceptable at 12 hours but could have been better. It weighs slightly more than others at 8 pounds. However, you are offered a crucial piece of information about up-to-date weather.
Since the screen of the Garmin Oregon 700 is 3”, you can read all the data easily even in low light conditions. It comes with all the vital features like a topographical map and elevation display.
These are essential pieces of information, especially when you are climbing a new territory. Not to mention, you can replace the batteries with rechargeable ones or 2 AA batteries. The design is rugged and elegant.
It can withstand heat, dust, and water. The handheld device is easy to operate and comes with a multi-activity menu. You can customize the fields that you want. It depends on your preferences.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS that earned it a spot in our list of Best Hiking GPS For Hiking in 2021.
- The design of the handheld device is rugged and waterproof.
- It comes with a large screen of 3”.
- The display is good to show you all the details.
- The handheld device offers you details about the weather.
- It is affordable and cheaply priced.
- There are complaints about the device not getting signals in remote regions.
- Few users said that it tends to freeze in extreme weather conditions.
The Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS is a useful handheld GPS hiking device that can help you find out where you are located. It comes with all the crucial elements for users, but if you are alright with its drawbacks, then it should be a worthy buy.
At the time of our research on Best Hiking GPS For Hiking, we found a video about “20 Ways We Use GPS Without Knowing It” which is worth watching. 😎🏆
5. Suunto Traverse
The Suunto Traverse is fifth on our list of best-hiking GPS products. This wrist device is a product of Suunto and comes like a watch. The obvious benefit here is that it is lightweight and you do not have to keep an eye on the handheld devices of Garmin and other makes.
This is a huge advantage. You can now focus and concentrate on your outing and be in contact with nature. This was the feedback received by those who used this product after using handheld devices.
Let us find out if it can beat the competition. As we said, the main benefit of using this device is that you can wear it as a watch. You can climb up without worries; you can ride a bike without issues, you can even hike peacefully, without having to bother about anything.
The Suunto Traverse GPS watch offers you all the details that you need, with a glance. Most of the features that you would find in the Garmin makes are present here. It comes with altitude, and you can also track your distance, mark points of interest.
All these features can be accessed and used with a touch. You will also be glad to know that the watch comes with GLONASS and GPS satellite. These navigation systems enable you to travel through unexplored paths and tracks.
After all, what is the point of traveling on the same trodden path? Like we mentioned, the trail feature enables you to retrace your steps. It comes resistant to water for more than 90 meters. You can also make use of the sunset and sunrise times.
These help you to save battery. You do not have to use your watch often. Remember, this watch comes with a 100 hours battery life. You can now stay up to date with incoming calls, GPS timekeeping, texts, and push notifications using your smartphone.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Suunto Traverse GPS watch that earned it a spot in our list of Best Hiking GPS For Hiking in 2021.
- You can be updated on incoming calls, GPS timekeeping, and others on your device.
- There are texts and push notifications to your smartphone to your watch.
- The watch has a strap that is made from silicone material.
- It also comes with features like distance and altitude statistics and retraces steps.
- The barometric trend predicts weather conditions and alerts storms.
- The sunrise and sunset times keep you informed of the available light.
- It comes with more than 90 hours of battery life.
- Some users felt that it is not reliable when compared to Garmin models.
The Suunto Traverse is definitely worth trying when you are particular about the models that come in the shape of a watch. If you are bothered by the handheld models, then this one is a must for you.
6. Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS
The Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS is another of the Garmin models that we will look at in this discussion. Their models seem to be all over the market as far as GPS hiking products are concerned.
So, what makes this product special? Few main features of this make are a 3” screen that is large enough to view even during low lighting. It also has a simple 2D map and displays the elevation for you.
The handheld device comes with manual tracking with waypoints and is waterproof. It comes with more than 14 hours of battery, and you can use 2 AA batteries or rechargeable battery packs. The weight is more than 7 pounds.
It also works on both GLONASS and GPS satellites and has 1.5 GB of internal memory. The screen is large enough for you to use in any climatic conditions. Since it can work on both GPS and GLONASS satellites, you can work on it anywhere in the world effortlessly.
Though it is a feature-rich and lightest GPS handheld device in the market, you might want to keep an eye on the MRP. It is on the expensive side for all, you know. However, if you are a professional climber or trekker and depend on income, then go for it.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS that earned it a spot in our list of Best Hiking GPS For Hiking in 2021.
- It comes with a 3” screen that is readable and has a multi-touch display.
- It comes with dual-band GPS as well as GLONASS satellite positioning.
- The handheld Garmin device comes with a wide range of sensors for safe trekking.
- It comes with a barrage of features like Bluetooth technology, wirelessly share routes.
- It also has auto-switching between portrait and landscape views.
- The handheld device makes use of 2 AA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack.
- It is lightweight and offers you accurate data.
- You can climb on the unexplored pathway as it receives signals.
- The battery life is decent enough.
- With so many features and qualities, it comes at a high price.
The Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS comes with a 3” screen display, and the hiking GPS is very easy to use. Not to mention, it comes with many features that make it worth the high pricing.
7. Satmap Active 20
The Satmap Active 20 is ranked seventh on our list of best hiking GPS handheld devices. This device is ideal for a wide range of outdoor activities like hiking, trekking, backpacking, etc. If you are someone who enjoys these outdoor activities, then you may want to find out more about this.
The handheld device comes with all the features that it should have. One of the main compliments the device has received from consumers is that it is simple to use and handle. Whether you are a beginner or a professional climber or an adventurer, you must not have issues using this device.
Now for its main features. It weighs around 11 pounds, which can be slightly heavy. However, it comes with a massive 3.5” screen. You can easily view all the data presented to you in any weather condition.
Users also commended the fact that its buttons are big and simple to use. When you are wearing thick gloves, then you can easily press it without taking an effort. The build of the handheld device is also reliable and robust.
It can withstand more than 1-meter water and comes with the IK7 impact rating. The glass is made from Gorilla, which is sturdy. It also has Bluetooth technology. You can now easily share the routes wirelessly.
You can connect additional equipment to it if you want like a heart rate belt. The handheld device comes equipped with a barometric altimeter and information on the altitude. Sometimes, the GPS signal can be weak, this is when this feature comes in handy.
The battery can be recharged and can last for more than 14 hours. This device works on 3 AA batteries. It is ideal for mountaineers and hikers. When you compare it to the Garmin models, it comes with a massive screen as well as large buttons.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Satmap Active 20 that earned it a spot in our list of Best Hiking GPS For Hiking in 2021.
- This device comes with a large screen.
- The buttons on the device are simple to use and operate.
- It is a compact device.
- The handheld device comes with a wide range of features for you to use.
- You can also connect equipment like a heart rate belt on to the handheld device.
- The product weighs 11 pounds.
- Few users have complained that the handheld device is not reliable.
The Satmap Active 20 is a suitable handheld device that you would want to own when climbing, trekking, hiking, mountaineering, and hunting. The device can also be used to measure your heart rate if you wish.
8. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
The Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS, though ranked eighth, comes with a wide range of features. Some of them are a 3” black-and-white display, simple compass and waypoint display, and display of the elevation.
There is also tracking of your route to enable you to find your way back to the starting point. It is a waterproof device and operates on 2 AAA batteries. The wearing device can work for more than 16 hours.
It weighs only 3 pounds, which is the lightest in this segment so far. The device can be strapped on to your arms for convenience. This is similar to a huge watch, only that you are mounting it on your arms.
However, you may not see the map, but a compass that is black and white with records of your current location. Not to mention, this wearable device is not that expensive. You can wear them if you are alright with the classic data.
Below are some of the Pros and Cons of The Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS that earned it a spot in our list of Best Hiking GPS For Hiking in 2021.
- It comes with a barrage of features like sunrise and sunset times, a trip computer, electronic compass, and barometric altimeter.
- It also has a high-sensitivity GPS receiver and reception for deep areas.
- You can read through a dual position in multiple formats.
- The battery life is good at 16 hours.
- It is a lightweight device that can be mounted on your arms quickly.
- The device does not cost much.
- The wearable device does not come with a map display.
The Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS is most suitable for the old-fashioned. However, it comes with all the features that you require. When you are not used to the arrows and obsolete features, then you can look for something else.
📗FAQ’s on Best Hiking GPS For Hiking
Below are queries on Best Hiking GPS For Hiking that everyone is expecting to answer and I did include the same for my readers.
(Q) Does GPS work without a phone signal?
The GPS works without a phone signal. Typically, map apps come with this ability. They do not need the internet to track your whereabouts. They can work on your iOS and Android devices like a smartphone or tablet.
GPS works on the frequency that is received in remote areas. However, at times, when the weather is poor, then you can find it extremely difficult to have signals. The GPS does not work using data service, but radio can work from the satellites if it needs to.
(Q) Do you require a GPS watch when you are hiking?
A GPS watch is a useful accessory to consider having when you are planning to go hiking in remote areas. It is always good to have a few items with GPS features in them with you when you are hiking in a remote area.
Usually hiking watches come with more features than what you can find in a traditional watch. Some of them include a compass, barometer, and altimeter. The GPS altimeter is more accurate than the traditional altimeter, and you do not need any calibration.
(Q) Does GPS use a lot of data?
GPS comes with features that need to use plenty of data. That is because you are zeroing in on a locality or entire region in some cases. This requires data to be used for accurately pointing the location of individuals.
At the same time, Google maps do not need so much mobile data during navigation. At most, it takes up 5 MB/hour. However, data gets used when you are planning your ride or trip to the destination using Wi-Fi.
(Q) How much does a good GPS cost?
Having a reliable GPS is vital for your journey. You do not want to compromise on the GPS service because of the price. They are not that expensive to afford either when your life’s on the line during hiking or trekking in remote areas.
Usually, you can find them for your vehicles and are priced less than $20-$30 per month. These GPS services are excellent and durable. However, if you choose ones that are priced $15, then you may want to be prepared for unpleasant surprises.
(Q) How accurate are handheld GPS?
Handheld GPS is accurate. They can provide you with the exact coordinates you want. Commercial GPS units combine the horizontal area of the location that you want to track or keep an eye on.
Not to mention, American devices like Garmin are sturdy and come with added features that make them very popular among hikers and trekkers alike. You can receive accuracy of more than 5 meters to 10 meters using a comprehensive area augmentation system (WAAS) signal.
We come to the end of our list. It is quite apparent that Garmin has the upper hand among the best hiking GPS devices for good reason. Except for a few handheld devices, their models are high in demand among consumers worldwide, especially in America.
Most of the handheld devices that we have discussed above are ideal for your navigation requirements. You can rest assured that they are reliable and durable. We highly recommend the Magellan eXplorist 310 Summit Series and the Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator.
These 2 hiking GPS devices are miles ahead of the others in terms of technology and usability features. When you are planning to purchase the best GPS for hiking or traveling to remote locations, then it is vital how you plan on using it.
The handheld devices should be able to catch weak signals. Mind you; they have been some bad experiences when users were not able to get signals. You could be trapped with an animal or face a medical emergency for all you know.
Hence, your device should be able to bail you out. It should come with a powerful battery, large screen, and preferably a camera. We hope that you found our above discussion on the handheld GPS hiking devices useful for your cause.
At the very least, we have taken you in the right direction with the models mentioned, and you know that you are right on track.
Do write to us in the comments section.
Safe trekking folks!