Part of the beauty of hiking is venturing off into unknown territory, the excitement and adventure of the unknown are something that has followed us throughout history.
But while it is exciting to explore the unknown, it is a good idea to be prepared for those moments that your map and compass aren’t enough to help you find your way back home. That is why I recommend that anyone who ventures into the wilderness carry a GPS with them.
Best Handheld GPS for Hiking
Global Positioning System
The best handheld GPS for hiking is designed to tell you EXACTLY where you are, so it makes sense that you have one handy in case you run into inclement weather and low visibility. Although all GPS units essentially function the same, there are still some things that you need to take into consideration before purchasing one. Today, we are going to help you decide which is best for you.
Garmin eTrex 10
The first one we will look at is the Garmin eTrex 10. The eTrex 10 is the least expensive on this list, at just below 100 dollars. It has a 2.2-inch display that is easily visible in both daytime and nighttime. The “AA” batteries that it takes gives you a healthy 25 hours of use and also has a preloaded worldwide basemap and paperless geocaching. It will also quickly determine your positioning by tracking GPS and GLONASS simultaneously.
Is this the GPS for you?
This is a good GPS and does what a GPS is made to do. With that said there are several other systems you can get that will last longer and be a little more accurate than this one. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, this should do just fine.
Garmin GPSMap 64st
The next one on the docket is another Garmin product. The GPSMap 64st is an excellent device for all of your hiking needs and then some. It has a large 2.6-inch display that can be easily seen in any lighting. The device also comes with a worldwide basemap, preloaded TOPO 100K, and a full years subscription to Birdseye Satellite Imagery.
The quad helix antenna keeps it online, even in the most densely wooded areas and the barometric altimeter on it provides the altitude that you are at by measuring the change in air pressure. Maybe the coolest thing about this piece of equipment is the ability to share your waypoints wirelessly with others (provided they are using a compatible device).
Is this the GPS for you?
This is an excellent piece of equipment, that will last for a very long time. The social aspect of the GPS Map 64 makes it a great device for groups of people that would like to share their favorite destinations. And the powerful antenna ensures your GPS won’t suddenly go offline at the most inopportune moments.
However, this device is a little more expensive than the average GPS, setting you back more than a couple of hundred dollars. If you aren’t too worried about sticking to a budget, then I would recommend this one for sure.
Garmin Oregon 750t
Another Garmin on the list and this is easily the most advanced device to date. The Oregon 750t is a handheld GPS with the capabilities of a smartphone. It has a three-inch touchscreen, built-in wifi, an eight-megapixel camera, and weather support with animated radar overlays (Making this the most connected handheld GPS there is).
Of course, it comes with your choice of Topo Maps (U.S. or Canadian) 100k and a one-year subscription to Birdseye Satellite Imagery. Like any other GPS, it gets your location quickly and gives you an altitude reading.
The connectivity of the Oregon 750t is astounding, and a revolution in the realm of handheld GPS. The ability to take pictures and get your locations on the same device is very convenient. And the fact that it is nearly damage proof makes it that much better.
Should you get this GPS?
I have spent a lot of time looking into the Oregon 750t, weighing the pros and the cons, and looking at its competition. My findings are this; this is the best device out there. The catch? Well, this system is costly, and I am not sure I can justify spending the amount of money needed to own it.
If money is no issue, then get it. If you are like the majority of people and aren’t looking to drop more than 500 dollars on a GPS, I would go with something a little less expensive.
Being isolated from society is so peaceful, and the calming effect it has on you can carry on for several weeks after you have gone back to your daily routines.
But nothing will destroy that inner peace faster than realizing you in the middle of nowhere, with no idea how to get back home. Do yourself a favor, get the best handheld GPS for hiking and make sure you don’t end up stuck in the wilderness for any longer than you initially intended.