The Global Positioning System or GPS has become an inseparable part of our travel. Wherever we are going, we are taking the help of GPS. Even while going a few kilometers away, maybe to a grocery store, many of us use a GPS enabled app. Also, on long trips such as a cross-country road trip, it would be impossible without a GPS.
That clearly shows the importance of GPS in our lives. So, it is understandable that no one would dare to go into the deep woods without a device to help you find your way out, even if he or she does, it might turn out to be a terrible mistake.

A lion’s share of the hikers uses GPS for hiking activities. But why use a GPS for hiking when you have a GPS enabled app on your phone? Because the best handheld GPS is quite different from what you would expect to see in a standard driving GPS device or app.

It is quite understandable that due to its huge popularity around the globe, many manufacturers are producing handheld GPS devices. But it is also important to note that those sellers might also include scammers. And it comes quite difficult to find the right device which suits you the best, especially if you have no prior information.

It is the reason why we bring to you the top 10 best GPS for hiking. We have made the list keeping in mind various features like topographic maps, tracking, weather resistance, weather alerts, and battery life. These are all the features that can help you out in the wilderness, whether you’re trying to find a place to camp or retrace your path home, and thus can turn out to be a lifesaver for you.

Here is a glance at our top picks

  1. Magellan eXplorist 310 Summit Series
  2. Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator
  3. Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
  4. Garmin Oregon 600 Worldwide Handheld GPS
  5. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
  6. Garmin Montana 680t
  7. Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide
  8. Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S.
  9. Garmin GPSMAP 66st, Handheld Hiking GPS
  10. Garmin eTrex 30x, Handheld GPS Navigator

Without wasting any more time, let us go through them in details:

Best GPS For Hiking Detailed Review

#1 – Magellan eXplorist 310

Magellan eXplorist 310
The Magellan eXplorist 310 is the first GPS device in our list of the best garmin GPS devices available in the market that you can buy and has a long-lasting battery that comes in a compact, waterproof case.

Key Features

  • It has a 2.2-inch display with a topographic map.
  • It can also display elevation and is equipped with an active tracking mode.
  • This device is also waterproof and can be used in any weather condition.
  • It uses a custom rechargeable battery pack and has 18 hours of battery life.
  • It is also lightweight and weighs 5.1 ounces.

As said earlier, the Magellan eXplorist 310 has a 2.2 inches display that is bright enough and of small size. It’s also very affordably priced. The case equipped to the device is also rated to withstand up to 30 minutes of water immersion, and can also be used in the rainy season.

This GPS is equipped with an optional active tracking mode, that when turned on, will keep a track of your movements. This is very useful if you want to retrace your steps as it becomes very easy to follow your own path home. The display also shows your elevation, with both flat and topographic map modes, and uses a rechargeable battery pack, which lasts for about 18 hours.

However, to extend this time, you can put the device into a sleep mode that shuts off everything except the tracker, so you can keep track of your steps without running any other functions in the background. However, you need to be careful about using this device too often on long trips since the battery pack can’t be replaced by standard batteries.

PROS

  • It has a long battery life and is lightweight.
  • It has an optional sleep mode to increase battery life.
  • It is equipped with a bright screen and is accurate.
  • It is also quite affordable.

CONS

  • It has a small screen.
  • It doesn’t come with replacement batteries.

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#2 – Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator

Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator
The Garmin eTrex 20x is another compact GPS and is also the second GPS device in our list of the best GPS devices available in the market that you can buy. It is also loaded with plenty of features as discussed below.

Key Features

  • It is equipped with a 2.2 inches high-resolution display.
  • This device also has a topographic map and displays elevation.
  • It has manual tracking with waypoints to aid your hiking activity.
  • This device is also water-resistant and uses 2 AA batteries to power itself.
  • It has around 20 hours of battery life in general.
  • It is also very lightweight and weighs 5 ounces, having 3.7 GB of internal memory.
  • As an added advantage, it can read both GPS and GLONASS satellites.

The Garmin eTrex 20x is a handheld GPS device and has a small, 2.2-inch screen, with the 240 x 320 resolution that provides plenty of clarity. Also, the topographical map is exceptionally detailed and comes with an elevation display. In this device, you can also keep track of your travels by manually logging waypoints throughout your hike, so that you can trace your way back to where you started from.

This Garmin GPS device is powered by two AA batteries and can last for up to 20 hours on a pair if used moderately.

As an added advantage, the eTrex can also receive signals from the Russian GLONASS satellites in addition to the GPS. It gives you more options to choose from and can help you get around easily even if you’re having trouble locking on to GPS. Additionally, it has 3.7 GB of internal memory, which even allows you to download additional maps.

However, as a disadvantage, its interface is different from other Garmin GPS for hiking units and might take some time to learn how to use the new interface.

PROS

  • It has a long battery life and is quite lightweight.
  • It has a bright, and high-resolution screen.
  • AIso is also very accurate and acquires a signal quickly.
  • It is quite affordable.

CONS

  • It has a small screen.
  • It might take some time to learn about the interface.

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#3 – Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS

Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS
The Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS is the second product that rolls out from the house of Garmin and provides up-to-date weather forecasts and radar for the location of the owner.

Key Features

  • It has a 3 inches touchscreen display and comes with a topographic map.
  • It is also equipped with an automatic route tracking and displays elevation.
  • It is also waterproof and uses 2 AA batteries or rechargeable battery packs.
  • It has around 12 hours of battery life and weighs 8 ounces.
  • It also provides up-to-date weather information.

The Garmin Oregon 700 is equipped with a bright three-inch display that is easy to see even in direct sunlight. The GPS device is equipped with a standard topographical map and accepts a pair of AA batteries as an alternative to its rechargeable battery pack if it gets exhausted out there in the wild.

As an additional advantage, it also provides a current weather radar and forecast for the location you are in.

PROS

  • It has a rugged design and is equipped with a bright display.
  • It also includes a weather forecast system.
  • The device is quite affordable.

CONS

  • It is prone to freezing in extreme temperatures.

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#4 – Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS

Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS
We can’t get our eyes off Garmin, and here is the third Garmin in our list of the best Garmin GPS devices for hunting, named as the Garmin Oregon 600.

Key Features

  • It is equipped with a 3 inches touchscreen display.
  • It has a simple 2D map.
  • It also displays elevation and has manual tracking with waypoints.
  • It is also waterproof and uses 2 AA batteries with a backup rechargeable battery pack.
  • Approximately, it has 16 hours of battery life and weighs 7.4 ounces.
  • It has 1.5 GB of internal memory for storing additional maps.
  • As an added advantage, it can read both GPS and GLONASS satellites.

The Garmin Oregon 600 has around 16 hours of battery life and comes with a rechargeable battery pack or a pair of AA cells. It is equipped with a  3 inches touchscreen display that shows a clear image and is quite easy to operate. The Oregon 600 is compatible with GLONASS satellites as well as GPS, and thus provides you with additional benefits.

This device is equipped with a 1.5 GB of internal memory, that allows you to download additional maps if required. It is one of the lightest premium GPS devices available in the market and weighs approximately 7.4 ounces.

PROS

  • It is quite accurate and lightweight.
  • It also acquires a signal quickly and has good battery life.

CONS

  • It is quite expensive but is worth the price.

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#5 – Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
The Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS is the fifth GPS device in our list of the best GPS devices available in the market that you can buy and is a miniature GPS device that straps to your wrist and has a watch-like design.

Key Features

  • It has a 3 inches black-and-white display.
  • It has a simple compass and is equipped with a waypoint display.
  • It also displays elevation and has an automatic route tracking.
  • It is waterproof and uses 2 AAA batteries to power itself.
  • It has 17 hours of battery life and weighs 3 ounces.
  • It is also equipped with a built-in wrist strap by the manufacturer.

The Garmin Foretrex 401 isn’t your standard GPS unit. It mounts on your wrist like an oversized watch, and it doesn’t display any kind of map. Instead, it displays a black and white compass and a written record of your location.

This device will be the best for you if you are looking for a standard GPS unit that is quite compact in design and can be carried easily. The Foretrex 401 is very reasonably priced and weighs only 3 ounces, when combined both, creates a device that anyone can buy if needed.

It accepts two AAA batteries, which last for 17 hours, and also has a small internal battery that prevents you from losing your route information if you have to change the AAAs in the middle of a trip when they get exhausted.

PROS

  • It has a long battery life and is very lightweight.
  • It is quite easy to use and is also inexpensive.

CONS

  • It doesn’t display maps.

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#6 – Garmin Montana 680t

Garmin Montana 680t
Halfway down the lane in our list of the best GPS devices available in the market that you can buy, we have the Garmin Montana 680t which is a large, 4-inch touchscreen that is one of the largest that money can buy.

Key Features

  • It has a 4 inches touchscreen display and comes with a topographic map.
  • It also displays elevation and is equipped with automatic route tracking.
  • It is waterproof and uses 3 AA batteries or rechargeable battery packs to draw power.
  • This device has 16 hours of battery life and weighs 10.2 ounces.
  • As an additional advantage, it also tracks barometric pressure.
  • Like many devices in our list, this one also reads both GPS and GLONASS satellites.
  • It is equipped with a built-in 8-megapixel camera and syncs in with your PC.

The Garmin Montana 680t has a topographic map that comes with vivid detail on the large, 4 inches touchscreen display. It also has an impressively good battery life, approximately 16 hours on a set of three AA batteries, and also comes with a rechargeable battery pack, which has a comparable life, in case your battery gets exhausted.

This GPS also includes a built-in digital barometer, as an added advantage. However, it may not be quite as good as live weather radar, but it doesn’t require a wireless signal, and thus will be by your side wherever you travel. Also, the Montana 680t syncs with your PC, and thus keeps your family updated about your real-time location.

PROS

  • It has a large screen and a long battery life.
  • It is quite accurate and acquires a signal quickly.
  • It also keeps your family updated on your location in real-time.
  • The barometer added to the device helps predict weather changes even without a wireless signal.

CONS

  • It requires time to learn about the working of the device.
  • It is expensive.

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#7 – Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide

Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide
The Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide is the seventh GPS device in our list of the best GPS devices available in the market that you can buy and includes an impressive 4 GB of onboard storage.

Key Features

  • It has a 2.6 inches display with a topographic map.
  • It also displays elevation and has an automatic route tracking.
  • It is also water-resistant.
  • This device uses 2 AA batteries or rechargeable battery packs and gives up to 16 hours of battery life.
  • It weighs 1 pound and reads both GPS and GLONASS satellites.
  • It also has 4 GB of internal storage and syncs with your PC.

The Garmin GPSMAP 64s is an affordable, and reliable GPS device. It is very well built, and compact, with a Nokia-cell-phone-style design and rubberized case that makes it virtually impossible to damage from drops. The manufacturer has also included a 4 GB of internal memory, to save the maps.

However, as a disadvantage, the device is heavy but has more features than most of the GPS devices on the market.

PROS

  • It is durable and has good battery life.
  • It is quite accurate and acquires a signal quickly.
  • It allows your family to keep track of your location.
  • It is also affordable.

CONS

  • It is quite heavy and takes time to learn about its working.

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#8 – Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S.

Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S.
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st is a heavy-duty GPS device and is also the eighth GPS device in our list of the best GPS devices available in the market that you can buy.

Key Features

  • It has a 2.6 inches display with a topographic map.
  • It displays elevation and has automatic route tracking.
  • It is also water-resistant and uses 2 AA batteries or rechargeable battery packs that give 16 hours of battery life.
  • It weighs around 1 pound and reads both GPS and GLONASS satellites.
  • It has 8 GB of internal storage and syncs with your PC.

This model from Germin is quite similar to the previous one, except the fact that it includes 8 GB of internal storage instead of 4. This extra space allows you to take advantage of its second feature, which is more detailed topographic maps.

This device displays much more information on hunting boundaries, campsites, fishing locations, and other popular hotspots that you might want to visit.

PROS

  • It is durable and has good battery life.
  • It is very accurate and acquires a signal quickly.
  • It allows your family to keep track of your location.
  • It is also affordable.

CONS

  • It is also a heavy device.

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#9 – Garmin GPSMAP 66st

Garmin GPSMAP 66st
The Garmin GPSMAP 66st is a handheld hiking GPS that is designed to lock on quickly, with very high accuracy.

Key Features

  • It has a 3 inches display with a topographic map.
  • It also displays elevation and has an automatic route tracking.
  • It is water-resistant and uses 2 AA batteries or rechargeable battery packs.
  • It has 3-16 hours of battery life and weighs 8 ounces.
  • It also reads both GPS and GLONASS satellites and provides up to date weather information.
  • This device also provides a birds-eye view of the satellite mode for real-world imagery.

The Garmin GPSMAP 66st is another highly reliable garmin GPS device that can lock on to both GPS and GLONASS satellites for easy and convenient access. It also provides live weather updates and features like the birdseye satellite display. It gives you a Google Earth-like overhead view of your surroundings, which makes it easy to spot landmarks and other places that you might want to visit.

PROS

  • It has a bright, and glare-free display.
  • It includes weather forecasting and is very accurate.
  • Also, it acquires a signal quickly.

CONS

  • It has short battery life.
  • It is also expensive.

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#10 – Garmin eTrex 30x

Garmin eTrex 30x
Here comes the last device in our list of the best GPS devices for hiking, known as the Garmin eTrex 30x that gets up to 17 hours of battery life on a pair of AA batteries.

Key Features

  • It is equipped with a 2.2 inches display and a topographic map.
  • Features such as automatic route tracking and elevation display are also added to this device.
  • It is water-resistant and uses 2 AA batteries that provide 17 hours of battery life.
  • It has 3.7 GB of internal storage and includes BaseCamp trip planning software.

The Garmin eTrex 30x is a GPS device that can lock on to both GPS and GLONASS satellites and show various information through the 2.2-inch screen that is relatively small but bright enough to read under most conditions. It can also sync with Garmin’s BaseCamp PC app that lets you plan your trip.

PROS

  • It has a bright display and has good battery life.
  • It is also affordable.

CONS

  • It has a relatively small screen.

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Conclusion

If you are looking for the best GPS for hiking, it is important to keep in mind how you will be using it. For example, the best hiking GPS for long trips will be designed to offer a lot of features outside the range of any kind of wireless signal, so that even if you get lost in the wild, you can find your way out.

Another important feature is a powerful battery. A camping GPS will generally accept standard AA or AAA batteries as well as a battery pack. However, it is advised to always carry extra batteries if you’re taking an extended trip.