When you go out camping, it is likely you will get caught in bad weather that may compromise your visibility or unmarked trails that may lead you to a wrong route. The worst thing that can happen to you is getting lost in the middle of nowhere. The good news is, you can always trace back your routes by using GPS. But, what kind of GPS will serve you well? Here are some few tips for choosing the Best GPS for Hiking.
Best GPS for Hiking : How to Choose them?
1. Mapping feature
Maps make navigation less stressful because you can always find your way back. Sadly, not all GPS you will come across have this feature. So, check out if the GPS you are planning to buy has maps.
2. Storage capacity
Maps require a large storage maps. Fortunately, you can always add more storage space to your GPS using a memory card. So, ensure that what you buy has a memory card slot for extra storage.
Since you might have to get through harsh weather, it is vital that you have a GPS that sturdily built to survive through it. When choose the best GPS for hiking firstly ensures that what you buy shockproof, windproof and strong enough.
4. Battery type and Performance
Finding out that your battery is dead when you need it most, can be frustrating, especially if you don’t have any other options of charging it. One of the best batteries for GPS should last at least 15 hours. To avoid any inconveniences, you can buy the ones having a dual battery system. Dual battery system gives you two options: you can either use a rechargeable or a non-rechargeable battery.
Tree Canopies in the forest can easily compromise the sensitivity of a GPS. To avoid this from happening chose a GPS that features a high-sensitivity chipset. These can perform perfectly even in bad weather.
6. Size of the screen
Bad weather can easily interfere with your vision making it harder to read your GPS. So, ensure the screen is big enough. It might be a little bulky than expected but will save you a lot of trouble.
Best GPS for Hiking: Quick Comparison
GPS for Hiking by Brand
#1 Garmin Foretrex 401
Garmin Foretrex 401 offers you a variety of amazing features you will rarely find with any other GPS. One of them is a TracBack mode that makes it easy to find your way back if you get lost. It features a bright LCD screen that is readable in sunlight as well as bad weather.
Other astounding features include a lightweight design of only 87 gram, a high-end triple-A battery that lasts up to 18 hours and a barometric altimeter for tracking the altitude. One thing that impressed me most is its high-sensitivity receiver that performs despite many tree covers.
- It comes with a long lasting battery that goes up to 18 hours.
- You can always trace your way back when you get lost with a TrackBack feature.
- It features an amazing wrist wrap for a comfortable wear.
- Its small size makes it easier to carry.
- The altimeter watch that is included performs poorly.
#2 Garmin Fenix GPS Watch
Just like Garmin Foretrex 401, Fenix GPS watch has a TracBack feature that helps you figure out your way back to starting position when you’ve lost your way. Also, it has an altimeter watch, a compass and a barometer for easier navigation.
One feature I liked most is its battery life that goes up to 50 hours. Other useful features include a high sensitivity navigator, a worldwide basecamp, and a heart rate display. Its batteries are rechargeable, it uses 26-millimetre lugs and the best part, you can link it to Google maps.
- The barometer included is detailed and highly sensitive.
- Just like any other handheld GPS, it works with maps directly.
- Its internal storage allows you to store your routes and tracks.
- Its battery can last up to 50 hours.
- Its inbuilt memory has a limited storage space.
- The route locator is not as accurate as expected.
#3 TomTom VIA 1535TM GPS
If you want the best GPS for hiking with a larger screen for easy viewing, then TomTom may serve you best. The combination of a voice recognition and free Bluetooth calling makes it a perfect choice when traveling in a car. With a 5-inch screen, you will never miss any reading plus it has the best user interface.
It also comes with a traffic update so that you can avoid any inconvenience. It is completed with an amazing finish of brushed aluminum and the best part, features an extremely accurate routing capabilities. One downside is that it will only perform when you are driving since it is big and bulky to carry.
- The routing accuracy improves as you travel
- It features high-graphics plus customizable onscreen fonts
- The screen is large enough for accurate reading.
- The touch screen might fail to perform in harsh weather.
#4 Garmin Oregon 650t
Garmin offers you another top-notch handheld hiking GPS, much better than the previous version, the 600t. It comes with a 3-inch touchscreen display with a multi-touch feature and easy to read even when in sunlight. With a double-band GLONASS positioning, tracking and locating your route is made much easier.
It also features an ANT technology that allows you to share tracks, geocaches, and maps between devices. Lastly, it has a dual orientation that allows you to switch between different portrait views.
- Its design is quite fascinating.
- The screen is large enough making reading much easier.
- Its features are simple and easy to use.
- The price is incredibly high for a hiking GPS.
#5 Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld Hiking GPS
Garmin eTrex 10 is a perfect choice if you want a rugged GPS device that will perform just anywhere. Its screen is much smaller compared to 650t and Garmin Fenix, but with much better graphics. Another spec you will love is a monochrome display that allows you to read the GPS without straining your eyes even when there is too much light.
Its GPS receiver is highly sensitive, and WAAS enabled improving its performance in a thick jungle. The manufacturers also included, GLONASS and HotFix to increase positioning.
You will also like its longer lasting base map that makes it easier for you to trace your location no matter how far you’ve gone. The batteries last up to 20 hours, it weighs only five ounces and the best part, features a lot of useful accessories.
- This is a GPS I can carry around with less worry since it is small and light.
- The features are simple, easy to use and read well in all weather conditions.
- You don’t have to worry about getting lost in the forest since its receiver is highly sensitive.
- Loading maps take a lot of time.
- Buying the maps might be expensive.
So what's the Best GPS for Hiking?
Garmin Foretrex 401 has every feature to like and with TracBack technology you never have to worry about losing any route. Garmin Fenix GPS Watch is almost similar to Garmin 401 but has a longer lasting battery that can survive 50 hours. TomTom VIA 1535TM and Garmin Oregon 650t might earn some credits for their large and easy-to-read screens, but I’ll have to leave any of them in my car or bag because they are bulky. That leaves us with, Garmin eTrex ten worldwide. Is it worth a top rank in this list? Of course yes. It has an averagely-sized screen; it is priced fairly, and the best part has every feature. I’ll need to avoid getting lost. If you are on a tight budget and looking for the Best GPS for Hiking, I would recommend you try Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide.
Images Credit: Amazon