Since hiking is a good sport and recreational activity, a good number of people are becoming interested in it. Hiking allows you to get out and experience the feeling of being free. It is also a good exercise for your body and will help you release stress. Discovering new places is a very satisfying feeling for those who are constantly tied at their daily office work.
However, hiking activities are not exactly safe. When you go to various unfamiliar places, you are actually exposing yourself to a lot of risks. There is no knowing what kind danger awaiting in the wild even if a certain area you are planning to hike on is tagged as safe by authorities.
Why use a GPS tracker for your hiking?
Hiking is dangerous, so safety measures should be strictly followed. There is a prevalent possibility that you might get lost or injured in the middle of the hike. Injuries involving the legs will greatly affect mobility. Losing your way in a middle of nowhere is one of the biggest fears of hikers.
That’s why you should always keep your mobile phone with you during the entire hike. But, another problem is, not all places are covered by phone’s service provider. In fact, 90% of the world’s area has no mobile phone coverage.
That is where GPS device comes in. Using the power of GPS technology, you won’t lost your way while hiking. It will update you with your current location on the map and shows possible routes. GPS devices are also beneficial during rescue operations since authorities have a clue about your location. Calling for help using a GPS device is more effective and easy.
We have listed our top 10 choices of best GPS devices for hiking that you can buy now. Let’s dive into this devices’ features and consider which of them you really need.
1/ Satmap Active 12
Are you looking for a GPS that has an updated navigation feature? Then you must let your hands lay on Satmap Active 12, the device that earned our 1st spot. An upgrade from Satmat Active 10, this device can give more times better performance than the last version. This will be your perfect partner for hiking, trekking, hunting, backpacking, mountaineering, and geocaching. You will never have to worry about the battery life, it has a great source for you to use.
If you wanted to create a reroute or plan in advance and want it on a bigger screen, this device can cater that one as well. It has straight forward instructions on how you can use a software for your computer, where you can plan on a much bigger screen if you prefer. The screen is crystal clear, so don’t worry since it will not be affected so much by glares. It has built in shock protection and is water resistant, truly great for your exploration activities.
The device is only composed of 228 g, which is pretty light. It is made to be simple, yet very effective GPS device. If you’re a beginner, worry less, Because this device has a navigation that is said to be a piece of cake to make use of. It also has an amazing mapping system that gives you the authority to swap various maps.
You will never have to worry about buying all the physical OS maps out there, it’s on the device. The instructions are pretty simple and straightforward, so you will not have a hard time on predicting how to install it. The buttons are quite large and easy to press even if your fingers are protected by gloves or number due to coldness.
The battery of this device can last up to 12 hours and is replaceable with 3 AA standard batteries. If you’re looking for the best, never mind the price tag- it’s worth your money anyway. Pick the number 1 on our list, it will not reach there if it weren’t tested and proven to be effective and efficient.
Large display and glove friendly. Bluetooth capability.
It doesn’t have the 3-axis compass.
2/ GARMIN E-TREX 30
Earning our 2nd spot is Garmin eTrex 30x if you’re in a geocaching class this would be a great tool to bring with you along the way. It’s perfect for mountaineering, hiking, trekking, climbing, backpacking, and hunting. If you’re the type of person, who loves to bring light things. Did you know that this device is the smallest and the lightest device in this review? It weighs 7.36 ounces, which is pretty light.
If you are also engaged in outdoor sports, this will be very handy for you as well. It has also great water protection elements and has shock protection. This device will fit perfectly in your hands. This can be stored in your backpack’s hip belt pocket because of its small device. The only downside you may spot with this device, which brings it to the 2nd spot is because of its small screen size. But this device can provide decent readability.
It has a great resolution of 240x320 pixels. Yes, it will surely give you a crystal clear screen. It can show 65,000 colors. It has built in 3 axis electronic compass, WAAS, HotFix, and barometric altimeter. The electronic compass helps you visualize the direction even when the device is not held at the right level. The barometric altimeter shows you the precise altitude and can help you predict sudden changes in pressure.
The WAAS and HotFix features help you position quick and precise. The maps can easily be added to the MicroSD card. It can support various satellite images with the maps as well. Subscription is required to gain access to this feature. If you’re up for a hike, mountaineering, climbing or for outdoor activities, we suggest you bring this device with you.
Customize options and small in size. Great battery life and wireless data sharing.
3/ GARMIN E-TREX 30
If you have a great passion for Geocaching, this device will give you always the signal go to do so. It has the ability to download up to 4 million Geocaches. It has an amazing readability feature, so you can directly view various hints and descriptions on the device’s screen. The screen is pretty big, but the button may not work when you have gloves on. This device is great for hiking, trekking, hunting, mountaineering, backpacking, and especially Geocaching.
The Garmin Oregon 650t is meant to be designed with a 3-inch touch screen, which leads it to fall in our 3rd position compared to all the best GPS trackers for hiking all over the world. If it has a bigger screen, then the information display will be far greater. So, even on the sunniest day, you can still be able to view the right direction. It supports dual orientation views and multi-touch functions as well.
This device has built-in 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, and an 8 MP camera. It can gather the right directions and location more accurately and faster for this device has a high-quality integrated antenna that allows the device to function far better. This device has a filter option, in which you can sort the Geocaches by terrain, difficulty, type, and size. It has options that will help you to plan and organize your locations easier and better.
If you really want a getaway adventure these upcoming days, but isn’t sure about the weather, bring a GPS tracker perfect for your hiking activities. Your tours and various activities can be planned ahead with the Garmin BaseCapm app. This device comes with Topo U.S. 100K maps and additional maps that can be easily uploaded to the device. It’s easy to use if you need a tracker that has can perform an amazing performance and can function for a long time, give our 3rd GPS tracker place a green signal!
Good screen brightness and size is suitable for hiking.
Touchscreen as affected when raining and takes time when familiarizing all its features.
4/ Garmin GPSMAP 64st
If you’re up for an adventure this coming weekend, earning our 4th spot will be a great tool for you to bring. It is perfect for hiking, trekking, geocaching, backpacking, and mountaineering. If you’re also a type of person who always crave for an outdoor sport. You’ll also find this device quite handy and useful. The Garmin GPSMAP 64st is equipped with a bigger screen than the Garmin eTrex 30 x.
This device also has buttons situated below the screen instead of placing the buttons on the side. The updated Garmin device also have a greater height than the first one. Therefore, if you’ll compare it with Garmin eTrex 30x, this device will be less handy. But if you’re more type of a person who needs more simultaneous satellites, then this device is absolutely what you’ve looking for.
This device has GPS and GLONASS feature and can increase the satellite fix speed as well as the positioning it correctly. It is also made to have advanced features such as the electronic 3-axis compass, Bluetooth, and barometric altimeter. This device allows you to connect it to other Bluetooth devices wirelessly. It also supports giving you notifications such as text messages, missed calls, and other alerts from your phone that you need to be informed.
We say you give a go if you’re a type of a person who likes to be always connected to their loved ones. The notifications can be directly displayed on this GPS device. This device comes with the TOPO U.S. 100K maps and BirdsEye Satellite for 1-year imagery subscription. This device will be a great partner for you when you hike. But compared to eTrex 30x, it’s quite bigger, heavier, and has shorter battery life. Expect that this device’s performance can function robustly and can withstand severe weather conditions.
Good reception and glove friendly. Okay display.
Small display. Bulky and heavier.
5/ Magellan eXplorist 710 Waterproof Hiking GPS
This tracker is one of those rugged GPS devices that are very suitable for hiking. Since, hiking is not exactly an easy experience, a GPS device like Magellan eXplorist will be up for the challenge. It is waterproof and has a durable exterior that can withstand a decent amount of pressure and shock. If you are looking for a portable tracker that can keep up with your intense lifestyle, then this is the thing that you’ve been looking for.
Well-suited for handheld, Magellan eXplorist 710 Waterproof Hiking GPS is very comfortable for your hands. It allows you to grip the device firmly so that it won’t easily slip. Displaying a 3-inch touch screen, you will have no problem deciphering the information displayed on the device. A barometer altimeter and a 3-axis electronic compass will aid you in your expedition. Together with its 3.2 MP camera, microphone, and speaker, The Magellan eXplorist 710 is a well-equipped GPS device for your adventures. Recording geo-referenced images and voice notes is an easy task with this GPS device. It weighs 6.9 ounces so it is on the average side when it comes to portability. A $449.96 price tag doesn’t sound affordable too.
This GPS device is useful not just for hiking since it works like a regular GPS device. You can also use it whenever you are traveling in an unfamiliar city or place. It last for 16 hours when in use. Magellan eXplorist 710 also possesses a hunting and fishing calendar and information about the sun and the moon.
Good grip and wide screen. High-quality camera. Long lasting battery.
Booting the device takes a while. High price tag.
6/ GARMIN ETREX 20X
If you need a strong GPS tracker that will help you explore the whole world like a pro, Then Garmin eTrex 20x will be a perfect choice for you. It can give you accurate directions and let you explore the place better with its built-in 3-axis electronic compass, barometric altimeter, 3.2 MP camera, and microphone features. It’ll be a great partner for hiking, mountaineering, hunting, exploring, backpacking, and Geocaching.
It has a reliably upgraded display and can give you a clear visibility even if there’s a strong sunlight against it. It has a high resolution of 240 x 320 pixels. It has the ability to load greater load of maps for it has 3.7 GB of internal memory and microSD card slot that lets you load a variety of maps including TOPO 24K, BlueChart g2, HuntView, BirdsEyes Satellite Imagery, and City Navigator NT, though it may require you to subscribe, it’s still far favorable on your part as you can use it for your exploration activities.
You can have the GPS and GLONASS both turned on to even give you a more quality performance. It has a high-sensitivity and has HotFix satellite prediction. With the device’s eTrex built-in feature, you can quickly position your location precisely and accurately even in deep canyons, bad weather, and heavy cover.
It allows you as well to gain access to the preloaded base map, which includes the worldwide base map with a shaded relief. It has various amazing features and overall quality performance.
It’s an excellent GPS unit but may require a steep learning curve especially for first-time GPS user
the downside is- this device may not be so friendly for a novice or for entry users.
7/ Garmin Dakota 20
This version of Garmin Dakota 20 is smaller than Oregon and is also lower in price. It is also light in weight and retains a long battery life. The screen measures 2.6” diagonally and is also satisfyingly responsive. Additional features added in the device are the tri-axial electronic compass, barometer, wireless data transfer and micro-SD card slot.
It has a lower screen resolution of 160 x 240 pixels than other versions. Although it has a low resolution, it doesn’t mean that the device’s map is hard to read. It even works okay even when used under the sun. The device is very light so portability is not a problem. You can just slip it in your pocket and you should have a working GPS during the entire journey.
This is one of those affordable devices that you can acquire today. Standing at a price of $279.98 on amazon, it is definitely a bit lower in price than other GPS devices. Dakota 20 is not lagging behind when it comes to durability too. It is a rugged and waterproof, which makes it suitable for your hiking adventures. We know how important to have a waterproof GPS during outdoor activities. This device can last up to half an hour in a meter of water, so you will not be left with a broken device if you accidentally soaked this electronic device in a mud. Together with its three-way digital compass, you can get away using this device during hiking or other outdoor activities that require you to ask for direction.
Lower price and lighter in weight. Good battery life.
8/ DeLorme Earthmate PN-60
DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 Portable GPS Navigator is lightweight and affordable GPS device. If you are just looking for a device that can tell you the correct directions without having to spend a hefty amount cash, then you should consider this GPS device. Weighing only at 1.6 pounds, you will have a little problem carrying it along.
It comes with the DeLorme North American 10.0 topo software that allows you to navigate safely or upload your maps nice and easy. A complete U.S. topographic detail, roads, and trail coverage. It will also display some important details like boat launch sites, campgrounds, and hunting or fishing spots. It makes your hiking or camping a lot easier and safer by providing you with various beneficial information.
It has the highly-accurate 3-axis electronic compass just like other GPS device. This device is just a perfect companion for your adventures. The sensitive barometric altimeter will give elevation readings, which very useful for hikers and climbers. Other features like the NOAA nautical charts will assess in sea navigation while information about tides and moon phases are both a welcome addition.
DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 has an intuitive icon-based user interface that you will not find it hard familiarizing and navigating the device. It provides a 3.5 GB Flash memory and GPX file is exchange to SD card. DeLorme power management system also ensures maximum battery life with its ambient light sensor.
The durability of this device allows it to work even in extreme weather conditions like the coldness in the North Pole or the intense heat in Iraq. GPS devices are one of the most crucial tools during emergencies so having a durable and waterproof device is always a must.
Lower price than other GPS devices in the list. Durable and waterproof. Good battery life. Rechargeable battery. Light in weight.
Small display. Small display. Lower performance.
9/ DeLorme inReach Explorer
DeLorme inReach Explorer has the 2-way satellite messaging. It provides basic navigation functionality like routing, tracks, and waypoints. Barometric altimeter and compass are also provided with this GPS device. It is fairly durable, which makes it a suitable candidate for hiking and climbing.
The user can create or view routes, waypoints or just navigate using the map on the screen. It also provides the details of your trip like the distance and bearing. You can actually plan your route and let your family know about it. That is a very welcome feature that further ensures security. If an emergency occurs, you can actually trigger an SOS. You can communicate with their search and rescue monitoring center, which is really helpful and most likely a savior during emergencies. Since 90% of the world’s surface does not a mobile phone coverage, you can use this device to send and receive text messages.
With those features, this GPS device costs $370.00 on Amazon, which is more expensive than most devices mentioned in this list. It also has a very small display of 1.8 in. But, with the given ability to trigger an SOS and send or received text messages using this satellite communication device, it may be worth the price tag. It will keep you safe and connected with the rest of the world.
SOS trigger and text messages sending.
More expensive and has a small display.
10/ Garmin Montana 680
Garmin Montana 680 is the GPS device that you can count on if you like good reception and fast receiving capability. It has a 8 MP camera and 4 GB internal memory. This device provides good accuracy too.
It has 250,000 preloaded worldwide geocaches from Geocaching.com and a 1-year Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription, which is a bonus feature for this GPS device. You can also organize and navigate in waypoints, routes, and track logs. It has a very sensitive WAAS-enabled GPS receiver that can readily point out your location precisely. Garmin Montana 680 is a great partner for your adventures worldwide. It also has Hotfix satellite prediction and GLONASS support.
What you will probably like about this GPS device is the 4-inch touchscreen display. It has an easy to use interface and rechargeable battery pack. What you may not like about this GPS device is its heavy weight. It possessed a weight of 1.4 pounds, which is really not suitable for your pocket. This GPS device is also more expensive than other devices on this list. But, overall, Garmin Montana 680 is a very capable GPS device for your adventures and outdoor activities.
Large display and waterproof. Great reception and allows wireless communication.
Expensive and heavy.
Now that you have read all there features, we hope that you’ve finally chosen your GPS device. Hiking is risky activity so buying a GPS device before proceeding is a very healthy decision. Don’t forget to let your family know that you are about to go hiking and don’t forget to practice safety measures during the entire activity.