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5 Best Handheld GPS for Hiking – Reviews and Features

 

Handheld GPS devices have grown over the years and if you enjoy hiking and exploring the mountains, you need one. You may be using your Smartphone, but does it always catch the signal that you need? No, it does not and that is why you need to look at the 5 best handheld GPS device for your hiking right here!

We know how hard it is to find the right one! If you are not a GPS unit fan you are going to find the reviews available with us interesting making you a number one fan in no time. Therefore, before heading out to the mountains with your phone check the following Handheld GPS reviews and choose the best one!

ImageNameBattery LifeFeaturesPrice
Garmin eTrex 10Garmin eTrex 10 20 HoursGLONASS support, Pre-Loaded Base MapCheck Price
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPSGarmin Foretrex 40117 Hourssunrise/sunset times, hunting/fishing information, electronic compass and barometric altimeterCheck Price
DeLorme inReach SEDeLorme InReach100 Hourscompass, barometric altimeter and accelerometer, Social Media Support, Text Message, SOS, Connectivity with Rescue and Monitoring Center Check Price
Garmin GPSMAP 64STGarmin GPSMAP 64st16 HoursBirdsEye Satellite , Garmin Connect Mobile (LiveTrack),
Compass/Accelerometer / Barometric Altimeter
Check Price
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital CameraGarmin Oregon 650t16 HoursDual-band GPS/GLONASS,8MP camera,3-axis compass, accelerometer, barometric altimeter, ANT or Bluetooth technology -wirelessly share routesCheck Price

5 Best Handheld GPS Devices

Garmin E-TREX 10

Garmin eTrex 10

Garmin eTrex 10

The Garmin E-TREX 10 is one of the best hiking GPS devices available today compared to other brands! Take charge of your next trip with the outstanding BaseCamp Software available for this model. With this compact rugged device, you get some greatly enhanced features included.

Outstanding Battery Life

As you are on the mountain for a long time, you need a GPS that is available for a long time. You can get this with the E-TREX 10 that has battery use of up to 25-hours and works with two AA batteries. Another outstanding feature is that it supports Geocaching GPX files straight to the unit. All the important information is stored directly in the device. It displays your location, the terrain, hints and more. Therefore, you do not have to enter your coordinates manually anymore.

Locate Your Position Fast

With the high sensitive, Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) enabled with HotFix satellite prediction you can locate your position fast. Even under heavy coverage or in deep canyons it maintains your location. The only thing that it cannot do is make a call but at least you will know where you are if ever lost!

Stand Out Features:

  • The E-TREX 10 is preloaded with a basemap and you can take charge of your next trip with the BaseCamp software
  • View and organize your maps, routes, tracks and waypoints with this device
  • With the free trip-planning software you can create your own adventure and share it with your friends
  • The BaseCamp presents you with a topographic map in 2D and 3D when displayed on your desktop
  • Transfer unlimited satellite images to the device once paired with the BirdsEye Satellite
  • It has a 2.2-inch monochrome display screen
  • It is WAAS-enabled and has HotFix and GLONASS support to locate your position fast
  • It is water-rated to IPX7 to protect it against rain and more
  • It supports paperless Geocaching
  • The battery has a 24-hour lifespan and uses two by AA batteries
  • The GPS handheld device measures 1.4 x 1.7 x 2.2-inches and weighs 5-ounces
  • The display resolution of the screen is 128 x 160 pixels
  • It holds up to 50 routes with a track log of 10,000 waypoints
  • You can buy the E-TREX 10 in four different models that are made up of the Base Model, One with a Barometric Altometer & 3-axis compass, one with color display and expandable memory, and one with a Geocaching Bundle
  • You get a one-year limited warranty on the device

Cons:

  • Has a small screen
  • The Topo Map is not preloaded

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • No need of downloading a manual as you receive a quick start up guide
  • It gets you from point A to B
  • The feature telling you about the sun, moon rise, and setting times, how much daylight you have left is superb
  • It has a feature advising you the best time of the day to fish or hunt
  • It tracks your movement when turned off
  • Can save locations in it to return to as it has a track back button
  • It is light to carry around
  • Has a long battery life and is wireless

Garmin Foretrex 401

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

The best handheld GPS for hiking is the Garmin Foretrex 401. Compared to the other handheld devices available from Garmin this one is a slim wrist-mounted model. It has a high-sensitive waterproof receiver, barometric altimeter, electronic compass and is lightweight. It has a USB port to transfer information to or from it. Alternatively, connect it wirelessly to any other device.

You Will Never Get Lost

With the Foretrex 401 on your wrist, you will never get lost as you can retrace your steps. The GPS device keeps track of every step you take and displays it on the screen with a dotted line. With the TrackBack feature turned on you can retrace your steps right back to the start. Save your location as waypoints in the memory leading you back to important places. It has a 17-hour battery life and you only need to replace the AAA batteries it works with.

It Gives You Important Information

Get helpful information via the GPS handheld as it gives you sunrise/sunset times, the best time for hunting and fishing and you can attach it to a wireless accessory such as a heart rate monitor. Store your waypoints to your PC or Mac with the USB cable and share your waypoints with friends.

Stand Out Features:

  • The Foretrex 401 you place on your wrist with the included expansion strap
  • It has a high-sensitive GPS receiver and for improved performance and reception it includes HotFix
  • You can keep track of your waypoints, trails and routes
  • Attach it to a heart rate monitor wirelessly
  • It uses two standard AAA batteries and gives you a life use of up to 17-hours
  • It has a physical dimension of 2.9 x 1.7 x 0.9-inches and weighs 3.1-ounces
  • The display resolution of the screen is 100 x 64-pixels and has an LCD display
  • The water rating is IPX7
  • It has a USB interface, barometric altimeter, electronic compass and unit-to-unit transfer wirelessly
  • Save up to 500 waypoints, 20 routes and 10,000 waypoints in the device memory
  • It keeps you updated with the best time to fish or hunt
  • It gives you sun and moon information
  • Included with your purchase you get the handheld GPS device, the wrists expansion strap, USB cable, user manual and a 12-month limited warranty
  • With the TrackBack, it retraces your steps
  • It supports dual position readouts to view your location in different formats

Cons:

  • A bit on the small side
  • Some difficulty with transferring data wirelessly

Pros:

  • It configures easily for MGRS (metric system)
  • Presents you with a 10-digit grid
  • It cuts down on weight
  • It withstands high temperatures, dust, water and more
  • Uses AAA batteries that are easy to carry around with you
  • It tracks elevation and distance well
  • Can upload your information to the Garmin BaseCamp that is free
  • It syncs to the satellites quickly
  • Highly recommended by for combat by the Marines

DeLorme In Reach Explorer with Built-In Navigator

DeLorme inReach SE

DeLorme inReach SE

The DeLorme in Reach Explorer with Built-In Navigator received the best hiking GPS review online. It is one of the most easy-to-use satellite messengers and very reliable. With this device in your hand, you can send unlimited messages. You can use it as a stand-alone or pair it with your Smartphone and all depends on what data plan you choose.

Gives You Global Coverage

Powered by Iridium it gives you an inclusive global coverage. You can use it as a two-way communication device and triggers SOS when in an emergency. You can send two-way text messages directly with the GEOS that is available 24/7.This means that you can send a 160-caracter text with your GPS coordinates to friends and family worldwide.

Amazing GPS Navigation

With the Explorer, you can create drop waypoints, view a route, see tracks, or navigate the onscreen map. It is also equipped with a digital compass, accelerometer, and barometric altimeter.

Stand Out Features:

  • The Explorer includes a barometric altimeter, accelerometer, and digital compass
  • It has an odometer and you can view useful trip statistics while outdoor such as moving average, your trip distance, max speed, and trip time
  • The battery gives you up to 100-hours of use when in 10-minute tracking mode as it has a lithium polymer battery
  • It has a color screen with a virtual keyboard and you can send predictive text
  • Use it as a standalone two-way device
  • The GPS is accurate up to 5 meters
  • It has IP67 water rating
  • The cover has a rugged design that is dustproof and impact-resistant
  • Send SOS messages via the GEOS emergency response center
  • The device measures 1.02 x 1.44 x 5.87-inches and weighs 7-ounces
  • It gives you 100% coverage globally and uses the Iridium satellite network
  • It locks onto satellites in environments with difficult GPS capturing and embeds your location coordinates
  • It pairs via Bluetooth to different mobile devices such as Android, Apple iOS, and your Kindle Fire
  • It keeps track logging, create waypoints, share your waypoints, route planning, receive message delivery confirmation, does location pinging.

Cons:

  • Expensive

Pros:

  • Easy to use one-handed device
  • Has SOS operation
  • Can use two-way messaging
  • Can interface with your phone
  • Pairs automatically when started
  • Saved a paragliders life
  • Requires no cell phone reception
  • Can use it as a stand alone

Garmin GPSMAP 64ST

Garmin GPSMAP 64ST

Garmin GPSMAP 64ST

For the hiker who enjoys using high-tech devices, the Garmin GPSMAP 64ST is all that you need. It features a readable color 2.6-inch screen and uses both GPS and GLONASS with the built-in receiver. For a superior reception, it has a quad helix antenna and includes a barometric altimeter, electronic 3-axis compass with wireless connectivity. The device is preloaded with TOPO U.S maps and includes a one-year subscription to the BirdsEye Satellite Imagery.

Easily Explore Your Terrain

The GPS handheld has a worldwide basemap that gives you shaded relief and includes all the required tools if you are a serious mountain climber. It gives you information on lakes, trails, points of interest and rivers.

Keep a Fix on your Position

As it has a quad helix antenna, you can easily locate your position and it keeps your position even under heavy coverage.

Specification and Features:

  • The GPSMAP 64ST is preloaded with a basemap
  • It has a high-sensitive GPS and GLONASS receiver
  • You get an electronic compass, accelerometer, and barometric altimeter built into the device
  • You can receive smart notifications when connected to your Smartphone
  • It is BaseCamp Mobile compatible
  • It has live tracking when connected to Garmin Connect Mobile
  • Preloaded with 250,000 Worldwide Geocaches
  • Receive one-year subscription to the BirdsEye Satellite
  • Supports TOPO US 24K, GARM, BlueChart g2, Navigator NT and more
  • The battery life usage is up to 16-hours and it uses two by AA batteries or you can use the NiMH battery pack and charge the batteries inside the device
  • The device measures 4.2 x 1.4 x 6.3-inches and weighs 0.58lb
  • It supports Bluetooth
  • The display screen is 2.6-inches with a display resolution of 160 x 240 pixels in color
  • You can share your waypoints, routes and more wirelessly with other devices
  • It has an IPX7 water rating
  • It has a built-in memory of 8GB and accepts microSD card not included
  • Has automatic routing and is Geocaching-friendly
  • Receive notifications on the best times for fishing and hunting
  • It does area calculation and has a picture viewer
  • You receive the handheld GPS device, a carabiner clip, USB cable, manual, the TOPO U.S 100K maps preloaded and you get access for a year to the BirdsEye Satellite

Cons:

  • The user interface is a bit confusing

Pros:

  • Has an awesome color screen that displays images well
  • Gives a strong signal even when it is raining
  • The GPS is accurate
  • Can create your own custom maps
  • The text notifications work well
  • You can retrace your steps if you do get lost
  • Has a long battery life, especially if you use the rechargeable batteries

Garmin Oregon 650T

Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera

Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera

Enter into the exciting world of hiking with the Garmin Oregon 650T in your hand – it is the best Hiking GPS handheld you can buy today. It does GPS and GLONASS tracking, making sure you receive information faster when out in the wild. It has the preloaded TOPO U.S 100K maps, a faster processor, and the worldwide basemap, with zoom and pan out usability on the multi-touch screen.

It Doubles Up the Power in Your Hand

It has an outstanding dual battery system and you can use it with normal AA batteries or the NiMH pack. With the NiMH pack, you can charge the device when connected to external power.

Has an Amazing Touchscreen

The touchscreen is sunlight readable and has a multi-touch dual orientation view screen that you can use with gloves.

Use it for Different Purposes

The Oregon 650T has built-in topographic data of the entire Alaska, Puerto Rico, U.S, and Hawaii. The worldwide basemap has shaded relief and all the tools you need to make your hiking trip easier. With the 3-axis compass and accelerometer, it shows you where you are heading to even when standing still. It locates your position and maintains your GPS location.  Use it wirelessly to share your hiking information or add your own maps.

Specification and Features:

  • The Oregon 650T has a high sensitive GPS and GLONASS tracking receiver
  • It comes preloaded with the TOPO U.S 100K maps
  • It has a worldwide basemap
  • It has a 3-inch multi-touch screen with a 240 x 400-pixel color display screen
  • The physical dimensions of the GPS devices is 2.4 x 4.5 x 1.3-inches and it weighs in at 7.4-ounces
  • It uses 2 AA batteries or the NiMH battery pack that allows you to charge the batteries inside the unit
  • The battery lasts up to 16-hours
  • It has an IPX7 water rating
  • It has an 8-megapixel camera with digital zoom and autofocus
  • It also has an electronic compass, barometric altimeter and wireless connectivity to share your trip
  • You can add maps to the device and it has a memory of 4GB and you can use a microSD card with it
  • You can add up to 4000 waypoints, 200 routes, and keep track logs with 10,000 points
  • It has automatic routing, geographical friendly, is custom map compatible, gives you important information on fishing and hunting, has a picture viewer, and does area calculation
  • When you buy the GPS device you receive included the Oregon 650T, a NiMH battery pack, USB cable, AC adapter, documentation, carabiner clip, and the preloaded TOPO U.S 100K maps

Cons:

  • A bit expensive but it is the cream de la cream of all GPS devices

Pros

  • The built-in camera is great to have
  • Can use third-party maps
  • Has a responsive touchscreen
  • The screens easy to read
  • Has a durable housing
  • Gives you extensive options to customize the unit
  • The included NiMH rechargeable batteries are super as you can charge it in the GPS handheld
  • Loaded with the TOPO maps
  • Can view elevation information, rivers, lakes, points of interest, and much more on this device

Final Thoughts

If you are planning a trip to the mountains, make sure to buy yourself one of our 5 best handheld GPS for hiking. With any of these devices in your hand, you will not get lost. Some of them have SOS features, text notifications, wireless connection, is loaded with some great maps, and all of them have a high water rating. Do not go out into the canyons or mountains without a GPS device. They are important units to have as the DeLorme in Reach Explorer saved a paragliders life. Do not become one of the many statistics that get lost while out on a hiking trip – these GPS models can save your life.

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