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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Hiking GPS Devices

Our reviews cover watches, handheld units and apps all designed to help keep you safe when hiking or backpacking.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Hiking GPS Devices

Our reviews cover watches, handheld units and apps all designed to help keep you safe when hiking or backpacking.

by PITeam

by PITeam

A hiking GPS device is the best way to protect yourself when hiking in new territory and in the backcountry where cell service is limited or nonexistent. A hiking GPS device allows hikers to navigate trails when there is poor visibility due to the weather, or the path is difficult to mark because it lacks distinguishing features.

If hikers run into a dangerous situation and need medical attention, many GPS devices also have rescue capabilities and communication tools. Choosing the best hiking GPS device for your journey will give you the greatest opportunity to trek safely and make the most of your surroundings.

Image

Product

Battery Type

Battery Life

Check Price

Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS,...

Garmin Instinct GPS

Lithium Metal Battery (included)

14 days (smartwatch mode) 16 hours (GPS mode) 50 hours (UltraTrac battery saver mode)

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401

AAA batteries

17 hours (in navigation mode)

Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide with High-Sensitivity...

Garmin GPSMAP 64s

AA batteries

16-hour battery life

Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite...

Garmin inReach Explorer+

Lithium Polymer battery

Up to 100 hours at 10-minute tracking mode, up to 75 hours at 10-minute tracking with 1-second logging

Garmin GPSMAP 62SC Handheld Navigator

Garmin GPSMAP 62sc

AA batteries

16 hours

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

Garmin Oregon 650t

AA batteries

-

Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

Garmin ETrex 10

AA batteries

25 hours

How Hiking GPS Systems Work

Hiking GPS devices work by combining GPS technology with long operating times via replaceable batteries. The GPS technology makes it possible to pinpoint your location even in places with poor satellite reception. GPS, also known as a global positioning system, uses the satellite system to identify where a single person is standing. There are currently more than 30 different navigation satellites circling Earth.

These satellites communicate with a GPS receiver in the hiking GPS device. Ground stations on Earth also interact with the receiver. The result is that your device can measure the distance from your hiking GPS receiver to the ground stations and above Earth satellites to determine where you are located. For more information on this useful technology, you can read this blog post from NASA.


Types of Hiking GPS Devices

  • GPS Handheld Trackers:
    These are the most accurate GPS devices and also offer the greatest battery length. They also tend to provide more sophisticated views of trails and outdoor surroundings. It can also include rescue options for dire circumstances.
  • GPS Watch:
    Similar to the GPS handheld trackers, but offers fewer features because the screen is smaller. It may not be as easy to view trails or surroundings, but is generally more portable and may sync better with smartphone technology.
  • Smartphone GPS Apps:
    Offline GPS apps use your smartphone's built-in GPS to navigate for you while you explore. These work well for local hikes and small hikes, but the battery life is weak for long backcountry hikes.

Why It Is Smart to Use GPS Tracking Devices

Using a GPS device offers unique benefits when hiking, particularly when hiking in the backcountry. Most hiking GPS devices are water-resistant, which makes them able to withstand rain or accidental water spills in a way that a mobile device cannot.

They are also built for tough situations and are made with rugged durability perfect for the outdoors. If you drop your phone onto rocks, for example, the GPS device won't break while your phone is likely to come away with at least a cracked screen and possibly significant operating damage.

GPS devices also come with long-lasting battery life and replaceable batteries. The satellite reception is also more accurate, particularly in remote places.


Choosing a High-Quality GPS System When Hiking

Construction & Design

Each GPS device is built with different specifications, but we recommend reviewing the shock and abrasion-resistant qualities of each model as well as the overall durability and water-resistant rating.

Water ratings are measured from IPX, which can withstand rain, snow, or showering to "Dive," which can withstand complete submersion while diving. Some devices are also "wearables," which means that you can wear them around your wrist, arm, or neck. 

Display

Most display sizes range from 2 inches to 5 inches depending on the type of GPS device. The larger the screen size, the more visual elements are included, such as detailed map data. Larger screens will also be easier to view. Some GPS devices have a touchscreen component, while others use "hard" buttons.

Touchscreen devices save valuable screen real estate but can be challenging to operate while wearing gloves, so winter hikers might prefer more durable physical buttons.

GPS Receiver Type, Positioning Technology

WAAS, also known as the wide-area augmentation system, is the primary GPS positioning technology used by GPS devices today. WAAS is only available in North America. GLONASS, also known as Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema or Global Navigation Satellite System, is the Russian GPS system.

It is the only alternative to the North American WAAS. GLONASS can be used worldwide. Many GPS devices use both WAAS and GLONASS to provide the most accurate coordinates and increase the data speed. Garmin’s new GPS devices have options to use both WAAS and GLONASS.

Maps

Garmin has downloadable and pre-installed maps for their GPS devices. Garmin has an option to connect your GPS to your computer, where you can perform updates and install new maps as soon as new map options are available.

Garmin has several mapping software options, including MapSource, BaseCamp, and MapInstall. We recommend making sure that your maps are updated every six months and specifically adding detailed map installs for any known hiking destinations.

Battery

Most hiking GPS devices use AA or AAA batteries. Depending on the type of device, you may get anywhere from 8 hours to several weeks. Battery length also depends on the number of functions you use on your device. Different devices have different modes, and these modes use different amounts of power.

Consider how long you plan to go on hikes and choose a device that you won't need to replace batteries multiple times. This may be unavoidable if you plan to use the device for a more extended trip, such as a PCT or ATC hike. In this instance, you will be forced to change batteries many times throughout the journey.

Wireless & Radio Capability

Certain hiking GPS devices offer additional radio capabilities such as two-way text messaging. Wireless connectivity is also a possibility with some devices, and this makes it possible to share routes and tracking with third parties. Wireless connectivity is not necessary, but it is helpful.

Reception Quality, Ease of Use

Reception quality varies depending on the sensitivity of the GPS receiver. Most GPS manufacturers do not print their sensitivity ratings. Look for a hiking GPS that features a “high-sensitivity” profile compared to a “sensitive” profile. You can learn more about GPS sensitivity from National Instruments.

Versatility/Extra Features

There are several extra features you might want to consider for your hiking GPS device: an altimeter, barometer, and compass. An altimeter measures the altitude of an object, which can help you determine location and is particularly helpful when climbing mountains.

A barometer measures air pressure, which can help your device provide more accurate weather information. Often an altimeter comes with a barometer and the two work in tandem. A compass helps determine your direction and is included in all standard GPS devices.

Dimensions & Weight

Most Garmin GPS devices weigh approximately 2 to 15 ounces. Some come in wearable watch forms or can be hooked around the hiker’s arm. Others are best added to your backpack or attached to a lanyard. Additional accessories are available on Amazon to help carry your GPS while hiking.

Price & Warranty

Most hiking GPS devices cost between $50 and $400 with limited one year warranties. Price and warranty vary depending on the brand. Garmin offers a limited one year warranties for all of their GPS devices.

Heart Rate Monitor

A heart rate monitor is an additional feature present on some hiking GPS devices. The heart rate monitor allows hikers to monitor their heart rate and get trackable data to record their fitness levels. This can be an excellent feature for those who hike or run their trails. It can also monitor resting heart rate and ensure optimal recovery times during breaks.


7 Best Hiking GPS Devices Reviewed

1. Garmin Instinct GPS

best GPS watch for hiking

Device Size

1.8 x 0.6 x 1.8 inches

Weight

1.76 ounces

Battery Type

Lithium Metal Battery (included)

Battery Life

14 days (smartwatch mode) 16 hours (GPS mode) 50 hours (UltraTrac battery saver mode)

Memory/Storage Capacity

16 MB.

Warranty

Yes, one year limited warranty

The Garmin Instinct GPS device is the best GPS watch for hiking. It starts with an impressive aesthetic that looks great on any wrist. Modern activity watch with a thin band and clean face. The Garmin Instinct comes in eight different colors: graphite, tundra, flame red, sunburst, lakeside blue, seafoam, black, and coyote tan. The black face remains the same across each color iteration. With each color iteration, there is a "tactical edition" option.

The tactical edition adds considerable cost but offers night vision goggle compatibility, stealth mode, and dual grid coordinates. If you plan to hike at night and want to be protected or would like additional data points, this is the best backpacking GPS watch for you.

Continuing with the tactical angle, Garmin constructed this watch with military-grade components for rugged durability and water resistance. This watch can be worn while swimming and in open water. In fact, the watch even records swim metrics (in open water and pools) such as distance, pace, stroke count, lap count, and swim efficiency as well as calories burned.

This watch is also supported by WAAS and GLONASS to offer the best GPS services so your location can always be tracked accurately. The heart rate monitor is built-in and provides an athletic component to the watch with heart rate features such as monitoring your heart rate zone, providing heart rate alerts, heart rate calories, % heart rate max, and broadcasting heart rate info with a synced device.

We love the additional apps, bands, cases, covers, and cycling accessories available for the Garmin Instinct. This makes the cost of the watch well worth it when you can customize the watch for your specific hiking or workout needs. This GPS watch power bundle includes an HD screen protector and PlayBetter portable charger to keep your watch safe and active.

If you need a large screen to view detailed map data, then this watch might not be your best option. However, if you want a portable and sophisticated watch with premium GPS tracking options, including WAAS and GLONASS, then this watch is for you. The gorgeous aesthetic and military-grade components elevate this watch as our premium pick for hikers who want the best GPS watch.

Pros

  • Attractive aesthetic can be worn in your regular life as well
  • Constructed with military-grade components for rugged durability and water resistance
  • Heart rate monitor built-in

Cons

  • Expensive GPS option
  • Smaller screen size for viewing maps, routes, and data

2. Garmin Foretrex 401

best cheap GPS watch for hiking

Device Size

1.7 x 0.9 x 2.9 inches

Weight

3.04 ounces

Battery Type

AAA batteries

Battery Life

17 hours (in navigation mode)

Memory/Storage Capacity

Not listed. Estimate 2 MB.

Warranty

Yes, one year limited warranty

The Garmin Foretrex 401 is one of the most affordable and inexpensive GPS watch options on our list for hikers. This GPS watch has a battery life of up to 17 hours in GPS mode. A dual-position readout shows hikers their elevation, moving average, and location. Sunrise and sunset times are also included as well as an electronic compass and an altimeter/barometer combo. The device is also water-resistant. HotFix technology helps to ensure coverage when deep in canyons or rocky locations.

Another benefit of this watch is the available hunting and fishing information included. It shows an area calculation as well as the calendar dates for the seasons. For a hiker who is an avid outdoorsman, this is a feature that can be useful. This watch also includes Garmin’s TracBack feature, which allows hikers to retrace their path when necessary. This can help hikers avoid getting lost.

This is the best cheap GPS watch for hiking. It is a bit bulky and outdated when it comes to aesthetics, but it does deliver in performance. The low memory size (approximately 2 MB) can be frustrating if you want to install thousands of maps, but most people won't run into problems. An add-on heart rate monitor is available but is sold separately. For a watch at this price point, you won't find anything better.

If you want an affordable GPS watch to take hiking and hunting or fishing, we recommend this Garmin watch. It has everything you need for a basic trip and is a perfect entry GPS model.

Pros

  • Affordable watch option
  • Hunting and Fishing information included
  • TracBack feature helps hikers retrace their path when necessary

Cons

  • Low memory size
  • Bulky watch face

3. Garmin GPSMAP 64s

best handheld GPS for hiking

Device Size

2.4 x 1.4 x 6.3 inches

Weight

9.28 ounces

Battery Type

AA batteries

Battery Life

16-hour battery life16-hour battery life

Memory/Storage Capacity

4 GB and microSD card slot

Warranty

Yes, limited one year warranty

The Garmin GPSMAP 64s is a great handheld navigator choice with GLONASS and WAAS capabilities. The device includes customizable options (can be purchased as a base model, with ANT & Bluetooth, with ANT & Bluetooth & a camera, and with Canada TOPO). High-sensitivity GPS has a quad-helix antenna. A 3-axis compass comes with an altimeter and barometer combo. This antenna and compass system makes it possible to know precisely where you are even in rocky locations or heavy tree cover. 

The color screen offers 2.6” of display space and is readable even in sunlight. A 4 GB memory and a microSD card slot can hold thousands of loaded maps. A free 1-year birdseye satellite imagery subscription is also included to create clearer, more detailed images.

This handheld GPS device can last up to 16 hours in the field and can share geocaches, tracks, routes, and waypoints wirelessly. Smart notifications make it possible to stay connected to your smartphone with notifications appearing on your handheld device.

A fun aspect of this Garmin handheld navigator is its ability to sync with Geocaching.com. There are 250,000 preloaded caches, including hints and full descriptions from the site to help you find geocaches. It's a great way to add a fun element to your hike and help you explore new places.

The device weighs 9.8 ounces and is relatively lightweight. The long 16-hour battery life means you won’t need to replace batteries often while hiking. The primary reason you might wish to choose another device is that this device requires a map subscription for most of the detailed map options.

If you want a mid-range handheld navigator with a clear color screen, this best backpacking GPS is a great choice.

Pros

  • High-sensitivity GPS with ANT, Bluetooth, GLONASS, and WAAS capabilities
  • Color screen with 2.6” of display space
  • Free 1-year birdseye satellite imagery subscription for clearer, more detailed images

Cons

  • Maps come with a free 1-year subscription but then the ability to add maps will cost you
  • Expensive compared to similar models with more advanced features

4. Garmin inReach Explorer+

best handheld hiking & hunting GPS

Device Size

1.5 x 2.7 x 6.5 inches

Weight

8 ounces

Battery Type

Lithium Polymer battery

Battery Life

Up to 100 hours at 10-minute tracking mode, up to 75 hours at 10-minute tracking with 1-second logging

Memory/Storage Capacity

2 GB

Warranty

Yes, limited one year warranty

The Garmin InReach Explorer+ is one of the most expensive options on our list, but it is also the option with the most packed feature set. This device is the best handheld hiking & hunting GPS navigator. It has a 3-axis compass and a high-sensitivity GPS that uses both WAAS and GLONASS.

Aesthetically the device features a color screen with a resolution of 200 x 265 pixels. The display size is 1.4”x 1.9” and is clear as well as easy-to-read. Aesthetically the device is simple and slim compared to other options.

A water rating of IPX7 means that you can’t go swimming or diving with this device, but it can be taken into rain and snow conditions. It can also withstand liquid splashes. The USB connection makes it easy to connect to any computer.

Pre-loaded maps make it easy to start using the device immediately with North America SKU loaded as well as Canada and Mexico. An altimeter and barometer combo is also included. Although the device doesn't include a camera,  there are not many GPS devices that do. 

Two-way communication options are perfect for hikers who want to communicate with loved ones while off the grid. This does require a subscription service, however. For hunters, this device offers additional options with downloadable hunting maps.

If you want a GPS navigator with premium features, including a color screen, detailed maps, hunting details, and SMS capabilities, then this device is a great choice.

Pros

  • Sleek and modern profile for a navigator
  • Large color screen is clear and detailed
  • Premium Options and Add-Ons Available

Cons

  • No camera
  • Satellite subscription service required to enable two-way text messaging

5. Garmin GPSMAP 62sc

best handheld GPS for hiking, kayaking, golf and more

Device Size

1.4 x 2.4 x 6.3 inches

Weight

7.9 ounces

Battery Type

AA batteries

Battery Life

16 hours

Memory/Storage Capacity

3.5 GB

Warranty

Yes, limited one year warranty

The Garmin GPSMAP 62sc is a powerful handheld navigator with a 3-axis compass, altimeter/barometer combo, and a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus. When purchasing BirdsEye Satellite imagery, you can create custom maps and see trail detail in refreshing detail. Aesthetically, the device isn't the most attractive, but it makes up for this with its rugged appeal. The sturdy quality ensures that you won't break the device by accidentally dropping it.

The device is water-resistant, but unfortunately, with an IPX7 rating, it is not cleared for swimming or diving. The device can get wet from rain or snow as well as showering but cannot be submerged. You can share wirelessly with friends and family, including your waypoints, routes, tracks, and geocaches. The camera also includes tracking features so that each photo will be geotagged, and memories can easily be preserved.

When you hike deep into a forested area or a canyon, the GPS location will stay accurate thanks to HotFix satellite prediction and the WAAS and GLONASS GPS receiver. Although this Garmin GPS handheld navigator comes with preloaded maps, you can also add your own maps with marine, road, and topographic views all available.

If you want a handheld GPS navigator with a camera, this is one of your only options. The 3.5 GB version comes with a camera as well as the compass and altimeter/barometer combo. We recommend this unit for hikers who want to leave their smartphones at home but still capture visuals.

Pros

  • Dynamic color screen readable in sunlight and 2.6”
  • High-sensitivity receiver with WAAS and GLONASS connectivity
  • High-speed USB and NMEA 0183 compatible

Cons

  • IPX7 water rating does not clear this GPS device for swimming or diving
  • Display is harder to read compared to other models

6. Garmin Oregon 650t

best hiking GPS with camera

Device Size

4.5 x 1.3 x 2.4 inches

Weight

7.4 ounces

Battery Type

NiMH - 2 AA batteries required (included)

Battery Life

-

Memory/Storage Capacity

4 GB

Warranty

Yes, limited one year warranty

The Garmin Oregon 650t is the best hiking GPS with camera option for hikers. It's expensive, but it has every premium feature a hiker could want, including an 8-megapixel autofocus digital camera. The camera geotags every photo so that hikers can remember exactly where they were when each shot was snapped.

A 3-axis compass with an altimeter/barometer combo ensures that you get accurate location recordings wherever you are while hiking. Head into a canyon or rocky location, and you will still be able to see where you are on this device.

A color touchscreen display is 3” wide and sunlight-readable, which makes it easy to see where you are going and what the terrain looks like. Preloaded maps give you details upfront, but you can also purchase a satellite subscription to get more detailed maps.

A dual battery system of both AA batteries and a NiMH battery park helps your device last longer while on the trail. Bluetooth, ANT, and wireless technology allows you to share your location and updates with your friends and family. Track waypoints, photos, and geocaches with the Garmin GPS device’s tracking system.

This unit is not water-resistant, and this may be a problem for hikers who expect to travel in high humidity areas or particular areas that experience snow. If your conditions are going to be wet, then this unit won’t be a great choice for you. However, if you do not need a water-resistant device and plan to keep your device tucked away or stay in relatively dry conditions, then this is a steal. An affordable GPS device with a digital camera is rare.

Pros

  • One of the few hiking GPS devices that comes with its own camera; 8-megapixel autofocus digital camera
  • Color touchscreen display is 3” wide and sunlight-readable
  • 3-axis compass with altimeter/barometer combo

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not water resistant

7. Garmin ETrex 10

best budget hiking GPS

Device Size

2.1 x 4.0 x 1.3 inches

Weight

5 ounces

Battery Type

AA batteries

Battery Life

25 hours

Memory/Storage Capacity

Not listed.

Warranty

Yes, limited one year warranty

The Garmin ETrex 10 is the best budget hiking GPS on our list. This device is cheap, and one of the most inexpensive GPS devices on the market yet comes with a great list of essential features. The device itself is built with rugged durability in a closed case system.

It can withstand long falls. The monochrome display isn't in color but is easily readable even in sunlight. Weighing in at a little over five ounces, this is also a lightweight device that is easy to carry or add to your pack. You can add 1,000 waypoints, 50 routes, and 10,000 points or 100 saved tracks to your device as you hike.

A USB connection allows you to connect to your computer to update software and download maps. BaseCamp software is also available with this model and lets hikers view maps as well as organize them with waypoints, tracking, and route views.

The software allows hikers to share with friends and family so loved ones can stay in the loop. This model does not have wireless sharing, but the BaseCamp software can share plans before hikers set off on the trail. In addition, basic data including a hunting calendar, fishing calendar, and sun and moon information is available on the device.

If you want a bare-bones GPS hiking device, this is the model for you. It's cheap, affordable, and has all of the basic features you need to get started.

Pros

  • 25-hour battery life for long hikes
  • GPS, WAAS, and GLONASS satellite tracking system
  • BaseCamp software available

Cons

  • Water-resistant but cannot be taken swimming or diving; no water submersion
  • No camera
  • Monochrome display; not in color

Garmin: The Leading GPS Brand

Garmin was founded in 1989 and specializes in creating innovative technology that utilizes global positioning software (GPS). From smartwatches, hiking devices, aviator flight technology, and marine boat technology, Garmin is a leading GPS brand with high-quality products.

Garmin was one of the first companies to utilize GPS technology in a wearable way by creating a handheld GPS receiver that was even used by soldiers during the Gulf War in 1991. Garmin continues to be the leading GPS brand and continually outshines its competitors because of its sole focus on developing GPS technology.


How to Use a Smartphone as a Backpacking GPS

Many hikers like to have two GPS options and want to use their smartphone as a backpacking GPS as well. To do this, you first want to choose a smartphone GPS app to use and download the app onto your phone. You want to make sure that you have maps downloaded for offline use.

This will allow you to use your smartphone’s GPS without WIFI and without a cellular connection. When hiking, you will want to make sure that your smartphone stays powered. Bring along a power bank, to keep your smartphone fully charged as you hike. This power bank is a great lightweight, portable option for keeping your smartphone charged.


Smartphone GPS Apps

Best Free Hiking app for iPhone Or Android 

AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run

One of the most popular free hiking apps is the AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run app. This app can be used on both iPhone and Android devices. The app provides detailed views of existing hiking trails with reviews and tips on how best to complete the hike.

There are more than 75,000 hikes to choose from, including hikes in national parks and hikes in your local neighborhood. The community can add their own photos, videos, and tips that you can review. Your phone will chart your location via GPS as you take on the hike and track your trip stats.

The AllTrails Pro version allows you to download offline maps and track your exact location without signal as well as using "Lifeline," which allows your contacts to know where you are (and follow your hike). The Pro version also removes all ads.

AllTrails for iPhone 
AllTrails for Android

Alternative Solution - Gaia GPS Hiking

Another popular free hiking app is Gaia GPS Hiking. This app allows you to view satellite maps (and download for offline use on the paid app) as well as offers route planning tools to plan your hikes. You can measure elevation change, distance, and altitude on the map as well as access weather forecasts.

The app suggests new hikes that you can try. In addition to the hiking component, Gaia GPS also has a camping section for those who want to camp and need to know where parks, forests, and public lands are located to set up camp. A hunting feature also lets hunters build their own custom maps and view state hunting laws. The paid feature allows maps to be downloaded and used offline.


Smartphone vs Handheld GPS Units

You can use a smartphone GPS unit, but handheld GPS units offer several additional benefits, and it's worth adding one to your hiking pack. Handheld GPS units offer water-resistant capabilities and extraordinarily tough. They can handle drops from high altitudes and onto rocky surfaces. They provide greater satellite reception and have additional GPS capabilities such as WAAS and GLONASS.

They also offer superior battery life and can have their batteries replaced during the hike. Smartphones are convenient because most people already own them, and apps are often free or inexpensive. However, smartphone batteries lack the satellite reception of a GPS, and charging can be tricky.


Hiking GPS Watch vs Handheld GPS Navigators

A hiking GPS watch and a handheld GPS navigator provides many of the same services, but they do have different benefits. The primary reason to choose a GPS watch is if you want to have a portable device. Watches are highly mobile and can remain on your person as you hike. They are easy to carry, lightweight, and can also be used outside of hiking. Many hikers like to use their GPS watch when they workout, such as going for a run or bike ride.

A handheld GPS navigator can feel a bit bulky to take on a run and will often need to be stashed away in a backpack or fanny pack. A handheld GPS navigator is similar to carrying a phone and doesn’t provide the same ease. From a GPS standpoint, both devices perform well and will keep you safe as well as provide you with tracking data. A handheld GPS navigator can provide a larger screen view of your path, however.


How to Use Handheld GPS Trackers

Most handheld GPS trackers are easy to use. Charging depends on the type of device that you purchase. Garmin GPS units come with lithium batteries, AA batteries, or AAA batteries. For lithium batteries, the units are rechargeable.

You won’t need to take the lithium batteries out; you can simply plug in your device to an outlet. For AA and AAA batteries, they can either be recharged or replaced. While on the trail, you will most likely need to replace batteries or bring along a power bank for your lithium powered device. If your GPS device has Bluetooth or wireless pairing, then you can easily connect it to your smartphone.


Care and Maintenance

As a hiker, you need to take care of your GPS tracker to keep it in impeccable condition. To start, you want to protect your screen. We recommend protecting your screen with a screen protector. A screen protector will help to protect against wind damage as well as sun damage and any drops of the device.

We also recommend cleaning the screen monthly to keep it in working condition. You should also make sure to clean the exterior of the device to remove any dirt or debris that sticks. This video will show you how to clean your GPS tracker's screen safely. 


Common Issues & Fixes

One of the most common issues that people face with their hiking GPS devices is when their device won't turn on. The most common reason for this is that the batteries need to be recharged or replaced. Try new batteries or plug your unit into an outlet for at least an hour before attempting to reboot. If that doesn’t work, take the device into an authorized retailer for a look.

Another common issue is that map data is incorrect or out-of-date. When this happens, GPS devices may not show accurate location data. This can be frustrating and keep your device from working properly. The best way to fix this problem is to connect your device to your computer and reinstall your maps. You may have missed an update as well that could be causing the problem. Always keep your hiking GPS device updated.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my iPhone’s GPS without cellular service?

Yes, you can use your iPhone’s GPS feature without cellular service. This will allow you to view your maps offline and to continue using GPS tracking services without racking up expensive roaming data charges.

Should I use rechargeable batteries for my hiking GPS unit?

You do not need to use rechargeable batteries with your hiking GPS unit. However, using rechargeable batteries may save you money. After each hike, you can easily charge your batteries and use them again.

Which is better, a touch screen or a button operated GPS device?

This depends on your needs. For hikers who prefer to have more screen space and want large visuals, a touch screen will be best. For hikers who hike in cold conditions and often wear gloves, physical buttons will be easier to press and allow for faster switches between screens/functions.

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a fun outdoor activity that involves using your GPS to track down specific coordinates. At these coordinate locations, you will find containers or notebooks that are known as the "geocache." Finding the geocache is the goal, and once found, participants leave behind a note or trinket, sign the notebook, or mark the find in an online forum or guidebook. This is a fun way to add more outdoor activity to your life.

How accurate are handheld GPS devices?

Handheld GPS devices are highly accurate as long as WAAS signals are used. If the unit uses WAAS signals, then there is an accuracy of approximately 3 meters when coordinates are issued. If the unit, however, does not have access to WAAS signals, then it will rely on elevation data, and this will lead to an accuracy of 10-15 meters.

How do I load a map on my hiking GPS unit?

To load a map onto your hiking GPS unit, plug your device into a computer. Then use the associated software for your GPS unit to find new maps and load them onto your device.

What else can you do to stay safe when hiking?

When hiking, you can keep yourself safe by bringing along a handheld hiking GPS device. You can also make sure that you bring water, an energy bar, or other food fuel, hike in a group, and let someone know where you will be during your hike as well as when you are expected to return. It is vital to give more details if you plan to take on a much longer hike.

Where is the best place to buy GPS devices for hiking?

The best place to buy GPS devices for hiking is Amazon.com. They have so many Garmin hiking GPS devices available at affordable prices.


Conclusion

Hiking with a GPS watch or handheld GPS device will keep you safer, provide you with map details, and offer additional fitness tracking metrics. If you want a premium product with military-grade build components and accurate metrics, you want the Garmin Instinct GPS device. This watch has a sleek, modern profile with rugged durability and superior technological metrics. Keep yourself safe and easily stay on route with a hiking GPS device.

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