Do you love wandering off the beaten path? One of the great things about hiking is getting back to nature and discovering new terrain. However, if you are heading out into the Great Unknown, you will need to have some idea of where you are.
The best GPS for hiking can be depended on to guide you in the right direction. With this handy device, you can have fun exploring, safe in the knowledge that you will find your way home.
So we decided to review the top models on the market to help steer you towards purchasing the perfect product.
- Top 9 Best GPS for Hiking Reviews
- 1 Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator
- 2 Garmin ETrex 10 Outdoor Handheld GPS Navigation Unit – AW16
- 3 Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS
- 4 Garmin inReach Mini (Orange) Satellite Communicator Bundle with Hiking Backpack Tether
- 5 Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera
- 6 Garmin 010-01772-00 Foretrex 601
- 7 Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
- 8 Garmin etrex Touch 35
- 9 Casio Men’s “Pro Trek” Outdoor GPS Resin Sports Watch
- Best GPS for Hiking Buying Guide
- So what's the Best GPS for Hiking?
Top 9 Best GPS for Hiking Reviews
1 Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator
If you are hiking alone, you will want to make sure that people know where you are. Although going it solo can be a lot of fun; you will need to make sure you are safe. If you have an accident, it is essential that people know where to look for you.
Time to get connected…
The Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator provides you with the extra protection you need. This model connects to both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and delivers two way communication. You can constantly upload your precise location so that it will be especially easy to track you down.
The Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator is also paired with the SPOT satellite device. This allows you to send and receive messages in real time. This allows you to leave your Smartphone at home while staying connected when it matters most.
Out in the wilds…
As an added bonus, there are thousands of topographical maps downloaded into this model. Even the most remote areas of the USA have been covered in impressive detail. The addition of a cool compass makes it very easy to find your bearings.
The mapping features can also be customized to suit your specific needs. The whole model is fully waterproof and designed to be especially durable. If things do take a turn for the worst, the SOS and emergency signal broadcast option will save the day.
- Shares your location with specified contacts.
- Connects with most modern Smartphones.
- Delivers especially reliable reception.
- Features a durable lithium battery.
- Loaded with 24,000 topographical maps.
- Does not come with a camera.
With its bright and bold design, the Garmin ETrex 10 Outdoor Handheld GPS Navigation Unit – AW16 really stands out. The bright yellow edging is sure to attract plenty of attention and will make it easy to find. This model is also designed to fit perfectly in your hand for maximum comfort.
But is it just a pretty face?
One of the first things that you are likely to notice about this model is that it is very easy to use. Simply select your desired route or trail, and you should be able to follow it with ease. The tracking feature is especially stable, and you should always know exactly where you are to an accuracy of one meter.
There is also a special data cable that can be connected to a laptop in order to upload GPX files. The battery life is an impressive 25 hours, which should keep you powered throughout your journey. This model takes standard AA batteries, while it is also compatible with rechargeable batteries.
Weighing in at just 140 grams, this is one of the lightest GPS devices around. The Garmin ETrex 10 Outdoor Handheld GPS Navigation Unit – AW16 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other models. However, it has a solid reputation for being especially reliable and durable.
- Boasts a rugged design.
- WAAS-enabled GPS receiver.
- Delivers HotFix and GLONASS support.
- Powered by AA batteries.
- Designed to be very easy to use.
- The screen is rather small.
- The memory is not very impressive.
3 Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS
Do you have a strong sense of adventure? If you love exploring the Great Unknown, you are sure to enjoy the freedom that it gives you. There is nothing better than simply wandering into the wilderness and living off your wits.
However, it is only natural that loved ones will worry if they can’t stay in contact with you. Fortunately, the Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS is sure to put their minds at ease. It allows friends and family members to track your location so that they can follow in your footsteps.
Want to know the best part?
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS can also be powered by AA batteries. This means that when the built-in battery runs out of charge, you will still be able to use this device. No matter how long your hiking experience lasts, you will be able to use your GPS all the way.
The cool 8MP allows you to perfectly capture the magic moments of your journey as you go. In addition to long battery life, you are also treated to plenty of storage space. Instead of the usual 4GB of storage, this mighty model treats you to an impressive 8GB of storage.
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS is known to be especially reliable. The fully waterproof and rugged design is sure to go the distance. At one pound this model is not especially light, but it won’t weigh you down too much.
- Boasts a Sunlight Readable 2.6 inches color display.
- Delivers 16 hours of battery life.
- Can be powered by AA batteries.
- Comes with an 8MP camera.
- Allows loved ones to track your location.
- This model is rather heavy.
4 Garmin inReach Mini (Orange) Satellite Communicator Bundle with Hiking Backpack Tether
Sometimes, the best things truly come in small packages. If you are on a hiking adventure, you will want to travel as light as possible. Having to carry large and bulky devices and other equipment is likely to make the going rather tough.
The Garmin inReach Mini (Orange) Satellite Communicator Bundle with Hiking Backpack Tether boasts a lightweight and compact design. At just 3.5 ounces, this is one of the lightest GPS devices around. The housing is fully waterproof and shockproof to deliver impressive durability.
Clip and go…
The handy belt clip that comes with this model makes it possible to use it hands free. The 90 hours of battery life that comes with this model is sure to impress. You are also treated to a wide range of other features that you are sure to love.
The two way messaging system allows you to keep in touch with loved ones when the going gets tough. This model provides a stable connection to the global Iridium satellite network. The quick touch SOS feature is also sure to provide you with peace of mind.
However, it should be noted that the smaller size comes at a bit of a price. The reduced screen size and resolution eliminates mapping as a feature when being used as a standalone device. It is best to plan out your route in advance by connecting to a laptop and then use this device to steer you in the right direction.
- Comes complete with a belt clip.
- Features an easy to read display.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Shows the distance hiked.
- Includes GEOS emergency response.
- The resolution is rather low.
5 Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera
If you are on an epic hiking trip, you will want to capture those magic moments. This is especially important if you are hiking alone and want to share the experience with friends and family later. However, top of the range cameras can be rather heavy and bulky and make it rather hard to travel light.
Just say cheese…
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera allows you to leave your camera at home. This mighty model is fitted with a special camera that provides impressive picture quality. However, the entire device weighs just 7.4 ounces.
You are also treated to a large number of other very useful features. The addition of a bright LED light means that you can leave your flashlight at home. Other useful features include a 3-axis compass, an accelerometer, and a barometric altimeter.
Built to last…
As an added bonus, this model is especially rugged and reliable. The Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera features a fully waterproof housing. Rugged design can also withstand plenty of knocks and shocks.
It should be noted that the battery life that is delivered by this model leaves a little to be desired. However, the Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera is compatible with rechargeable batteries. If you are planning on hiking for several days, it is a good idea to take along a few spare batteries.
- Includes an 8MP autofocus camera.
- Boasts a very sensitive touchscreen.
- Fits comfortably in the hand.
- Comes complete with an LED flashlight.
- Includes a Barometric Altimeter.
- The battery life is not very impressive.
6 Garmin 010-01772-00 Foretrex 601
Are you looking for a GPS that is especially small and light? If you are hiking for several miles, every last pound is likely to weigh you down. Reducing your equipment to the bare essentials can often make all the difference.
Back to basics…
It has to be said that the monochrome display of the Garmin 010-01772-00 Foretrex 601 is far from impressive. You are also likely to find that the two inch screen is a little small. However, these paired down features mean that the whole device weighs just over three ounces.
Despite the compact design of this GPS device, you are still treated to plenty of features. The built-in compass makes it especially easy to find your way around when you lose the path. The altimeter and barometer are also useful features that will provide you with additional guidance.
You will also receive notifications for emails, texts, and calls. This is provided thanks to the special Smartphone connectivity. As an added bonus, you are treated to GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite functionality.
The MIL-STD-810G military-grade construction makes this model especially durable and reliable. When in navigation mode, you are treated to an impressive 48 hours of battery life. If that is not enough, simply switch to watch mode to receive more than one month of battery life.
- Provides 48 hours of battery life.
- Weighs just 3.1 ounces.
- Designed to be used hands free.
- Boasts Smartphone connectivity.
- Three axis sensors, including an altimeter, compass, and barometer.
- Not possible to download maps.
- The screen is rather small.
7 Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
If you are taking part in activities such as mountain climbing, carrying a GPS can be a bit tricky. You will want to keep your hands free for these activities. Fortunately, the Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS features a wrist strap to keep it close to hand at all times.
Messing about in the water…
The fully waterproof design of this model is especially useful if you want to take part in water sports. When kayaking along a river, you will be able to keep track of your progress very easily. Even if you take a dunk in the water, this mighty model will keep on working.
While the black and white screen may not be especially inspiring, it is especially easy to use. There are also plenty of useful options, such as the “TracBack” feature. This makes it easy to retrace your steps to the last recognizable location.
Nice and compact…
It should be noted that the Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS does not come with a map display. If you are the sort of person who gets lost easily, this could be a bit of a drawback. However, if you are looking for a GPS that is especially compact, it might be worth sacrificing a few features.
This model takes two AAA batteries, which deliver 17 hours of life per set. As an added bonus, the Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS comes with a small internal battery. This means that even when the batteries run down, your route information will be preserved.
- Weighs just three ounces.
- Delivers 17 hours of battery life.
- Very easy to use.
- Comes with a built-in wrist strap.
- Three inch black and white display.
- Does not come with a map display.
8 Garmin etrex Touch 35
At first glance, this model might appear a little basic. The Garmin etrex Touch 35 boasts a compact design and lacks Bluetooth connectivity. However, there are some standout features that promise to make this model especially useful.
The 2.6 inch touchscreen has been designed to be especially easy to use. You are provided with clear information that you can understand at a single glance. Even if you have never used a GPS before, you should have no trouble comprehending this model.
Never get lost again…
With the Garmin etrex Touch 35, you are treated to more than 100,000 topographical maps of the USA. This means that you are sure to receive coverage of any area that you wish to explore. The maps are presented in full color and are designed to be very easy to follow.
The compass that is displayed in the center of the screen features three axis tilt compressors. There are also plenty of other features that you can call up at the touch of a button. The activity profiles are especially useful and allow you to gain an insight into your performance.
The Garmin etrex Touch 35 truly proves that looks can be deceiving. The touchscreen is very responsive and perfectly complements the overall design of this model. With so many cool maps to take advantage of, you are sure to be inspired to explore more.
- Logs 100k points and 200 tracks.
- Delivers 16 hours of battery life.
- Boasts a powerful sunlight readable screen.
- GLONASS and GPS satellite positioning.
- Electronic compass with three axis tilt compensators.
- Looks and feels a little dated.
9 Casio Men’s “Pro Trek” Outdoor GPS Resin Sports Watch
Casio is known for making a huge range of watches for men and women. These watches tend to be durable and rugged and come with a range of features. They are designed for people who like to live an active lifestyle while looking smart at the same time.
But how does this model measure up?
The Casio Men’s “Pro Trek” Outdoor GPS Resin Sports Watch features a cool colorful display in the center. It is designed to connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth. This allows you to transfer maps and other information from your Smartphone to access it on your wrist.
Although the GPS signal is not as accurate as could be hoped, it will still help to guide the way. You are treated to a smart compass as well as a barometer and altimeter. The built-in location memory also helps people to locate you in case of an emergency.
Come rain, come shine…
It should be noted that the Casio Men’s “Pro Trek” Outdoor GPS Resin Sports Watch is not a replacement for a GPS. It is necessary to download maps and other items before setting off on a trip. While this model is waterproof to a certain extent, it should not be used when diving.
However, in terms of pure convenience, this watch is an excellent choice. There are plenty of cool features that help to make it especially useful. The full color maps look especially cool and are easy to follow.
- Water-resistant up to 50 meters.
- Compatible with most modern Smartphones.
- Offline map functionality with downloadable maps.
- Mil-Standard 810 G durability.
- Features dual layer LCD screens.
- Not as durable as could be hoped.
Best GPS for Hiking Buying Guide
When searching for the best GPS for hiking, there are a lot of things to think about. Top of the range models come with a whole host of features, but are they really necessary? Let’s take a closer look at the key features that you are likely to need.
- Going the Distance
When out on the trail, you are truly exposed to the elements. When the going gets tough, you are likely to drop your device from time to time. Therefore, the best GPS for hiking needs to be made of very robust materials.
Of course, you will also want to make sure that the model you choose is waterproof. If you get caught in a sudden storm, being able to navigate will be even more important. Top of the range models can even be submerged in water for short periods of time.
- Battery Life
If your GPS runs out of battery power when you are out on the trail, it could be a real nightmare. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that you are provided with plenty of battery power. For optimum convenience, the device should remain working while you change the batteries.
Ideally, the model you choose should feature replaceable batteries. This will make it possible to carry spare batteries with you. However, battery life is still important, as carrying a large number of barriers will weigh you down.
- The Display
In order to be able to read the maps clearly, the display should be at least two inches in size. However, the larger the display is, the more details you will be able to pick up. While a color display is not absolutely essential, it is likely to mean that the maps are easier to read.
If the GPS boasts a touchscreen, you are likely to be able to access the information you need more quickly. The touchscreen should be sensitive enough so that you can access it when wearing gloves if necessary.
As with all types of hiking equipment, you will want to make sure that your GPS is as light as possible. Having to carry a number of heavy devices can make hiking much less enjoyable. It is a good idea to choose a GPS that is light enough to carry easily.
- Planning Software
Being able to create and upload routes in advance will save you a lot of time and trouble when hiking. Ideally, your GPS should be able to connect to a laptop or PC. This will allow you to spend cold evenings at home, planning your route before you set out.
If you prefer to travel light, you are likely to want to leave your Smartphone at home. However, you should still be able to send and receive messages in the case of an emergency. A GPS device that makes it possible to stay connected will be especially useful.
- Other Useful Features
The more functions your GPS is able to perform, the fewer pieces of equipment you will need to take along. The addition of an LED light allows you to leave your flashlight at home. Of course, you will also want to make sure that your GPS features a compass.
Some top of the range models even come complete with a camera. This will allow you to capture all of those magic moments on the trail. You may even be able to send photos and short videos to friends and family so that they can follow your progress.
- Easy of Carrying
When hiking, you will need to keep your hands free for the trail ahead. Therefore, it is a good idea to search for a model that can be clipped to your clothing. GPS devices that come with a wrist strap are also especially useful.